We’ve all been sold a bill of goods. It started ages ago with fairy tales, books, television and movies. I’m referring to the “romantic grand gesture”. You know - the hero rides up on the white horse and sweeps the damsel off her feet. The engagement that takes place on the JumboTron at the 50,000 seat stadium. Jetting off from New York to Paris, just for dinner. The clock striking midnight, the pumpkin coach and the kingdom-wide search for the rightful owner of the glass slipper. OK. I’ll admit they’re fun to watch, but that’s not the bedrock foundation of romance.
Nope. It’s the small gesture. The routine, humdrum, ho-hum, daily grind of living a life together with the person you love. It’s putting the other person first in your thoughts, words and deeds. I’m not talking about subjugating yourself to someone else. Just exercising the reflexive thought that always thinks about the impact of your actions on your partner. Listening, holding hands, being there - choosing to be there with your partner - making each other laugh, holding each other through tears, taking out the trash. Seriously - taking out the trash, washing dishes, doing the laundry, cooking meals, paying bills, scooping the kitty litter, mowing the lawn - those are the household chores, which when completed, help peace reign in the home. Finding a way to take on those tasks with a cheerful spirit, or heck, just slogging through them knowing it’s for the good of your little family unit, well, that works too. And let’s not forget the social graces of please, thank you, excuse me and gesundheit. Saying I love you, saying it often. Saying I love you in the heat of an argument just to remind yourself and your partner of where it all sprang from. Saying yes to the one you love. Yes, you’ll attend the concert that you think sounds like fingernails on a blackboard, because your partner thinks it’s the sound of angels. Yes, you’ll attend the poetry reading or the Nascar race or the thimble convention or the woodworking show, because that’s what floats the love of your life’s boat. And you’ll do it with a willing smile or you’ll at least tour the convention floor and settle down in a corner with a good book until you have lunch together!
Not romantic enough for you? You really want to hire the horse and wriggle into the suit of armor? How about leaving a note in your partner’s briefcase or lunch box instead? Or jotting a quick “Thank you! I Love you!” on a Post-It-Note and sticking it in the checkbook just before they write the checks, to pay the bills, because you never have been able to balance the checkbook. Or call them in the middle of the day to say “Hi” and ask “How’s it going?” and actively listen to their answer. Remember their birthday, your anniversaries and pick a bunch of black-eyed-susans from the side of the road and bring them home.
It’s not the grand gesture. It’s the Golden Rule mentality that wins hearts. That’s real romance. That’s real love.