August is National Romance Awareness Month.
Naturally, I feel a need to write about that topic. It’s not just because I’m a hopeless romantic who writes sweet romances.
And it’s not just because I’ve been married to Captain Cavedweller for more than 27 years and he still makes my heart pitter-patter with his smile.
But it’s partly because today would have been my parents’ 71st wedding anniversary if Mom was still with us. That isn’t a typo. Seventy-one years. It’s hard to wrap my head around that number and all that it means.
I grew up with parents I knew were always going to be together, no matter what. Neither of them were big on grand romantic gestures, which is why I think romance is more than candlelight dinners and bouquets of flowers (although those things are awesome and always appreciated – Hello, CC! Just a little hint for you!).
My dictionary defines romance as a feeling of excitement, a strong attraction, and feelings of affection. I’d agree with that. But it’s so much more.
It’s about expressing love and dedication in a way that’s intentional, unmistakable. It’s about being attentive, thoughtful, willing, creative, and considerate.
Even the smallest gesture can mean so much, like holding hands or bringing your partner a cup of coffee in the morning. My parents held hands up until the day my mother passed away.
Be thoughtful and considerate toward your partner. This could be with a tangible gift, but it could also be the gift of time, or the gift of doing a chore for them. Think about ways to do simple things that are meaningful to your partner.
Romance is being in for the long haul. It’s knowing your partner is there with unwavering, enduring love, as well as affection, and passion. It’s knowing the intensity, the specificity of their feelings is lasting, not just someone who is flirting and moving on. Love letters are one of the most popular ways to personalize feelings in a way that could potentially last forever. Talk about memories, shared experiences, reminders of what made you fall in love, dreams for the future, how much you appreciate them, and why you still love them.
My mother once said the reason she noticed my dad was because he was funny and fun to be around. What about your partner makes you glad to see them each evening? Pinpoint what it is and share that with them.
Romance is more about connecting person to person. It’s about connecting heart to heart. It’s about sharing warmth and kindness with the person you love most in the world. I’m so grateful I grew up with parents who truly loved each other. And I’m thankful clear down to my bones for my Captain Cavedweller who brings me so much laughter, joy, warmth, grace, and love.
If you need some ideas to jump start a little romance, try sending a sweet text to your love. Tuck a note in their briefcase or draw a heart on the bathroom mirror for them to find when they step out of the shower. Bring home their favorite dessert (or make it!). Ask them on a date to somewhere you’ve never been (or recreate your first date). Create a playlist of songs that make you think of your partner and share it with them – then take it a step further and talk about why each song means something to you.
My friend Jane does this amazing thing with her husband. They sit facing each other, knees touching, for a specific length of time, not speaking, just looking at each other, being present with one another. When the time is up, they talk to each other about their day, what they see in each other. Even if it’s just for thirty-seconds, I think it would be so meaningful. Now if I can just pin down CC for that long.
Take dinner outside for a picnic. Enjoy a movie night at home. Go for a drive. Watch the sunset. Hold hands. Give each other a massage.
The main thing here is to be together and to be fully, wholly present with your partner.
If you want to read about the year-long project CC and I did a few years ago, going on a date every week, I documented it (unbeknownst to CC at the time) in the book Fifty Dates with Captain Cavedweller. You can download a digital copy of the book for free now through Sunday on Amazon.