A few days ago, we discussed romance on the podcast. A friend of ours posed the question, “Melissa, what is the most romantic thing Chad has done in the past year?” I sat there in silence, desperately trying to think of one huge romantic gesture that I could point to. I tried to remember if he had sent me flowers or had written me a song. I tried to recall some way that he had swept me off of my feet during the past year, and I couldn’t think of a single example. We moved on and finished the podcast, but for several hours afterward I was still troubled by the fact that I couldn’t think of any big thing Chad had done to romance me this year. Because I knew that I FEEL romanced. But, what exactly is it that makes me feel that way, even without a major romantic milestone to look back on?
And, then it hit me. What has romanced me this year isn’t flowers or nights out or even the beautiful diamond ring that Chad splurged on at Christmas (although I am never one to discourage or turn down diamonds). What has made me feel cared for this year is something that goes much deeper than gifts. Unfortunately, we women are so easily convinced that our husbands aren’t doing enough. We compare them to other men or to fictional characters, and we completely discount the ways that they make us feel on a daily basis. The truth is that while I was searching for some grand romantic gesture, I realized that one reason that I’m truly happy and feel loved and adored by my husband is that I decided years ago to try not to miss what’s right in front of me every day.
Like the way that he reaches over and grabs my hand when he’s driving. Or the way that he texts me What are you doonin? because that’s how Emerald used to say “doing.” The way that he saves the last of the whip cream for me. Or the way he picks up my favorite drink when he’s at the grocery store. The way he holds me close at night and makes me laugh even though I’m half asleep. The way he always asks if I’m getting sick when I clear my throat. The way he tells me that things aren’t as fun when I’m not there. Or the way he overlooks it when I snap at him for no reason.
Those are a few of the little things that actually end up being big things in the end.
And that doesn’t even include all of the other ways that he loves me, like working hard for our family, pointing me to Christ every day, adoring our kids, trying to keep his mind and heart pure, spurring me on to follow my dreams, helping me see my own gifts from God.
Oh, dear married friends, what if we quit letting movies and the internet convince us that we need a rose petal-filled bubble bath or a weekend in Europe or a candle-lit dinner in some fancy restaurant? We don’t need those things to be happy in marriage. We just need to be kind to each other. We need to be devoted to each other’s happiness. We need to do those little things that speak to our spouse, but even more importantly, we need to ACCEPT the little things as the most romantic offerings of all.
Someday when I’m sitting in a rocking chair looking back over our life together, it won’t be the big trips or the diamond rings that I remember most. It’ll be all the little things. The small gestures that he makes every day to communicate how much he loves me. If you’re searching for romance in your marriage, chances are you’re ignoring the most romantic things about your life. Stop and think about it, and appreciate all of the little ways that you are being romanced every day. I promise it’ll make marriage more fun and meaningful if you do. Be grateful for what you have and stop pining for a version of marriage that Hollywood dreamed up. Most of the people who wrote that stuff are divorced. Just saying.
Romance is real. And, it’s small. And, it’s glorious. Don’t miss it.