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“My husband isn’t romantic at all, I don’t even remember the last time we went on a date or he bought me flowers.” I have heard this statement so, so many times and it makes me want to scream. We have this idealised notion that ‘romance’ equates to date nights and flowers and walks on the beach holding hands… but where on earth did this all come from? And are you the one who is killing the romance in your relationship by thinking this is what needs to happen?
Let me explain.
We are ‘taught’ by movies like The Notebook that romance is kissing in the rain (okay maybe I just assumed that from the cover because I refuse to watch that movie), or by TV shows like The Bachelor that romance is a helicopter ride to a secluded island for a picnic lunch on the beach. Whaaaaat?
With ideas like this, no wonder our real life relationships can’t measure up.
We are comparing our relationships to ones that aren’t real. Ones that are scripted and shot with cameras all around and edited for maximum ‘romance’. I doubt very much the Bachelor himself structured that date… he was most likely given ideas based on what would get the best ratings from women watching the show, swooning over the ‘romance, and then scowling at their partners for not being romantic enough.
It’s our big dream of romance that is killing the real romance that we have in our lives.
My husband told me once that he isn’t a very romantic person. I was quite surprised by this so I asked him what he meant.
He went on to explain that he rarely bought flowers for me and didn’t take me out to fancy dinners, he said he didn’t light candles for me or run hot baths. He sounded like he felt like he was letting me down by not doing all of those things.
Now, in my eyes, my husband is one of the most romantic men ever. Because I don’t expect all of the Hollywood romance and I understand his romantic gestures.
It’s easy to overlook them if you’re always focused on the big bunches of flowers or kisses in the rain.
Okay, okay, some guys can barely muster up a grunt when you ask them to go out for dinner with you but maybe they are the exception and are a lost cause (who knows…). What I’m talking about is the average guy you married, the one who you’ve become so comfortable with you might start overlooking the little things he does to make your day a bit easier or brighter. The real romance.
To me, this is what real romance looks like:
When he washes my car because he knows I hate washing it, but I also hate it being dirty (lady logic). And he cleans the inside and cleans up all of my coffee stains.
When he takes our son to the park for the afternoon so I can get my work done or have an extra-long shower and paint my toenails in peace.
When he picks up my favourite takeaway on the way home from work because he knows I’m too
lazy exhausted to cook.
When he goes shopping with me and carries all of my bags, zero complaints, even though he hates shopping.
When he buys a coffee on his way home and gets one for me too.
When he offers to paint my toenails for me because I am 938372 weeks pregnant and can’t reach them myself.
When he makes the bed and puts all the extra cushions in the right places, even though he hates the extra cushions.
When he puts all of the coffee making things out the night before because he knows I get up early and wanted to have them all out ready for me.
When he struggles to tell me how he feels but emails me every now and then just to tell me how grateful he is.
When he texts me while he is at work just to check and see how my day is going.
When he puts on the heat in the car, even though he is sweating, just because I am cold.
When he climbes into bed 10 minutes before I do so he can warm up my side of the bed first because I hate being cold.
When he offers to get the car and pick me up after we leave a shopping centre because he didn’t want me to have to walk in the rain.
These are the little things that happen in relationships that can be so easily taken for granted. They aren’t things that we should overlook just because ‘they should be doing these things anyway’. They are real gestures made towards you because he loves you.
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When was the last time you acknowledged that he had done any of this? We often talk about how we feel unappreciated for everything we do and that we don’t get thanked for it. But when was the last time we thanked our other halves? This isn’t about being in a battle to see who gives in first. It’s about being in it all together and showing gratitude.
Plus if we don’t show appreciation for what is already done, how can we ask for more? Think about how you would feel if you weren’t appreciated for what you did then kept being asked for more – being told it wasn’t good enough.
If you’re always expecting to be taken away to a bed and breakfast for the weekend you might miss the real romance in the way your husband gets up early and takes the kids to the park so you can sleep in.
Spend time to understand what gestures your husband or partner makes that show you they are thinking of you, that show you they love you and that show you that they appreciate you.
Romance isn’t measured in the bunches of flowers that are bought for you. It is measured in the everyday moments that fill your heart and make you smile.