When it comes to simple romance, it is not about expensive jewelry or cruises to the Bahamas, it is about constant, consistent, and simple acts of love. This is something that definitely does not come naturally to me. I always pictured romance as sweep-me-off-my-feet, blinding passion. And while that has its time and place, most romance, I’ve learned, is quiet and long-lasting.
Our philosophy on romance is doing whatever will make the other person happiest. Forgetting yourself and your own needs, because you understand the other person will care for them above their own, allows you to focus on doing what is best for them. And since they are focusing on you, each person is taken care of in the way they need. This system automatically eliminates selfishness and increases awareness and open discussion.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Talk to each other. The most important part of simple romance is understanding what the other person needs. You can’t assume you know what makes them happy, you must talk to each other about it. Discuss your own needs and then allow them time to fulfill them. If they aren’t quite meeting them, approach them with love and understanding and let them know. Rinse and repeat.
2. Go on dates. It doesn’t need to be anything extravagant, but consistent dates are important to a healthy romance. Making time for each other, even when it requires a babysitter, shows that you care enough about your relationship to nurture it. Being alone together and doing things you enjoy is one of the fastest ways to heal distance or selfishness.
3. Show affection often. One of the things that makes a romantic relationship different from any other kind is physical touch. This becomes an important part of a relationship and one that needs to be nourished as much as any other part. This is another area where it is vital to discuss what each person needs, and then do your best to meet those needs. Travis and I, almost since the beginning of our relationship, started a tradition of holding hands during prayer. The quick finding and grasping of hands when someone starts to pray is so comforting and familiar that I can’t imagine life without it.
4. Do their least favorite chore for them. I always know Travis has been thinking of me when I see that the toilet has been scrubbed. And he is always quick to thank me when I do the dishes so he doesn’t have to.
5. Be silly together. Laughing is such an important part of a relationship, and so is the willingness to be silly together. Being silly allows a space to forget arguments and tension, and to simply enjoy each other’s company. More often than not, looking back on your favorite times in your relationship, they will be times when you were laughing together.
6. Remember what they like. This one is especially important to me. I always feel most loved when Travis remembers that I don’t like raspberries or when he sends me a link to a cute picture of my favorite animal. Being conscious of your partner’s likes and dislikes lets them know that you pay attention when they talk, and that you remember those conversations enough to do something that will make them happy.
Romance doesn’t need to be grand and expensive, many times, it is simply a touch, or a glance—something that reminds you that you are both in this thing together.