This is a post from Guest Columnist Lori Byerly of The Generous Wife
I am romanced challenged.
My husband was born a romantic. Our relationship has been … interesting.
Our first year of marriage, he couldn’t understand why flowers and gifts weren’t winning my heart. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t pick up his socks.
Years later, I am still unraveling the mystery of romance, but along the way I have learned a few things and, in an effort not to pass on my romance disability, I began to “teach romance” to our kids (yes, it can be taught).
I started my romantic education by watching my husband (he was the only romantic I knew at the time). He was constantly asking me questions. At first I found it a bit annoying, but I realized over time that he was trying to get to know me.
He was becoming a student of me.
He wanted to know my favorite flower, restaurants I liked, where I dreamed of traveling and more.
He would then use that info to “romance” me. (Our first year of marriage he nearly drowned me in red licorice. I think he really liked me.)
Years later (yes, I was slow), I would become a student of him.
I asked questions. I listened and watched. If he mentioned interest in a book, it might mysteriously appear on his pillow. I knew his favorite meals and they showed up more often in the meal rotation. I made a spice cake with blue peppermint frosting for my husband’s birthday (<shaking head> it’s a family tradition that defies explanation).
I wrote a little love note on the mirror with a white board marker (he replied and we had fun for weeks writing back and forth). I even got a little notebook to carry in my purse with all the info I was collecting, plus clothing size info and such.
I worked to be creative and intentional about what I did.
My greatest teacher, of course, was my husband. He made a little heart out of a paperclip one day and left it on my desk. It was such a small thing, but it spoke volumes.
He was thinking of me and he loved me.
That gave birth to similar ideas. I could leave a candy on his pillow (his favorite kind, of course) or put a heart shaped sticky note on his keyboard with a little love note.
Somewhere along the way, I also realized that what passed for romance between husband and wife could easily be called caring and kindness when applied to other relationships. So I became a student of my kids and friends, as well. I stopped being so grumpy about the rocks and sticks in my son’s room (they were important to him).
I weeded my mother-in-law’s front flower bed. I cleaned up my creative messes so that my family would not have to trip over them (craft supplies do multiply in the night when you are not looking).
As I did this, I realized that my kiddos were watching and learning. Modeling is great, as is talking about it. Doing it is even better. I didn’t call what we were doing “Romance 101,” but rather “thoughtful gestures, kindness and intentional expressions of love.” (These are all close relatives of romance and, once learned, can become the basis for romance when the kids mature and find a sweetie of their own.)
I enlisted my kids’ help when reaching out to a neighbor. I suggested ideas to them or helped them brainstorm about how to love on various people. It became a family value to “know others well and love them in ways specific to them.”
We also worked at being creative and consistent in our loving.
So there you have it. Become a student of your sweetie. Then be creative, intentional and consistent.
Voila! You are a romantic! Then, of course, model it, teach it and pass it on.