What is romance? Really, what comes to mind as truly romantic for you? As Nathan and I dive into the sexual intimacy component of love on the Mama Says Namaste Podcast this week, I wanted to dig into the intricacies of what really qualifies as something “romantic”…and how important it really is in love.
What Is Romance?
The dictionary explanation of romance is this:
When I asked Nathan this question, “what is romance?” he responded with this:
I think it pulls back to what love is – and romance is a way of showing love. There are many different hues of love, and romance is one of them – it’s theatrical, intentional, and planned. It’s a factor of love. Some people thrive in that, but it’s just one hue. Romance is excessive. It’s a romantic dinner – a staged creation to highlight love.
You can be extremely romantic and an absolute jerk as well. This hue can be immature. When you’re young, these things really matter- adding that excitement and zest. Those things change as you grow, and you look back fondly on the wooing of the beginning years, but it’s a deeper aspect – it’s doing life together. It’s not just about the excitement and thrill of the unknown, but it can be an immature love. It’s a small piece of a bigger picture. Those moments of being swept away are one part of a greater whole.
What Other Hues Are In Your Rainbow?
Romance is the excitement of being the only one. It’s being swept into the moment. If the goal is always to titillate and excite, then is it just buildup for a let-down? Is it simply the rut – where you show up, do your thing, and then disappear until the next year?
In my head, I had this perfect vision of sweet romance being the core of what kept a relationship alive. We spent an entire podcast episode simply talking about the importance of sex. But then Nathan throws this curveball of criticism on the word, and I took a step back to evaluate.
What about desire? Ah, there is another hue that may blend in to romance, but it can stand alone. So how do we show desire, attentiveness and awareness beyond romance?
This is non-romantic desire in our household. I can twist the semantics and say it’s romantic for me, but ultimately, this includes practicality more than wooing. Yet the desire to serve another is a beautiful aspect of our relationship.
- Engage in conversation. Simply stop and focus intently on your partner when they are talking to you, with no other distractions.
- Quality time – this can go along with conversation, but can be even simpler. Look at the stars together. Do yoga. Meditate.
- Cooking for each other. Making the bed. When you take care of each other – helping out around the house, doing things to make life easier for one another – this is attention to the love you have and how to serve one another.
- Respecting one another. Validating, encouraging, and challenging in a respectful way, acknowledging the beautiful mind of your partner.
Shall We Put “Romance” Down As Simply An Old-World Order?
Romance is a rich dessert of love. It’s Italian restaurants and Valentine’s Day. It’s pressure to sweep her off her feet. Romeo and Juliet, Rhett and Scarlett – so romantic, but does it happen every day? Does it build up the pressure and expectation and set you up for disappointment or failure? These star-crossed lovers are the essence of romantic drama, but how would the day-to-day ups and downs of raising a family have effected Juliet? Scarlett dreamed of romance as the most important thing, and Rhett was quick to remind her it has to be deeper than that.
Romance doesn’t need to be pressured. It’s isn’t something to throw out the window as unnecessary. It’s the excitement, zest and sparkle. Romance adds the element of surprise – a reminder of the forgotten. It’s flirting, unexpected gifts and planned out elaborate dates.
Desire Is the Magic Hue
Yet in the rainbow of love, there are so many facets of color. Romance, compassion, grace, humility, intention, laughter, passion, play, excitement, curiosity, exploration…and desire.
Desire may be that base color for all else. When you have desire for another – desire for a loving relationship, it illuminates all the others. Ah, maybe desire is the sunshine on the rainbow of love! Cheesy, yes, but sappiness can be added into the fun and play as well.
What words are in your rainbow – what elements make up your loving relationship, and how can desire drive you deeper into love?