Romance is not the easiest word to define, just like love or happiness. Typically, these words mean different things for different people, and that’s okay. I think that’s what makes these words so mysterious and wonderful. When we have a memory or a moment or something tangible and we can say, “This is love, or romance, or happiness,” it is just one of those incredibly satisfying things. When we can recall a first kiss or a treasured gift or the first time we realized how much God loves us, it is a sweet, sweet feeling.
Not only is romance hard to define, it is also ever-changing. What I would have said was “romance” ten years ago, when I was a freshman in high school and had my very first boyfriend, is astronomically different from what I would say romance is now. A lot of people told me marriage would change our relationship, that it would be boring or we wouldn’t date anymore or there would be no surprises once he “put a ring on it.”
Those people weren’t lying. Marriage did change our relationship. Sometimes it is boring. Sometimes we don’t go on a “real” date for weeks. But marriage is amazing. It’s fun and weird and awkward and wonderful because we’re in this together.
My husband and I started dating over five years ago. We didn’t have a super romantic beginning (I told him I was cold, he did not offer me his jacket), but we got there eventually. He offers me his jacket now. He buys me
flowers for no reason. He cooks dinner and I wash the dishes, almost every night. He tells me I’m pretty when I first wake up with bedhead and morning breath.
To someone who is dating or single, these things might seem ridiculous. They don’t sound particularly romantic, do they? Romance is all about fancy dinners and long moonlit walks on the beach, right? Maybe. I definitely find those things romantic. I love getting dressed up and going out with my husband for a nice dinner. I also love coming home from that fancy dinner, putting on our pajamas, and watching Sherlock on Netflix together. That’s romantic to me, too.
For me, romance is all about what my husband and I get to do together. It’s not about the dressing up or spending money or those Instagrammable moments we are able to capture. It’s not about the kind of food we eat or whether or not he opened my car door for me.
It’s about sharing experiences with each other. It’s about growing in our relationship with Christ together. It’s about loving each other more and more each day we spend together.
It might not seem particularly romantic when we are eating dinner off paper plates in front of Netflix in our pajamas on a Tuesday night. It might not seem romantic when he wakes up early to take the first shower so I can sleep a little longer. It might not seem romantic when date night becomes a nap together after a long week.
But it is. It’s romantic to us because we are enjoying each other’s company, growing closer to each other and, in turn, Christ. Marriage isn’t always pretty and sometimes it really isn’t romantic. Sometimes there are dirty socks on the floor and angry words. Sometimes there are disappointments and frustrations. But these things are a part of life. They’re real.
I love my husband, and he loves me. We love each other through the bad hair days, the mistakes, the fancy dinners, the fun vacations, and everything in between. We love each other as we work with our youth group together or do missions alongside each other. We love each other through the good times and the bad, just like we vowed to. And if that’s not romantic, I don’t know what is.