Today I am thrilled to write this guest post on my good friend, Jessica’s blog. She is an amazingly creative person. I remember being her staff parent at camp one summer when I was still pregnant with Nadine. She showed me this tiny photo of a guy she liked. Her eyes just shone when she talked about him, and I was so impressed with her level head and strong spirit. I just knew she would marry him one day. She did marry him, and now they have two handsome boys. Jessica is someone I wish was my neighbor, but since we can’t be right now, I enjoy getting to know her more by reading her blog and emailing.
If we are seen kissing, it is anything but romantic. But it doesn’t stop us. “Eeeeew!” our kids exclaim, while unable to peel their eyes away from our embrace. Ten years ago I was told, “Just you wait.” Dire warnings engulfed us, that this romance thing wouldn’t last. I can’t say my idea of romance has necessarily changed since I was “young and in love”, as much as it’s been simplified and yet expanded.
I have found that romance grows and takes shape when we fill our spouse’s heart with the knowledge of how much we love them. We show it off when we do things we know they will love. I know Matt loves it when I have a little lunch ready for him in the fridge the night before he has to work. I also know that he likes to go to bed with me, not before or after me. He in turn knows that I turn to mush when the house is picked up or if my shoulders start getting massaged. Romance doesn’t just belong under the pretense of candlelight dinners and expensive chocolates. A few weeks ago I woke up to a tired Monday morning, opened the fridge, and found a huge bowl of pancake batter all mixed and ready to go, with the griddle sitting on the counter, ready to accept the challenge of five hungry children. That was more meaningful to my heart than a great many red roses.
Romance, in its pure essence, is really just knowing what the other person loves or needs and making every effort to fulfill those longings or needs. Kids are good at this. They make things that will touch the sweet spot in a person’s heart. Our kids are always giving away their toys to their friends or eachother as an expression of love. They know I love mail, so I will often receive little letters and cards on my pillow, or hand-delivered when it looks like I’m having a rough day. The other night my oldest daughter cleaned the bathroom without being asked… at nine o’clock at night. The next morning it was such fun to secretly unload the dishwasher for her, then say, “Nadine, can you please unload the dishwasher?” I could see the difficulty rise in her eyes as the twinkles grew in my own, but she walked over and opened it anyway. I said, “Surprise!” She broke out in a huge grin. “That was the BEST surprise EVER!” Little things we know will touch and fill up someone’s heart.. that to me is romance. It can be in the form of loving your kids and knowing what makes them smile and feel loved.
Of course if you need inspiration, all you need to do is look to the Creator of romance. He has given us the ultimate example of knowing what our hearts needed and fulfilled that need through Jesus. He knew how deeply we yearn for nearness and peace. He came, died, rose again, and now offers to lift the heaviness of guilt and sin off our shoulders and replace it with peace and joy. He always knows what we need before we ask. He sends us romantic gestures every day by perfuming the world with flowers, touching our skin with breezes, and kissing us to sleep with moonlight. He knows how much I love color and I know He paints the sky and changes the leaves to make me squeal with excitement. He knew how I loved this boy named Matthew, and then He let us get married! He knows my need for humor and so He gave me five kids to keep me laughing every day. He not only knows about me, but He is the one who created all these crazy quirks and needs and loves and longings that I feel every day. He made and knows all about yours too!
I hope your life is full of romance. Not the sappy, chocolaty romance everyone gags over. Rather, the kind that spends a few extra minutes tucking in your children at night, or prepares your love’s favorite meal. It’s making pancakes with extra chocolate chips. It’s filling up her gas tank for the week. For some, it’s making the bed. For others, it’s leaving it messy once in awhile. I, for one, will never stand around and wait for romance to die. I will keep on kissing my man, especially in front of my cootie-loving children.