Feb 122014
A different definition

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. We will give greeting cards, flowers, and chocolates to our loved ones. We will make restaurant reservations. Romance is in the air.

But what is romance? What does it mean?

When I looked up definitions for romance, I found a range of answers, including a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love, ardent emotional attachment, a strong, sometimes short-lived attraction, and a fictitiously embellished account. None of the definitions really satisfied me or spoke to the gestures, grand or small, we associate with romance: running through the airport to tell someone you love them, skywriting a proposal, writing a poem, sending love notes in a lunch bag, or creating a surprise picnic lunch.

A few years ago, while out of town for business, I had dinner with family living in the area. We lingered around the dining table after the meal. My uncle was in the bathroom, trying to install a towel rack for his sister, who’d hosted the dinner. My cousin helped him. We could tell from the sounds coming from the bathroom they were struggling. Finally, my cousin came back to the table and said, “That does it. I’m taking the rack back tomorrow.” My uncle stayed in the bathroom a few more minutes. He coughed, a small, short cough. His wife, who sat across the table from me, smiled and quietly said, “He just got it.” My uncle re-joined the group at the table, grinning. He had indeed installed the towel rack. My aunt recognized that cough as a sign of success. My cousin looked at both of them and said, “That’s the most romantic thing I’ve ever seen.”

I was surprised by her comment. This wasn’t the type of thing I normally associated with romance. But, seriously, think about it. What can be more romantic than being that in tune with your partner?

What does romance mean to you?

  15 Responses to “What is Romance?”

  1. That’s one of the coolest things I have heard recently! That surely defines romance….being that connected to your partner. Loved this story!

  2. I was in on a conversation with several female friends just a week ago, talking about exactly this … What does romance me to each of us? Although everyone agreed that the stereotypical definitions and images are lovely, after decades of marriage, they all agreed that it is the little things in their daily interactions that also equate to romance. Some examples: the husband that makes your coffee … occasioanally or every morning; enjoying a sunset together; sitting together in the livingroom and enjoying being together without having to say to anything, whether watching TV, listening to music or reading; doing something around the house or the yard, without having to ask; just snuggling or hugging without it having to lead to anything to anything more. Perhaps some would equate it to contentment, but these gals felt that if these things put a smile on your face and gave you a warm feeling inside then they equate with romance.

    • Eva – I love that conversation and those definitions of romance. My husband makes my coffee every morning. When he reads this, I will never hear the end of how romantic he is!

  3. Hi like Eva’s comment. I think once you’re over 50, contentment is just as important and maybe even more important than the connotation of romance. I think a lot of people clam up and get strange around Valentine’s Day (I know my husband sure did when we first got together) because of disappointments in his former life. Now, just being nice and being caring are the things that are most important to me.

  4. Fun post on romance. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  5. I agree with that. It’s hard to define what you feel and see intuitively. I can tell how my husband is feeling simply by his sigh! It’s the tiny little things that I notice that will escape everyone else’s view. Romance isn’t all about grandiose gestures, it really is about the small things on a day to day basis that accumulate over time. That’s why we, my husband and I, celebrate V Day. 🙂

  6. Neither hubby or I have ever been ones for grand sweeping gestures in our day to day life, but every now and again, he brings me flowers because I really do enjoy them.

    • My husband has never been one to give me flowers, but he is learning a few things from his brother, who buys a bouquet for my sister-in-law every Friday and occasionally (certainly nowhere near weekly) comes home with flowers. I remember being surprised years ago when he came home from grocery shopping with flowers for me. It was no special occasion. Our daughter, eight or nine at the time, had been shopping with him and let the cat out of the bag. The store had been giving away flowers.

  7. What an excellent story. I love those little moments in relationships when you are in-synch with your partner. My husband and I will spontaneously burst into the appropriate song if some is talking and inadvertently delivers the lines from a song. Our kids roll their eyes, our friends just laugh.

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