The Feelings of Romance

Post 2 of 4 in our Realities & Fiction of Romance series

Romance movies tend to hook me most because of the new relationship interactions—the smile, the look, the playfulness and banter of the couple as they get to know each other. I hate to admit it but the whole thing brings a cheesy grin to my face!

I also look forward to those moments when they figure out they care for one another, when they discover they still love each other after a long time apart, or when they understand their irritation with the other has become a much different feeling. Ahhhhh, these stories create a wealth of good feelings…too bad the reality let-down afterwards can leave us with a depression hangover.

This hangover includes the wistful thinking about times long past or times never been. Longing for spark and sizzle and…basically a time when both realities revolved only around each other.

Stories like these are based on someone’s experience; only the experience has been organized and added to for the storytelling effect. Therein lies the problem—we don’t live an organized experience; we live it messy and confused, sometimes not understanding what we are living until it’s done. Life is distracting and complicated–very rarely ever tied together with a pretty bow. Movies make it look so clean and neat and obvious, reality is anything but those.

The issue isn’t so much watching or reading the stories, the problem presents itself when we consume an ongoing diet of them. This breeds in us the idea that we should keep feeling those feelings—the excitement, the butterflies, the newness, the enthusiasm—or something is wrong with us and the relationship.

I recently watched one of these movies in which the main character says, “You know what I hate about fairytales? They always end at “happily ever after” and that’s when they get to the best part!”  I agree, it’s after the ‘happily ever after’ that the real story starts. A story that is full of things you will never see in a romantic movie. A story that is full of the distracting details of daily life. A story that is full of ordinary.

In looking for more extraordinary moments we end up forgetting the value of ordinary. As Brené Brownsays, “we equate ordinary with boring or, even more dangerous, ordinary has become synonymous with meaningless.” When we lose the value of ordinary we, as a culture, are willing to tolerate a lot in the name of people having their ‘extraordinary’ moments and… we give up our joy in this day chasing after the promise of ‘perfect’ tomorrow.

When Andy and I had been dating for about six months I got a case of the doubts. This was now the longest relationship I had been in and life had given me a strong fear of relationships. I was afraid of moving forward with him because I knew the deeper I got in the more it would hurt if it all fell apart. However, I was not only afraid of being hurt…I was also afraid we would be the most boring couple alive!

Me, with my guilt-prone, shame-driven desire to please everyone—trying to make family, friends and even perfect strangers, happy and in harmony with one another. Andy, with his complete calm, non-expressive nature and very pragmatic ways –I felt like we were about as colorful as an overcast day!

Throughout this time, as we had conversations regarding our future, I came to realize I would rather live ordinary with him than experience color and drama without. The big lesson I have come to learn throughout our almost 18 years together?

Living every ordinary day is where real love is built –not discovered, not found…built.

One of the standard prayers I pray with my family offers up to God a thankful heart for “every moment of every day that we get to be together and live life as a family.” My hope is this prayer reminds us to not take the ordinary—or even the annoying—moments for granted so that whenever the time befalls us that we are no longer together we will have known the blessing of what we had and there will be no regrets about missing the extraordinary of our ordinary lives.

The reality of romance is that life and love are built on the ordinary days. Working side-by-side to handle the daily distracting details of life and remembering why you chose this person to work with. Romance is about appreciating the ordinary moments you wouldn’t want to spend with anyone else!

How much time and energy do you spend wishing for ‘romantic feelings’ you see in movies or read about in books?

How might this be impacting your relationships?

In what ways have you stopped appreciated the ordinary?

How might it impact your life if you began to be thankful for the ordinary?