“Up here, Honey! Look up!” Leaning over our foyer balcony, I watched him pass by under me- my handsome mid-sixties guy. At 2:00 on a Friday afternoon a new spot on the Guadalupe River awaited our arrival. Blood, sweat and tears had gone into planning this outing, designed to return a bit of romance to our lives.
Reading James lately, taking each verse slow and deliberate, brought this memory to mind. James 1:2 tells us to “count it all joy” when we meet trials of various kinds, for we “know that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness” (endurance). And we are to let it have its perfect work in us to make us “complete, lacking nothing.”
When I hear His words “trials” and “lacking nothing,” I think of God’s goal for marriage: To mirror His amazing relationship with His Bride the Church. It is to be both a test (do we trust God?) and a tool for changing the world, through our romance and through raising children who see it.
I really wanted to live out this Mirror. A few years back I also desperately wanted our last remaining nestling to see a mom and dad “engaged” in their marriage; and this had become a passion all its own. But how could we do it? Family business stress ate away at our niceness. Health and financial issues brought daily annoyances. And those common Christian realities of resentment, irritations, and church activities — all conspired to put us at arm’s length from each other.
On this day, however… we would make memories, or die trying. Private property on the river, a one-day gift from dear friends, meant privacy for us –and Hubby would love it.
“Hey, Babe, are you ready, yet? I found the perfect blanket up here, and the food basket is all set.” Practically intoxicated by Spring’s pale green live oaks under an almost neon blue canopy, I inwardly squealed with anticipation. Why did he look so good to me even though he acted almost as though being led to slaughter?
“I have way too much going on today to do this, but…” and then he seemed to catch himself. “I’ll be ready in a minute, Baby.”
Now, everybody knows that attraction comes before romance, and most even add the belief that attraction is the necessary fuel on which romance runs. But based on my river experience, I disagree.
Attraction is fickle.
Romance is work. But it is also attitude. With zero desire, zero attraction, a set of lousy circumstances to boot, there is still enough soil in marriage for a romantic plant to grow a nice crop of attraction.
Why do we resist this thesis? We women want romance. Actually we need it. Badly. We watch “Jane Eyre” and “Pride and Prejudice.” We long for the thrill of an afternoon on a blanket with the middle part of ro-man-tic. Enough of the “ro.” Enough of the “tic.” Give me the man! But besides work and attitude, romance is definition.
We get the definition all wrong, and live romantically through our skewed imaginations. Resentment dresses up as lack of attraction, killing romance in our humdrum lives, and we feel “forced” to live vicariously through social media, our perception of other’s lives, and even our children.
I bet you have already pictured my hubby and me out there on that blanket. You don’t even need a photo. Not at all. You picture us kissing, eating our food, and sipping our wine, all while fluffy clouds roll above us.
Not quite. I was attacked by chiggers before even spreading the blanket. (That tall grass between the car and the river should have tipped me off; yet he could have carried me!) Also, the river was alive with canoes and rafts and laughter. Yup. Other folks floated by, probably with the same idea- romance. So, lacking the privacy we bargained for, my husband kept up a steady conversation of a different kind.
We did eat our food and act silly a bit.
But did we make a memory? You bet. And did it register as romantic? Yes- for both of us. Years of remembering can improve some things. But the planning, as well as the giddiness I felt on the balcony that warm afternoon, have memorialized our river romance quite nicely.
James 1:12 encourages us. “Blessed is the man (woman) who remains steadfast under trial, for when he (she) has stood the test he will receive the crown of life.”
Do you have memories of attempts to be romantic? Do you find yourself defining romance in light of media?
I’d love your thoughts!