Long before I was married I asked my father what the key to a successful relationship was. As if he were waiting for me to ask, he said romance. “Ian, it’s romance that keeps the flames of love burning. It’s very important to hold hands, enjoy a romantic dinner, dance cheek to cheek” and without skipping a beat he went on with, “I go out on Fridays, and mama goes out Saturdays!” With classic Paul Ziering charm, he delivered to me the best life lesson on romance and advice on relationships I’ve ever gotten.
For all you guys out there who never got the memo, I’m here to tell you now, Romance is key. Being romantic is not a love letter you write; it’s not flowers you give on a special day. No, those are byproducts. Romantic is a state of being, a tangible level of excitement you have for the person you’re in love with. For some it takes inspiration, for others it comes naturally. In long relationships that stand the test of time it’s nurtured and cultivated. Regardless of how it possesses you, it will compel you to act. To express sentiment that brightly reflects the love, adoration, and appreciation you have for her even if it’s bounced off the tiniest of marbles that glow the same color as her eyes.
I don’t know about you, but if you’re like me, you’ll agree that daily life sometimes consumes so much mental bandwidth that there’s nothing left at the end of the day. But it’s with that realization that you must make a conscious effort to do the work necessary to get you to the “Happily Ever After” part of life. Just five minutes musing about the quality time you spend together will reveal a boatload of cues. Remembering subtle words she spoke in passing that let you know she was proud of you. Maybe its recalling the feeling you got when that tender moment in a movie made her put her head on your shoulder and cuddle your arm. Recalling these gold bits will fill your love tank right up. These cues happen all the time but sometimes they get too buried by distraction for us to pick them up. MINE THEM! Once you do you’ll have no shortage of ideas on how to be romantic. You’ll be inspired. A simple card will mean so much more when it contains an invitation for a date in the “TROPICS”. The mystery of it all will excite her, and she’ll love the spontaneous out of the blue-ness. It can be as easy as going to a dimly lit Mexican restaurant and having dinner and a margarita or two. Run with your ideas. Imagine how blown away she’ll be if you pre-game the evening by going to a Staples and getting a roll of brown craft paper and a sheet of green oaktag and making a Palm tree out of it. The date in the Tropics doesn’t have to end if you come home to a bedroom that’s been decorated with that Palm Tree, and maybe some coconut massage oil that has been brought to temperature by a faint stream of warm water trickling over it in your bathroom sink…
For a few weeks before we got engaged I kept telling Erin I could see our love written in the stars. With some theatrical stage craft tricks that I learned in college, I was able to project “Our Love” onto an image of the moon and the stars. One evening Erin came home and saw this and when she turned around I was on my knee. Guys remember, when you hit a good note, keep it in mind. You never know if you might be able to play it again.
To that end, and thanks to Facebook, I’ve stayed friends with former classmates who have accomplished some out of this world things. Perhaps you know the Kelly brothers, Mark and Scott? Both men have commanded the Space Shuttle for NASA and have each made several trips to space. Well two years ago it was announced that Scott Kelly would be spending a year in space doing research that would further mankind’s reach into our solar system. I immediately thought two things, one, this is for sure going to make the Kelly brothers the most popular kids in my high school class, and two, I wonder if Scott would be willing to bring my wedding band up with him and photograph it in the stars? Inscribed in my ring is the word love, and if I could get a picture of it in the stars, well….. it would be an out of this world romantic gesture…. As luck would have it, Scott agreed! My wedding band has been around the world five thousand four hundred and forty times, traveled 143,846,525 miles, and has been witness to 10,994 sunsets and sunrises. Though Scott has been back on Earth since last March his schedule has kept him very busy. I will see him in Los Angeles the end over November and I can’t wait to get my ring back on my hand. Erin is speechless, but the way her eyes look at me, say it all.
To follow our love story read along starting with How we met