When JD and I first started dating, he was very romantic. He wrote love emails, he bought flowers, he wooed. I loved it. After we got married, he stopped doing all of those things. Abruptly and with seeming purpose, he just stopped. I often ask him why he stopped. "I still need love. I need to be wooed," I say. He explains that he's got me now, there is no need to bother with romantic nonsense. I'm not going anywhere so his romantic days are behind him. Hmmph.
I like romance. I need romance. So I try to contrive it. I force JD to kiss me, I make him stare lovingly in my eyes for x amount of minutes, and I make him write me love letters. He complies, but it is so not heart felt. Even though I realize that all of the romance I try to create is not real, I still do it. Because I need it. And just participating in romantic behavior makes me feel like romance is still alive when it is so clearly dead.
Valentine's day has never been one of our more romantic days. Our celebrating usually consists of an exchange of cards and some candy. It is very low key and if he were to forget, I would not mind much at all. But on the most contrived love day of the year, my unromantic husband did his very best to rev up his romantic engine. He surprised me with a love card and my favorite candy. We were all set to go out to dinner but Beatrice caught the funk that I have had so we stayed in with her. Our Valentine's date turned into an evening on the couch with a feverish baby girl, The Bachelor, and some scrambled eggs. After Beatrice went to bed, I looked over at JD and made a joke about how romantic our night turned out to be. He said that he was more content being home with his girls than being anywhere else. We were parents now and sometimes our plans had to be altered for the sake of sick babies.
I realized that our relationship has a lot of romance. He may not woo me like he did when we were dating, but he takes care of me like no one before and he considers me. He may not buy me flowers on the regular, but he always saves the good cereal for me and never makes me wait to spit out the toothpaste when we're brushing our teeth. The couple that brushes together, stays together. Our brand of romance may not be the traditional kind (or even the recognizable kind), but it's ours and it's real. Even when it's contrived.