For Real…

No sooner met but they looked;
No sooner looked but they loved;
No sooner loved but they sighed;
No sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason;
No sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy;
And in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage..
William Shakespeare

What does a romantic make?  Is all romance a mere façade leading to disappointment?  Or is it a decision to make someone feel special that can continue to be made every day for the rest of your life?  Or at least on a regular basis.  Well at least once a month?  On your birthday and Valentine’s Day and maybe Christmas?  Well, you get the idea.  That is how it usually goes.

Is it romantic presents like orchids?  Flowers?  Poems?  Lord Byron perhaps?

Before Harry and I were a couple he took pity on me one day when I was having a very bad day and ordered some flowers delivered to my house.  The card read:

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes

For real.

Who does that?  That was 7 months ago.

Whoever does probably scores chicks cause THAT…I remember.

Today I was working from a Starbucks so that I could use their air conditioning instead of trying to cool my big house for one person.  My bill last month that arrived in the mail today was a whopping $650.  I about died when I saw it.  Sitting at my table at Starbucks, I was chatting to Harry about visiting a cool new coffee shop in Orange County when someone from behind me reached out and caressed my arms.  It took me a half a second to realize that Harry had driven about 20 miles in the middle of the day during what was supposed to be his lunch break to give me a kiss and the biggest hug a guy ever got.  Well…maybe.  It felt pretty big.  And I was glad to give it.

For real.

He did that for me, because I said I needed a hug.  That was today.

And there have been many moments in between.  Some of what he calls, grand gestures, and some very small.  Some unspoken.  Just the squeeze of my hand in church.  Or the raising of his eyebrow while we’re watching movies with my daughter.  For him it’s me playing with his toes with my feet.  All of them bring a smile to my face and his.

When my marriage was in trouble I read a book called “Love and Respect.”  I  recommend it for Christian couples who are struggling with what is called in the book, “the crazy cycle.”  It’s a term they use for the spiral downward where the wife does not respect the husband because he is unloving to her and her disrespect yields more unloving behavior and results in a vicious cycle of negativity, hurt feelings, and sorrow.

Harry and I seem to be in the opposite cycle.  The one that is good and healthy and courses ever upward.  We seem to exist to please the other person in as much as is practical and possible.  If he CAN get away, he does.  If I CAN drive down to San Diego to see him during the week I do.  I want to cook for him what he likes.  He wants to bring over the wine and movies I might like.

If something bad happens, he or I say that we’re sorry.  We listen, we are careful not to let pride win…

And maybe, maybe, maybe, that is why I think Harry and I have a chance.  It’s not about PRIDE.  We aren’t playing games. We are being real.

Have you ever been on the tennis court, or the ping-pong table and instead of playing a game, you decided it would be more fun to see how many returns you could get in a row?  And each time you get one more – you both can celebrate?  We are working almost effortlessly to be honest at a great rally.

Neither one of us need to win.  We want US to win.  Truly, I swear that is how it is.  And it’s magical.  It’s amazing.  It’s real.

My good friend was over my house Sunday after church and we were talking about the benefits of being emotionally mature.  I read a study long ago that said even more than book smarts, emotional  intelligence was a better indication of success in career and interpersonal relationships.

Harry has run in the kind of circles that have sifted out women who were emotionally immature.

For real.

Temper tantrum throwing, needy, vindictive, handfuls.

But he’s got that skill down pat.  He truly does.  He knows when to rein it in, and when he can unleash.  He understands why others do what they do and augments his reaction based on what is good for him, for them, for all.  And he’s not stoic.  He doesn’t discount his feelings like my ex did.  He owns them and then figures his best response related to his goals.  That is emotional intelligence.  He has it.  It’s not at 100% nor is mine but we are pretty much there at the same level.

We get it.  We get that some people shoot themselves in the foot cause they let emotions get away from them.  And other’s deny – and shove their feelings down so deep they implode.  We know why it’s best not to relinquish to either extreme.  It’s uncanny.  We get it.

And I guess that is where I land on romance.  What is the motivation for it?  Is it to show you’re true heart or cover up something by distracting a person?  Is it sustainable in the long-term or merely the dress coverings over a wilted, wicked, immature heart?

Romance is futile drivel  – without risk.

Give me all the romance in the world but also give me the truth.  

And that my friends, I will believe.  Because that is true love.

Because when Harry showed up today at the coffee shop, as happy as I was to see him and kiss him and hug him…I knew it was for about 30 minutes.  And even that was pushing it.  Romance is not cart blanche.  It’s not an invitation to take and take and take some more.  At least it shouldn’t be.  It’s to accept what is given with a grateful heart and want to give back the same.

Like I said.  It’s a decision.  To make someone feel special.  Other focused.  It’s easy really.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  Just honest. And when it is, it is beautiful.  That is when it is no longer a mere choice but the choice has already been made.

On one of our first dates, I did something that Harry liked.  I forget what.  And he kind of pushed me away and said…”I’m done…” as if to say…you are the one, you are it, I’m done looking…I’m sold.  And ever since we have been nearly inseparable.

Each day giving, loving, cherishing.  I hope to last a very long time…even a lifetime.  He is the one I’ve been waiting for.  You can only argue against something for so long…It’s like William Shakespeare says,

“I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.”

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