This year, my husband and I will have been married for 25 years. We’ve been together since 1990. (Some of you reading this may not have even been born in 1990 – yikes!) When we were dating and for the first few years of our marriage, we did a lot of the sappy stuff you think of when you hear the word “romance”. My husband wrote a song for me, and had another song dedicated to me at a public concert in which he was singing. Back before the digital age had really taken hold, I got copies of some photos of my then boyfriend from his mom, as well as some of myself when I was young from my own mom, paid quite a bit to have copies of those pictures made, went through books and magazines to find other cute pictures and hand made him a book about “The Story of Us”. I know he still has that book all these years later. We used to celebrate every anniversary and romantic holiday like Valentine’s Day with presents and lovey-dovey sentiments worthy of a Hallmark movie. It was bliss.
Then we became parents. For the first few years after our son was born, we tried to keep making a big deal of all the romantic moments we were expected to celebrate together. As time went by though, we came to agree that there’s nothing necessarily any more special about those days than any other day in our lives. That’s not to say we didn’t acknowledge those days with one another, get each other a card to mark the day, but the lavish gifts, the big nights out went by the wayside. And I am fine with that.
We do still occasionally find ways to be romantic with one another. For our 20th anniversary we sent all the kids to camp, the two of us went to Cincinnati where we got married, we stayed in a lovely B & B, we went to the church where our wedding took place and renewed our vows with the same priest who presided over our nuptials with only my parents in attendance. We went to the restaurant that made our wedding cake and had a lovely lunch and the same kind of cake we shared that day. Then, like the kids we were when we first started dating, we went to Kings Island and splurged on fast passes and went roller coaster crazy with no kids to slow us down. For twenty days leading up to that date, my husband made homemade cards chronicling special events in our relationship and left one in a place he knew I would find it each day. It was so sweet. For our anniversary last year, he made me a “play list” of songs that reminded him of all our years together. Recently, I surprised him by getting tickets to see Richard Marx in concert. See, back before we were even dating and were just friends, we went to see him together when he came to our college for a concert. Almost 28 years to the day later we had an amazing time together enjoying the show while we remembered how we fell in love in the first place.
This Valentine’s Day will likely not be all that special. We’ll wish each other well for the day, but that may be the extent of it. And I’m okay with that. Because we find ways to show each other how much we love each other through the things we do every day. I give him a back-rub after he’s been at work for 36 hours straight. He cleans up the kitchen before I get home because he knows I am tired and stressed out. When he comes home on a random day with a Reese’s Cup because they’re my favorite, or when he sends me a funny text because he knows it will make laugh that’s all the romance I really need. It’s the every day way we express our love that keep us together, with a grand gesture thrown in now and then just because.