Feature Article


How do we create and maintain romance in our lives? It is all part of self-care. From many of the woman I've talked to, romance is about candlelight suppers, romantic getaways etc. Deep down however it is more about connecting on an intimate level, where intimacy does not necessarily culminate in sex!

What I am hearing is the need to compartmentalize romance by having guidelines as to what qualifies as "romantic." A few months ago a client, told me she wanted to have alone time with her husband that was more than just spending time doing chores together. Yet, how often do we set up the big "date" in the fancy restaurant and sit eating in virtual silence or stilted conversation, wondering what to talk about besides work and our families?

My question then is: are we setting up with expectations that are almost never met? Or, should we redefine in our minds what is defined as romantic? When it came down to the nitty-gritty, most of the women I talked with, wanted to know how to get men to just talk! Since I am not the expert on all things male, I am asking for some feedback from the male readers! However, as a wife, a mother of two young men, and coach to a some men, I would say on average they like talk short and to the point! Just remember even the reality TV's bachelor is somewhat "scripted"! There are directors and producers involved. It wouldn't last on the air if they just sat in silence!

While I love the traditional romantic gestures, in just over 29 years of marriage I have had my share of self-induced heartache over waiting for him to "figure it out" and "know" what I want. I have been in the past, typical of many women wanting to be romanced and he has been typical of many men who rate taking the garbage out without reminder as a loving, romantic gesture and yes, when I ask him to scratch my back (and mean scratch my back) that is rarely what he hears. I digress!

As maturity ( and wisdom, I hope) has set in, and we do have lots of child-free no distraction time, I realize that romance can indeed come in small packages that don't include expensive jewelry!

So whatever we want in the area of romance, we have a choice of the disappointment of unfilled expectations or the choice to guide, instruct and be an enthusiastic participant in the process.

Even if you are not in a relationship currently, you also have a choice to either bemoan the lack of relationship waiting for your "prince" or "princess" to come along or you can decide to "romance" yourself by treating yourself in a kind, loving way. If candlelight dinners, soft music is what you want, enjoy. Having self-respect, self awareness and treating yourself well will attract to you, those who will be a willing participant and partner in your life!

It is said we teach people how to treat us. We need to ask ourselves what lessons have we been giving?

In order to choose my own romantic happiness and "success" I have decided to reframe my expectations and to look at my own romantic gestures of late! How about you? What might you do differently?

A little short on conversation?

Think back to your early dating days. We talked about dreams and interests and almost anything. We had that "us against the world" attitude. We all have dreams no matter what age we are. Our ideas change all the time. Don't assume you know all the answers because you asked the question years ago. Ask open ended questions. So what would you bring to a desert island? Who would you like to sit next to at a dinner party? If the answer is, a sexy star, so what? Don't feel threatened, it is just fun and the idea is to have fun. When you ask open ended questions there is no set response, so be open to the answer. Let imagination take over.

We went on a cruise, where it was open seating. I suggested to my husband we could be someone different at every meal! We didn't really follow through but we had a great fun conversation conjuring up who we could be!

The serious real talk will come along. Let things flow. Don't be afraid to reflect in the silence at times.

The best way to get someone to talk is to be a great listener. Good eye contact, acknowledgement with facial expressions and a willingness to hear the whole story without judgment creates a great talker!

Don't discount the little moments. My husband loves a great home cooked meal. I love to cook when I have time to be creative, he cleans up and if we eat in, we spend less and can both enjoy wine with our meal, by candlelight or not. (If you have small children, bribe someone to take them and have a date in your own home!) We go grocery shopping together most Saturday mornings. Among the mundane regular shopping, we choose what we feel like for dinner in the evening, select the wine or beverages we'll have, and treat ourselves to dessert. We enjoy the afternoon, have a great meal and often watch a movie, talk, play Scrabble, talk! (You can talk through the movie at home but don't you just hate that in the theater?)

If I don't care to cook, I say so and suggest an outing. I don't wait to be asked, life is too short!


Joan Jesion is a Life Satisfaction Coach. To find out more about Joan and her services, be sure to visit her Web site at justloveyourlifenow.com.