Romance in Real Life defines romance as: a novel or other prose narrative depicting heroic or marvelous deeds, pageantry, romantic exploits, etc., usually in a historical or imaginary setting; the colorful world, life, or conditions depicted in such tales; a medieval narrative, originally one in verse and in some Romance dialect, treating of heroic, fantastic, or supernatural events, often in the form of allegory; a baseless, made-up story, usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention; a romantic spirit, sentiment, emotion, or desire; romantic character or quality; a romantic affair or experience; a love affair. That’s a pretty dry definition of such a complex idea.

Romance, of course, means something different to everyone. As mentioned in the definition, a romance is often a story “depicting heroic or marvelous deeds, pageantry, romantic exploits…in a historical or imaginary setting.” The romance genre of books can be any or all of these things with an emphasis on the relationship of the two main characters. But does romance have to be a fictional ideal?

As mentioned in a earlier post, the New Year reminds me of how my partner-in-crime proposed that we spend our life together. Eighteen years old at the time, I didn’t answer right away (which he reminds me on occasion!). Even though I found the idea of marrying and running off to live wherever he might be stationed by the Air Force to be incredibly romantic, I wasn’t sure I was ready at that age, a sensible thought for someone so young and idealistic. Three days after he proposed, I said yes…and the rest is history.

Has our life together been one of the constant romance I’d imagined as a young adult?

My answer is yes – though I’ve come to see romance in real life as something much different than that in the novels I’d read in high school. Day-to-day romance is doing all the little things that help make each other’s lives more bearable: bringing chicken soup to a sick partner, scrimping up enough spare change for movie date, scraping ice off the car windshield, and, of course, bringing flowers, candy, or a card to the significant other.  All those little things add up to the long-term and loving relationship we’ve shared for thirty-three years now.

Of course, we also had romantic experiences in the broader sense: travel, adventure, and glamour. Yet I remember the little things more often than the big ones.

The romantic fiction genre is a popular one and that may be because so many of us get lost in the annoying little day-to-day problems that we don’t see the romance around us. As I get ready to head out to my day job at the beginning of another new week, and after the excitement of the holidays, I must admit I’m not finding life particularly romantic at the moment. My goal for this Monday is to think of the past events that brought me to this point in life, both those I found romantic and the ones that weren’t so great at the time, and to realize things aren’t as grey and gloomy as they seem on this cold January day. Even the most romantic of novels puts the character into situations they don’t enjoy, after all. Surviving those events is part of what we enjoy about the stories, isn’t it?

If you’re having a rough Monday (or any day for that matter), think of your life as your own personal romance novel and try to put what’s happening into that context. You might find that you’ve got more romance in real life than you ever thought possible.



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