My mom was right. Romance isn’t at all like the movies.
My husband and I have recently been binge watching a Netflix Original show.. In the second season the main character goes to Italy where he lives for a few months. The character works for and learns from an old Italian woman in a pasta shop. The episodes were shot in black and white, giving it that “old movie” feel. There was a romance between this character and a beautiful Italian girl, complete with home-made pasta, old music, dancing, and sweet scripted lines..
After watching this, I felt (as I am sure nearly every girl does) that pull to the romantic, in particular the cheesy lines and stereotypical romance cliches that we know and love. The next night I was determined to live it. I got home from work and I got right to work. With Frank Sinatra on the record player, homemade pasta in the works and a pretty pink dress, I had all the ingredients for a romantic evening!
Now here is where we encounter the problem:
Dillon came home from work that night after a long day, unaware that I had this night scripted already. I had already planned the lines we were supposed to say, the cute flour fight scene, the googly eyes at the dinner table with candlelight and pasta, and then the slow dance to Frank Sinatra. I had it all visualized in my mind, just like a romance movie. What played out was a little different.
He had had a rough day at work, and he was fighting the beginnings of what would end up being a bad cold. I was tired and frustrated from making pasta all afternoon on a 90 degree day. I didn’t ask about his day, and I was too caught up in my fantasy evening to care. He was too grumpy and sick to make any flirty comments, so we forced smiles and got through the evening. The cheesy lines went unsaid and the pasta was eaten in a hurry (because by this time we were starving and googly eyes weren’t a priority anymore). With each thing that went wrong, I became more and more upset. This wasn’t at all like the movies! We did the dishes, and settled in the living room. After hearing the same six songs by Frank Sinatra on repeat for the past two hours, I was ready to never hear them again! I was frustrated and so was he. My overactive imagination went straight to work. Was something wrong with us? Had we already lost our romance? Why was this so different than the movies?
We had tried so hard, we had all the right ingredients, but what we neglected to realize was that romance can’t be scripted. Real romance has nothing to do with the cheesy lines and the cliches. Not that we don’t enjoy getting dressed up and going out, writing love notes, or dancing to our favorite songs. But real romance comes from connecting with each other in a meaningful way, or from real life situations where our love shines through. Real romance is when we take the time to communicate with each other and to care so deeply about each other, demonstrating it in selfless ways. We had been so busy trying to force ourselves into a scripted romance that we had overlooked what was really in front of us, what really mattered.
As we sat there we finally communicated our frustrations and thoughts. We laughed at how silly we had been, we talked to each other about our day and we really took the time to listen to each other.
In the end we changed into PJ’s and cuddled on the couch with “New Girl” and milkshakes.. and let me tell you that was one romantic night! It wasn’t the dressing up and candles, or the vinyl classics.. it was the talking, laughing, and cuddling with messy hair and baggy sweatpants. The real romance was spending time with my husband, connecting with him and having fun.
I have a Polaroid of that night hanging on my fridge now as a constant reminder of what is really important. Sometimes I need a reminder to wake me up from my fantasies and to show me that what I already have is infinitely more valuable. My everyday reality is far more romantic than any movie. (I mean come on! I even married my childhood sweetheart 🙂 )
In reality: My happily ever after is the little moments that are far from scripted, where we love more deeply than I thought was possible.