Posted February 1, 2003
The Art Of Romance
Sallie and Steve have been happily married for 15 years but they both admit that their romance has not been satisfying. "I would really like to be more romantic with Steve, but I don't know what he likes anymore," says Sallie, a high school English teacher. Steve, a small town CPA, agrees. "I know Sallie wants more romance, and I do too, but how do I get started? I have no idea what she expects." If you, like Steve and Sallie, desire fabulous romance you must begin with honest communication.
Romance means clearly communicating your expectations
Romance is deeply personal, so if your partner isn't Kreskin, you'll have to tell them what romance means to you. There is no romance gene in your darling's DNA to help them figure out what makes you feel loved. Chris, a retired nurse and grandmother of six, says that her biggest romantic regret was never telling her husband how much the little things meant to her. "After 50 years of marriage, I guess I always expected him to know that I loved flowers. I never understood that it was up to me to tell him." Romance is not supposed to be a secret, and although everybody craves tenderness, soft caresses and pampering, you must tell your beloved what you need. Would you like a bunch of handpicked wildflowers, or a dozen red roses delivered to you? Does a home-cooked meal in front of the fireplace, or an upscale restaurant with expensive champagne sound more romantic?
Kathy, a newly married designer recalls her first disastrous attempt at a romantic surprise. "I spent hours in the kitchen creating a romantic candlelit dinner for the two of us, and Bob walks in and casually informs me that it was the season finale of the X-files and all the buddies from work were dropping by in a few minutes to watch. And, oh yeah, they just ordered pizza. Now I tell him when I'm planning something special."
When you're in a romantic mood, nothing is more natural than the desire to communicate those feelings. In fact, the word romance translates from Latin to the action verb "to write." Thousands of years of great works of art, literature and music have been inspired by this yearning to express inner romantic feelings. There are endless ways to communicate your feelings, such as writing cute love notes, passionate sonnets and silly little love songs. Besides writing, you can also use a tender touch, a shared joke, or their favorite meal to communicate romantic thoughts to your sweetie.
Heighten romance by creating anticipation with a hint of mystery. Ask your loved one to set aside the evening for a romantic surprise. Doing this the "when" is established and preserved as your time, and the "what" serves as the anticipated mystery. Dawn, an author, enjoys creating romantic surprises for her husband, Jim. "I work at home, so I have all afternoon to plan. I call him at work and drop hints, like bring home a bottle of your favorite wine tonight and don't be late. The anticipation of what I'm planning drives him wild, and I know he'll be home on time."
Softness encourages romanceWhen setting the stage for romance in your home, use soft colors, soft lighting, soft fabrics, and soft music. Softness in your home will in turn encourage soft whispers, soft caresses and soft glances. The soft glow of candlelight or flickering firelight turns an ordinary room into a romantic retreat. Treat your sense of touch with thick rugs, fluffy comforters on the bed and silky lingerie in soft colors.
Soft scents can be powerful aphrodisiacs. Rose and jasmine encourage romance for women while men especially like the scent of vanilla, which is the spice of Venus, the goddess of love. Use natural fragrances and essential oils sparingly so you don't overwhelm your partner. Sneezing fits are not very romantic! Play some soft romantic music by Michael Franks, Sara McLaughlin, or Barry White. For romantic movies consider "Philadelphia Story," "Ever After," and "Truly, Madly, Deeply."
Be innovative and ingenious in your romance
Splurge on a single red tulip, symbolizing a declaration of your love, instead of a bouquet. If you work with computers, you can merge photos of the two of you into a heart, record your own love song or email a poem. Tuck a packet of seeds into your Valentine's Day card to symbolize love growing. Cook dinner together and slow dance in the kitchen. Hank, a 46 year-old engineer from Atlanta, knows that his wife craves the pampering of breakfast in bed. "She loves the fact that I would go to the trouble to make her favorite foods and not expect her to get up and cook for me. I'm not much of a chef, so I make a breakfast that is simple, elegant and easy to eat chocolate croissants, lattes, whole strawberries and sliced mangoes, which symbolize sensuality."
"On our first Valentine's Day together, I didn't have money to buy my husband a card. So I found some colored paper and crayons and created a collage of pink and red hearts flying around the handwritten message, Be mine forever," says Naomi, an insurance executive. "After fourteen Valentine's Days together, that first handmade card still hangs in our bedroom."
Romance is in the details
Create a theme evening by recreating a wonderful romantic interlude that you shared together. Dan and Sherry honeymooned in Hawaii, and now when they want to capture that feeling, Sherry puts on soft island music, Dan grills pork and pineapple and they wear bright Hawaiian shirts to dinner. "It sounds goofy," laughs Sherry. "But it works every time to bring back the romantic feelings we had on that trip."
Serve heart-shaped scones or pancakes for breakfast. Write "BEE Mine" across the plate with the syrup or honey. Leave a trail of small sugar message hearts leading to a surprise. Paste glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling above the bed. Turn off the lights and instant star-filled romance! Dana, a young mother of twin toddlers, writes "Eye Heart U" on the bathroom mirror for her husband to see when he gets up. "We don't have a lot of time for romance so I try to fit in little things every day. Jeff loves the morning reminder and since I'm a bit of a clean freak, I write with soap and not lipstick so it's easier to clean and write new notes!"
Make your romantic bouquet meaningful by including red roses symbolizing passionate love, pink roses for romantic love or white roses for innocent love. Peonies are traditional Chinese flowers used in Feng Shui to attract romance. Pomegranates, corn and rice are used in many cultures to promote fertility. Use pink light bulbs in your bedroom lamps, or place a few rose quartz crystals under a light to create a soft glow. If pink is not your thing, try emerald green, the traditional color of Aphrodite.
Romance doesn't need a special occasion
Mike, a Midwest based salesman, bought an expensive bottle of champagne to open on a special occasion with his girlfriend Kara. "We never had the 'perfect' reason to pop the bottle, so after three years of waiting, we decided to just open it anyway for no reason. Well, it was too late. The bottle we had been looking forward to for three years had sat around too long and had gone bad. We bought another bottle and decided not wait this time for a reason, we'll drink it just because we feel romantic."
"The most romantic thing my husband ever did was to wake me up at early one ordinary Saturday morning," remembers Anna, a chiropractor and yoga instructor. "We climbed onto our motorcycle and headed into the darkness. When we reached the top of a hill overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, my husband pulled out coffee, donuts and a blanket he had hidden in the bike bags. We ate our picnic breakfast on the grass and greeted the sun as it slowly rose. Sharing the dawning of a new day was very romantic."
Romance is personal and can be playful and fun or quiet and intense. It can be a prelude to deeper intimacy, or it can just be romance for its own pleasure. The origin of romance is "to write," and today, honest communication is still the first step to finding the key to fabulous romance with your beloved. "When other women ask me how I got so lucky and married a romantic man, I tell them that it starts with honesty from the heart," says Trudie, an artist who has been married to Harold for 60 years. "We tell each other what we like, so there's no guesswork. It all comes down to communication and love."
Copyright Ó 2002 Lorraine Aho
Lorraine Aho is the founder of SacredHome.com ®...for the art and soul of your home, and enjoys helping people create a sacred space in their homes and hearts. Lorraine is a practical romantic and lives with her silly romantic husband and two cats in Sonoma, California. To learn more about ways to incorporate the sacred into your home and life, please visit www.sacredhome.com.
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