The Difference Between Romance and Being Romantic
Before we get into the nature of romance, we'd like to spell out the difference between the terms romance and romantic. A romance is when some form of courtship or dating takes place. The bonding process may or may not end in a marriage. A romance can be two widowed senior citizens becoming romantic companions, even if they never officially tie the knot. A romance can be a passionate encounter with someone in college, even if the relationship does not last. A romance is more than a friendship, but it can also be something less than a lifelong relationship.
An evolving romantic life, or staying romantic, can be one of the most significant joys you'll ever experience.
On the other hand, anyone can be romantic. Young, single people do it, married people enjoy it, and older people can immerse themselves in romantic moments. Feeling romantic can even happen when you're alone, when you think fondly about that special person in your life. To summarize the differences, let's put it this way: Being romantic is something you can do while in a romantic involvement to heighten the emotions that are present, but romance can also be part of other life stages. In spite of these differences, however, we'll pretty much use the terms interchangeably in the upcoming pages.
Romance Is a Journey
Romance is a kind of journey, one that cannot be set in a single point in time. It grows, it changes, and it deepens and widens over time. Each step in your love together frames another episode in the journey—from dating, to more serious courtship, to marriage, to growing old together. Your trip will be different from the ones taken by every other couple you know. Throughout the course of your lifetime you will probably take several romantic “voyages” with different partners. As you travel together, remember that it's easy to get distracted and drift apart. As with anything that's good in life, real romance requires some effort to keep the flames of passion burning. And that's where this book can help. We'll give you lots of tips and ideas for keeping that spark of romance burning bright in your relationship.
Romance Is Sensuous and Seductive
Even though there is a significant sensual component to romance, this book is not a sex manual. If you need help in that area, many other titles are available that will better suit you and your partner. Our goal is to identify those tactics and techniques that you can use to get you into the bedroom in the first place, feeling not just randy, but also enamored with the romantic power of the moment. Most of you may feel you know the Xs and Os of intimacy, and now you are looking for ways to enhance your love environment. This book is directed toward you.
Romance Is Passionate
A passionate romance is much more than fervent lovemaking. It's caring and sharing an emotional bond that connects you no matter what you're doing. Everyone has the potential to build a partnership based, in part, on feeling things strongly, both separately and together. You can take that energy and use it to create a stronger bond with your partner.
Romance Is Fun
Part of the joy of living and loving comes from not taking things too seriously. It's always good advice to suggest that you should work hard, play hard, and love a great deal. Many of the romantic activities we mention in this book are as much fun as they are anything else. What makes them romantic is sharing the moment. Just think, for example, about the last time you attended a wedding by yourself. It was nice, but you probably didn't feel much more than that. On the other hand, when you go to a wedding as a couple, the same ceremony can easily take on a totally new and more profound meaning. You may recall your own wedding or you may be looking forward to the day when you get married. Dancing together at the reception is both fun and romantic. So it is with many events—from a day at the beach to a night under the stars.
The tools of romance described in this book include what may seem like some fairly mundane stuff: meals, music, and words—things that are part of everyday life. When you spice them up, however, they become new adventures. The secret to making them work is an open mind and a willing spirit.
Romance Is an Adventure
What separates a romantic journey from lots of other voyages is the adventure contained in the trip. You just never know how things are going to turn out, especially when you first start dating the person. That adds a great deal to the excitement of the process. There's also the thrill of learning about someone, discovering likes, dislikes, hobbies, and common interests. Once you're together and settled in, you never know where the next terrific romantic “zinger” will come from. Many memorable romantic moments come from spontaneous decisions, accidents, or just dumb luck.
Romance Is Both Big and Small Stuff
If you spend any time in bookstores, you've probably come across the popular Don't Sweat the Small Stuff books. That kind of thinking doesn't seem to apply when it comes to romance, because small stuff can make a big difference in how a relationship plays out. Throughout this book, we're going to suggest that doing the little things can make a major impression on your lover. Picking up dirty clothes just to be nice is a romantic gesture. Bringing a cup of coffee, fixed just right, to your lover in the morning when he or she is running late is small stuff, but it's a major step in the right romantic direction. Small stuff matters big-time.
The flip side is also true. Many seemingly small things can cause major damage to a relationship, particularly when they become chronic problems. A man who constantly looks at other women when he is with his romantic partner will argue it's just a small thing. Being critical can boil down to a single, small, hurtful statement. Inconsiderate acts may seem inconsequential, but they have great power, especially when they accumulate over time.
So, one of the first lessons we'll suggest about improving your romantic skills is to sweat the small stuff. Do as many nice little deeds as you can for your partner. They don't have to cost a thing or take a lot of time, but they'll make a big impression. It's a better way of living and dramatically improves the odds of a lifelong, loving relationship.
We'll also spend some time describing big events and activities that are part of romance: major anniversaries, birthdays, travels, holidays, and special gifts. We try to put our own little spin on each one. Big events build long-term memories. You enjoy them as they are happening and then again when you remember them. Both are great for accenting a romantic partnership.
Romance Is for Everyone!
It's not much of a stretch to say that romance can affect you as a small child, as a middle-aged adult, and in your golden years. How? As a child, your parents either were actively and emotionally involved with each other, providing role models for the future; or they sniped and griped and sent a totally different kind of message. The presence or absence of romance in your parents’ marriage affects you. Children with parents who have divorced are forced (often painfully) to watch as Mom or Dad tries to construct a new romantic relationship, or, worse, tries to avoid forming emotional attachments with someone new.
Far too many people see romantic involvement as reserved for a fortunate few, usually young people and those celebrating Valentine's Day or anniversaries. It's really a shame when you put romance in a little box called “youth” or “special events” and leave it there the rest of the time. For those of you who do, or who live with someone who limits romantic contact to just a few key days per year, we hope some of the ideas presented in this book can help you climb out of that box and back into the game.
There's a fine line between suggesting some things are only for men (or women) and saying that everything matches everybody. So, some ideas apply mostly to one gender or another. But it's also fun to see if you can somehow make them work for both sexes.
You'll also probably notice that we'll talk in general terms about a relationship between things spiritual and things romantic. We believe one of the most profound connections you can make is with a spouse or partner. We also believe that this loving involvement can have a divine blessing attached to it that simply should not be ignored.
In addition to sharing our own experiences and insights with you, we'll tell you about couples we know who have done these wonderful romantic things that we were able to observe. When you combine their experiences, our ideas, and your intelligence, creativity, imagination, and passion, the net result is probably going to be some hot and heavy nights with your lover, both in the near future, and in the years to come. Enjoy!