Friday, April 5, 2013

True Romance

not our first date, but our first picture together (about 2 months in)
One of the things I've realized since marrying my sweet husband is that "true romance" is way different from the "romance" portrayed in books and movies.  Sure, sometimes there are these whirlwind romances, but what happens once that couple marries?  And most of us just don't have those stories and that's okay too.  

While I certainly think the dating and engagement years of our relationship were romantic, they weren't book material.  We met online, which was an incredible blessing as we never would have met each other in person.  (Coincidentally, there is a high chance I would have met my brother-in-law in passing because he was friends with a childhood friend of mine in college, but I can't imagine we would have talked enough for him to think to introduce me to his brother.)  While "You've Got Mail" was a good movie, I can't really say our online courtship was quite that cute.  We've had our romantic moments, but they probably aren't all that romantic to anyone other than us.

my mom took this secretly (the romance is still there)
There is this stereotype that romance leaves a marriage once the newlywed phase is over.  While that might happen with some couples, I don't think that's really the case with most.  Romance just looks different in marriage.  When there are kids and jobs and bills to pay and houses to clean and dinners to cook, there is rarely the time for a romantic weekend away or the money for an extravagant restaurant.  But living with your spouse and knowing them well after years together provides new opportunities for romance.  A note left under her pillow or in his wallet.  Doing the dishes on a night he's tired.  Making the bed and lighting candles to create a relaxing atmosphere after she had a hard day at work.  A single rose picked up on the way home from work.  The big showy romance isn't always there, but often those exaggerated gestures don't mean as much anymore.  After a long day (or long week or long month), it means more to have my husband prepare me a simple meal and plan time for me to take a relaxing bath than to go out to a fancy dinner and dancing.  

BUT, once in a while, those big romantic gestures are exactly what you need.  

Last Friday was the fifth anniversary of our first date.  Earlier in the week, David informed me that we were going out on Friday, that he'd already arranged for my mom to watch Lucia, and he wouldn't tell me when or why we were going.  I was excited all week! 

my handsome husband
After my parents got home from work, we left and David made me look down the entire drive so I wouldn't know where we were going. He pulled into a parking lot and asked, "Do you know what happened five years ago today?"  He thought I hadn't remembered (of course I remembered!) and I responded by pulling out a card I got him for the occasion.  Then he had me look up.  We were at the restaurant where we had our first date!

Dinner was wonderful.  It was Good Friday, so we had fasted all day knowing that our one full meal would be in the evening, so the food was super tasty (though meatless).  Since we're usually fairly busy chasing a toddler, we don't spend a lot of time rescinding these days, but it was so sweet to think back to our first date and talk about our first impressions of each other.  As I said, we met online, so we had gotten to know each other fairly well over the internet and the phone in the weeks preceding our first date.  We both knew that there was potential for something special between the two of us, so there was a little added pressure on that first date.  It wasn't a carefree "getting to know you" first date, but more of a "will this work".  And it did!  

David also took me to play miniature golf after dinner, just like we did on that first date.  Other than a little course at a campground, this is the first time we'd played mini golf since our first date.  It was so much FUN as was playing arcade games afterward.  I realized that although we do set aside quite a bit of time together to spend as a couple, that time is rarely doing something carefree and fun.  Often it's doing things we need to do or being "romantic" but we've been missing the fun.  I felt like a bit like a teenager on a Friday night date, but a lot less awkward.  We had so much to talk about.  Five years of incredible moments and struggles to look back on.  It was a perfect night.

As the night ended, we cashed in our arcade tickets to pick out little toys to put in our toddler's Easter basket.  I reflected on whether five years ago, on our first date (which was also the first time we met in person), I could have imagined we'd be a few years married and picking out trinkets for our child.  And in truth, I can say the answer is yes.  While I wasn't certain we would get married and have children, I imagined that we could.  If I hadn't, I don't think there would have ever been a second date.  From the moment I peeked out my window to see a nervous young man in a salmon shirt get out of his truck and walk to my front door, I've never looked back.  And the nervous butterflies I felt have turned into a strong love, a great love that keeps growing.  We're five years into our love story but it's not over and I look forward to seeing it continue to unfurl. 


  1. Oh, I love this post! It feels authentic and genuine and your own love story. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  2. I loved reading this, Mandi! So special! I completely agree that the romance and deep love between me and my husband are better than any movie; real life is so much better!

  3. Such a sweet post. I loved reading this story:)

  4. Glad I'm not the only one that recognizes it! True life might not be as "exciting" but it's way more romantic!


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