Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Can I twist your definition of Romance???

Romance: How important is it? Do you hate that you have to make an effort to be romantic? Does your spouse expect too much? Do you not get enough romance in your marriage... is your significant other romantically retarded?

Alright these are the questions posed to me by Shelle. I am to write the female perspective on this topic. My perspective has drastically changed on this topic. It has changed because I took the time to figure out the male perspective (I know.... I'm ducking) Ok, so here is what I used to think: He doesn't care enough to take the time to be romantic toward me. IF he truly cared he would plan from the sitter to the activity to the fabulous gift of xyz (fill in your dream item here).

The one truly classic, text book "romantic" thing my dear husband does for me is this- every Valentine's Day he gives me the same thing. It costs him no money, only a bit of time and a piece of paper. He has been doing this for over 12 years now. He makes a top 10 list of the reasons he loves me. It is a perfect gift and one I look forward to. I love looking back on these lists because they serve as a history, a passing of time, a tale of what was going on that year in our lives.

Past that, by definition of "classic romance" my husband is indeed a dud! But, this may shock you. I don't care. It does not bother me. Because I (like other things in my life) have bucked the system and I no longer believe in the "classic" definition of romance. Here is why:

My understanding of romance drastically changed after I read this book. I was floored by what I read and I asked my husband and several other men it this information was true ... come to find out the information in this book is indeed accurate - it states this: "men are unromantic clods" the general summary is this: "Actually most men enjoy romance (sometimes in different ways) and want to be romantic- but hesitate because they doubt they can succeed." It goes on to say in this book that a man's idea of romance is far far different from a woman's idea. Where a woman's idea is candlelight, music, dinner, one on one time etc. a man's idea could be fishing.

Women out there hold your tongues, do not close your minds quite yet. Think about it. A man wants you around and wants to do what he likes. How hard is that to consider. Women are the ones who are being clods if we think men are digging the $50 a piece meal (when all our man is doing is adding up how many hours they had to work to pay for it) then truly it is our faults! Men consider spending time with their mates to be a form of romance. It does not matter if it is hunting, fishing, shoveling dirt, playing a video game, or eating at the top of the Stratosphere in Vegas - spending time doing what they enjoy - that is a definition of romance.

I will leave you with one example: October 3rd was my hubby's birthday. I surprised him by bringing all four kids to my parent's house for the evening (a rare thing around here). We spent the evening geo-caching in the rain and the mud. I wore jeans and a sweatshirt, boots a work coat and a stocking hat. This activity requires lots of back road driving around here so we had time to talk and listen to the radio and relax in general. At a few of the stops to find the "geocaches" I had a beer and by the last stop (which was a public lake access) I was dancing on the dock with the radio blaring while he tromped through the woods looking for the treasure. From there we went to a back woods bar and had supper - prime rib and baked potatoes - a very manly meal but drop dead delicious! We then went home and finished celebrating his bday (*wink wink, nudge) and went to bed by 9:30pm. He said it was the best date ever. Why? because we did what he enjoyed and had fun doing it. We only spent $35 for supper, I brought beer from home that I threw in a cooler in the back, and probably about $10 in gas.

Really, if I think about it, I had more fun doing that than I would have at a classy restaurant, in uncomfortable clothing, spending more money than we could afford to all in the name of romance. Who sets what is romantic anyway? Why does it have to be wine and candles? (I hate wine and scented candles make me gag)

After learning what men consider romantic, that part of our relationship has been better. If I want dinner, movie, music, kids gone, hotel, hot "cuddling" under the sheet, etc then I had best plan it. He goes along with it and we have fun. But, if I want him to plan a date, I need to be willing to accept his definition of fun and romance.

Well what do you think? Always happy to talk about it in comments!

Picture of Dearest and Youngest geocaching


Just Jules said...

Shelle, I need to get you the links for a few things. Emailing now...

in the mean time the geocaching thing can be found here :


and the book I refer to is this one:
For Women Only

and yes women there is a For Men Only book

Anonymous said...

alright - we are linked and ready to go!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I TOTALLY get what you are saying Jules. I do. No really, I get it.

And I truly believe that if I want to just let the whole romance thing that I need to be a big girl and do it his way.

I mean u get a top ten list every Valentines!? That's classic and truly sigh worthy...sigh...

Anyway you make a great point and it would make my life a whole lot easier which is why I usually end up doing just that, finding something I know he'll love to take the pressure off him.

Except there is this part of me that thinks...but he's a big boy also! He needs, once in a while, to step up and make the effort to be romantic my way. DGB hit it right on and Sage by saying that a small act of surprise that shows effort goes a long way...and it DOES. And the BIG surprise every 10 years helps also ;)

I get what you are saying, but the guy has to step up also once in a while...no? Why can't I have a romantic evening like a movie might portray? In the end we both get what we want...I get stimulated by romance he gets some later that night! Win win! :)

Then the other 90% of the time I can snowboard down a mountain or risk my life on a bike or fly out and attend a UFC fight or buy pizza and drinks and throw in a crude comedy or action flick.

Steph said...

Jules- It took me a long time to figure out my idea of romance and my DH's are different.

Once in a while I want him to pick up flowers or do something sweet, which he normally does just when I need it. If I want something over the top, then I either a) plan it myself or b) tell him exactly what I want.

DGB said...

Jules...this is a great post and is very complimentary to the one I wrote yesterday.

First, I blame TV and movies for setting the bar impossibly high. In the same way that fashion magazines show unhealthy images of women that can only be achieved through hours of makeup and Photoshop, movies and TV have given us an unrealistic view of romance. They show us that romantic gestures have to be big! This is what guys think: we have to rent out an entire restaurant, while an orchestra plays in the background as we eat lobster and afterward we have to give you a diamond ring.

Like anything, I think the key is communication. We don't talk to each other. Sometimes women think that guys should instinctively know how to romance you and guys are scared shitless to do something wrong. But talking about it can cut through that. Sure, the first few gestures from your unromantic guy might be a little forced, but once you guide him in the right direction, it'll come more naturally to him.

My grandfather wasn't romantic. My mom taught my dad everything he knows.

Goob said...

My gut is with Shelle on this one. Sure, 90% of the time, I LOVE the hiking, the trips to the shooting range, the movies and popcorn (the last "romantic" comedy we saw was the Breakup...but we've seen DOZENS of movies since then, we always go with his choice, partially because I'm embarrassed to say "I'd really like to see the Proposal" because I know its going to get a big thumbs down and a farting noise! lol) But 10% of the time, it would do my ego some good if he put aside his interests to do something I would enjoy that I won't ask for(because of the above response being used for anything that sounds sissified to him.) And actually, after a huge blowout where I told him that I felt like I was just about as special as a $0.99 cheeseburger, we went on an excellent date this past weekend. And part of what was so successful about it was that he picked the event, and I picked the meal, and you know what, I picked a meal I knew he would enjoy. That way there was some balance in the night and he came home feeling happy and relaxed too. (of course the squealing around corners like a 17 year old in a trans-am may have had something to do with that! yikes!) Anyways, I did blog about that one on our family blog because it was such a successful evening, but it would be really, REALLY nice if these evenings happened more than once every 2 or 3 years. But I also don't want to be the one that's saying "what have you done for me lately" on the back of one of his biggest efforts to say "I'm listening and I love you."

DGB said...

My opinion...every once in a while, he should take you to a movie like The Proposal. Just cause you wanna see it. Two hours of his life to make you happy shouldn't be a huge sacrifice.

To the guys out there, listen up--it's not all about us. If your partner is happy, you'll be happier in the long run.

Just Jules said...

clan- Yes, but who says that you can't do what you want? I just can not expect Dearest to know what that is. I remember stressing this summer because if we didn't go on a date I would either kill the kids, or smother him in his sleep. I just expected him to ask me. He was busy and wasn't thinking about it. Hints don't work we all (should) know this. A dear friend laid it on the line. I was told to march out to him after he returned from work and say - I would like to go to ________ (this movie) what day can you make time to go? I need to know so I can arrange the sitter.

It worked, it totally worked! Plus after the movie we ended up doing a few other things before heading home. Simple, but lovely things.

The point is guys can't know. They can not open our brains and see what we want (half the time we don't even know) Either spell it out for him or plan it - you have to accept that, if you want exact plans.

If you want him to be spontaneous - question yourself as to why he is not. Did he do something little and it received a bad reaction (even though it was unintentional) guys worry about getting it wrong, if there are not huge praises in the little things how is he going to feel confident in the big things? Sorry guys for this next line: they are like dogs, they need praise for all good deeds no matter how little. it is true! lead them in the right direction, they would appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

I like to think I'm a rather romantic fellow. But the key, after almost 20 years of marriage, is to keep it simple. Or totally surprise her. Just the other day, I bought Daughtry tickets. She loves his stuff, me . . . not so much. But she's going to have a ball, and I'll be right there beside her.

I just wish she'd join me on the couch for a movie every once in a while. I generally pick the movies, and they aren't always her favorites, but they mean a lot to me and often spawn some excellent conversations . . .

Goob said...

well, I guess the first step to telling him what I want is to figure out what I want. I just need to drop the guilt and realize that ultimately his happiness is more important to me than a stinkin' chick-flick or Sushi, but that if a chick-flick or sushi is what I really want, I need to say so, because like you said, he certainly cannot open my brain and peer inside.

So this raises a question that I'd love to see the guy's response on...Assuming that most women see themselves are more insightful and willing to try and "read minds", and therefore have sprung what we have perceived to be romantic gestures unawares to our men...what has your wife done that made you think to yourself "WTF? Why on EARTH did she think I'd like that?"

Missty said...

Hmmm, I think Guys can know. Its one of those give and take things a relationship has to have.

I know my guy can set up a great date, did he at first, nope, but he has learned,and has done great. Would I expect him to get the babysitter - nope, I think that would set him up for failure. lol For us thats my thing. I know who I like for our kids.

Early years I had no problem saying I got us a sitter for Friday night, I want you to plan the night. It was great.

And now, we both plan, we don't wait for one of us to do something. But then again, we just know Friday and Saturday nights are ours. IF we stayed home that would have to be planned. As we know we are going out.

I have no problems doing guy things... good grief my guy bought me a dirt bike to ride with him. lol

Just like he doesn't mind hitting a chick flick with me.

And as far as eating out - we are good with a burger and we are great doing the incredible nice candle light dinner. Both are good once in awhile. What guy doesn't want to see his lady decked out in some sexy dress? And what lady doesn't like her man dressed nice, smelling delicious?

The birthday gift to your husband was right on the money - it was HIS BIRTHDAY. Just like your birthday should fit you... so if that is girly and a nice dinner then that is what it is.

I think many guys try and they are rejected or told it wasn't good enough, etc. so why bother. It won't be right in her eyes. So ladies, if your man does something little - let him know it was great.

I loved both posts about this.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Clan of the Cave Hair--I'm going to post that as a topic! That would be great to see both perspectives because BOY do I HAVE a story that I had to say..."what the HELK?"

Honestly... it's funny now... at the time I wanted to punch him in the arm... but really really hard!

I think he's going to pick up on a chick flick as MY idea... just sayin. I think the guys can step up also.

My guy is incredibly smart... no he can't open my brain and peer inside... but if I tell him how beautiful I think something is when we are out shopping together and tell him how I'd love to have that... then he's all sorts of stupid if he can't pick up on that. And to be honest, I didn't marry a stupid guy! Ya know?

Or if we are watching a movie or a video or I'm reading out of a book.. and I sit there and tell him... I would LOVE to do THAT... like point it out then he should be like DING DING DING... if I copy that I'll be good to go!

Seriously... it's not like I'm asking for my own private dinner on a YACHT with rose pedals strewn on the ground to the bedroom (although I won't count that out) but give me a break if he can't pick up on what works as romantic for me when I'm smiling and swooning at a particular movie scene or reading him a paragraph out of a book or whatever.

Sure media has juiced up and sold us on what romance is or they think should be... but I have told my husband, think of the movies-whatever as cliff notes. Take them and run... follow them step by step... I promise the same ending will come from it as you have seen in the movie!!!

I don't mind once in a while writing down step by step what he should do to make a good date, because I DO want to have a good time, I don't even mind making a list of things on my birthday or Christmas that I want... but that isn't romance to me. Romance to me is the unexpected, the surprise, the "hey this is just because I was thinking about you".

It's not like my husband isn't romantic guys... I know it seems like it's coming off that way. What I am saying is I think we are told as women to excuse men because they "don't get it--you have to spell it out--you have to train them--blah blah blah" Give me a break! They were born with brains also, and I made sure to marry someone that had some... ya know, so use them!!! Media also portrays men that way... it's a cope out, men know how to do it, they choose not to because it's not a high priority for them or they are scared, which they would never admit to, so they say they "dont' know how". PPFFFTT!!!

Okay... that's it... lol... I'm done. :)

Just Jules said...

Shelle - let me say this


There is a story hubby told me to make this point: A woman really wanted a diamond tennis bracelet for a gift. So she ripped out every example she found in magazines and advertisements. She left these all over the house with little notes hinting toward the desire of this gift for her b-day. Obviously he would get the point. Her Bday rolls around and she gets a longer box, but small enough to be a bracelet. She is excited as rips it open. She is furious when it is a pair of scissors "WTHeck?" She yells... "Didn't you see the magazine and advertisements I ripped out and left all over the house for the diamond bracelet?" The hubby says, " Yes, I did - and since you ripped them out it was obvious to me that you needed a scissor"

Get it ? Men and women are different - hence the different planets (it is not mars vs mars) they think different. Hints fall short and are not taken like women take them - looks and Oh I wishes go unnoticed. They just do. So you either spell it out, or you get disappointing.

It is not that your man is stupid - he is male. (be nice... don't say one in the same ;)

DGB said...

Jules...You're totally right about us guys. We're not stupid, but we are fundamentally different in our thinking and our approach to things.

It's like we're from different planets or something. Like Venus and Mars....wait a minute, I think I'm on to something here!

Goob said...

haha! Jules, seriously, that story is the perfect illustration of how hints just don't work. The man sees the necessity of the situation and being the every diligent hunter, goes in search of procuring the needful things.
Love it. That is so something my husband would do. (although I do not do the hint thing, I don't like it.)

Deb said...

Romance...what a loaded word...yep my idea of romance has definitely evolved over the years...Our communication has definitely improved in that vein....we are much more direct and never hint! I've also learned a lot about what I can and can't expect from Husband...I've saved myself a lot of tears by realizing it's not personal that he doesn't always like or need the same things. I remember our first year of marriage on Christmas Eve, I was furious that he wouldn't sit by my mom's fireplace and drink eggnog with me. He was ruining my long-running romantic fantasy. Only one problem...he hated eggnog. So after I figured out it was the eggnog, not me, we got out the wine...that worked very well! Tee-hee!

April said...

Jules, I'm not buying that we need to be big girls and accept his idea of romance and be happy. Kinda like what Shelle was saying, they need to step up to the plate too. I mean sure spending time with your man is always good, but sitting in a tree stand for 5 hours in the freezing cold, staying quiet, waiting for a deer to come by is not romantic in any way possible for me. Sure he may enjoy it and find it "romantic" but that's not all that we should accept just because our ideas of romance are different.

Relationships are about compromise. I think both partners need to do things they don't necessarily want to do to make the other person happy.

You had fun on your date with your husband, but YOU picked the activity because I'm sure you knew that it was something you'd probably have fun doing with him. That wasn't a date that HE picked, although he probably would've picked it if he had a choice. (great job on your part, btw)

I would take Joe on a date to see a hockey game, drink some beers and eat some hot dogs because that's something I'd enjoy doing with him and know that he'd love to do, too.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's OK for each of us to have different ideas of romance. And it's OK to do something with your husband that HE thinks is romantic. But he should certainly put effort into the relationship as well when it comes to doing things together. (not your husband, just husbands in general) There's no reason why he can't plan a date; have someone to watch the kids, take you to a movie that you've mentioned while watching tv that you want to see and to a restaurant that you like, even if it's not an expensive place. The point is that HE planned something that YOU like.

Sure we may have to spell it out for them, but once you do it, they know. After that, there's no reason or excuse for them not to know what you like or want and to make it happen from time to time.

Anjeny said...

While reading this {and sorry I'm a day late}, all I can keep thinking about is how in the world did the husbands get the women to marry them? Didn't they use some form of romantic gestures in those dating days? I mean seriously, if they knew during those dating/courting years how to plan dates that the ladies would enjoy, why then would they forget to be romantic after they being married?

Seems to me like if they put some much efforts to get the women to like them enough to marry them, they shouldn't let go of those things just cuz they got the girl so therefore it's not important.

Although, I don't believe in the hint thing either. I hate having to get hints about what somebody wants from me{I'm not a mind-reader} so therefore I don't give them hints either. But like Shelle, if I'm actually watching a movie or show and I saw something I like, pointing that out to the hubby is not considered hinting. A man would be stupid if he can't get that point blank..."hey honey, see that position or that _______ {whatever item you see on that show}, I would like that for my Bday or Christmas".

Good post by the way.

Big Blue House said...

Well, I have read all your comments and all I kept thinking is, "Why is it sooo important to have a romantic evening out, with dinner, flowers, all dressed up etc? I have been married for 44 years and have been through many stages of married life. Yes the man planned dates BEFORE you were married but he had no committment and didn't have to worry how he was going to provide for you, buy that house, extra car that is needed, nest egg, etc. You might have a year or so of romance after the ceremony but then you both shift into the providing and nesting mode. Men change their focus because they now have to hunt(work) to provide for his family. That is a man. That is MARS. That IS his romance to you. You may work also but your focus is different.

Then come the children which adds more to his/your plates. Neither one of you have time for romance. Neither of you want romance like you think of romance, really. Your too tired. You both just want to be noticed and appreciated at this point!!!! Think about it. You do little things for him like make his favorite meal when he had a long day. He does little things for you like empty the dishwasher or help with the children or take out the garbage. That is your 'romance' in this stage of your marriage, little as it is.Learn to appreciate the little things and quit focusing on the dream of "romance". You already have it and you are missing it.

. Like many of you said, TV has made you think that romance is something different. But the truth is, Romance means something different in each stage of your marriage. They don't show that in the movies.

I had some friends that got divorced after 36 yrs of marriage. He remarried and at 60 yrs old, they were holding hands, going on dates, and sitting close, everything that I wanted and realized I really missed so it isn't age. Now they have been married 15 years and they have moved their romance to a different stage. When I saw it happen to them, I realized what romance really is. Some people get divorced after this initial stage of romance when it goes out of their marriage because they want it back and feel that their spouse doesn't love them any more. The Romance is still there but just not they way it was. They will probably marry several times trying to keep that 'romance' that they want.

After 44 years of marriage, my husband is less romantic-in the way it is in the movies-than he has ever been, but he helps me on with my coat, gets me coffee, without being told, folds the laundry, makes lunch, makes the bed and last night he bought me a chocolate muffin on his way home because he knows I LOVE them. He doesn't do these things on a regular basis but he does them. He makes me feel important and loved. We can look at each other and know what the other is thinking. Comfort with each other is our stage of romance now. Our children are married with children and we are fairly financially stable, so the providing pressure is off and we have time to think and focus on 'us' again.

Don't miss the different stages of romance by thinking you are missing what you think romance is. Romance is highly overrated. Good and unconditional LOVE and companionship are much more important and is worth working on and towards.

Just Jules said...

April- he planned the date (I threw the beer in for myself since he doesn't drink, that was my idea.)

Cajoh said...

OK… what's my problem. I tend to find that it is my wife who is the social planner. Every time I try and plan something I get flack, so I have learned to back off. And why is it that I want to find out what she wants to do. I do not know if she ever asks me what I want to do. Perhaps that is why I sometimes feel like I'm being dragged around and never have a say in what we do.

supahmommy- somethin's wrong with that girl said...

ok. so glad chief spewed your praises on her blog..

such a nice break from the mama drama dribble


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