Today is the beginning of this year's "Thirty Days of Romance" for me and Ray.
Several years ago, we celebrated being together for thirty years–thirty years since our first date, and we’ve been together ever since! Anyway, we celebrated those thirty years by having what we called "thirty days of romance." That is, for those thirty days we focused more on each other than other things. We thought of each other more, made each other feel important, did special things for each other, spent more time alone, and just generally tried to focus more on romance than "stuff"–those things that we always have to do. It was such a success that we decided to make it an annual event.
We have had a few “30 Days of Romance” in the past few years, and we have loved them! In recent years, we have been getting too busy with my writing and editing, Ray’s work, our publishing company, our family speaking ministry, and all seven of our children and their needs. It just seemed like the long talks, special candy bars, frequent rendezvous (!), etc., were slipping away from us.
Some ideas we have used (and/or hope to use in the future)—some are just simple things that we forget to do in our daily busy-ness. (Feel free to share—we should start a Romantic Revolution!!! )
1. Make favorite meals —I try to make spaghetti a couple of times during this time–Ray’s favorite!; Ray will grab the kids and make me homemade French fries or have one of the boys make brownies, etc., sometimes.
|Stir fry! One of Ray's favorites!|
2. Out for dinner in Fort Wayne–since we started dancing, we seldom go to movies and/or dinner because it takes so much to get away to dance—and we do not feel like we can justify another evening away from the kids—during 30 Days of Romance, we take exception to that, even if it means dinner and movie on Tuesday AND dancing on Saturday!
3. Romantic comedies/movies—we have two ballroom dance movies we like to watch. Ray loves romantic movies; I prefer action/legal thrillers/drama, and I’m the one who usually rents movies, so I try to get more movies he likes during this month.
|This is one of our favorite romantic movies--as long as we fast forward the part near the beginning where the wife dies in a car accident (too many bad memories from my ruptured uterus fourteen years ago).|
4. Just talking—During this time, we try to slow down the pace and not rush when we do have time together. For example, we try to go to our dances early and leave them late! We always barely come into a dance (and one of us is often on the phone to one of the older kids when we first arrive) or have to leave early, etc. etc., it seems. During 30 Days, we just want to slow down, dance some, talk some, and just not rush for a little bit! Talking without our kids needing us is a luxury, so we just tried to focus more on that this month.
|Okay....talking AND kissing! Smile...|
5. More phone calls and emails—and more little signs, words, and phrases that nobody but us knows what they mean in our phone calls and emails (though the kids try to figure them out!! ).
I love this quote that Ray emailed to me today:
"Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very
pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love
grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning
and unquenchable." - Bruce Lee
6. More yielding—just taking our own advice (when we counsel people) to be the one who stops an argument or disagreement, to be the one who doesn’t have to be right, to be the one who brings peace in a situation that could become less than peaceful. We teach yielding in our book, curricula, blog, seminar, and workshops, but it is so hard to do in life everyday and to do it ALL THE TIME—just to remind ourselves that the other person’s feelings and that relationship is worth yielding for.
7. Song finding—this is a new thing we want to do—find songs that we like on the internet and have Jonathan buy them and put them on a cd for us—and decide which dances we would do with each one, etc.
|You can hear one of our favorite "Night Club Two Step" songs here.|
8. Look up dancing together online—on rare occasions, we will sit down and look up a certain dance online and try to figure out how they do certain moves, or watch for styling or theory, etc. Listen to/watch “lessons” online. During "30 Days," we want to do this more.
|Watch this fun West Coast Swing dance! No, it isn't us, and yes, we wish we could dance like this!|
9. Play games—before our kids got so old and needed us so much in the evenings (including our grown children on the phone, etc.), we used to play Scrabble, Guess Who, Blokus, Backgammon, and Cribbage in our room and watch a fun movie, eat snacks, and just enjoy each other and relax. Now it seems like we are always with one of the kids for something (i.e. Ray is at the table with Josiah and his algebra right now; I’m getting ready to call back one of our daughters to talk, etc. etc.)—or if we play games, it is with the kids (which is fun too, but not alone time). We seldom stop early enough in the evening to have our fun game time anymore. During this month, we will “make dates” to do that.
|This is one of our favorites! But we show each other our own tiles & help each other get more points! I love that man!|
10. Go out for dessert—when the kids were all younger (but the oldest was twelve), a couple of times a month, we would put them all to bed at eight o’clock and go out for dessert. Again, nowadays, our nine to eleven hours are earmarked for our teens and college kids who live at home--not for dessert or moves. We try to do this some during our 30 Days and use those hours for each other rather than the kids.
|During Thirty Days of Romance, we like to go out for dessert, but here is one to make at home--Butterfinger Dessert!|
11. Dance lessons—We had put private lessons on hold for the past five years due to the expenses with getting our publishing company off the ground; a wedding; three kids in college, feeding six adults (!), etc. etc etc. We want to try to take at least two private lessons during this month.
12. Little surprises—When we didn’t have so many needs to meet, we just thought of little things more—you know, picking up my favorite editing pen at Walmart when Ray is getting groceries or grabbing his favorite pop at the gas station—just the little things that let the other person know he is being thought of. One "30 Days" Ray had a dozen roses (of different colors–beautiful!) delivered in increments of three–during my "CQLA Cottage Class" day. Thus, every couple of hours, the florist would come with three more roses–my students thought it was a hoot–but I just loved it!
|An especially special treat since I call Ray "Ray Baby" more than I do Ray! Smile...|
13. Not work at night so much—Because of homeschooling during the day (and teaching one hundred kids in Ossian, Fort Wayne, and Leo writing each week), I often work at night while Ray oversees kids’ homework, teaches some of their classes, does driver’s training with whomever happens to be learning to drive at that time, works on meal clean up with the kids, etc etc. I often have trouble stopping my work. (I really love to work…especially writing and editing!) When it is payroll time, student billing time, order filling time, etc. etc. Ray often works after he is done with the kids in the evening too. Anyway, during 30 Days, we designate certain nights for us to stop working at a certain time.
|All work and no play makes a marriage dull!|
14. Planning and dreaming together—We always used to plan and dream together—now it seems like life happens so fast that we hardly have time to plan ahead or dream about what might be. We take more time for that during this month.
15. Get away—Since this “30 Days” is falling over our anniversary,I hope we can get away and possibly go to a dance (especially at the beautiful “Roof Ballroom” in Indianapolis) and stay overnight a day or two. When we can do this, it makes our “30 Days” even more romantic.
16. “Twalks”—before we started Character Ink and Raising Kids With Character, and I started writing so much, we used to take a “twalk” many days after work. This was a time in which the two of us just took off on a walk to talk. We are trying to incorporate more of these—without cell phones on us!
I recommend “Thirty Days of Romance” to all married couples—whether you’ve been married ten years or forty. It just puts the focus back on each other in marriage—and that focus is so easy to lose with the demands of parenting, work, ministry, and more.