I don’t know about you but some of the most romantic love stories I have ever heard come from my Grandparents. My maternal Grandparents were married for 57 years before my Grandmother passed away and my Paternal Grandparents are still alive and will celebrate 70 years of marriage this fall. WHAT? Amazing. 70 years, what an accomplishment. There is most certainly something to be learned from these stood-the-test-of-time-relationships. What exactly is the secret? I don’t know that there is exactly one thing that makes these relationships so timeless but I can learn from their example.
In my humble opinion, we tend to discredit examples of longevity for the flash in the pan, made for a movie type romance. These fictional relationships are certainly accessible and easy to go to for examples. The longing look, the stolen kisses in the kitchen, the “You complete me” phrases are the things that get our heart pumping and excited about love far too often than the real life couples we can learn from. Take for example the movie, The Notebook. Yes, it is an amazing movie but I don’t think it is all because of Ryan Gosling and his hot-ness…I think some of it has to do with the fact that the story chronicles love in the 50’s.
|Doesn’t this picture just evoke all sorts of crazy emotion in you? How does a movie do that?|
From what I understand, love during that era was sweet and pure and innocent and un-hurried. There was so rush to update your Facebook relationship status and there was certainly no texting to ask someone out on a date…or break up with them for that matter. (It is in my humble opinion that if a guy can’t ask you out face to face then he isn’t worthy to date you. I am already planning the conversations with my boys about how to properly talk to a girl and texting will NOT be one of those forms of communication.)
Back to the 50’s.
Those stories of romance were just lovely in the true sense of the word. Naturally there was heartache and they didn’t all have happy endings, but for the most part, it was simpler. I think.
My Maternal Grandparents had a war love story. They wrote letters back and forth to each other as they were apart for months at a time. (Similar to many military families today. I can’t even imagine. If this is your story, Thank you for your service!) The art of letter writing is romantic in and of itself; sitting down with pen and paper in hand to chronicle your thoughts about a particular topic, the events of the day, or maybe to express your affection for someone that can only be done in the powerful way you want it to with the written word. Letters take time and intention to make them happen. They are thoughtful and bring great joy to both the writer and the recipient and I personally love a good love note.
Keith and I have written letters to each other. Not all the time, but on special occasions, and sometimes for no reason other than because we know it means a lot to the other person (especially to me). I have saved almost every letter he has written to me. They are valuable treasures in our relationship and I smile even now as I think about the occasions that he wrote them to me. We first started writing letters when we were initially getting to know one another (we were on a 2 month long mission trip and would pass these letters like secret agents on a covert operation back and forth to each other because we didn’t want anyone to find out we liked each other…it didn’t work. The entire team knew we were into each other but the letter writing was super romantic and fun!)
The thing that I will glean from my Paternal Grandparents is the way they effortlessly respect and admire the other person. My Grandmother absolutely thinks my Grandfather hung the moon and while she can be bossy and demanding at 92, if you get her talking about my Grandfather she immediately becomes soft in her disposition and endearing in her comments because she loves this man so very much. She respects him and adores him. Men need this and she is more than delighted to give it to him.
|Those are my Paternal Grandparents on Christmas…aren’t they cute?!|
Call me old fashioned but I think women today should put their men on pedestal. Now before you go all women’s liberation on me know that I am a pretty forward thinking gal, I am by no means a happy homemaker all the time. I work outside the home, can barely sew a button on a pair of pants, don’t bake regularly and exert my independence a little too much, BUT I love my man and I seek to try and put him above myself as often as I can. This is good for both of us.
Even though we have been married long enough to be out of the honeymoon stage and more than comfortable with one another, Keith and I still are “dating.” We seek to pursue each other, be intentional, and not take for granted what an amazing gift marriage is. Scaling back to simpler times, like the era my Grandparents fell in love, helps remind us to do this. There aren’t extravagant gifts or trips, no screenwriter written apologies, and I can’t remember the last time I went running through the rain just to tell him something. Nope, just me and him and our love. That is all that really matters: Our story, a decision to make a commitment, and (for us) a God who helps us navigate the waves of life. When we remember why we are married: because we love each other deeply, then all of the extra chaos is stripped away. The simple things like hand holding, paying him a compliment, and opening a car door are extra special because we do them with purpose.
10 years is nothing when you compare it with 70 but we are on our way. I hope that we can put into practice some of the things my Grandparents still do in their marriage and have our own lifetime of love to share with our grandchildren one day.
How about you, Do you and your spouse still date? Do you think the art of romance has been lost?
Do movies encourage or discourage you from what is true regarding relationships?