I grew up with Nicholas Sparks books and Teenage Romantic Comedies teaching me what love would look like. I spent most of my school years looking for a guy who would look at me the way Noah looked at Ally in 'The Notebook.' I had my sights set on finding a love just like the movies and romance novels I had practically memorized. Years later, I learned that the romance I would come to know wouldn't be what I had been dreaming of - it was better.
Now, before I get too far into the point I'm getting at - I want to make one thing very clear; I am not implying, at all, that I think any woman should settle for anything less than what she feels she deserves. I am, however, advocating that men, just like us, are human. No matter how dreamy of a stud you land, he will never be a replica of any character you've read about or seen on the big screen. Guess what, though? There's a good chance that this man will wrap you up in his arms and love you in new ways that you've never heard of or thought much about. These little quirky, special ways he loves you - it's romance.
I learned early on in our dating years that my husband is not a gift giver. This is something that use to make me so frustrated. No matter what the occasion - Christmas, Birthdays, Valentine's Day - he just would never put much effort into searching for the perfect gift. If he did get me something special, it was something I had clearly made a point to drill into his brain that I wanted. There was never a sense of surprise to any of his gifts. Why didn't he love me enough to surprise me with special presents? Where were my chocolates, flowers, and jewelry?
My husband also use to be (and still sometimes is) a man of few words. This is another thing that would baffle me. I would often go on these long tangents about how happy he made me, and how my heart felt whenever we were together. In return, his response would be short and sweet, lacking any and all possible details. Why was I not getting a sappy, lengthy paragraph in return? This is not what would happen in the movies - the man would ALWAYS profess his love to the girl of his dreams in a very poetic manner.. why wasn't this happening for me?
While I was busy focusing on the things that I thought were suppose to happen in all true love stories - I was missing the precious little things that would make up our real life romance. I was looking past the hand holding in the car, when he would pull my hand up to his mouth for a little kiss. I was looking past the winks he would give me from across the room when we were in a crowd of people, just so I knew he was looking right at me. I was looking past the song titles he would send to me in the middle of the workday, just because they made him think of me. I was looking past the late night runs for coffee and ice cream just to get us out of the house and doing something together. I was even looking past the numerous times a day he would make a point to stop and say 'Hey - I love you.'
I was so hung up on looking for what I thought romance was suppose to look like, that I wasn't paying attention to the love story I was in the midst of. Now days, I don't waste much time searching for fairy-tale signs of love from my husband. Instead, I enjoy him showering me with love in forms of lighting the candles in the kitchen when I'm on my way home from work, and having my favorite TV show up and waiting for me as I crawl into bed. Or the way he will walk up behind me while I'm cooking dinner, just for a kiss on the cheek and to say 'Smells good, Babe!' I also can't forget to mention the endless times during the day he tells me how much he loves my body (which is a hard thing to hear and believe after having two babies). My favorite, though, just might be laying in bed late a night, after our boys are asleep, and whispering about our day. It always turns into giggling so hard that we have to smother our mouths with pillows so that we don't wake the kids. It's our time and it's the best.
So in short, I've never had a relationship that looked like 'The Notebook.' However, I do have my own true-to-life fairy tale. It's just that instead of a dreamy boat ride through a lake full of swans, mine is illustrated as dancing in the kitchen, laughing until my belly hurts, and spending lazy weekends on the couch in my pajamas with my absolute best friend and our boys. I wouldn't trade my love story for all of the Rom-Com heart throbs of the world.
If you're feeling like your partner isn't giving you the love and affection you wish for, I encourage you to take a bit of step back and look again at your own love story. It's not everyday that you find someone who cares enough to remember exactly how you like your coffee, or who will make sure your car is toasty warm before heading out for work in the wintertime. I can promise you that there are whispers of 'I love you' in the little reminders to take your vitamin and to drink plenty of water. Look at the little details of your everyday life with your husband. You may just be surprised with what you discover - I know I was. I had thought that I was missing out on these major forms of affection, when in fact I was being treated to almost constant sentiments of love. I would hate for you to miss out on the beauty of the love you've created, all because you're searching for something that was written and directed in order to sell out box offices. The sappy movies and romantic novels are sweet and all, but this real life stuff is pretty dang special.