I have a secret shame: sometimes I expect or want traditional fluffy romance from Jonathan. Yes, it’s a shocker, given how often I soap box against it. The thing is I shouldn’t be ashamed of these occasional urges. The mature response would be that, although most of the time it’s not something I consider necessary or even want, if I believe it’s valid for other people (which I do) I should have no problem accepting that it’s O.K. when I want it, too.
I would feel that way if it wasn’t for the form in which these desires for traditional romance take. If all I wanted was to march up to Jonathan and say, “buy me flowers sometime” or “take me out to a nice restaurant for our anniversary,” I’d be fine. Because those things can be good; sometimes, we want to be made to feel special and if that’s how I want it that day, then it’s all fine.
No, the problem is that for it to truly scratch that sudden romantic itch I have, I want Jonathan to come up with it all by himself. Once in a while I feel grumpy that he hasn’t come home one day with a bouquet of flowers or a romantic day out he planned all by himself.
Basically I’m expecting my husband to be psychic. We’ve already covered why that’s a bad idea. It’s especially ridiculous in my case, because my husband knows most of the time I don’t want or expect romantic gestures. Even the ones I do want often don’t take traditional forms; aside from occasionally having the desire for him to get me some flowers, I don’t want many of the traditional gifts.
Candy? Only at Valentine’s, and then it’s a free for all of who can find it first. Jewelry? Never. Other expensive gifts? Rarely, and I never want them out of the blue. Even then we’re talking things like mp3 players to replace my broken one (my requested birthday present) or new video gaming systems, not the sort of thing the media tells us women usually want.
So how on earth can I expect him to just know one day when I want something special, and to go for it? My husband is not the planner of the two of us. If I want to go to the Art of the Video Game exhibition at the Smithsonian and then have a meal at a Korean restaurant, I have to tell him these things. He knows I like both of them, but if I want him to take the wheel on actually organizing it I have to flat out tell him to do so. He’s just not the type to do it on his own, especially when usually I handle these sorts of things.
Sometimes Jon does surprise me with sweet little things. Usually he picks small bouquets of wildflowers out of the yard for me. I actually appreciate this gesture more than I would an expensive, professional bouquet; it shows he spent his own time, rather than money, and for me that has more meaning.
Whenever I feel these irrational impulses for romance, like that I want Jon to read my mind, I squash them down. I force myself to either tell him what I’m feeling and then let him do with it what he wants, or to initiate something for him myself. After all, that should be the foundation of romance: letting the person we love know it, not only expecting the reverse.
*(The above image by jannoon028 is from freedigitalphotos.net).