So often in romance novels, especially Regency romances, a couple is thrust together and sometimes even forced to marry due to circumstances beyond their control. In fact, I’m finishing a novel now where indeed, the hero and heroine are caught together in an unbecoming manner, and you guessed it: there’s wedding bells ringing by halfway through the story. It doesn’t matter that they’re not in love and didn’t want to marry, by the end of the book they’ll be head-over-heels for one another.
But that’s one of the wonderful things about fiction: everything always works out in the end.
If only real life always turned out so well. Unfortunately our lives seem to go the exact opposite direction from those of our romance novel counterparts. In society today, we meet, fall in love, get married, and then fall out of love and get unmarried in almost less time than we spend on the love and wedding stuff. No one forces us to marry because we get caught kissing or sneaking off to enjoy a few private moments of conversation. Yet how does our divorce rate compare to that of Regency England?
Yikes! Probably better not look to closely at that one. So amidst this month of June with all its wedding bells and happily-ever-afters. Let’s take a quick look at three principles that can help keep romance alive in our real-life marriages.
1. Spend time together. You might think this one rather obvious. After all, at one point, you and your hubby spent a whole lot of time together . . . back when he was your future hubby or first dating you. But somehow, as the years pass, you each become busy with different things. Working, raising kids, buying a house, making improvements to the house, carting your kids to soccer and ballet, and the list goes on. Yet it’s still important that you spend time together. Hire a babysitter for one night a month. Or feed your kids hotdogs and put them to bed early once every couple weeks. Then make (or buy, if you’re me) a nice dinner for your husband.
2. Pay attention. Every woman wants to feel that her husband loves her. But on the flip side, women also need to ask themselves whether they make their husbands feel loved. Do you know when he has a bad day at work or a mountain of chores to do at home? Or do you let him live his own life until you need something from him? One of the easiest ways to pay attention is to greet him when he gets home. Whether he’s been at work or running errands, put down the phone, spatula or laundry basket, and call your kids away from their toys or the TV to greet their dad. If you make your man feel like he’s important to you, I’m betting he’ll reciprocate and show his wonderful wife how important she is to him.
3. Say thank you. Having a general attitude of gratefulness toward the man you married can do miracles for your relationship. Of course you’re grateful that he pays some (or all) of the bills and takes the trash out on trash night. But do you tell him “thank you” or simply take for granted that he’ll work endless hours?
Now let’s take the situation a step farther. Regardless of how wonderful a wife you are, there will always be those busy times when you ask for help with sweeping or putting the kids to bed or doing the dishes or any other number of household tasks. When your husband takes time out of his busy schedule to help you, do you thank him? Or do you look at the kitchen floor, see a dog hair in the corner, and tell him he didn’t do a good enough job sweeping? Try to be grateful for the effort your husband puts into helping rather than pick out his imperfections.
So there you have it. Three simple ideas. None of them are dramatic or life altering, but if you work hard at loving your husband, you might just might find real life turning out as wonderful as the lives of all those romance novel heroines.
A mother of two young boys, Naomi Rawlings spends her days picking up, cleaning, playing and, of course, writing. Her husband pastors a small church in Michigan’s rugged Upper Peninsula, where her family shares its ten wooded acres with black bears, wolves, coyotes, deer and bald eagles. Naomi and her family live only three miles from Lake Superior, where the scenery is beautiful and they average 200 inches of snow per winter. Naomi writes bold, dramatic stories containing passionate words and powerful journeys. Her debut novel, Sanctuary for a Lady, released in April of 2012. For more information about Naomi and her writing, visit www.naomirawlings.com