I always knew my husband was romantic. Deep down in the inner recesses of his being my husband was a poem-writing, song-singing, bouquet-buying kind of guy. I waited and watched and then grew increasingly disappointed when his inner Romeo failed to emerge. He did not surprise me with expensive jewelry, throw me a big 40th birthday party or plan that special trip to a paradise far, far away (or arrange a sitter so our children would also be far, far away).
Then one day I accepted a hard truth. I was married to an engineer.
I suppose there are romantic engineers, but in reality most men (regardless of their profession) aren’t romantic. Although I wanted to mourn the loss of the spontaneous, crazy and hopelessly romantic husband I was waiting for, I couldn’t. After over two decades of marriage, raising children, moving, changing jobs and being a grown up, I know now I didn’t need (or want) Prince Charming.
My husband didn’t bring me flowers because he was out late working long hours to provide for our family. He didn’t buy ridiculously expensive gifts for me because he was being a wise steward with our money. He didn’t sing or recite poetry to me because he was too busy fixing the tail lights on my car, repairing our washer or helping the kids with their algebra. My husband wasn’t romantic by Disney’s standards because my husband was taking care of me practically, financially and steadfastly.
A friend of mine recently asked me for advice because she was ready to leave her husband, in part because he wasn’t romantic. Like my husband, her husband was a good guy who went to work every day, who was a good dad and who loved his wife. I reminded my friend that a man who fixes the dryer (or pays to have it fixed because he can afford to), sets a mousetrap or reads a book to his kids is much more attractive than a romantic man who buys extravagant stuff or writes cheesy poetry (how will that help me dry my clothes?).
I also asked my friend to think of her son. How would she feel about his future wife complaining that her husband didn’t surprise her on their anniversary even though he was a faithful, hard-working father and husband to her for ten years? Would she want her daughter-in-law to be thankful for the things her son was doing or would she be okay with her daughter-in-law wishing her son was more, different and “better?”
What have I learned accepting my husband is only marginally romantic, at best? I’ve learned to be grateful my husband hasn’t wished me to be something God did not innately equip me to be. I’ve learned my husband’s less emotional temperament is the perfect complement to my up and down, often crazy disposition. I’ve learned I can focus on what I love about my husband or I can focus on what I’d change about him. Choosing to appreciate what he is, rather than what he may lack, has helped me like, love and be extremely grateful for the stable, faithful, hard-working man I am married to and plan to stay married to, or a very long time. And love that lasts is the best kind of romance of all.