Sunday, March 3, 2013

Surprise Your Mate into Loving You More

This article was originally a guest posting on Kimberly Lewis's blog. Link

My books feature characters who want more from love that what they see all around them. Something stronger, something higher, something worth pursuing. Part of that pursuit is usually an effort to understand love. We can’t make it soar higher or make it last longer unless we figure out how it works and what can harm it. This usually means the characters need to take a thinking as well as an emotional journey to attain the romantic altitude they seek. And this opens up all sorts of story paths to explore. What conditions in their lives produced a hunger for such fulfillment? And, of course, what are they going to do about getting what they want?

But what I wanted to do today is open up musings over how to make it last. Not just last as in the marriage surviving, but how to keep it fresh and vibrant? How to do that over time despite the combined toll taken by parenting and career? I think you have to start by wanting that kind of success. So many couples lose sight of the dream and lapse into a yawning ho-hum. But even wanting it is probably not going to be enough. It takes planning and work and being willing to prioritize your romance near the top of the list.

But although planning is crucial, spontaneity can play an important role. It can be a tremendous energizer for the magic. One reason I write love stories for readers is because of what my wife has taught me about love. And more than anyone else, she’s shown me how to use surprise gestures to ignite the magic.

How about a real life example? When my wife and I had been married a few years, we were still living love’s bloom, but struggling to keep it sweet amidst job stress, kids and the sheer pace of it all. One day, I was coming home from work in pouring rain via carpool. As we turned onto my street, the driver let out an exclamation that silenced the chit chat. There ahead, in the rain at the curb, stood a woman, holding an open umbrella. “Is that your wife?” the driver asked incredulously. I don’t remember answering because the magic of her gesture was already affecting me.

“What made you do this?” I asked, after we had walked huddled beneath the umbrella’s shelter to our apartment.

“I saw the rain and I thought of you on your way home. And then she just smiled.

It’s smile I’ve never forgotten.

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