At first it was all physical, our life was not exactly ruled by it but we were lucky we had met each other and fused like one person. We were very much in love, yet I only ever received one Valentine card and few flowers in our long relationship.
When he couldn’t afford the shoes I needed one year, he made me a beautiful “I owe you a pair of shoes” card. Being an artist helped, of course. As life improved many years later I got the holidays in Paris, the silver jewellery and all the joyful things like weekends away. I also got those shoes, of course.
What of now, when we have both slowed down? How is romance kept alive? I think the best thing he does is wash up and clean the bench for me. I hate washing up and we no longer live in houses with dishwashers so the reality is hard work; he does it with love and does it well.
It is romantic talking together. Memories we have shared, stories we tell over and over, act like the glue that keeps us together, the shared experiences bring us closer and makes us happy. We can look back on the ‘passionate’ past and laugh at how it was. We laugh a lot, and have a well-developed sense of humour, that is probably even better than romance.
We take it in turns making drinks for each other; I sometimes make tea in the morning, but always make a supper drink. He makes the best fresh coffee ever! Such very simple things we do for each other, yet they help us to feel loved. I compliment him if he looks good, as he still needs to know I care about how he looks.
There is romance when my husband brings out a photo, a glamour shot, taken of me in Victorian underwear, and I feel sort of embarrassed but also very happy, it is romantic that he still thinks I was gorgeous once. (Although it was 30-odd years ago.) The companionship, is probably not a romantic sounding way to live, it sounds so boring. Yet that is the real joy; coffee on the verandah, talking nonsense to the cats, walking to the local pub for a meal with friends, going to Melbourne on the train, he makes sure I have the right ticket, checks we have our senior cards, silly little details, but it shows he cares. That he has our best interest at heart. I feel very lucky, I guess I keep the romance in my way too, I like to look good, I hate looking dowdy, so my appearance is important. For his sake and mine.
I make interesting meals and like to make the table pretty for special events. The formal dinners are few and far between, yet I love pulling the stops out when it is called for. With caring for each other, trying to look good, laughing and telling old stories we keep the romance alive.
The odd hug and hand holding are just icing on the cake, and after more than 59 years it’s the way I want it to remain. We have lived through the wild days when the music was loud and the loving was too. Now I am happy in this gentle backwater, with our memories and each other.