To my wife: Romantic gestures

After 57 years together, most people would suppose that virtually all the romance had died in our marriage, to become something more akin to a long-lasting friendship. You know what I mean I’m sure – long hours passing without a word passing between us, though the atmosphere is still obviously warm and friendly. Very little action in the way of fondling and kissing every time we pass each other in the hallway. Sitting on the settee watching television while we eat our evening meal together, rather than at a romantically laid table with a bottle of wine. Still sleeping in the same bed together, but as we’ve matured the size of the bed has grown to Queen-size, giving us both room to move and breath, without having to start something which, nice as it could be, would most likely kill at least one of us if we tried it! Going to the movies on a Saturday night together, to actually see the film, rather than snogging in the back row. And going shopping together for the mundane items needed to nourish our bodies, rather than exotic and exciting additions to our home, designed to nourish our egos!

All of the above are some of the things we used to get up to during the earlier years of our marriage, when every moment offered an opportunity to touch each other, whisper to each other or rip each other’s clothes off – exciting times, without a doubt but, like sky-diving or trout fishing, even sex can become a little boring and mundane after a while. And that is when the genuine, simple gestures come into their own, unromantic certainly, but with hidden nuances of romance about them all the same, small reminders of how much we mean to each other. It could be anything from a gentle pressure of a hand in the middle of the back, encouraging the need to move forward or do something, or it could be the simple carrying of a heavy bag while on a shopping trip. The important thing is, after so many years together both of us are aware of what the gestures mean. They are like a secret language, known only to us, a language that says, without the need of actual words, “I’m here, to protect you, to help you, to make sure you are as safe as possible, to remind you that I still love and care for you.”

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One of the most romantic things that happens between Jacqui and me is that moment when I think, while we’re watching the television, “I fancy a cup of tea – wonder if Jacqui might like one”, then, before I can say anything, Jacqui will turn to me and say, “Make us a cup of tea Ben, (her nickname for me), I can’t get up with the cat on my lap.” This ‘wordless’ language is something that happens between us very frequently, and I’m quite certain we are by no means unique in possessing it. While I am not a spiritual type of person, I am totally convinced that we do all have the ability to tune in to each other’s thoughts, especially at times of stress or joy. They call it ‘extra sensory perception’ I believe, but I am convinced it works on much the same principal as two bells hanging close together. Ring one bell with a hammer and the other will take up the tune at the same time, even though it hasn’t been touched at all.

So these days our sense of romance tends to be hidden from the world, it’s something private between Jacqui and me, not something we feel we need to show, even to our friends, who see the brasher, more humorous side of our relationship, laughing at everything, enjoying everyone else’s company, but deep inside knowing that my best friend will be coming home with me at the end of the day!


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