Valentine’s Day is a time of love and romance. But what is romance, really?
The dictionary describes romance as:
Looking at the first two definitions, wouldn’t you rather have a love affair that isn’t just brief or to have a sexual love that is genuine and not just an idealized fantasy?
Personally, I’m intrigued by the third definition—romance as an exciting adventure with the potential for heroic achievement.
Too often we think of romance in a superficial, idealistic way—being wooed or wooing with flowers, cards and gifts, candlelight dinners on Valentine’s Day. But the “romance” of true intimacy is the courage it takes to be real – the heroic step of presenting yourself as a gift to another person – showing them everything, including your fears, joys, gifts, and weaknesses.
I like flowers and presents as much as the next woman. But too often, Valentine’s Day and “romantic” efforts barely scratch the surface – rather than the deeper yearning we all have to love and be loved.
We often confuse getting a gift with being loved. It’s easy to sign a card, but harder to really show up and tell your beloved you love them. It’s easy to make a dinner reservation. It’s quite another thing to share your reservations about yourself and your relationship. It’s easy to ask someone out to see a movie; it’s another to ask someone to see you for who you really are.
Creating love in our lives that taps our potential for heroic achievement is what transformational relationships are all about. Everyday heroes in relationships engage in real, truthful interactions and share their deeper yearnings to love and be loved; to be seen, heard, and touched.
A good fight, a kick in the butt to help your partner move toward your goals, revealing each other’s blind spots, encouraging your partner to follow their dreams, sharing hurts, fears, vulnerabilities, and deep truths—can bring us closer than a dinner date or movie night on Valentine’s Day. And when you do have that candlelit dinner or that great date, it is a celebration of that deep bond, not a substitute for it.
My husband Bob and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day in the traditional ways. Yet we do celebrate true romance—a spirit or feeling of adventure and excitement, the potential for heroic achievement. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t express our love and appreciation for each other or the honor it is to be together.
It’s not that we aren’t stereotypically “romantic.” Ask the people around us how we are together. We hold hands, run up and greet each other with a hug, go on dates, gaze longingly into each other’s eyes, tell each other frequently what we mean to the other.
But these same utterances and expressions are spiced with hard truths, straight talk, confrontation, and resolving deep issues with the other’s support. To this day, people still ask us if we are newlyweds—and we’ve been married 31 years!
This Valentine’s Day, see yourself as a true romantic—a real hero creating an exciting adventure of more intimacy, truth, and transformation in your life and the lives of others.
Image courtesy Flickr user princessashley
Wright and the Wright Graduate University.
Want more content like this? Sign up to get free updates delivered straight to your inbox!
Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.