“I’m in love, I’m in love…and I don’t care who knows it.” Elf

Ray and I had our now-annual “thirty days of romance” during June/July. It was…well, romantic!
A few years ago, we celebrated being together for thirty years–thirty years since our first date, and we’ve been together ever since! Anyway, we celebrated those thirty years by having what we called “thirty days of romance.” That is, for those thirty days we focused more on each other than other things. We thought of each other more, made each other feel important, did special things for each other, spent more time alone, and just generally tried to focus more on romance than “stuff”–those things that we always have to do. It was such a success that we decided to make it an annual event.

We have had a few “30 Days of Romance” in the past few years, and we have loved them! In recent years, we have been getting too busy with my writing and editing, Ray’s work, our publishing company, our family speaking ministry, and all seven of our children and their needs. It just seemed like the long talks, special candy bars, frequent rendezvous (!), etc. were slipping away from us.

Some ideas we have used (and/or hope to use in the future)—some are just simple things that we forget to do in our daily busy-ness. (Feel free to share—we should start a Romantic Revolution!!! )

1. Make favorite meals —We had spaghetti at least twice–Ray’s favorite!; Ray will grab the kids and make me homemade French fries or have one of the boys make brownies, etc. sometimes

2. Out for dinner in Fort Wayne–since we started dancing, we seldom go to movies and/or dinner because it takes so much to get away to dance—and we do not feel like we can justify another evening away from the kids—during 30 Days of Romance, we take exception to that, even if it means dinner and movie on Tuesday AND dancing on Saturday!

3. Romantic comedies/movies—we have two ballroom dance movies we like to watch. Ray loves romantic movies; I prefer action/legal thrillers/drama, and I’m the one who usually rents movies, so I try to get more movies he likes during this month.

4. Just talking—for example, one night we went to the dance early and left it late to just not rush so much. We always barely come into a dance (and one of us is often on the phone to one of the older kids when we first arrive) or have to leave early, etc. etc it seems. Just wanted to slow down, dance some, talk some, and just not rush for a little bit! Talking without our older kids needing us is a luxury, so we just tried to focus more on that this month.

5. More phone calls and emails—and more little signs, words, and phrases that nobody but us knows what they mean in our phone calls and emails (though the kids try to figure them out!! )

6. More yielding—just taking our own advice (when we counsel people) to be the one who stops an argument or disagreement, to be the one who doesn’t have to be right, to be the one who brings peace in a situation that could become less than peaceful. We teach yielding in our book, curricula, blog, seminar, and workshops, but it is so hard to do in life everyday—just to remind ourselves that the other person’s feelings and that relationship is worth yielding for.

7. Song finding—this is a new thing we want to do—find songs that we like on the internet and have Jonathan buy them and put them on a cd for us—and decide which dances we would do with each one, etc.

8. Look up dancing together online—on rare occasions, we will sit down and look up a certain dance online and try to figure out how they do certain moves, or watch for styling or theory, etc. Listen to/watch “lessons” online. During “30 Days,” we want to do this more.

9. Play games—before our kids got so old and needed us so much in the evenings (including our grown children on the phone, etc.), we used to play Scrabble, Guess Who, Blokus, Backgammon, and Cribbage in our room and watch a fun movie, eat snacks, and just enjoy each other and relax. Now it seems like we are always with one of the kids for something (i.e. Ray is at the table with Josiah and his algebra right now; I’m getting ready to call back one of our daughters to talk, etc. etc.)—or if we play games, it is with the kids (which is fun too, but not alone time). We seldom stop early enough in the evening to have our fun game time anymore. During this month, we will “make dates” to do that.

10. Go out for dessert—when the kids were all younger (but the oldest was twelve), a couple of times a month, we would put them all to bed at eight o’clock and go out for dessert. We try to do this some during our 30 Days.

11. Dance lessons—We have put private lessons on hold for the past three years due to the expenses with getting our publishing company off the ground; a wedding; two kids in college; etc. etc etc. We want to try to take at least two private lessons during this month.

12. Little surprises—When we didn’t have so many needs to meet, we just thought of little things more—you know, picking up my favorite editing pen at Walmart when Ray is getting groceries or grabbing his favorite pop at the gas station—just the little things that let the other person know he is being thought of. One “30 Days” Ray had a dozen roses (of different colors–beautiful!) delivered in increments of three–during my “CQLA Cottage Class” day. Thus, every couple of hours, the florist would come with three more roses–my students thought it was a hoot–but I just loved it!

13. Not work at night so much—Because of homeschooling during the day (and teaching fifty kids in Ossian and Fort Wayne writing each week), I often work at night while Ray oversees kids’ homework, teaches some of their classes, does driver’s training with whomever happens to be learning to drive at that time, works on meal clean up with the kids, etc etc. I often have trouble stopping my work. (I really love to work…especially writing and editing!) When it is payroll time, student billing time, etc. etc. Ray often works after he is done with the kids in the evening too. Anyway, during 30 Days, we designate certain nights for me to stop working at a certain time (i.e. 9:00 instead of 11:00), etc.

14. Planning and dreaming together—We always used to plan and dream together—now it seems like life happens so fast that we hardly have time to plan ahead or dream about what might be. We take more time for that during this month.

15. Get away—Since this “30 Days” fell over our anniversary, we had a get away during it. If we can get away and go to a dance (especially at the beautiful “Roof Ballroom” in Indianapolis) and stay overnight a day or two, it makes our “30 Days” even more romantic.

16. “Twalks”—before we started Training for Triumph and I started writing so much, we used to take a “twalk” many days after work. This was a time in which the two of us just took off on a walk to talk. We are trying to incorporate more of these—without cell phones on us!

I recommend “Thirty Days of Romance” to all married couples—whether you’ve been married ten years or forty. It just puts the focus back on each other in marriage—and that focus is so easy to lose with the demands of parenting, work, ministry, and more.

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