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Romance and the Art of a Grand GestureJanuary 31, 2011
by Katie Newingham
So when I was 17 a boy wrote me a song. He was performing for a group of people and announced that the next song was written for me. Now I was mostly a tomboy, but in that moment I was a princess, the only girl in the room.
Unfortunately for me there were several other girls in the room, and my first romance ended quickly. But I learned one very important thing about myself in that instant: I love grand gestures! Who wouldn’t love a song written for them, a special bracelet made with them in mind or flowers and candies delivered at work?
The Real Love Story
A few years later, the real love story began. At the time, I was a little rough around the edges, nose pierced – a tough loner who didn’t need anyone else and certainly wasn’t shopping for a relationship. I look back at that time and wonder, with all of my boy repellent, how anyone found me attractive.
I guess there’s someone for everybody though because one boy didn’t care about the tough façade. In the words of Blessed Union of Souls, “He liked me for me.” And it turns out he had liked me for two years, was there the night the song was sung to me, had seen me struggle through that relationship and just waited for the right time to step into my life.
He was real, vulnerable and strong, but his gestures were smaller and simpler. Everyday he would do something to show me how much he cared. It was always private, which I grew to really love. I felt protected. Our relationship wasn’t on display.
Later, I started thinking maybe he wasn’t really that into me and that’s why everything was so private. That theory was debunked the day he graduated from college. While surrounded by our entire families, he pulled out a perfect diamond ring he had spent the year saving for and asked me to marry him. We will celebrate nine years of marriage this May!
The Building Blocks of Lasting Relationships
In spite of my husband’s romantic streak, Valentine’s Day is not usually our best day. My husband will admit he’s cheap, and I will admit I don’t handle it well when he builds up surprises and then they’re nothing like I was expecting. He’s only nailed down the grand gesture a few times in our eleven years together. I’ll tell you what though; I wouldn’t trade our everyday life for a fancy necklace or a love note on a commercialized holiday.
I get to spend everyday with my best friend. I feel safe taking my anger out on him when someone else hurts me or makes me mad. I can fall apart in front of him when I’m hormonal. He’s not much of a writer, but he reads everything I write. He’s not much of a talker, but he’ll let me go on for hours saying the same thing over and over again.
We’ve gone through tough times: losing loved ones, changing careers and moving far from our home. Every obstacle has forced us to learn how to lean on each other for support. Time, challenges, commitment and integrity have built this marriage. The same qualities are the fabric of my closest friendships.
So in this month, when we are prompted by jewelry stores and florists to celebrate the grand gesture with our sweetheart, we also want to remember to nurture all of the loving relationships in our lives. Small gestures like sending a small note in the mail, or though many etiquette experts speak against this, drop an e-mail to a dear friend letting them know you're thinking of them. Letting people know we care is more important than how we let them know we care!
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