Young@Heart: When The Romance is Gone

Experts claim romantic love lasts from 18 months to three years. Mother Nature must know this so once she makes a connection, she has to work fast if she wants more babies!

In 18 months she can put out one baby and one on the way (giving the mother a little recoup time) and in three years she can produce three. Done! That’s what happened to me anyway and I blame it all on romance.

This will date me, but I have three children thanks to Johnny Mathis. When he sang Misty and those luscious tones flowed from his lips to my ears, “Look at me, I’m as helpless as a kitten up a tree,” bang…I was pregnant with Michael and wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d come out bi-racial I was so in love with Johnny. Chances Are (one of Johnny’s biggest hits) rang in Peggy Ann and Wild is the Wind pulled Joanna from her non-physical place in the Universe to a place in our home.

The marriage lasted 15 years mainly because my ex was a workaholic and gone most of the stint and, well, I was in love with Johnny.

Mother Nature knows what happens after babies. Romance flies right out the window and it’s mainly the baby’s fault. Ask any nursing mother if she needs anyone to touch her. One mom told me something that bordered on pornography if you didn’t know she was talking about her infant son. “Every two hours he’s sucking on me, slobbering on my face, licking my neck and fondling me. I love him and it’s all okay with me, but I sure don’t need any touching from anyone else. When Mel comes home, I’m all sucked out!”

Because our culture sells lots of products based on romance, we’re doomed to think we want stuff we really don’t want when it comes to it. What we really want is love and companionship. We want a cozy fire, long walks on the beach or in the mountains, and time to share good food and good times with another person. But advertisers want us to want boats (romance), diamonds (romance), fancy cars (romance) and fine clothes (romance).

If you were looking for a mate to spend your life with and you had to write out what you want, would you ever say: “I love long walks on the beach in a designer coat and shoes, dripping in diamonds, with keys in my pocket to a Maybach Exelero (eight million bucks) to drive to my waiting yacht?

No, love is not champagne and fancy yachts, but we’re pulled to consider it.

Look at what this person who was trying to sell yachts had to say:

“The yachting life is one filled with romance, luxury, relaxation and class. Today’s yachts are filled with more technology, gadgets, and amenities than most five-star hotels. In them you can find bars, swimming pools, hot tubs, 1000 thread count linens and oh so much more. Here are the ten most expensive yachts in the world.”

Okay, I went through the list and I did want the Octopus. That’s my friend (well we’re fellow Washingtonians) Paul Allen’s yacht. A little-known fact about Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen’s superyacht, which he calls “Octopus,” is that it houses two submarines. One can hold 10 people and drive for up to eight hours. The other can be controlled remotely. It’s been loaned out for Google Earth’s “Explore the Ocean” project, as well as for documentaries on Discovery Science Channel. That’s pretty cool, but now it’s off the subject of romance.

Carl Jung said, “The fact that we say ‘romance’ when we mean ‘love’ shows us that underneath our language there is a psychological muddle. We are confusing two great psychological systems within us, and this has a devastating effect on our lives and our relationships.”

In the book We, by Robert Johnson, he writes, “The task of salvaging love from the swamps of romance begins with a shift of vision. Real relatedness between two people is experienced in the small tasks they do together: the quiet conversation when the day’s upheavals are at rest, the soft word of understanding, the daily companionship, the encouragement offered in a difficult moment, the small gift when least expected, the spontaneous gesture of love.”

With babies and Johnny Mathis behind me, I put romance in its proper place years ago. Of course I get vicarious fixes watching Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant and Richard Gere (not a threesome), but instead of wishing I were in their shoes, I’m able to shift my vision and just enjoy their drama while I luxuriate in my clean, cozy peaceful home with my husband of 28 years in whose happiness is vital to my own. That’s love.

As Robert Heinlein wrote in his 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land: “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”

That’s so simple, isn’t it? The happiness of the other is essential to our own and we can practice that without a yacht, a fancy car, or Louis Vuitton luggage. And don’t forget the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. If you know that’s true, read this blog.

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