A Hopeless Romantic: One Husband's Guide to Keeping the Love Alive Every Day

True romance is never easy.True romance is never easy.

If you could spend a few hours rewinding my life (not that you would ever want to), you could chomp away on your bucket of buttery popcorn and tilt back your box of Goobers until the cardboard edge became damp with your lip puckers, and you could watch me make a perfect mess of a lot of romance. You could laugh and frown at me ruining more things heartfelt and lovely than you would probably ever be able to stomach.

Over the course of my love affairs scattered across the last two decades, I have managed to screw up (amongst other things): picnics in the park, late Sunday mornings in bed, walks down streets in a bevvy of world-class cities on several continents, impossibly sensual outdoor kisses, train ride cuddles, motel room snuggles, Christmas Eves, Christmas mornings, tender moments eating ice cream on benches, dinners in dimly-lit restaurants… Okay, I've pretty much screwed it all up at one point or another.

But why, you might ask?

What is so hard or tough or difficult to understand about romance?

Maybe you can mess it up once or twice, but how can one person manage to mess it all up again and again and again?

Well, I've been asking myself that same question lately, and the best answer I can come up with is, quite frankly, that I was a selfish jerk.

In all of my relationships, including the marriage I'm in now, I was very, very good at putting myself before anyone else. Even when I was really going out of my way to do something nice for one of my girlfriends, I tend to think that, in reality, I was actually trying to do something nice for them so it would make me feel good and look good.

Related: The 20 weirdest facts about sex and marriage

It isn't easy to admit that, I guess, but then again: yeah it is. See, these days, at 41, I am continually discovering that it's never too late to learn about real romance, to gain The Force, to become a romantic; it's never too late to begin to understand and respect the ancient and sacred practice of simply putting the person you share your life with ahead of yourself for a damn change.

Do that, and you're on the road to true romance.

Good luck.

------TRUE ROMANCE (PUT ME ON THE FRIDGE)------

> If you tend to think of romance as something you were never very good at, then you're right.

> When you open the mall door or the car door for your guy or girl, other people wish they could be that awesome.

> Watching reality TV together on the couch is the new ballroom dancing.

> Holding his or her eye for just a split-second longer than usual can lead to real magic. Try it out.

> Today's bad breath kiss is tomorrow's thing you miss.

> Laughing at how hard your better half is laughing is the best laughing you will ever know.

> Love is a battlefield. "I'm sorry" is the Medal of Honor.

>Renting a sky-writing plane is embarrassing and expensive. Take him or her out for ice cream instead.

> Trying to include romance during sex might seem tough at first, but it can also elevate you to Greek God status in no time at all.

> Little love notes left under pillows and on dashboards and by toothbrushes are silly; and silly is divine.

> We are born romantic, yet we spend a lifetime trying to deny it.

> Tell yourself that your romance is dead, if you need to. But don't believe it unless you want to.

> You can only be romantic with one living person at a time.

> When you get jealous of someone else's romance, you're not loving hard enough.

> Being romantic with someone really familiar to us is so hard sometimes, but so worth it.

> The same romantic words and gestures that worked wonders back in 1713 will still work just as well in 2013.

> If you think of sex right away when you hear the word 'romantic' you have gone ten or twelve miles down the wrong dirt road.

> Whenever someone brags about their sex life you can be pretty sure that they are romantically challenged.

> The story of your love affair could outlive you both by a thousand years.

> Whenever you see old people holding hands, that's good luck.

> In a relationship, you can be either Friday night or Monday morning. You choose.


-By Serge Bielanko
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