The Romance Project

I'm a bit of a romantic. Ok, more than a bit. I spent a good part of my adolescence co-writing epic romance novels which my besty Heidi, when I was 7 my favourite song was "Longer" by Dan Fogelberg (Youtube it, I dare you)... and I was fairly certain that my first encounter with my soul mate would involve a burning building and original poetry (I'll let your imagination run with this as it will). That's why it's all the more amusing that I ended up with Luke as my partner in crime.

Luke is perhaps the least romantic man alive...I might be exaggerating a little, but then again maybe not...
Just so you don't get the wrong impression, please know that he is wonderfully kind, funny, giving and loving. All of these things, however, can, and do in Luke's case, exist without being romantic. To his credit, he never pretended to be a romantic. Our first date was in a leaky canoe covered with fresh fiberglass patches- the remnants of which ended up on my jeans. He handed me a Midas oil-change receipt to wipe it off. I should have know right then.

Almost 9 years later, here we are: Luke undertaking a second, super-demanding degree, I'm working full time, an 18 month old, mind-boggling,  little human running around our knees. Any romance that was kicking around, has officially been kicked out.

Around the end of October, when the sum total of our romantic interactions were taking the other person's turn to change a poopy diaper and discussing when the next garbage day was as we fell asleep, I dreamed up the Romance Project. For one month, we were going to be super romantic to each other- whether we liked it or not!

Now, as previously mentioned, Luke is incredibly wonderful and generally adopts all my harebrained schemes with a smile. This one was no exception, possibly because he wanted to do whatever he could to get back to studying calculus, but never mind that. In any case, we both sat down with pen and paper and made a list of 30 gestures we would find romantic if done by our partner for us. We each had a glass jar- one labelled "Romance me Luke!" the other "Romance me Jennie" into which we placed our respective gestures.

Each day for the month of November I would pull a gesture from Luke's jar and do my best to complete it in the next 24 hours, while Luke did the same for me. Some were small and some amusing:  
"Luke, kiss me goodbye when you leave for school." 
"Jennie, encourage me to have a nap,"

Others required more time or artistic effort: 
"Luke, write me a haiku" (see blog subtitle for the results) 
"Jennie, make some coffee and debrief my day with me". 

For awhile, it seemed rather unnatural to force ourselves to be romantic, but after a few days that changed, it was easy, it was fun...it was awesome!!! . Gestures that had been requested once, were rolled over into reruns of the best kind, the conversations flowed, the affection was more abundant. We hushed the busyness of our days and became students of one another again. 

Our little project did big things for our relationship. So much so, we've decided to try it again this month. 

So far, I've enjoyed a novel, thoughtfully chosen for me at the library, a newly cleaned out car,  and the gift of a most amazing cookbook that I'd been pining for for months. I've given a gourmet, packed lunch, a Judah bedtime duty, a studying snack and a flash-card study session. 

Best of all though, we've given each other our time, some space in our busy heads and the recognition that this relationship is work- but, work we both love. 

A life lived in love will never be dull.
 Leo Buscaglia


  1. That is so encouraging Jennie! Blessings as you two work at romancing each other! :)
    P.S. I really enjoy your writing. I have secretly been reading your blog for the last couple of weeks...thank you for entertaining me with your eloquence and wit!

  2. This is so sweet and a really great idea!! I will have to convince Kris to give it a try some day. I imagine all our pieces of paper would say the same thing at this point.."Randalin/Kris, let me sleep for five more minutes..."

  3. Wow. I could have almost written this myself! I thought it was soo sweet of Luke to write you a haiku - Josh would never do that! Well, maybe he would if it were requested in a 'romance me' jar. :) He is also very sweet and funny, but not romantic by nature in the least.
    Funny how little ones push romance to the back burner, eh? We had the same sort of revelation during the month of November last year. Our solution was to spend 30 days saying something that we loved about the other partner before we went to sleep at night. It was kinda fun, and sometimes challenging to come up with something every day, but it forced us to think positively about one another on a daily basis.
    Kudos to you two - enjoy your romancing. :)