“And Elizabeth, please do consider this an act of courtship.” With those words, my heart goes all mushy and I feel like a silly school girl again – butterflies flitting around in my stomach and feet hovering a few inches off the floor. It’s not real! I’m not even in this show! But, oh, the romance of it all. Whatever happened to that romance? Ten years, two rambunctious boys, and four houses into my marriage, do I miss the flirting and the lip-staring and the butterflies? A little, but I think what Hubby and I have goes so much deeper than the flutters – we have love in action.
If you ask Hubby when we started dating, he’ll tell you one date. If you ask me, I’ll tell you a different one – which comes almost three weeks later.
Let me back up a bit and give you a glimpse into our story. I was interested in him from the moment I met him (and I’m pretty sure he knew it), but it took him a full year to realize God’s plan for us. First, we became friends. We watched Friends together. We shared meals. We met for coffee. But, as Janette Oke put it, sometimes love comes softly. Do you know what havoc that wreaks on a girl’s heart, when she’s in love with the boy but he fails to mention that he fell in love right back? So the boy, for three entire weeks, decided he was dating me – but he failed to TELL me!
At first, I was irritated and upset. I even called him from my car, parked outside the local coffee shop, to ask him just what his intentions were. I told him that I couldn’t take the “let’s just be friends” thing anymore – it was too hard on my heart. It was pretty much the 21st century version of Elizabeth saying, “I shall assume that this supper does not imply the beginning of a possible courtship. You’ve made it very clear that Mounties do not have wives. If they wanted you to have wives, they would have issued you one.” (Season 1, Episode 8)
Do you know what my future husband did? He replied with the 21st century version of Jack’s line “please do consider this an act of courtship,” but it came through the telephone as “What do you think we’ve been doing these past three weeks? Wouldn’t you rather I show you how I feel about you than just tell you?” And so began our official “togetherness.”
Even now, when Hubby tells me every day that he loves me and appreciates me, he loves through action even more. He might not take my hand and kiss it when he asks me out to dinner, but he calls me every day on his lunch break, just to see how my day is going. He sends me pictures of flowers that he sees while he’s out surveying for his job. He pauses, thinking about me, and snaps a photo of the sunset or the lake and shares it with me. He does all the laundry, careful to wash and dry mine just the way I like. He takes the boys shopping for birthday and Christmas presents. He reads every single thing I write. He hangs pictures just where I want them. He will even wake from a sound sleep to squish spiders on the ceiling. All for me. Isn’t that romantic?
One of the most beautiful scenes at a wedding is the couple’s first dance as man and wife. They choose a sweet melody accompanied by lyrics that profess how much their love will go on and on. Hubby and I chose a different type of first-dance song; many guests commented on how unusual it was. The song, written and performed by Stephen Curtis Chapman, is titled “We Will Dance.” The track is slower and a bit more somber than a typical wedding song, I suppose, but I’ve always been more passionate about lyrics than melody. Knowing that a real marriage is full of challenge, compromise, and forgiveness – as well as love – his lyrics illustrated just what I wanted (and still want) for my marriage:
We will dance
When the sun is shining
In the pouring rain
We’ll spin and we’ll sway
And we will dance
When the gentle breeze
Becomes a hurricane
The music will play
And I’ll take your hand
And hold you close to me
And we will dance
As I watch Jack hold Elizabeth close for their very first dance, instead of thinking back to a time before the kids and the house and the responsibilities, I think about the dance Hubby and I are in now, the one God designed especially for us. How can I show my love, now, in this moment?
Our little house in the foothills may not be full of candlelight and romantic music, but there is romance all around me – there are still sunsets to watch, walks to take together, hugs and kisses, memories to share, and memories to make. I can sit in the garage with him, reminiscing over old photos, or I can work side-by-side with him to tackle the weeds in the yard, or I can watch a superhero movie with him and grab his arm if it gets a little too intense. The words we utter don’t necessarily create romance, nor do careful lighting and slow dances. The love permeating the atmosphere at those moments is the true romance.
Since Hubby’s love for me is still alive and full of action, then every moment with him must count as romantic – even the squashing of the spider on the ceiling of the bedroom. It’s all in my perspective, so I will choose to see romance in the love we act out, not just in those occasional dates when we sit at a restaurant, enveloped in candlelight and soft music, gazing into each other’s eyes across a table as we silently wonder if our two little boys will actually be asleep when we walk through the front door.