Tuesday, September 10, 2013 | By: Lynn

Romantic Gestures Matter

Google "romantic gestures" and you'll find tips for using special efforts to infuse a relationship with romance. Parenting suggests 15 ways to show someone you care, and reminds that taking care to do so is important to keep the "spice" in a relationship.  AskMen offers a list of gestures that are sure-fire for getting into a woman's bed, and acknowledge that women take these gestures, or lack of them, seriously.

"Women notice everything – and I mean everything," writes Oliver Jameson, relationship correspondent for the AskMen site. "They are masters at detecting details and their meaning. So even the smallest gesture, when done earnestly and thoughtfully, will not only be appreciated, but can earn you serious bedtime points."

While romantic gestures typically are part of dating life, they shouldn't go away after marriage, even in a long-term marriage or relationship, or be directed only at women. Men are romantics, too. They want to be appreciated and acknowledged for being important in a woman's life. I get this on authority of several important men in my life, including my husband. And though the AskMen article, "Top 10 Small Gestures That Turn Women On," seems shallow and self-servicing, it hits home in suggesting that lovemaking is an important element in an intimate relationship. It helps people engage not just physically but emotionally, or at least offers that possibility. So why not keep the romance alive?

The occasional romantic gesture is nice, but regular and genuine expressions of love help build an abiding feel-good structure that can sustain us individually and as a couple. According to AskMen.com, romantic gestures have a life-span, so the feel-good of any given gesture will diminish.

"Even the most spectacular gesture will wear off, and there is not a single romantic gesture that will get you off the hook forever."

'Get you off the hook' seems like the wrong way to think of a romantic gesture, but it does remind me of my son while dating in high school. I asked him what he and his girlfriend were doing for Easter and he sighed heavily, referring to just having done something romantic for Valentine's Day, and asked, "Am I required to get a gift for Easter, too?" Kind of sad.

So inspiration for romantic gestures can be organic and very personal. I've told my husband repeatedly, 'Write me a poem and I'll love you forever.' Still waiting for that. Romantic gestures in movies and TV are often grand and might be classified as something that would promise life-time benefits.  A rich man surprises his love with jetting to Paris for dinner and dancing, for example. Who wouldn’t like that? Well, any woman who suspects shallowness or lack of investment in the gesture. Maybe we women are cynical, but I tend to think we want something real over showy.

I've thought about the importance of romantic gestures mainly because my husband is such a romantic and I tend not to be so much. Please, there's laundry and soccer and work and writing to focus on, so it's easy for me to get caught up in the mundane of life – there's plenty of it to take my energy and my thoughts. But even for me, life can get pretty dry without a nod to the value of a romantic moment. A moment when things stop and I stand there with my husband when he's brought home flowers for no other reason than he loves me, or he helps me capture tiny kittens to reunite with their mother for a trip to their new home. These things show me he has a tender and loving heart.

I'll never forget one of his most romantic gestures in our long relationship. It took thought and preparation and making himself vulnerable, all things that remain endearing to me today, many years later.

A little background: When my husband and I married, we joined two families that totaled five children. The children from each side were very young, from 7 down to 3. We dated but we were both very into our lives with our children. Our honeymoon was short. We dropped into a life that was very family-centered. But one night I came home from work to find a nice outfit and corsage lying on the bed. He had made reservations at a favorite restaurant. He told me, though we hadn't had the dating and excitement of a long engagement, he wanted to make sure we remember to make time for special moments for just us – sans kids and the mini-drama of uniting two families.

This gesture on his part stays in my heart, as much a part of my feelings for him as anything he's done since. 

What is your most romantic moment with a loved one? Have you seen any really super romantic gestures in a movie or TV show lately? Share??