Over a slightly too “modern“i dinner with a couple of close friends this past weekend, the rare topic of “being romantic” came up. We don’t usually delve into the topic of interpersonal relationships together, not because we don’t have enough common ground, but because this is the one area where we have the least. You see, while we might seem like a motley crew comprised of a Jew, a Leb, and a Chinaman, we all grew up in the same city, are relatively successful, physically fit, blessed with good hair, car-loving, always down for a good party, and are first- or second-generation immigrants.ii So lots to build from, that is, until we get to the “fambly” situation. Neither of my esteemed peers are – for better or worse – anywhere near being interested in or prepared for fatherhood. And going into my 15th yeariii with the same incredible girl, and now with two wonderful little boys in tow, I have a considerable leg up on both of them in the White Picket Fence Department. While I couldn’t be happier about it, they could mostly care less.
So when they asked me how I keep my relationship with The Girl “romantic” after all this time, and through the tumultuous early years of child rearing no less, I was a bit surprised to be put on the spot. At the time, I gave a fairly generic answer about finding time for date nights, reducing short-term expectations about intimacy, and appreciating weekend walks with good conversation, I’d like to expand on this canned response to the fair readers of Contravex. So what do I do to keep the magic alive ? In no particular order :
1. Buy her flowers every week, either lilies or roses depending on which is fresher and healthier at our local floral fertility dealer.
2. Pay for all dinner dates no questions asked and make such occurrences as frequent as possible.
3. Pay for all holidays no questions asked and make such occurrences as frequent as possible.
4. Take her car in for servicing and cleaning as required.
5. Empty the dishwasher.
6. Say “Yes!” anytime she asks me to watch the kids so she can visit friends, exercise, or otherwise maintain her mental and physical health
7. Send her dozens and dozens of hilarious memes every week.iv
And more! Some of this shit might seem pedantic, or even trivial, but I assure you that it’s not to a girl whose primary “Love Languages” are “Acts of Service” and “Quality Time.”
But why should I go to the bother ? Shouldn’t The Girl just serve my every need unconditionally, without thanks, and without even the merest suggestion of reciprocity ? If only that’s how humans worked, dearest idealistic reader. Alas, when you have people, you have politics, and when you have politics, you have synergies, or at least the potential therefor, and when you have potential synergies, YOU HAVE TO ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE SOMETIMES.v You see, it comes down to self-interest, as everything must.vi We help those around us so that they in turn are better positioned to help us. We strengthen our our bonds of partnership, our familial bonds, and our broader networks so that they can catch us when we fall ; so that we don’t fall too far before regaining our footing.
As my work schedule has me traveling farther afield and more frequently this year, and no doubt even moreso in the years to come, it’s absolutely essential that I’m filling up The Girl’s “Love Tank” as much as possible when I’m home, and that I’m making as much time as possible for just the two of us, in addition to, of course, being a father that she can be proud of. The Girl’s the backbone of our household in addition to being a successful and full-time professional in her own right. So any little thing I can do for her is really is no big deal, particularly when I know that it makes such a difference to her. You see, I’m getting a 10:1 ROI on my investment. Easy.
And that’s the kind of investments we should all be making — investments in romance.
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- My crop dusting is 11/10 today. Sorry fam… ↩
- You may recall that Brian, Tarek, and I rented the RR Ghost in Montreal last summer. Gang gang! ↩
- Like whoa… ↩
- The funny bone keeps us young at heart! ↩
- To quote Robert A. Heinlein from Stranger in a Strange Land :
Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
- Note that it’s our egos that require the sun and the stars to revolve around each of us, our genes could care less. ↩