And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Friday, December 26, 2008

Relationship Advice

My holiday gift from Mr. Barefoot this year was all three seasons of the 80s program "Beauty and the Beast". I loved that show. I still do.

After watching a few episodes, though, I started thinking. I tried to swat those pesky little thoughts away and just enjoy the mindless entertainment before me, but they were persistent.

The main thought was that we all need a little more Romance in our lives.

See, I have this theory. We are all raised on fairy tales of some sort. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Frog Prince....they are all marked on our subconscious minds with Sharpie marker, never to be erased. Inside each woman is a little girl who dreamed of being a Princess, cherished by her Prince and beloved by all. Inside each man is a little boy who fantasized about slaying dragons and rescuing damsels in distress, whether as a wealthy Prince or a Knight in Shining Armor. And then somewhere along the line we set aside those dreams. We realise that we have warts, or aren't athletic, or in some other way just don't fit the profile of our fantasy character. We start to grow up, and realise that there is a very real world out there that we all need to handle. The Dragons of the Modern World are much more complex than those of the storybooks. Women work outside the home, do auto maintenance, work on home repairs, the whole bit. Men have learned to change diapers, cook meals, and clean house.

It is not a Fairy Tale land out there.

And yet I wonder....what would happen if we all treated each other like we DID live in a Fairy Tale? What if each woman treated her man as if he were her Prince Charming and each man treated his woman as if she were Cinderella? What if we each did our very best to fulfill that little child in our partner that dreamed of slaying dragons and overcoming wicked hags?

I am not talking about making flowery speeches or acting like maniacs with swords. We all (even the most romantic of us) know that those things are over the top and a little nutty. It makes a great story, but doesn't really cut it in the real world.

What I am talking about is the way we SEE each other, and the way we THINK of each other. I am talking about the little things that really make a difference in our day-to-day lives. How often do you men bring home flowers for your wife/girlfriend for no reason other than to let her know that you love her? How many times do you women tell your husband/boyfriend how strong he is and how much you appreciate what he does for you?

The crazy thing is that, in theory, this practice would eventually feed itself and become a cycle with a life of it's own. A man brings home flowers, tells his wife that he appreciates all the work she does, treats her like a precious gift and makes her feel cherished. The next day, she is feeling so good about herself, and loving towards him, so she makes his favorite supper and settles him in his chair with slippers and a drink before supper. She tells him how much she appreciates how hard he works and lets him be the "king of the castle". Now he is feeling pretty dang good, so he makes an effort to pick up his own dirty socks and mows the lawn without any complaints. He even goes so far as to accomplish some of the tasks on his "Honey-Do" list. Well, wifey is so impressed and grateful that the kitchen sink is no longer dripping and the kids can play outside without worrying about elephants hiding behind clumps of overgrown crabgrass that she finds something else to do to make the Mr. feel manly and wonderful. Through all this, the kids are seeing a loving and respectful relationship between their folks, and will have it marked in their impressionable little minds that THIS is the way love should be. That THIS is what they want to have with their future Prince(ss)

I think about my maternal Grandparents, and I think that is part of why they had such a wonderful relationship. Grandpa always treated Grandma like she was his Princess. He cherished her, and called her beautiful, and showed her that he loved her every moment of every day. He took care of her. Grandma treated Grandpa like her Prince. She trusted him, looked up to him, and provided for him the best home and meals she could. She took care of him. They had the best relationship I have ever seen. They still held hands and gazed lovingly at each other up until the very end. They never lost respect for each other. They were....inspiring.

And I wonder....couldn't we all do that?


Finding Pam said...

What a delightful post? I believe a lot of folks like your grands are setting the example for the younger ones. My husband's parents and my grandparents were just like you described yours, but then my mother was not. She was married four times. I think it is the secret to a long and loving marriage. Nice post.

Kati said...

I was thinking on this same subject after watching the last Pirates of the Caribean movie, where Elizabeth Swan waits 10 years for Orlando Bloom's character, between visits. My theory is that we're not strong enough any more for REAL romance. Real romance may require (often does?) some hardship, some sacrifice. We don't have the stomach for REAL romance any more. We like to watch it in movies, we like to read about it in books, but how many of us are really willing to get out and search the world for that Holy Grail and possibly meet our Prince Charming in the process, but we're too worried that we'll risk breaking a nail or stumbling up upon some ugliness in the world, to actually make the effort. I'm no different, really. It's kinda sad. WOULD I be willing to wait 10 years between visits from my beloved? Would I give the guy I see about town with the hideous face a shot because there may be a prince lurking underneath? (All hypothetical now, as I AM married, but thought provoking.)

But you've got a great and interesting take on it as well, that maybe treating our husbands/wives like they ARE our princes/knights-in-shining-armour or princess/damsel-in-the-high-tower would result in a little bit more FEELING like we've actually found a prince or a fair princess. *sigh* (Then again, I realize as a grown woman, I don't want to be a damsel in a high tower waiting for her Prince. I wanna be Buffy, slaying vampires & demons right alongside my Spike. I want a guy who loves me BECAUSE he knows I can kick his ass, not INSPITE of the fact that I can kick his ass. I love my hubby, but he's no "Spike".)

Wendy said...

I like that you clarified your definition of "romance" with the idea that just treating each other with respect and caring nurtures feelings in both partners that enhance a relationship. It's not so much about getting flowers, but rather is about trusting that one's partner is willing and able to take care of one. I had a partner, once, who made all sorts of "romantic" gestures, but that's all it was. In reality he had very little respect for me, and could have cared less about making sure I was taken care of. By contrast, my husband never buys flowers or candy or makes those "romantic gestures", but he is caring and respectful and generous, and I always know that I'm loved - like Buttercup ... and he's my "Wesley" :).

Mon said...

Sweet post.

As long as romance stems from something of substance. The romance of fairy-tales and films is the source of great anxiety in many women. Because it is based on superficiality.

But I know what you're driving at.

I feel that if we treat each other with respect and not be complacent, we have our own version of romance.

I think what happens in most relationships is that we become complacent, taking it all for granted.

Personally, I couldn't care less about surface romance, such as flowers (although I wouldn't say no to chocolates, chuckle). But when hubby makes an effort to do his share around the house, or gives me some much needed time to myself, etc, then THAT makes me feel loved and appreciated.

So surface romance is fine, as long as it has some real meaty daily actions behind it.

barefoot gardener said...

Thanks, everyone, for jumping with comments on this one. You all have such great things to say about the subject.

I think Kati really hit on what I was trying to say when she commented that if we treated our SOs like they were our dream mates, then we would feel more like they were and focus a little less on their faults.

Furthermore, if the one you love treats you like you are their dream of perfection, you are more likely to do your best to live up to that image....aren't you?

I, personally, am very uncomfortable with truly romantic gestures. I am always looking for the catch (maybe I have some trust issues, ya think? hehe). I am much more able to handle help with the Sprouts or dishes than having Mr. Barefoot look at me like I am the one who hung the stars and moon. But then I wonder.... if he acted like that, wouldn't I be more likely to do my best to live up to it?

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

My parents relationship was the same as your maternal Grandparents. 100% amazing and, as you said, inspiring.

Lisa said...

Stud Muffin is very indulgent of me and treats me like a princess.

We take turns on things too. I cook the dinner and he'll serve me dessert while I relax, things like that. He is very respectful of my need for personal time, and doesn't get his panties in a bunch about it. I make a effort to do things the way he likes, cook food that appeal to him even if not to me, etc.

Plus, I occasionally flash my boobs at him when nobody else is looking! It says, "I'm thinking of you, sweetie!" LOL