Gruyere, Cardamom, Sage and Romance

Don read the message for a third time. “Please pickup gruyère, cardamom, sage and orange juice. Thanks sweetheart.”

Last night, Joan suggested cooking something different for tonight’s dinner. “Let’s make dinner together tomorrow night and explore a new dish.

Thus, Don’s quest.

Orange juice would be at the grocery store. And probably this sage stuff too. But gruyère and cardamom? Maybe the drug store? Would make sense. He was stopping there for Sudafed. He’d ask about it.

Fortunately, while at the grocery store Don asked about the unknown items.

  • Gruyère is a type of cheese, and
  • Cardamon is a spice used in Indian food.

Gruyère cheese for gruyère quiche. Cardamon and sage for coconut-honey-masala flan – dessert.

Don arrived home a bit apprehensive. New food, new ingredients and cooking an unknown dish together?

A measuring cup of this, a dash or sprinkle of that transformed interesting ingredients into attractive dishes with aromatic flavors. Mismeasurements and a dropped egg elicited laughter and occasional kisses.

To keep you Romance and Relationships flourishing, keep it fresh.

Cooking a meal together result in closeness – you’ve worked jointly to conqueror and create. And when you explore something unusual, it adds a flavorful spice to your relationship. It creates a shared memory between the two of you.

Life, relationships and romance can sink into predictable routines – ruts. It takes determination and energy to create something different, to take a unique path, to design a new Romantic Interlude, to keep things fresh between you.

When you stick to familiar, stale, predictable routines, your romance and even your relationship wilts.

However, when you open yourself up and expand your horizons beyond the familiar, you’ll introduce a freshness that keeps your Romance Alive.

Joan added candlelight and champagne with orange juice (mimosas) to the meal. The evening was fun, relationship-building, memory-making and romantic.

Robert, a hopeless romantic

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Two Word Interlude

Two simple words set this Romantic Interlude into motion.

You appreciate your sweetheart. And sometimes, in the rush of daily events, expressions of appreciation disappear or are forgotten.

On a folded piece of paper, write “(sweetheart’s name), Thank you. Love, (your name)”. Leave the note in a quiet place your sweetheart will find it, a place with no distractions. Just the two of you.

Your sweetheart will probably react with, “Thank you for what?”

Be prepared. Take your time pointing out several things your sweetheart has done for which you are grateful. Make it personal. Let this spark moments of closeness – romance.

Robert, a hopeless romantic

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“E” is for No Excuses

Been a few weeks but back to the romantic acrostic.

R” = “Relationship
O” = your “Other half”.
M” = “Memories
A” = “Action
N” = “Not About Your Preference
C” = “Continue” to romance

E” = No “Excuses

Flex your knees, torque your body, swing your arms and smack the ball. Ping! Walk 200 yards. Crank up the body again. Ping! Repeat this routine for hours.

I admit it. After 9 holes of golf, I need a break – and I use a cart.

If you faced 5 days, 90 holes, walking over 20 miles (no cart) on a broken leg and gimpy knee, would you go for it?

At the 2008 U.S. Open, Tiger Woods played a memorable golf tournament. Despite 2 stress fractures in his tibia, reconstructive surgery on a knee the previous week, and an impossible shot to force the playoff, Tiger made the shot, won the tournament.

Tiger refused to make Excuses and quit. He persevered – No Excuses.

  • Ever tried to romance your sweetheart and it was a spectacular failure?
  • Did finances, kids or schedules Excuse you from creating a Romantic Interlude?
  • Have you let weariness talk you out of trying to be romantic?

I have, and I’d bet you have too.

Remember, it’s not the obstacles standing in the way of romancing your sweetheart that count. It’s whether or not you give in to the obstacles and allow Excuses to defeat you.

Answer me this. Who wins when Excuses screech for attention?

If the Excuse wins, romance will elude your relationship.

But if you have a no Excuse mindset, refuse to succumb to the squawk of impediments and stay determined to romance your sweetheart no Excuses, romance will build your relationship.

Have a no Excuse mindset like Tiger. Don’t let obstacles, hinderances or distractions control you. Resolve to romance your sweetheart – no Excuses.

Robert, a hopeless romantic

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Dream-Sharing Romantic Interlude

Before the new year gets going, ask your sweetheart for a date – a quiet evening just for two.

Turn off distractions. Add nibble food and liquid. Maybe include some gentle instrumental music. Find a comfortable place to sit.

Ask your sweetheart what 2 dreams she/he has for this year. Why are these important to your sweetheart? Let him/her share deeply, openly, honestly.

Wander together through the ideas and actively listen with your eyes and ears. Offer to help your sweetheart realize their dreams but remember is their dream, not yours.

A stroll could also facilitate this conversation.

Robert, a hopeless romantic

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SCUBA Romance For The New Year

Have you ever been SCUBA diving?

It’s a wonderful experience.

  • You observe sea life up close, in its environment.
  • You can move any direction you want: up, down, sideways.
  • You float weightlessly.

You will need lessons to get to this Jacques Cousteau experience.

To qualify for my PADI license, I took classes at the local dive shop. Learned about clearing my mask, breathing through a snorkel, dive charts and calculators, buddy breathing and BCDs.

One evening our instructor informed us, we’d face the most difficult task of the entire course.

Difficult? We were inside a building, in a swimming pool. No waves, currents or animals. How could this be difficult?

We geared up and entered the pool. Mask, fins, snorkel, air tanks, regulators – the whole works.

Now, sit on the bottom of the pool”, he instructed.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to take that first breath when you’re completely underwater? Your brain screams, “No! Don’t breathe in! You’ll just suck water!

Sometimes romancing your sweetheart feels like taking that first underwater breath – terrifying.

Your mind and emotions warn red alert. Danger Will Robinson. Don’t do it. This could be risky. You could fail spectacularly and feel like dying.

To overcome that fear, you need fierce determination. It also helps to observe and learn from others and how they successfully romance their sweetheart.

In this new year, resolve to take that first scary underwater breath and romance you sweetheart.

Remember, romance is doing something to express affection to your sweetheart in a meaningful way, by creating special moments that uniquely enhance the relationship and create a special memory.

Take a chance. Venture into the unknown. Ignore your discomfort and risk romancing your sweetheart.

Here’s to new year of romantic adventures. Let’s explore it together.

Robert, a hopeless romantic

If you’d like ideas and encouragement for romance, check out my ebooks on Amazon.com.

A Year of Romantic Memos:

A Year of Romantic Interludes:

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Rekindling Firting to Rekindle Romance

When was the last you flirted with your sweetheart?

In long term relationship, flirting often wanes or disappears completely. Why not crank it up again. Revive those winks, coy smiles, eyebrow raising, double entendres that punctuated your early courtship days.

Choose an evening to flirt with your sweetheart. The goal is to see how many different ways you can flirt. Flirt subtly with a quick wink, or obvious, gazing at your sweetheart and blowing a kiss.

And if it’s been a while since you flirted, research some ideas in advance.

Flirt, and attract your sweetheart again.

Robert, a hopeless romantic

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Romantic Calm After the Frenetic Chaos

Guests have retired to bedrooms or left. Kids have succumbed to exhaustion, worn out from the adrenalin-fueled hours of the day. You and your sweetheart have spent an hour washing and drying dishes, cleaning and wiping off tables and counters, picking up ripped paper and pieces of gifts.

It’s finally calm. You feel quiet exhaustion as the two for you collapse into the sofa – too wound up to sleep and too worn out to move.

In this moment of drained emotions, you feel intimacy like fellow warriors who weathered the onslaught of invaders and prevailed.

You survived the holiday – together.

As drained emotions and intimacy merge, you have an opportunity for creating a Romantic Interlude to memorialize this magic afterglow.

Before things crank up, when you start planning for a holiday party, a family gathering, a celebration of this or that gathering you and your sweetheart will host, discreetly plan for the moment when peaceful exhaustion arrives.

  • Find a card, pen a poem or write a note letting your sweetheart know you’re glad you were in it together.
  • Get a small gift centered on the reason for the gathering.
  • Share photos the two of you took in the midst of all the ruckus.

The goal is to celebrate you, plural.

Celebrate your relationship leading up to this moment. Let you sweetheart know you’re happy you shared the chaos of the day and there’s no one else you’d rather be with at this moment.

As you sit in front of the fireplace, swing on the porch swing or quietly sharing a beverage at the table, pause and enjoy the gentle release which follows the frenetic pace of the previous hours. Reflect on your relationship together.

It can be a silent, magical moment.

Silent Night. Holy Night.
All is calm. All is bright.

Merry Christmas

Robert, a hopeless romantic

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“C” is For Continue to Romance

For our Romance acrostic:

R” = “Relationship
O” = your “Other half”.
M” = “Memories
A” = “Action
N” = “Not About Your Preference
C” = “Continue” to romance

“Not another bouquet!

Jeff was infatuated with and chasing after Eileen.

  • There were cards, including original poems.
  • Flowers delivered twice a week.
  • Even a singing telegram.

Eileen became more repulsed. (More later)

To keep Romance Alive, you mustn’t give up and you mustn’t chase. You must however Continue learning how to romance your sweetheart.

John C. Maxwell in “Failing Forward” writes that you only move forward (improve) by stretching yourself and making mistakes (failing).

Learning to successfully romance your sweetheart means failures will happen.

If you try something and it isn’t well received, do you give up? Or do you Continue making attempts to romance your sweetheart?

  • Give up, and romance will never happen. Or,
  • Realize that attempt didn’t work. Then Continue with another attempt. This gives you a chance to succeed.

If you Continue experimenting with different ways to romance your sweetheart, “successes” will happen. Continue learning and trying, and you’ll experience more successes. Failure become the launching pad for successes.

(Back to Jeff and Eileen) Jeff chased Eileen from a position of weakness. He was desperate to “win” her. Weak! Her interested disappeared. His desperation repulsed her.

You, however, can Continue to learn to romance from a position of strength.

  • You start with your existing relationship with your sweetheart.
  • You focus on improving this relationship. And,
  • You don’t peg your net worth to your sweetheart’s approval. You consider failures something that didn’t work and then Continue trying to romance your sweetheart how he/she wishes to be romanced.

As you Continue creating Romantic Interludes, don’t chase. Don’t let failures define you. Continue trying to romance. And you will become the romantic your sweetheart desires.

Robert, a hopeless romantic

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Local Romantic Interlude

Home can be a great place for a Romantic Interlude. However, it’s usually filled with distractions. Kids, phones, dishes, trash and scores of everyday life intrusions are romantic disruptions.

Sometimes getting just 2 miles away from your house makes an ordinary evening romantic.

Plan a night away – just the 2 of you – in your own town.

Pack an overnight bag and check into a local hotel. Change into clothes you don’t usually wear for work or at home. Walk to a quiet restaurant. Allow an hour or two for a leisurely dinner. Splurge on a shared dessert. Stroll back to your room.

Robert, a hopeless romantic

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“N” Is For Not Your Preference

For our Romance acrostic:

R” = “Relationship
O” = your “Other half”.
M” = “Memories
A” = “Action
N” = “Not About Your Preference

Years ago I supervised about 40 people spread across 8 departments – all direct reports.  Can you imagine?

Honestly, that first year was tough. Seemed like someone, or an entire department, was always unhappy. I’d think about how I’d want to be approached to resolve the issue, then take action. No matter what I did, someone was upset with me. And they had no problem talking with my boss about it.

Starting my second year, an insight arose from this constant chaos. It was a simple idea, yet it gave me an invaluable insight into successful management.

The epiphany – each person is unique. I began modifying my approach to each employee according to their uniqueness. What might work with me didn’t necessarily work for another.

I told you it was simple. Yet what a difference.

How do you prefer to be romanced?

Your sweetheart gives you a charm for your bracelet, it commemorates something special between the you of you like a vacation memory. How romantic.

You find a special, romantic gift for your sweetheart. Your sweetheart’s response is tepid, unenthusiastic. How can your sweetheart not find it romantic? After all, getting a gift is so romantic – to you. It your preference.

And where’s your focus?

Your sweetheart’s preference is probably Not Your Preference. Again, your sweetheart’s preferred way of being romanced could be different from yours. Romance is Not About Your Preference.

Take time, listen and watch your sweetheart’s response to your romantic overtures. By paying attention, you’ll learn how your sweetheart prefers to be romanced. With that knowledge, you can romance your sweetheart with his/her preference – which is Not Your Preference.

Focus on your sweetheart’s preference It’s Not About Your Preference.

Robert, a hopeless romantic

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