Where’s the romance?

GwenWeddingMy husband and I have always been very practical.

Sure, we got married in college, rather than waiting until we’d both graduated, but even that had a good reason (though I was secretly cheering). Marriage was on the agenda either way, but our timetable got bumped up a year when I was accepted to Air Force Officer Training during my senior year.

Since my husband still had another year in ROTC, the idea was that if we were already married when I went to training, it’d be easier to get a joint spouse assignment. Add that to the long list of “but the recruiter said” laments. I ended up declining a commission after seven weeks in Alabama, when I learned I’d be going to New Jersey, nowhere near him.

(On the bright side, my new last name was firmly entrenched in my head.)

But back to the wedding. The whole thing was very sensible. My husband’s proposal was heartfelt and romantic, but not the “event” I’d fantasized about. I did marry an engineer after all.

We had very little money, so we went for the smart choices instead of the fun ones. We each picked our own rings, conscious that our funds would soon be commingled and that spending an outrageous sum would only hurt both of us.

Despite a tight budget, we had exactly the wedding we wanted—outdoors in front of a waterfall at a local resort—but forwent the honeymoon so that we could buy a couch to replace our futon, and a stereo to replace the boom box. You know, the necessities.

Besides, we got married over spring break and had to go back to school on Monday. Who had time for a honeymoon?

So where was the romance?

Everywhere.

It was, and always has been, in the day-to-day things. It’s the big smile I can’t hide when my husband comes in the door. The quick shoulder rubs I sometimes get “just because”. The treats I buy for him at the grocery store so he knows I was thinking of him. The jump rope that broke during Kung Fu class that he fixed for me without even saying anything. The articles he emails me during his commute (he’s not driving!) because he knows I’ll enjoy reading them.

And it’s occasionally in the bigger things now that we’re not starving students.

For our tenth anniversary—and to celebrate us both finishing grad school—we went to Maui, sans kids. It was the honeymoon we never had, complete with a helicopter ride, surfing lessons, snorkeling with turtles, and strolls on the beach holding hands.

And it was the proposal I never got too. During our first dinner on the island, my pragmatic, stoic husband declared his love and produced an anniversary ring I’d been eyeing for years. He didn’t buy it because it was a good investment or a useful item. He bought it because, despite the fact that it was neither, I wanted it.

And he wanted to show me that he loved me enough to be a little bit impractical every now and then.