Some of you may remember the song “McArthur Park” from the psychedelic 1960s and redone again in 1978 by Donna Summer. It was written by Jimmy Webb and originally sung by Richard Harris. The singer tells the listeners that he and his girl have broken up, and he compares their relationship to a cake left out in the rain in McArthur Park. He says he “just can’t take it, because it took so long to bake it.” He also feels as if he’ll never have that recipe again. Was romance the missing ingredient to cause this breakup?
Definitions of romance are certainly varied and differ according to male and female interpretations.
Although the end of his relationship made a good song, we do wonder what went wrong for him and the young lady. Somehow, an idyllic love at the start became like a soggy cake out in the rain.
Wikipedia says, “Romance is the pleasurable feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.” Focus on the words pleasurable, excitement, and mystery for a moment. Who wouldn’t want that?
So, what might ruin a romance? Here are 5 possible culprits.
- Not expressing love and affection. Over time, couples get accustomed to thinking things but not sharing. You might think loving thoughts of your spouse or significant other, but you don’t say it to the person. Remember when you were falling in love and full of romantic words? How often have you heard that communication is the key to a good relationship? Take those words out again, dust them off, and openly speak of your affection.
- Not making time for each other. This is a big one for many couples. Our lives get filled with tasks: work, kids, appointments, house cleaning, and grocery shopping—the list is endless. The most common excuse I hear is, “We don’t have time to go out on a date.”
When there is little time for romance, resentment and indifference begin to form. Time to get creative about spending time together to bring the romance back. Sneak a date card into the house or car to ask him or her out, and make sure the babysitter is arranged in advance. Surprise your partner with dinner reservations, a show, or an activity they have long wanted to do. Sometimes just asking them to come along to run errands can be an opportunity to connect. – REMEMBER Always be dating each other
- Not doing the little things for each other anymore. Maybe you used to send cards, bring flowers, text loving thoughts, complement each other, hug frequently, and blow a kiss across the room. Why did you stop? Maybe you have fallen into the trap of taking your relationship for granted and are assuming it is no longer necessary. Reframe that idea, and realize that couples need to work at keeping romance alive. Go back to doing these things on occasion and see what a difference it makes.
- Not having your own interests or not pursuing them. Being needy or clingy can be unattractive to a partner. When you dated, you had things to share with each other about who you were and what you enjoyed. You brought a self-confident and interesting person “to the table” like in McArthur Park. You were a bit mysterious and exciting. Find that again, and see how romance re-builds. Do something for yourself, and then share it.
- Not keeping up your physical appearance. In today’s world, the emphasis is on the visual. Just look at all the marketing done on cosmetic surgery! The field is booming.
I’m not recommending you call up a surgeon, but I do suggest you try to stay in shape, dress and groom yourselves with each other in mind. Remember, women, when you were going on a date, how important it was picking out your outfit, creating your hairstyle, and so on? And guys, didn’t you also try to look your best? Why not do the same now, and give each other a pleasing visual experience as often as possible? Show each other by example, and compliment each other when the effort is made.
The bottom line is that romance takes work. Keeping the heart a-flutter is worth making time for, and it is crucial to a fulfilling, long-term relationship. Let your romance motto be “Savor the cake!”