Some of you may remember the song “McArthur Park” from the psychedelic 1960s. It was written by Jimmy Webb and sung by Richard Harris, then later remade by Donna Summers during the disco era. 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.
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, icing flowing down.
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?
What might ruin a romance? Here are five possible culprits.
- Not expressing love and affection. Over time in a relationship, 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? 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, watch for the icing to start falling off the cake. Perhaps you could get creative about spending time together to bring the romance back. Sneak a date card into a pocket, drawer or the car to ask him or her out, and make sure the babysitter is arranged in advance.
- Not doing little things for each other anymore. Maybe you used to send cards, bring flowers, text loving thoughts, compliment 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 just assuming it will last despite it all. Reframe that idea, and realize that couples need to work at keeping romance alive.
- 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”. 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 plastic surgery, diets and cosmetics! The field is booming.
I’m not suggesting to run out and get nipped and tucked, but I do suggest you stay in shape, get your hair done, dress and groom yourselves with each other in mind. Remember, women, when you were going on a date and how important it was picking out your outfit, creating a neat hairstyle, and so on? And guys, didn’t you also put your best clothes on, keep your hair trimmed and address any hygiene issues? Why not do the same now, and give each other a pleasing visual experience every day? Inexpensive discount stores are often nearby or online, so don’t let finances be a problem. Show each other by example and compliment each others efforts.
The bottom line is that a fun 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!”