“Life is a romantic business. It is painting a picture, not doing a sum; but you have to make the romance, and it will come to the question how much fire you have in your belly” (Oliver Wendell Holmes).
ROMANTICISM IS A SPIRIT THAT THE WORLD NEEDS MORE OF, AND TODAY IS A GOOD DAY TO THINK ABOUT THAT. “Life is a romantic business,” as Holmes said, but too few of us approach it that way. Too few of us see romance as anything more than the doing of special things by sweethearts and spouses. In our daily lives, we fail to feel the power of romanticism in the older, and more general, sense.
“Romance encompasses so much more than the spark of love between sweethearts,” wrote Thomas Kinkade. “[To be romantic] is quite simply to allow yourself to fall in love with life — all of life — and experience it fully, openly, passionately, and purposefully.” I agree. And to sweethearts, I would say this: if you find no evidence of romanticism in your lover’s life outside of his or her interaction with you personally, watch out. You’ve probably got an unromantic lover trying to splash on a little romance just to win you over. It will pass!
But I digress. Let’s get back to something more fitting for Valentine’s Day. It’s a fact, isn’t it, that we could do with a little more romantic love. While there’s more to the romantic spirit than the way it expresses itself in love, we should try to keep love from being anything less than romantic. The thoughtful things we do today ought to be spread out a little more evenly throughout the year. It takes work to keep the romantic fires burning, but it’s well worth it.
But to tell the truth, something else must be said. When a man and a woman pledge their love in marriage, something deeper than romantic love must guarantee the relationship. Romanticism may be the icing on the cake, but the cake must be cooked with ingredients that are delicious and healthful in their own right.
“Love as distinct from ‘being in love’ is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit . . . [Spouses] can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it” (C. S. Lewis).