Hi Gang,

This is just a quick heads up to explain the silence around here. It’s a tad ironic that both the site and my Twitter feed (@ratedGromance) are going quiet just before Valentine’s Day. There are a few reasons:

  1. Nothin’ says lovin’ like sending your man to the opposite end of the world. This is the year of our 30th anniversary and my 50th birthday, so my wife has given me the most awesome gift ever – a bucket-list trip to Antarctica. I’ll be away from civilization for most of February.
  2. I am finally writing my romantic gestures book and putting my time into writing there.
  3. In support of the book, I hope to relaunch the site with vigor later this year. Be sure to subscribe to the blog to be notified when the site is active again.

Thank you so much for all your support. May this upcoming Valentine’s Day and all the days around it be filled with romance beyond your wildest dreams. Receive it. Create it.

“I would melt if someone brought me flowers.” – a recent Twitter post.

How sad! How is it that a romantically involved woman has not received flowers recently?

It’s almost as if cut flowers have become cliche. The movie image of a geeky nerd arriving with an awkward wrist corsage certainly hasn’t done much to convince guys that flowers are quality romantic gesture. Similarly, cut flowers have never really been something most guys are comfortable receiving, so they haven’t learned by example either. But trust me, flowers are still quality romantic gesture for most – you just need to know how to use them.

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27 Candles, 27 Memories

August 11, 2010 — 2 Comments

I bought my Mrs. car parts for her anniversary. No, I am not kidding. It is what she wanted and I learned long ago that the first rule of gift giving is “give them what they want,” not what you think is proper or cool or romantic. Gifts are all about the receiver. So when she suggested that we re-chrome a number of items for her 1956 Olds that we are restoring, I was happy to oblige – at least I could say I got her something shiny for our special day. :-)

Gift giving is about the receiver, not the giver. Give them what they want.

Gift giving is about the receiver, not the giver. My Mrs. wanted re-chromed car parts!

However, while the pieces we had restored are a beautiful and pragmatic gift, the work did not come cheap. Implication? Our anniversary date would definitely have to be on a budget.

So I started planning a picnic date. I found a lovely secluded location up a mountainside beside a small waterfall. It was perfect. But then, a week before our date, my Mrs. pulled her achilles tendon. Fortunately the ultrasound showed that it was just a strain, not ruptured or torn, but for obvious reasons there would be no mountain hike possible on our date and the terrain was just too rough for a wheelchair (I actually checked). This location and the activities it made possible would have to wait for another day.

Plan B. With all romantic gestures, it is a good idea to have a plan b just in case. And a plan C, D & E if it is a really important date. :) Be flexible. In this case I think plan B actually turned out better than what I had originally planned.

The weather could not have been lovelier. I walked home from school energized by a gorgeous Spring day. The sun felt warm, but not too hot, and the only clouds in the sky, far from being menacing, were like fluffy props hung for imagining and reminiscing. Continue Reading…

Knowing Your Heartmate

March 13, 2011 — 1 Comment

I’m going to expand on this more in the future, but one of the essentials for creating romantic gestures is knowing your heartmate. Below are a few surveys that I believe are important:

  1. The Five Love Languages – We often give what we like to get and sometimes that isn’t optimal for our heartmate. This test is essential to refining your romantic gestures.
  2. Compatibility Quiz from the book “Attached.” – Take the Quiz here.
  3. Jung Typology Test – Note that a true Myers-Briggs test is meant to be administered & interpreted by a trained professional. However, this test will do a reasonable job of evaluating whether or not your heartmate has introvert or extrovert tendencies.

Have some fun getting to know each other with these tests. Do you know of any other tests that have helped you and your heartmate deepen your connection?

We were singing when some late comers arrived to church. He, the epitome of Santa Claus, white beard and belly, had his wife on his arm helping her fragile form down the aisle toward a seat near their “where we normally sit” chairs. She shuffled uncomfortably along with him, her tongue hanging out to the side slightly – a side effect of the cancer meds. The adult diapers under her pants rustled slightly as she struggled forward. Her swollen “prednisone” face carried a sheepish smile and the obvious telltale signs that she has very few time left. Continue Reading…

At Depression’s End

October 23, 2011 — 4 Comments

Be You. Some rights reserved by walknboston via Flikr creative commons.“I think I’m ready to try coming off my meds,” she announced, holding my hand tightly.

I smiled as we continued our walk around the lake. “It’s funny you should mention it. I’ve been resisting the urge to suggest the same thing.”

This was in mid-August. I am happy to say that, as of Tuesday, my lovely wife will have been off Paxil for two weeks. It marks the beginning of a new stage of our lives together; one, hopefully, now and forevermore, free of clinical depression.

In February of this year, I posted about her stuggles – actually our struggles – in an article called “Our Valentine’s Day Victory.” To summarize, my heartmate has lived nearly half her life under the dark cloud of clinical depression and has been on anti-depression meds for the past 12 years. However, this year she started to show signs of recovery. I can’t tell you how momentous the progress has been. I had to update our story. Continue Reading…

Quick tip: Picnic Mirrors

August 14, 2011 — 1 Comment

By the end of the meal, 27 candles symbolizing 27 memories were burning brightly.

Here the mirrors are used to divide our long table in half to make the setting more intimate.

Before our 27th anniversary, I went to IKEA to pick up a set of tea lights for an outdoor picnic. Partway into my shopping trip it occurred to me that it might be difficult to set up the candles and wine glasses on the uneven grass. I couldn’t find a tray that would fit in the basket, but happened to run across a package of 6 inexpensive, square mirrors that I thought might work. Not only did they work wonderfully as the flat surface I needed, they also added a little sparkle to the scene. We have subsequently used them for picnics, special dinners and even a wedding.


Poetry in Potato Chips

August 10, 2011 — 1 Comment

May 14th, 2011 was our 28th wedding anniversary. It was also the day that my wife blew me away with the most amazing romantic gesture I have ever received. It had everything an anniversary gesture needs. It was full of thought and planning, it honored the reality of our journey and connection, and it made me feel understood and appreciated. Frankly, it was perfect.

Potato Chip Anniversary Present

A Crispy Metaphor

What did she do? She bought me chips.

I’m not sure if any guys out there can relate, but chocolates generally are not my thing, the only jewelry I wear is my wedding band (not even a watch), clothes & ties are just practical necessities rather than gifts, and flowers… well… just no.

But chips? Chips are me. They are my weakness. I am “savory” to the core. So not only did she get me something I like, she was also inadvertently telling me “You know what? I know you are a little soft around the middle these days, but I’m OK with that. I love you just the way you are.” She was also saying “I don’t care what the rest of the world might think. This gift is about you.” I doubt she was even aware of how the unspoken messages in her gift spoke to me. Continue Reading…