My husband and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago. And to mark the occasion we…spent the day at home with our kids. Which, on the surface, might seem like a pretty boring way for a romance writer to spend her anniversary. But I would argue that it’s not! Because as much as I love a romantic location or a grand gesture as much as the next person, I think the real romance lies in the everyday moments. Which is probably why I write so many of those moments into my books.
Like what? Glad you asked!
- Eating together. Of course, it’s fun to see characters getting all dressed up and going to a fancy restaurant. But I love the everyday, spontaneous moments of grabbing an ice cream from the Chocolate Chicken in Hope Springs or a slice of pie from Daisy’s in River Falls.
- Playing a game together. Whether it’s a board game, a strategy game (like chess in Not Until This Moment), a video game, or hide and seek—it doesn’t matter. Games are a great way to relax together and get to know each other (plus, they give you a chance to find out just how competitive the other person is).
- Working together. This might mean working at the same job (like Tyler and Isabel in Not Until This Day). But it can also mean volunteering together to help clean up after a storm (also like Tyler and Isabel) or maybe teaching VBS together (like Simeon and Abigail in Memories of the Heart).
- Going for a long drive together. I don’t really love long car rides…except for the fact that they give you uninterrupted time to talk. And that’s just what Nate and Violet do as they drive across the state in Not Until You.
- Cooking together. My husband and I love to cook together, but in my books, I prefer when one character knows how to cook…and the other could use a lesson or two, especially when that leads to comical results, as with the frosting fight in Not Until Now.
- Watching a movie together. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of movie theaters, but I do love to curl up on the couch and watch a movie at home. In books, I especially love when the hero is willing to watch a sappy movie with the heroine, like Levi in Not Until Someday (okay, fine, I like that in real life too!).
- Hanging out with the kids together. My favorite moments are when our whole family is together, and it’s no secret that I love to include kids in my books. Whether it’s a single mom like Bethany in Not Until Then or Leah in Not Until Christmas Morning or a single dad like Liam in Songs of Home, anyone they date has to get to know the kids as well, and I love those moments where you see them starting to become a family.
- Taking a walk together. My husband and I take walks together often, and whether we spend the whole time talking or just silently enjoy each other’s company, it’s always one of my favorite parts of the day. That’s probably why most (maybe all!) of my books include the characters taking a walk together at some point: there’s Sophie and Spencer walking through the cherry orchard in Not Until Forever, Dan and Jade strolling on the beach in Not Until Us, Joseph and Ava walking along the river in Pieces of Forever… the list could go on!
Ultimately, I think what connects all of the everyday moments above is one word: together. To me, that’s what makes a real romance—knowing that you’re in it together, through the big moments and the small, the hard ones and the joyful ones. As Pastor Calvano puts it in Memories of the Heart: “Love isn’t passive. It isn’t something we fall into and out of on a whim. It’s not something that just happens to us. Love is active. It takes work. It takes patience and kindness. It takes forgiveness and perseverance. It takes trust and hope.” In other words, it takes everyday moments.
Are there other kinds of everyday moments that you find romantic? Do you prefer the books you read to include more big romantic gestures or more everyday moments?