Remember in the movie, The Firm, after everything has gone horribly wrong, the wife (Jeanne Tripplehorn) reminds the husband (Tom Cruise) how happy they were back when they were broke and enjoyed take-out from a carton? I don’t believe that being broke equals marital happiness, but I believe that we must remember that the things that brought us together didn’t cost a dime. Appreciate and celebrate the simple things. Here are six romantic ways to spend time with your chosen one that are absolutely free.
Dream together: In the evenings, make two cups of tea, or two beers – whatever is relaxing – sit down in a comfortable place and dream out loud together. Ask the big questions. What do you want from life, from our relationship? Encourage and comfort each other. Focus on what your partner is saying. Make this into a ritual you both enjoy and protect from other commitments.
Laugh. Don’t take yourself so seriously: A sense of humor is incredibly romantic. This is why comedians who look like – well, comedians – will always have a date*. In the long term, humor helps your fights become funny and ridiculous – an inside joke – instead of caustic and toxic.
*(Unfortunately, this may apply more to male comedians. There are still men who refuse to laugh at what funny women have to say and therefore, probably wouldn’t date them either. I think it’s a power thing.)
Adventure: Go somewhere you’ve never been and have a picnic. New locations make for new conversation. You don’t need the fancy basket, but put thought into the day and make it fun. Once, we took leftover lasagna and giggled as we ate the cold squares in our hands like sandwiches. Go through your junk drawer and pull out the little drink umbrellas from the party you had five years ago.
**Caution**: It is illegal to snooze on your picnic blanket after you eat your sandwich in downtown Savannah, Georgia. I know this because the nice policeman told us so.
Go for a walk: If your neighborhood isn’t conducive to a safe, pleasant walk, drive to a local park or a college campus. Women, I have read that men prefer to talk side by side rather than face to face so this may particularly appeal to them.
**Caution**: If you plan the date, be sure to give your partner notice of what it entails. Appropriate attire is a must. At our local riverside park, I can spot a mile away when the guy has whipped into the parking lot with a surprise romantic idea for his date. I see a woman with a fake smile gripping her guy’s arm for balance. He looks pleased with himself. He has no idea. She wore what was appropriate for the dinner and a movie plan: uncomfortable but very sexy strappy heels (ankle breakers) with jeans, a feminine top and a strapless bra (which slides down during a long walk). And her hair is loose so the breeze off the river whips it around her head. Strands stick to her lipstick which trails across her face in tiny bright pink lines each time she tries to pull her hair back to see where she’s going.
Hand and foot massage: This may sound like a teenage girls’ slumber party idea, but trust me. For couples, this can be relaxing, nurturing, and sensual if done with an open heart and of course, a little spa humor. Put on your bathrobes and take turns soaking your feet and hands in warm water – drizzle in some shampoo and conditioner for fragrant, skin softening water. Then use sugar to rub your partner’s feet and hands then let them soak some more – Ahhhh.
**Caution**: Don’t try this on a first date. It could be awkward.
Turn off the T.V. Television takes your attention away from each other and away from reality. In her book, A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson says that we are obsessed with celebrities because we are not starring in our own lives. When you were dating you two could talk for hours about life’s tiniest details and how you felt about them. What’s that you say? You’ve changed since then? Okay, now you’ve got something new to talk about. Turn off the T.V. and rediscover each other.
Romance is not about Paris or $150 dinners across town. Romance is snuggling on your own tan sofa, under the red fleece throw with a spaghetti stain on it. Tonight, or tomorrow morning, romance your partner with your mind, your heart, your soul. Your wallet doesn’t even have to know about it.
Image courtesy of e.dward