A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body ~
No one would confuse Ben Franklin’s legacy with that of Byron, Emerson, or Keats. Yet this single quote proves his innate understanding of romance and passion. While a person’s appearance, mannerisms, or accomplishments may provide the basis of an initial attraction, those superficial qualities alone cannot sustain intimacy. The touch or kiss of a sexy man may send shivers up your spine, but neither compares to the heat forged by two truly engaged minds.
This fact is evident in fiction as well. My favorite romance novels aren’t those featuring the most handsome alpha hero and most outrageous sex scenes. No. The most memorable books are those in which the non-sexual interaction between the couple sparkles and leaps off the page. And I’m not talking about the seductive or flirtatious banter, either (although that is fun). Even in books, we recognize great love through dialogue and actions that gradually reveal and unite two souls whose union ultimately enables them to find their true strength and test their own limits.
And yet, Mr. Franklin’s quote doesn’t rule out the idea that a single, unattached person can also lead a romantic life provided he or she is actively pursuing hobbies, learning new subjects, and seeking adventure.
Thus, I think a key to making life more romantic is to remember to tend to one’s own intellectual and emotional stimulation at least as often as work deadlines, laundry, and one’s kids’ academic success. That, and healthy debate (at least for me), keeps the juices flowing and fires burning.
I know I became quite restless with my life when I stopped working and stayed at home with my babies. During those early years, I often felt isolated and intellectually uninspired. At times I wanted to blame my husband for my lack of fulfillment. Then a couple of years ago, I decided to pursue an old passion. Within a year, I’d met new people, taken new classes, and written my first (if not great) manuscript. I laugh about how much time and thought I now dedicate to imaginary worlds and relationships. But while I’ve not changed the real world (like Mr. Franklin) or published a book yet, I feel reawakened and excited, and I’m a happier wife and mother. Who can argue with those results?
When you are feeling bored at home or with your partner, what do you do to reignite a spark?
photo credit: Fabio Berti, 123rf.com