What’s the best thing about falling in love? The excitement, the trill, the anticipation. How soon does the glow of love begin to fade?
As writers of romance, we get to relive that initial euphoria. We put our characters through an emotional wringer to make sure they’re serious about falling in love. When we end our stories, we indicate our characters will live happily ever after. That’s the promise we give our readers when we call our stories romances.
What does it take to live happily ever after? Work. Once we’ve taken those vows and promise to love and honor in sickness and health, etc., we’re still in the honeymoon stage. Everything is roses and lollipops. Then we go back to work and life as usual. Only it isn’t usual anymore. We have someone else to think about. What will he like for dinner? Would she like to go out? Who’s going to do laundry, buy the groceries? Who will pay the bills? Is it my money and his money or is it our money? (More arguments between newly-weds are over money.)
Then kids come along. Who’s supposed to pick them up from daycare? Who cooks dinner? Who’s exhausted? Yeah, romance books don’t show that. How can you keep the romance going when you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow?
Some couples schedule date nights. They hire a sitter (or beg a grandparent) to watch the kids and go out to dinner and a movie. Or do an activity they both enjoy. That takes work setting it up, but keeping the romance alive is worth it. The kids grow up, and college comes faster than you think. Soon, those kids are gone, and it’s just the two of you again. It’s so easy to grow apart. He does his thing, she does hers.
I’m no expert. Hubs and I have had our ups and downs during our forty-five years together. We’ve had health scares (ourselves and our children). Unemployment was a killer. Three times. But we pulled together when times (and money) were tough. The key word to getting through those difficult times is together.
We know that life isn’t a continuous happy-ever-after. Either divorce or death ends a marriage. That can turn a person bitter or wallowing in grief. But sometimes, we’re given a second chance at love. That’s the premise of my latest book, Romance Rekindled. A mother and daughter, their spouses gone for many years—one through divorce, the other a widow. Both get to experience falling in love a second time.
In the stories we write, we reaffirm that love is wonderful, that it comes when we least expect it. Along with our readers, we get to experience the thrill and excitement that comes with falling in love.
Abby Ten Eyck likes her life the way it is. She runs a successful business, has a well-adjusted teenage daughter, and has managed to keep men at bay since her divorce fifteen years ago. Just before Christmas, she’s hit with change. Her mother decides to sell the family home. Then she’s arrested, with an unknown man. Could this new man in her mother’s life create more upheaval? Or could his handsome son be just what Abby needs to revive her dormant feelings?
Sam Watson embraces transition from frenetic Wall Street to a small Michigan resort town. His health is worth moving close to his dad who seems over the moon in love. But it’s the daughter of his father’s girlfriend who fascinates him. Abby Ten Eyck reminds him of his driven self. He must help her slow down before she burns out. Like he did.
ROMANCE REKINDLED is available at:
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and romance into writing romantic fiction. She blogs here on the 16th and 30th of each month.
Lovely message, Diane. As a veteran of marriage (39 years this spring), I can attest that it's a lot of work and it's not easy, but working on issues together seems to be the key. Sometimes things just don't work out for various reasons, but
luckily sometimes they do. :-) I love your Far Haven stories and am heading over to Amazon to grab a copy now!
I always tell my daughter communication is the key to a good relationship. If you don’t talk to each other, say what you feel, want, think, then how can it work? Good luck with the books Diane!
Great post. I've 'heard' of these kinds of marriages, but my experience was quite different. My ex and I were more buddies, even though we had 3 kids together. We didn't have a horrible marriage or a good marriage. Divorce was most definitely the way to go for us. I honestly never had the desire for that kind of relationship. I love being on my own and the benefits of a lasting marriage do not outweigh the negatives, in my opinion. Yes, I know, I sound cynical and non-romance authory. :) I enjoy the fantasy of romance, but the reality is not at all the same. I'm happy that you and your husband have that kind of love and that you stuck by one another. It's heart-warming to see all these lasting, loving marriages my friends have found. I didn't succeed in that area, but I'm glad you did! Your story sounds awesome. It's on my TBR list!
I never know how much turmoil to put my characters through before they reach their HEA. So many young people today are ready to call it quits when things get rough. They've got no staying power during the courtship phase--and sometimes in marriages, too. Their expectations are still self-focused. I asked my youngest grandson if he had a girlfriend this year--he's a senior in high school. "Are you kidding? All girls can do is talk about their fingernails and stare at their cellphones. I'm just finishing a series of books on various philosophers. I want to talk about deep stuff not about how so-and-so is such a bitch." Welllllllll, alrighty then!!! He won't be ready for romance for a while.
Calvin and I have been married for 15 years. We met on match dot com. Once we met after talking online for 5 months, that was it. He claims he came alive when he met me. I felt important and accepted. Have we had a couple rough days here and there? Oh, sure. No two humans can live together without disagreeing on something. Great post!
Letting go of the small stuff is key in a marriage. My husband and I are both Type A. We argue. We both have strong opinions. But he never holds a grudge, never even remembers there was an issue. I try my best to do that and usually succeed. I'd never be able to live with a "yes, honey" type of guy because that's not me. Every relationship is different, and you do have to work at them. We give our characters hard stuff to deal with because that's real life. We also give them that warm fuzzy feeling because that's why we stay married through the hard stuff. Congrats on the new book!
Leah, congrats on your sustaining marriage. Working together is the key. Thanks for the testimonial for my books.
Consider this: a marriage as long as mine (47...I know...Really?) comes with breathtaking adjustments because over that many years, each individual changes (personality, career, interests, health/energy level). Managing those changes is the challenge. In our books we reify the tsunami of emotions bringing a couple together, but it would take an epic (like the Outlander series), to explain the tricky ups and downs of lasting love. And yes, Date Nights are a must...even the New York Times researchers say so :-)
Andrea, you are so right about communication. Sorry to say, men don't get what ticks us off. Or, even if we are ticked off. LOL I was brought up to look around to see what needs to be done, don't wait to be told. Hubs says tell me what you want me to do. He doesn't see the minutiae (the way I do). Little things can bring on big arguments.
Alicia, marriage isn't for everyone. A few years after my dad died, I said to my mom that I hoped she would find someone who would treat her special. She responded with no way, she liked being on her own. I'm glad you found what works for you.
Vonnie, I love your grandson's response. I'm so glad you & Calvin found each other. How wonderful he felt alive when he met you. That's what I'm talking about. You are so right about two people living together. My sister & I shared an apartment for 2 years, which was about 1 yr & 11 months too long.
Jannine, you say every marriage is different. Bingo. I sure didn't want the marriage my folks had. Mom did everything for my dad. And he was always right. She figured out how to get around his don't spend money on anything. Yet he could splurge when he wanted to. Don't sweat the small stuff. Yeah, right. For me, the big stuff came easy to handle. The small stuff contributed to arguments.
Another long-timer here. I married my best friend in 1985. He's still my best friend and the love of my life. We work at our relationship every day. And at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day, we "re-up" for another year!
Personally? I'll happily write about others finding their HEA but I've no desire to give up the TV remote.
OG and I are still going strong after 34 years, but oh, good lord have we been through some challenging times! I have to say the spark seems to be burning a bit brighter since I retired. We have more time for each other (although yes, it does drive me crazy sometimes to have him underfoot CONSTANTLY) because we have more time in general, with fewer obligations and distractions. I think his stroke almost four years ago actually drove us closer together. It was a scary reminder that life can change in an instant.
I love the sound of this new book. Congratulations!
Some great stories and tidbits you all have shared. Sounds like I've got the longest marriage (50 years this June). We're best friends like Alicia was with her ex. I've even had dreams where I ask my best friend about some guy I find hot. Yeah, weird. We're both type A like Jannine. Oh, do we fight. It's calmed down a little over the years...or maybe our memories are just shot and we forget what we're arguing over before we're done. I do love creating the romance in my books though. I can write about all the stuff I wish I had in a relationship cause we know real life just isn't that perfect. Then again, I wouldn't want FDW and I to end the way some of my characters have experienced before they got a second chance. I'll stick with what I have!
Great post, Diane. Kind of explains why we do what we do, in real life and in books. My hubs and I are at fifty years and counting in March. Let me tell you, like everyone, we have had our own roller coaster ride. You name it, we’ve probably survived it. Heath scares, including a brain tumor he survived. Unplanned pregnancy that produced twins when we thought we were done having children. Unexpected unemployment. Through ti all we somehow figured it out.. And fight. Not so much now. Like the others, we tend to forget. But, I think that’s the key - forget AND forgive. I love creating stories and HEAs for my characters too but, like Brenda, I’ll stick with what I have.
Margo, you rock! 50 years in March...un____ believable! Surprise twins and unemployment...wow! How I love this group's rich history. Seriously, the R of P group has so much collective wisdom...we're smart to draw on it!
Betsy, what a great way to renew your commitment to each other. Congrats on 33 years together.
Rolynn, boy do people change over the years. Congrats on 47 years. If the NY Times says Date Nights are necessary, then it must be true. LOL
RE, you are so funny. You have a point, though. Being solo does have its advantages.
Alison, OG's stroke must have added all kinds of stress to your life. But something that life-changing can bring a couple closer or tear them apart. So glad it brought you closer. Life changed for the better for us after we both retired. I agree, though, about him being around all the time. I'm still adjusting.
Brenda, congrats on 50 years. Wow. That takes a lot of work and perseverance to be together that long. I dedicate all my books to my best friend.
Congrats, Margo, on 50 years. You two have been through a lot. Yet you're still together. That's terrific. Your health scare last year was pretty scary, too. Forgive and forget. Great advice.
Rolynn mentioned our collective wisdom. We all could write a book about what not to do in a marriage. We're each so different, the stories we write are diverse. Yet we all write that HEA for our characters. I wouldn't want to do through what I put my characters through, but those problems bring them closer together--just as the problems we all have had in our real lives brought us close with our spouses. Thanks for all your comments.
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