romance in the little things.

Ahhhh, Valentine’s Day.

Our church has graciously offered childcare tonight so we’re heading to Chipotle sans toddler. Nothing says romance like side-by-side burrito bowls, amiright?

(To be fair, we have fancy dinner reservations tomorrow night. I’m going to shave my legs tomorrow.)

I’ve been thinking about romance this week, and how my definition of that word has changed over the years. When I was 21 and freshly married and mostly naive about life, romance meant Big Things—candles, flowers, fancy cocktails, fancy food, shiny presents. I had high expectations about everything under the sun and wanted to feel special all of the time, but especially on Valentine’s Day.

Today, at 27, romance looks a little different in our house. We are raising a toddler, and we are tired. Sometimes romance looks like eating ice cream cones on the couch and watching three episodes of Breaking Bad while one of us falls half asleep. Sometimes I light candles while we do that to distract myself from the eighteen toy cars strewn all around us.

Make no mistake: we still have romance. It’s just in the little things now.

There’s romance in the way he always puts gas in my car, or says “go write” when he knows that’s what I need. There’s romance in the way he proofreads my blog posts and tells me that I’m the best writer he knows.

There’s romance in the way he puts his arm around me during church, and in the way he looks at me when I’m all dressed up. There’s romance in the way he compliments my not-that-great cooking, and in the way he picks up Chipotle on the nights I can’t even fathom making dinner.

There’s romance in the way he pulls our car around to the front of the church when it’s raining, and in the way he always lets me have the umbrella. There’s romance in the way he offers to watch an extra toddler so my friend and I can go to barre class together when her husband is out of town.

There’s romance in the way he leaves notes on the kitchen chalkboard, and in the way he never takes the last of the milk. There’s romance in the way he always gives me the good seat on the couch, the one with the best view of the TV. There’s romance in the way he says “I love you” the morning after a big fight, and in the way he kisses my forehead before he leaves for work.

There’s romance in the way he cares for Everett while I’m in Africa or at a writing conference, assuring me over and over again that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

There’s romance in his support, in his encouragement, in the way he wraps his arms around me while I’m standing at the kitchen counter. There’s romance in the million little things he does for me, in the million little ways he cares for me, in the million little things that I don’t have time to mention here. There is romance in our house every morning when we wake up and choose to stay married to one another, for better and for worse.

And today, I guess I am simply grateful for that. I am grateful for romance in the little things, and grateful to be married to a man who spends 365 days a year loving me as best he can.

That’s really all I can ask for on Valentine’s Day.

Well, that and burrito bowls.

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30 Responses to romance in the little things.

  1. Elizabeth says:

    So sweet! My ideas of romance have changed similarly to yours. Now at 3.5 years married, I almost don’t want a big fuss at Valentine’s; I’d rather learn to be more intentional about noticing the little things everyday. Happy Valentine’s!

  2. Victoria B says:

    This is beautiful and real. I love your writing! Happy Valentine’s Day!
    Victoria B´s last blog post ..Firenze!

  3. Mariah says:

    Too sweet. Thank you for reminding me to be grateful for my romantic husband :)
    Mariah´s last blog post ..Happy Made-Up Holiday Day & A Giveaway

  4. Katie says:

    awe, I love this. You are so right – romance is in appreciating all the daily things we do for our partners. It’s the respect, the faith, and the little pats on the back. Happy love day!

  5. Janna Haynes says:

    I think purposeful love every day beats going all out on Valentines day anytime. Choosing to love someone every day is much more thoughtful, intentional and meaningful than doing what every other guy is doing on Valentine’s Day. I think you are #Winning

  6. Christine says:

    When we were in DR, something came up that led to David listing all the ways in which he is romantic (granted, neither of us are very sappy or big on big gestures). His list included leaving the toilet seat down, which made me laugh uncontrollably–but honestly, so much of what he does for me constantly shows that he cares for/about and appreciates me and I’m SO grateful that things like that happen on a daily basis and not just once a year! Lots of love to the Gadds <3
    Christine´s last blog post ..The gospel of King

  7. Amanda says:

    Loved reading this! So real & sincere. I was blessed with a chivalrous husband and thank my lucky stars daily that he still opens my car door, turns my side of the bed heater on at night to warm up, and rests a new toilet paper roll on top of the empty one. It’s the little things, that’s for sure. ;-) Happy Valentine’s Day, today & everyday!

  8. Christina says:

    The sweetest post for the sweetest holiday! Very well said my friend, and a great reminder about taking the time to appreciate all the little moments and gestures. Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day to one of my favorite families! <3

  9. Christina says:

    PS: I’m now totally craving a burrito bowl from Chipotle! And I just had one on Wednesday night……

  10. larissa says:

    SO perfect. i love this. i can totally relate. your life certainly changes when you have a baby and romance is definitely one of those changes. i’ve noticed it in this past almost-year and i like this new romance that doesn’t involve date nights every weekend. it not only makes our dates sweeter when they do come around, but it makes the little moments in between count even more. because now we’re purposely trying to show each other how much we love rather than just waiting until that next big date.

    you always just have the best words. i hope you two have a lovely date tomorrow!
    larissa´s last blog post ..Happy Valentine’s Day

  11. Kim says:

    My boyfriend and I aren’t married but have been living together for a few years now. Our love has certainly changed over the years to something a lot more like the love you share with your husband—it’s in the small things where it really matters the most. It’s easy to overlook these things when life gets busy and hectic, especially since both of us are focused on building our careers right now and it seems like an uphill battle to give attention to each other. Thanks for sharing!
    Kim´s last blog post ..Happy Valentine’s Day Dogs!

  12. Jenna says:

    This gave me chills all over. It’s so true. Once again, love your posts!
    Jenna´s last blog post ..HAPPY LOVE DAY!

  13. Bethany says:

    What a sweet post. I love this. It really is all about the little things!
    Bethany´s last blog post ..i totally heart you

  14. Kay says:

    Thank you for writing this! I really needed to hear that romance is still possible after getting married and having kids. For what it’s worth, I think the kind of romance you described is the best kind, so much more meaningful than shiny things or grand gestures. Oh, and I love your writing! :)

  15. Maria says:

    Just found your blog. This is beautiful, oh so beautifully written. And just how I apriciate romance in my relationship with my man, makes me very happy :)

  16. Gina says:

    OMG I love this! Beautifully written.

    I always think about how my husband isn’t good at being romantic: he’s never surprised me with flowers just because and he gets stumped when it comes to planning romantic dates for us, so I usually plan them. But after reading this post, I’ve realized that there’s a lot of romance in the little things he does for me, like when he tells me I’m the”best wife ever” and always lets me have the last French fry. <3
    Gina´s last blog post ..Five on Friday v23

  17. Hi Ashlee

    I’m new to your blog. I’ve been really blessed today to come across two lovely, lovely blogs, one of which is yours! I love this post! On point for me right now and so heartfelt. I loved your birth story too. Everett is gorgeous! My second baby was breech and wasn’t diagnosed until I was actually pushing, but I’m so grateful God was in control of every second and we have the cutest little madam (my mini me) to show for it!

    Please continue to share because you have a natural gift and your writing is very engaging and sincere. I’m going to sleep now with a smile, so thank you!

    Elizabeth Adina xx
    Elizabeth Adina´s last blog post ..A tribute to Love

  18. Callie says:

    So well put Ashlee.. I have never seen so many over the top Facebook posts from people on Valentines Day as I have this year.. My fiancé Sam bought me my favourite wine and made one of those old school Microsoft office cards on his lunch break!! He came home so bummed he hadn’t ‘made more of an effort for me’ when he saw all the braggy posts on Facebook.. I told him a homemade (work made.??) card and my favourite wine was a thousand times better than store bought flowers and just a name signed in a card! Romance can be found, as you so well put it, in any tiny everyday things. Sometimes simple gestures of love are much much more valuable than the big ones!! Xxx

  19. michelle says:

    great post, that’s what true love is all about in my opinion. :) My husband and I share the same nostalgia and romance over Little Caesar’s Hot ‘N Ready :)
    michelle´s last blog post ..10 Reasons Why I Love You

  20. Katie says:

    This is so beautiful, Ashlee.
    Katie´s last blog post ..Currently

  21. hailey farris says:

    i’m not married, in fact i’m just sixteen. but i know enough about love, to know that it’s not always happy like the movies, and finding romance in the fact that you are simply choosing to love your husband each day is what love really is. your words are inspiring. i’m keeping them close till someday when i have a husband. thanks ashlee for sharing your heart.

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