At what point in a relationship does the romance fizzle out? At what point are we comfortable going to the toilet in front of our other half or letting them see us bleaching our mustache hairs? (I can't be the only woman that does this.)
Most relationships start with the honeymoon period where everything he/she does is amazingly wonderful, we think things like oh-my-God-I-can't-breathe-I-love-him/her-so-much. We want to have sex Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele style at least 50 times a day, and we'd never dream of letting them see what we really do in the bathroom.
So how long does it take for the 'not tonight dear, I've got a headache' excuse to creep in - a year? Two years? Does the honeymoon period even have to end, or do we just accept that's what happens and therefore don't work to keep it otherwise?
I'm a hopeless romantic and I don't believe it ever should. I don't fall for this 'it's just the way it is' nonsense with anything in life - we are all able to make our own choices and decisions. I believe that with hard work and a conscious effort, romance doesn't have to turn stale.
I've grown up watching my own parent's marriage, and although they love each other very much, they tend to hide it quite well. A few years ago I went to Scotland with my Mum for four days and when I asked her if she was going to say goodbye to my Dad before we got in the taxi to the airport her response was 'nah'. That's it. Just a simple 'nah'. I had to backtrack to see if I'd accidentally offered her a cup of tea, or asked her if she fancied a sandwich. I know every couple shows love in their own little ways but I've never gotten my head round that one.
I've been called naive for thinking that any marriage of 20 years plus is any different, but to me, settling for a life of forgotten anniversaries and birthdays is naive. Romance is not only reserved for the young! How exciting is life when you're sharing it with your best friend? My other half and I might be well past the point that I try to pretend I'm some sort of ethereal being who always has freshly washed hair and perfect makeup, and maybe my other half has once mistaken my leg for the cat (in my defence it was a really cold winter), but to me, our honeymoon period will never end.
Romance is not just flowers and chocolates, but also mutual respect, understanding, compassion, honesty and compromise. It's coming home to a nice meal, a candlelit bath, a clean house, a silly note in your packed lunch, quality time together, saying 'I love you' before going to sleep, watching Time Team even though you hate it because your other half loves it. These things don't take a lot of time and effort to do, and there are no reasons why you shouldn't do them every day no matter how old you are. So why are so many of us happy to let our romances die?
I'm not saying these things are the perfect solution but they're a great step at keeping the love alive - ask me in twenty years time how my marriage is and I hope I can tell you I still get butterflies every day. So what are you waiting for? Go on tell someone how much you love them and keep the romance alive!
Image via X-Ray Delta One's Flickr