I used to have a recurring daydream. After obsessing over the movie, “Ten Things I Hate About You” starring Julia Stiles and the late Heath Ledger, I knew I needed wanted a guy to dance down a set of stadium steps, singing his heart out for me. In my mind, it was the ultimate in romance. The grand gesture that would prove a man’s love for me. (Nevermind that I was 17 and ridiculous – this was an expectation I held on to.)

I did eventually get a man to sing for me. In public! My husband sang a song he wrote for me at our wedding. (I’m still waiting for the dancing.) But, the thing is – I shouldn’t have needed the gesture. That’s not what love is. Love isn’t what we see on the big screen. It’s not about the grand, over-the-top gestures. It’s the day-in day-out sticking by your side that counts.

Now I love romantic comedies (or rom-sads as Syd calls them) as much as the next girl, but they’re not real-life. Our conversations aren’t scripted. Our interactions aren’t perfectly timed to intersect with the soft rain and moonlight. We don’t often have jobs and responsibilities that allow us to take afternoon strolls through apple orchards and jet away to charming mountain lodges every time it snows.

I don’t know what your marriage or relationship looks like. And if you’re not dating or married, I’m not sure what you’re hoping for. But either way, I challenge you to ask yourself if expectations are clouding your vision. Are you waiting for your spouse/partner to dance down the stairs, or can you begin to recognize the magic in your mundane?

We need to stop waiting around for those “perfect” movie moments and accept our beautiful reality.

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.”

Shakespeare

I could continue to sit and wait for my husband to ask to have a long and emotional talk with me at dusk. I could keep waiting for a romantic scavenger hunt or slow dancing at the town park (where they just so happen to play charming old movies on a big screen). OR, I could see my husband out working in the garden. I could notice the way he smiled at me when I pulled into the driveway tonight. I could be grateful knowing we had food on the table tonight. I could be pleased knowing that I did the laundry and picked my child up from school. That’s love.

Love isn’t just about the big gestures. Those happen once or twice in a lifetime if we’re lucky. Love is in the million tiny moments that make up a life together.

*There is nothing magical about abuse. That is NOT what love looks like. If you are in an abusive relationship, tell someone and seek help.