I married a genuinely nice guy. Former Spouse had a few quirks, like needing to go to the gym almost every day for hours no matter what, running great distances regularly “for the fun of it,” and needing to eat his oranges standing at the kitchen sink—nowhere else.
And yet he had some moves, some small traits that won my heart. Without being told, he figured out how to fix my tea exactly the way I like it, and he’d occasionally bring me a cup without my having to ask.
He held doors for me, and always opened my car door before he went around to the other side and climbed in.
If he was meeting me among a group of our friends, he’d walk into the room, look me right in the eye, and say, “Hello, Gorgeous,” then come kiss me before he said hello to anybody else. The other ladies in the room would sigh audibly. The other fellows would wish they’d thought of that.
He could tell when I had a headache just by looking at me, He said it was something in my eyes that gave it away. My own parents never picked up on this, neither did my offspring.
These are the behaviors of a fellow who notices his lady, who observes her and processes what his senses are telling him about her, and then he goes one step further and acts on the information in a caring way. And note well, it doesn’t cost a lot of money to walk into a room, make a beeline for your beloved, and acknowledge him or her with open affection first, before you start working the crowd.
It costs nothing to figure out how a lady likes her tea. It costs nothing to hold doors for her. It doesn’t take great intelligence, it doesn’t take youthful stamina or great moves in bed.
To me, this is one essential presentation of romantic love—small things redolent of insight and caring. Things I hoard up when I come across them so I might imbue my fictional heroes with these traits.
So… how did you know your sig other was a keeper? Or with the ones that got away (or were tossed back) what little things did they do that make you smile at their memory?
And watch out how you answer, because if it’s really, really sweet, tender or clever, it might end up in the pages of one of my books!