"One of the greatest hazards of marriage is the tendency for the drudgery of daily living to displace the deeper purpose of the relationship. There's no denying the need to manage the material and financial responsibilities of a family. The challenge is to keep these concerns in their place so they don't weigh so heavily upon us that they drown out the voice that reflects our deeper needs and longings. One of the ways to maintain the kind of perspective that nourishes our heart, as well as our hearth, is to keep romance alive.

"Romance is more than candlelight and flowers; it's a quality of attention and feeling that we bring to each other in affirmation of our love and gratitude. It is the creation of an environment that nurtures and supports our heart's deepest desires. Like the Sabbath, which is intended as a respite from the obligations of daily life and a means of spiritual replenishment, romance is a way of honoring the sacred space of our mutual love. Romance is a state of mind, a state of being wherein we focus our loving attention on each other in a way that interrupts the daily routines that often threaten to suffocate the flame of our love's passion.

"It is easy to slip into the role of roommate, friend, business partner, and coparent. We forget to be lovers or else make it such a low priority that everything else takes precedence. We stop dating. We fail to nurture the sweet connection that once consumed us with delight and passion. We don't fall out of love; we simply allow our love to atrophy by failing to attend to it. We forget that our love, like all living organisms, requires ongoing nurturance and maintenance. Keeping romance alive, in whatever forms we choose, is the antidote to the malaise that afflicts an enormous number of marriages.

"As important as the romance itself is our motivation for doing it. If we act out of a sense of duty, then romance simply becomes one more obligation to fulfill. Anything done primarily out of a sense of obligation will be more likely to promote resentment and disappointment rather than fulfillment. The seeds of romance can be nurtured during those moments when we experience love or gratitude toward our partner. We can convert these feelings to romance by coming up with ways to honor, surprise, and delight our beloved. Romance can be a spontaneous expression of affection, or it can involve extensive plans that require great preparation."