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Romance Doesn't Have to Be Expensive

How to build intimacy in ways money can't buy
Romance Doesn't Have to Be Expensive

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Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! (Psalm 85:10).

"I'd rather be with you than anyone," my husband said as we walked hand-in-hand down Ocean Avenue in Carmel, California, one sunny afternoon, visiting one art gallery after another. By the time we returned to our car, we had spent $20,000—in our imaginations. We'd enjoyed hours of fun and culture without once pulling out our credit cards. For 30 years, gallery hopping has been one of our favorite romantic pastimes.

But we also find romance in unlikely places. I remember one late afternoon following many hours raking pine needles and pulling weeds in the yard of our cozy weekend cabin. I hobbled into the house—exhausted. All I wanted was a warm tub and a bowl of hot soup!

Charles stayed behind to put away the gardening tools. I settled into the soapy water, took a deep breath, and relaxed for the first time that day. But not for long.

A hard rap on the bathroom window captured my attention. I ran my hand over the steamy windowpane and looked out. There stood Charles smiling at me, his face smudged, his eyes bright. He pulled off his cap and wiped the beads of perspiration that poured down his face.

"What's up?" I called.

"Not much," he answered. "I miss you, that's all. The sun's almost down," he added gently, pointing toward the mountains, "and I want you here beside me as the day ends."

A little shiver ran down my spine. Here was a gesture so simple, a gift so lovely, it took my breath away—and brought me down to where I ought to be. I suddenly had a fresh vision of Jesus in my husband's words and in his face. I realized I was being a Martha when it was clearly time to be a Mary. We had each other. We had the Lord. We had this day. We didn't need to go anywhere or spend any money to enjoy each other.

I grabbed a towel, slipped into my bathrobe, and dashed out back—just in time to enjoy the simple pleasure of watching, arm in arm with my husband, the golden sun slip behind the hills. There we stood, he in grubby overalls and I in a ratty bathrobe—feeling more romantic than we had since our honeymoon! And it didn't cost a thing. No time since has meant as much to me.

This experience got me thinking about other ways to add a touch of romance to my marriage without spending money. Eating a meal on our front porch together while watching the birds, enjoying our flowerbed, and spending a few minutes in prayer; making a date for a movie and popcorn at home in our bathrobes and slippers. It's easy to slip into bed when the movie ends—especially if it's a romantic film!

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Romance Doesn't Have to Be Expensive