I was really stumped when I read on E!Online that the courtship and marriage of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes was considered #2 on the “100 Best Things in Pop Culture.”
According to the entertainment and gossip site, the relationship of Tom and Katie was a romantic’s dream. Everything from Tom Cruise bouncing around on Oprah’s couch to him sharing a text from his expectant wife with Barbara Walters (and the rest of the world) is apparently the stuff of which great romances are made.
As the article puts it;
It was riveting from the second that Cruise leaped up onto Oprah’s couch to declare his love in May of 2005. It was riveting when we learned that Tom was wooing Katie by introducing him to his pals—like, say the mayor of Rome.”
I had to shake my head when I read the article, although I think it was done with a bit of tongue-in-cheek, because there is this idea that grand gestures, especially public ones, and the the throes of early infatuation are what romance is all about.
I’m sorry, but I think that many long-time married couples would disagree.
Public declarations of love and renting the Eiffel Tower for a private dinner (another Cruise gesture) might be romantic, but they are not what makes real romance.
Real romance takes time to develop; it doesn’t automatically generate from the early days of falling in love. It’s what develops in a relationship after years of surviving hardships together, building a foundation of trust through experience and truly becoming best friends.
Real romance is what makes you still in love with someone long after you find out that they’re flawed and fallible, sometimes annoying and sometimes boring.
That initial romantic feeling is fleeting, but what replaces it is far more meaningful and satisfying.
It’s easy to feel romantic about someone who is young and beautiful, but far more interesting to feel romantic about someone when you look at them and see evidence of the passage of your life together. The wrinkles at the eyes are laugh lines that you helped put there. The scar on your husband’s elbow that he got from teaching your son to ride a bike. Even the scraggly twenty-year old T-shirt that’s tattered and mishapen but still bears the name of the resort where you honeymooned.
What gossip columns and pop culture magazine call “romance’ just doesn’t hold up to the real romance of true commitment and a wealth of growth, experience and memories.