Anne Mateer – Real Life Romance – Part 2 of 2

Shannon here: Historical romance author, Anne Mateer shares the most romantic thing her husband ever did for her, plus a chance to win her debut novel, Wings of a Dream. Every time you comment on any post dated Oct 26 – 28, your name goes in the drawing. Deadline: Nov 4th, 11:59 pm, central time. Here’s Anne:

Though we had a romantic summer of introduction, after we married two years later, our lives quickly settled into the mundane. He went to law school, then work. I finished college, then had babies. We were young and selfish, each desiring the other to meet all our perceived needs. Through the first several years, we mourned dreams and lack of money. We battled learning to parent. We watched our relationship flounder. We both struggled to surrender to the Lord’s will over our own. But somewhere in those first twenty years, we both grew up. I saw this most clearly on my 40th birthday. To date, it is still the most romantic thing that has ever happened in our relationship.

First, a bit of backstory. I loved birthdays until I turned 20. Then I felt old and hated them. Five years later, in the throes of motherhood, I needed my birthdays, needed to feel celebrated, worthwhile. And if I didn’t feel celebrated enough? I’d sulk. As I said, somewhere along the way, I grew up. As did my husband.

As my 40th birthday approached, the thought of no one recognizing the day didn’t bother me at all. Honestly, I’d made my peace with 40 and with birthdays by then.  I discarded ideas of a big celebration, mostly because I didn’t want anything to mar my hard-won contentment. So when my husband suggested a date night a week before my birthday, I didn’t think anything of it. We dined at Pei Wei then perused the book store— our favorite date. When we came home, I noticed no lights on in the house. I figured our kids, then 15, 13, and 12, were watching a movie and wanted it dark. We walked up the stairs from the garage into the house. 

Suddenly light blazed. Voices shouted, “Happy Birthday!” 

My husband is not a party person. For him to go to such trouble (or at least enlist my sister and mom to go to such trouble!) really touched me. It was wonderfully romantic. I reveled in the moment, grateful for all we’d come through together. I knew I’d never forget that moment. But I never imagined there was more to come.

We ate, visited with our guests. I opened funny cards and laughed along. Then my husband handed me a gift bag.

“What’s this?” I really couldn’t guess. I reached in and found a pocket-sized travel guide of New York City. My eyes widened and my mouth dropped open. Did he mean what I thought he meant?

My husband quickly handed me a three ring notebook. I opened the cover to find a printed sheet of paper with an airline itinerary. I peered closer. To New York City. In four days. 

“There’s more,” my husband said. I turned the page. Reservations at our dream hotel: the Algonquian. Tickets for two broadway plays. Sunday brunch reservations at Tavern on the Green for the actual day of my birthday.

I couldn’t believe it. He had planned the entire trip. To our favorite place. Doing the things we’d only dreamed of doing there. But honestly, while in that moment I loved that he’d planned all this to celebrate my 40th birthday (and our 20th wedding anniversary coming later that year), it isn’t the gift of the trip that marks this as the single most romantic thing my husband has ever done. It was the trip itself.

From the moment we boarded the plane to the moment we returned five days later, we enjoyed each experience, enjoyed each other’s company, enjoyed our surroundings in a way completely new to us. Without bickering. Without disappointments. Without selfish ambitions, micromanagement or expectations. It wasn’t that everything went perfectly. There was the jackhammer at the construction site outside our window that began at 8am each morning. My knee got a weird hitch in it that made walking painful— not good in NYC. It was cold. And rainy. And yet it was the most romantic few days of our marriage. Why? Because we both chose for it be.

I’d spent my life, and our marriage, yearning for that perfect romantic experience and never finding it. I learned on that trip that any moment together can be romantic. It’s all about attitude and gratitude, not about manipulating circumstances to produce a good feeling. And that was a whole new way of thinking for this girl who lived for romance.

While I can now say we have had many such romantic moments in our marriage— most of which would sound very mundane to you—this trip will always stick in my mind as the best. Because it was the first. An unselfish, mature romance on both sides. And it doesn’t get better than that.

About Anne: Anne Mateer is a three-time Genesis Contest finalist who has long had a passion for history and historical fiction. She and her husband live near Dallas, Texas, and are the parents of three young adults.

About the book: Rebekah Hendricks dreams of a life far beyond her family’s farm in Oklahoma, and when dashing aviator Arthur Samson promised adventure in the big city, she is quick to believe he’s the man she’s meant to marry. While she waits for the Great War to end and Arthur to return to her so they can pursue all their plans, her mother’s sister falls ill. Rebekah seizes the opportunity to travel to Texas to care for Aunt Adabelle, seeing this chance to be closer to Arthur’s training camp as God’s approval of her plans.

But the Spanish flu epidemic changes everything. Faced with her aunt’s death, Arthur’s indecisiveness, and four children who have no one else to care for them, Rebekah is torn between the desire to escape the type of life she’s always led and the unexpected love that just might change the dream of her heart. 

Come back Oct 31st for inspirational author, K Dawn Byrd.

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