Shannon here: Amish romance author, Kelly Irvin shares how she and her husband keep their romance alive, plus a chance to win her latest release, A Heart Made New. Comment on any post dated Oct 15 – 19 to get your name in the drawing. Deadline: Oct 27th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Kelly:
The Truly Grand Gestures (Also known as Translating the Love Language of a Husband) by Kelly Irvin
Writing Amish romances has given me the opportunity to think about how you show romance in a very conservative community not prone to big gestures or shows of physical affection. I’ve come to realize it’s in the small, consistent gestures that reflect a sustaining love. That’s what makes for a relationship that crosses the finish line. I see that in my own marriage. On February 14 of next year, my husband and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary with a trip to Hawaii.
As we approach this milestone in our marriage, I often revel in the fact that we’ve made it this far and ask myself why ours has been successful and other marriages haven’t. My humble theory is this: It’s about the small, daily gestures that accumulate one rose at a time until we have this enormous bouquet of flowers that remind us on a daily basis of why we fell in love in the first place.
Writing Amish fiction has made me aware of how simple gestures are the most romantic. The Amish don’t even take honeymoons, yet their marriages last forever. Divorce is virtually unheard of. Why? They make faith, family, and community the center of their lives, in that order.
Like most men, I guess, my husband claims he’s not the romantic type. And he’s not in a historical romance dashing debonair fictional hero sort of way. But he is romantic in a very guy sort of way. Recently I went to the ACFW writing conference in Dallas. Before I left, Tim took a new studio shot of me for my web site and Facebook profile photo. Then he arose early that Thursday morning so he could take me to the airport before arriving to work at seven-thirty a.m.
My daughter, who lives near the airport, offered to pick me up on the following Sunday, but Tim declined the offer, saying he wanted to do it himself. When we arrived home, I found he had sorted and started the laundry and he’d run the Rumba vacuum. He even offered to make dinner, an offer I declined still being full of the delicious food served at the conference.
Later in the evening we sat down to watch the season premiere of “Homeland,” one of the few programs we watch together. He’s sitting on the couch and he looks over at me and says, “It’s sure nice to have you back in your chair, sitting across from me.”
Translation: “I missed you and I love you.” I melted. Who wouldn’t? All these small gestures add up to one grand gesture that tells me he loves me.
And it’s not just when I go out of town for a few days. Tim calls me every morning on his way to work. He calls me again when he knows I’m in my car, heading home at the end of the day. In fact, he worries if we don’t connect. Case in point, I recently had to run a few errands after work. I’d told him at least twice the day before that I needed to mail some galleys after work and stop by the grocery store. But I hadn’t reminded him in the last twelve hours.
I climbed back in my car after completing the errands and found that he’d called my cell phone twice. I hadn’t heard the ring for some reason. He’d also called my work cell phone. Of course, I returned his call immediately. He suggested I might want to remind him of these things. “When you don’t come home at your usual time, I worry,” he said. Translation: “I love you.”
Our anniversary isn’t until February, but Tim’s been planning our trip for months. He has the entire itinerary mapped out for the ten-day trip to Maui. Occasionally, he calls me into his office to look at the photos of the island on his computer. He’s reserved a room with a view of the ocean, booked us on a zip line, reserved our spots for a luau, and rented a car for a jaunt on some wild, hairpin-turn road.
One day he printed out the seating chart on the airplane so he could show me where we would be sitting. He’s anticipating the fun we’ll have spending this time together on this great adventure. I love that about him. He’s already bought a new camera so he can better capture the fun, and we’ll be able to revisit the scenes of our great escape for many years to come.
Every one of these gestures is better than two dozen roses. They won’t fade and die, but live on in a bouquet of small gestures that reflect a love that has grown and deepened over the span of twenty-five years When he does these things, I can’t help but think, “I love you too!”
February 11—the first day of our trip—can’t come soon enough. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the small gestures and planning a few of my own. After all, that’s the secret of a successful marriage. Showing each other every day how much we love each other.
About Kelly: Kelly Irvin is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series, which includes To Love and To Cherish, A Heart Made New, which is slated to release in October 2012, and Love’s Journey Home, which will debut in January 2013. She recently signed with Harvest House Publishing for a three-book spin-off series entitled the New Hope Amish.
Kelly has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine, published by Five Star Gale in 2010 and 2011.
The Kansas native is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism, Kelly has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter. For more than eighteen years, she has worked in public relations for the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department. Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-four years, and they have two young adult children. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors.
About the book – A Heart Made New: In the second novel of Kelly Irvin’s Bliss Creek Amish series, readers will be delighted to return to a town and a family they’ve already come to love.Oct. 1, 2012)
Annie Shirack is trying to fight her feelings for David Plank, a young Amish man who’s struggling with an aggressive case of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. David loves Annie too much to let her into his life, only, he fears, to leave her.
When a homeless young woman named Charisma and her two-year-old daughter, Gracie, show up in Bliss Creek, Annie welcomes them into the Shirack household and tries to help them establish a new life. But all the good deeds in the world can’t change the ache in Annie’s heart…or help her forget the man she loves. (#2 in the Bliss Creek Amish series by Kelly Irvin – Harvest House Publishing -Release Date: Oct 1, 2012)
Come back Oct 19th for an excerpt from A Heart Made New!