I’ve been with my husband since high school. Lately things have been pretty stale in our relationship. I used to get a bouquet of flowers every month, just because. Now, I’m lucky if I get flowers for my birthday. At what point do men decide you don’t have to be romantic anymore?

— Want the Romance Back

Dear Romance,

When fishing, a man puts a colorful spinner that glitters and twirls on the end of their fishing pole to attract an innocent, bystanding (or swimming) fish. They toss the spinner out into the water and slowly reel it in, until they get a bite. When the fish bites the hook, the man will then quickly jerk the pole up to deeply snag the mouth of the fish. The fish will fight the line, but the man will patiently wait for the fish to tire and then, BAM! The fish is out of the water in a bucket and being carried to the man’s home where he will clean, stuff and mount it on the wall for all to see his catch. He’ll tell of the struggle to catch it, he’ll dust it and stare at it. But as life moves on, the story of the catch will fade. It will forever stay in the back of his mind, but it’s stuffed — it’s not going anywhere. He’s got it — for the rest of his life.

Relating this to romance, the man will present gifts to attract the woman, shiny and colorful (jewelry and flowers). He’ll slowly advance his enticements as the woman fights the temptations. He’ll patiently wait as the woman falls more in love. Once the love has been established, he’ll “jerk” the relationship by presenting a wedding ring. BAM! The woman is being carried over their new threshold, where she’ll clean it, dust it and present to the world what a spectacular catch she is. He’ll tell his friends the story of his ‘catch’ and stare at her, not believing he actually got the woman of his dreams. But as the honeymoon ends and life goes on, the story of the catch will fade. It will forever stay in the back of his mind as children enter the picture. She will forever be his, for the rest of his life.

Kind of a crude comparison, but it seems to fit. Women do the same thing. Once we’ve got our man, do we really need to shave our legs every day? Maybe. Given the chance, I’d wear sweatpants and a ponytail every day. How many UFC fights have you pretended to enjoy since being married? I have never liked or understood the thrill of seeing two grown men beating each other up. I know now that I can decline an invite because my husband is still going to be my husband after the fight. If we were still dating … I’d probably grit my teeth and go, just so I could be with him.

A relationship has to be two-sided. Each person has to give to receive. Keeping the romance alive is hard. I wish I could come home, and for once see a bouquet of flowers on the kitchen table, just because.

As our lives revolve around us, we need to remember to evolve our relationship too. Maybe you won’t get those flowers every month, but try setting aside a night each month to be alone with your husband. Go see a movie, have a candlelit dinner, or just get a cup of coffee and talk. Remember the “good times” before marriage and relive some of the adventures you had. Time alone with each other without the hassles of life will eventually help you remember why the two of you have been together for so long.

(Editor’s note: Sharilyn Wells really doesn’t know much about anything, but she’ll definitely share her opinion with you whenever needed. To get a ‘straight up’ opinion to your countless issues, email paraglidebragg@gmail.com.)