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Romance 101
by James Calvin

What woman doesn’t want to be treated to a little romance every once in a while? Many women will agree that romance is all about the details. Small gestures really do make a normal night out into something romantic. So listen up…because these tips will sure earn you some points…

The key to being romantic is thoughtfulness…so start being a little less selfish. Learn that mood, location, situation and ambience can heighten romance with dramatic effect. Communicate with your partner on every level and anticipate their desires and needs. Look at your partner when they are talking and hold their gaze.

Try doing little things to get right at your partner’s soft spot. Phone just to say hello, I love you and give your partner a nice surprise. Send them notes and small cards telling them you are thinking of them. Be spontaneous and do little deeds that show you care. Bring home take out from their favorite restaurant or take them to their favorite ice cream shop. Flowers are always a nice touch at any time of year. Be creative and pick out their favorite colors and types for a personal touch.

Remember birthdays, anniversaries and landmark days such as the day your first met or first kissed, and plan something…maybe a return to the first date location. Listen to clues that your partner might drop, such as their favorite dessert or books they like, and surprise them with little gifts.

Learn how to hug, cuddle and make physical contact. Dance together when the occasion arises. Hold hands and do anything to make your partner feel close to you.

Write him/her a letter and let them know that you love them and you mean it. Use nice stationary, or make your own card, which shows thought and inspiration.

In terms of dates, learn how to cook your partner’s favorite dish. Plan a surprise candlelit dinner followed by a romantic movie. Take your partner on a picnic to the park or beach and prepare in advance without involving them. This initiative is very romantic.

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-- October Direct Answers
     from Wayne and Tamara

Direct Answers appears in newspapers on six continents.

-- Direct Answers by Wayne and Tamara

From Drew:

"I am freaking out. In a big way! I'm 11 days away from my wedding, and I'm not excited about it. Not in the least. I'm not even that excited about the honeymoon. I've been with my fiancée for over two years and engaged six months. I just don't know how I got there. I don't feel ready. I feel angry, depressed, pushed around and irrational.

It seems like every major step we've taken as a couple has been prompted by her, usually in the form of a breakdown or panic attack. We got engaged last spring, after one of these breakdowns. She was expecting to be engaged by spring break, and break came and I wasn't ready to propose.

I basically got an ultimatum. I wasn't ready to call it quits, so I caved. She left town for the week, and by the end of it, I had flown where she was and proposed. It was more fun and romantic than it sounds, but I had this horrible feeling in my gut just after I asked her to marry me.

I feel like a rotten person. To get this far and not understand how I truly feel is gut-wrenching. She's a great girl and treats me well. We have fun and things are pretty good on the surface, but we've had major issues with religion, sex, family and social interaction.

I know everyone has issues, but I've never felt more isolated in my life. I've never felt more unable to express myself, more unable to open a book.

I catch myself wondering about other girls. Wondering if it's supposed to be this hard. Wondering if I'm going to feel better or worse after we say I do. I'm at a loss and feel unable to talk to her about it. What is the first step in getting this all out?"

Wayne & Tamara's Answer:

"Drew, it was a staring contest and you blinked first. But just because you lost the competition, it doesn't mean you should get married. No one should enter into any contract, much less a contract for a lifetime, under duress.

Think about what happened. She gave you an ultimatum. An ultimatum is a choice between "do what I want" and "otherwise it's over." The ultimatum itself is proof there is not enough of a connection to sustain the relationship.

When she stared you down, you took it almost as a sign of affection. But ask yourself, "Has she been nice because she loves me, or has she been nice to get what she wants?" Won't it be even worse after the wedding, if you capitulate?

A stare can mean affection, but it can also mean hostility. Her breakdowns and panic attacks were the means she used to get you to obey.

There is no legitimate reason a woman should marry someone who doesn't want to marry her. She should be willing to step back from this as well, though we doubt she will.

Maybe it took this for you to get over her. But there is only one thing to do now. Take the blame and stop the wedding. Don't worry how to broach this. Just do it.

Tell her, "It's on me. It's my fault. I should have said no, but I gave in to pressure. At any rate, it is a mistake for me to go forward."

By stopping this you are preventing that scene 10 years from now where you tell her, "You know, I never wanted to marry you."

We get letters from people who knew they were about to make a mistake six months, five months, four months, a week, a day and an hour before the wedding. But they went ahead anyway. And paid the price. The stakes for you are much lower. All you need to do is admit you lost a staring contest."

Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at

Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801
or email:

Read an interview with Wayne and Tamara at: