Romance Brings Out the Most in Us

A bachelor at 34, I may not be the best example to speak up around Valentine’s Day. But through my search for “the one,” I can and do appreciate what romantic partners have taught me along the way.

Romantic energy has revealed sides of me I didn’t know were there: efforts to charm, courage to face rejection, open to new experiences/new places, and new degrees of putting another person ahead of myself.

But intimacy with another comes with a price — and I’m not just referring to the vulnerability of being hurt if the love is lost. I’m talking about the flip side of the positive “sides” mentioned above.

I didn’t know the degree to which I also thought about myself until a significant other brought it up. I didn’t know my potentials for insecurity until a romantic partner brought them out. Anger may surface in new ways. Or attachment.

While it’s heartwarming to recognize the positive aspects of romance, I think it’s more accurate (and so worthy of appreciation) to recognize that romance does something bigger.

A dancer recently shared with me that she was once told by an instructor during rehearsal to “make it more what it is.” Take the direction of the expression, and go further, make it more.

Romance makes us more what we are — whether new sides or exaggerated aspects. It a vehicle with which we can actualize. Our romantic partners are our spiritual mirrors and enhancers, showing us our strengths, weaknesses, and giving us the platform on which we stretch ourselves and reach new, deeper levels of expression — some such expressions we wouldn’t entrust to others.

Romantic partners are a precious gift unparalleled in their effect on us, and we owe it to them to celebrate their place in our life. So I hope you enjoyed a celebratory Valentine’s Day, expressing your appreciation for these people in your life — past and present.

This article was adapted from my weekly email to family, friends, and readers. If you’d like to be included on this list, shoot me an email at And while you’re at it, tell me a little about yourself:)