It's Not All Kissable Lips: Cynthia Ruchti on Real, Enduring Romance

Sure, we all love reading about impossibly romantic heroes — but sometimes the sweetest gesture of all isn't a bouquet or being swept away for a weekend (though we won't say no to any of those, Mother's Day is Sunday), it's the more meaningful, real gestures that tell us if a guy's really a keeper. Today Cynthia Ruchti, whose inspirational romance All My Belongings is out this week, talks real life romance. Take it away, Cynthia!

The cover of All My Belongings

A relationship expert once told me, in effect, “Don’t base your assessment of the romance’s potential on the fancy dinner, fun evening and his lips’ kissability rating. Balance a checkbook with him. Go to a funeral with him. Watch how he interacts with his siblings, parents, grandparents. How does he handle stress? Grief? His menopausal mother? His toddler cousin? How does he respond when you have the flu? That will tell you whether his character is worth snuggling up to.”

That’s the secret? That’s how you can know if a relationship is worth taking to the altar?

The stuff of a beautiful romance novel? The stuff of a lifelong romance.

There’s nothing like a first kiss that leaves a reader breathless. Nothing like a creative, tender proposal or tear-drenched wedding vows that make the reader ache with their beauty. But when I read—or write—a scene where romance shows up in the awkward and uncomfortable, I know that’s a love worth pursuing.

The day of my father’s heart attack, my sister called to inform her new boyfriend, who lived and taught school 80 miles away. Eighty-one minutes later he showed up at the door to sit beside her on the sofa while they waited for hospital updates.

The day my father died, my brother called to inform his new girlfriend. They mourned the many miles that separated him in Wisconsin from where she worked in the Bahamas. She showed up unexpectedly at our family home the next day and immediately headed for the kitchen where she washed dishes and catalogued the casseroles and chocolate cakes arriving by the hour.

I think my brother fell in love that day. It had nothing to do with her charming smile or “eyes he could get lost in.” He fell in love with her heart.

My sister and her now-husband just became grandparents. My brother and his now-wife have four children and a marriage worth emulating.

I’m certainly not asking about their kisses, these are my siblings, after all — and their wedding days were memorable for all the right reasons. But their romances are laced with many scenes like these, because that’s where the need lies.

As I write, as I read, I’m watching for the kind of romantic moments that show “This is a love worth pursuing, a guy worth snuggling up to.”

But there’s no denying that finding ways to make the flu sound romantic in print takes some finesse.

- Cynthia Ruchti

What do you think, has Cynthia cracked the code for enduring romance? Or do you prefer to be swept off your feet? Be sure to check out All My Belongings, out this week. And for more inspiring romance, visit our Everything Inspirational page.