”It’s the little things you do together … that make perfect relationships/

The hobbies you pursue together, savings you accrue together, looks you misconstrue together/

That make marriage a joy.”

The above lines from Stephen Sondheim’s musical Company popped into my head as I was reading Patti O’Shea’s Edge of Dawn.  I found this book spectacularifically generic in almost every way, except in its depiction of the couple’s pastimes.  Unlike many romances in which couples seem to share everything but parents, Ms. O’Shea’s characters had mutually exclusive – exclusive, mind you – hobbies.  He tinkers with cars.  She loves art.  Both hobbies bore the hell out of the other, and the other knows it.  But does it affect their relationship?  Not a whit.

It got me thinking about these little things in relationships and marriage, the tiny compromises that so often an author will tell us their bond can survive but rarely show.  I thought about couples I enjoy reading about when I want a solid sense of longevity rather than red roses and champagne.  I thought about authors who show realistic, timely progressions rather than whirlwind dances, and I thought about practicalities many authors never mention (uh, long hair floating around in a bathtub? Ew).  And I thought, in the end, I’d open up the floor to you, and include the entire clip of  The Little Things You Do Together as a bonus.  (Sondheim is admittedly more cynical than I’d ever like to read in a romance, but no one can say the man doesn’t have a way with words.)

Do you have go-to authors or situations when you want a dose of reality?  (For that matter, do you want a dose of reality in romance novels?)  What are some of the things you’ve seen, or look for (or don’t)?  And even if we did see more of these little things, is that undesirable in a romance novel; would reality equate banality?

– Jean AAR