By Sarah Batcheller

Ginger Kolbaba believes in the power of old-fashioned romance, which is why she’s written her latest book about love, The Old Fashioned Way: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Romance. Setting itself apart from many other self-help relationship books, it’s a helpful guide to a timeless, everlasting love. It’s based on the screenplay Old Fashioned by Rik Swartzwelder, which is being released in theaters over Valentine’s Day weekend. In a world where relationships are consumed by ambiguity, pride, and various shades of gray, Kolbaba enlightens readers to the ways lovers thrived in simpler times. As a result, her fascinating book about love details how you, too, can achieve an old-fashioned romance.

Love Advice from Self-Help Relationship Author

You encourage readers not to constantly long for “the good old days” because for all we know, these days could be even better! So  what do you think is unique to today’s dating scene that older generations may not have experienced back in their 20’s and 30’s?

We have access now to different organizations that give us information about potential partners and help us connect with other people in a positive and healthy way. That’s a big one — because a hundred years ago, everyone lived on farms or in small communities, so basically, who you went to school with was who you connected with…unless it was someone’s cousin’s cousin’s friend who was visiting from out of town. We have a larger ability to meet people from all over the world.

Related Link: Date Idea: Live Out Your Fairytale

How do gender roles play into relationships, whether positively or negatively?

Well, first of all, let me say that I am, at heart, a feminist.  I remember once that my mother-in-law said that women were great as companions or as people to step alongside men. She said women should never be doctors; they should be nurses, teachers, or any other supportive role to the real roles that were for men. She and I really bumped heads on this idea.

In relationships, there are significant differences that we can’t ignore. We were created in a certain way, and a lot of times we try to push against that instead of flow with it. Science shows that men and women view situations differently. Men tend to be more visual, whereas women tend to be more relational; men tend to compartmentalize more than women do. If something isn’t on their screen in that moment, they’re not seeing it. But with women, if they get a speeding ticket that day, that means their dress doesn’t fit and they’re too fat and they’re a failure at their relationship. If we understand these differences in relationships, then we don’t try to make the other person exactly like us.

Furthermore, a woman’s response in an argument is typically to get angry right away and then calm down a little bit after looking at the whole situation from a discerning point of view. The man, though, can deal with a situation immediately, but then, after he processes it emotionally, he gets angry, which is when the woman can step in and be there for him.

Ginger Kolbaba Discusses Her New Book About Love

You mention that statistically speaking, couples who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce. Why do you think that is?

This goes so much against the grain of what we think is rational. Wouldn’t you think, “If I move in with this person, then I’m really going to get to know them and make a wise decision about whether I want to be with them for the rest of my life”? But statistics and research have shown over and over that there is more divorce and even more abuse that occurs for couples who cohabitate before they get married. I think that, when we decide to try it out and give ourselves this test, we’re putting divorce on the table from the get-go. We may not transition over mentally. Basically, we go from a commitment to a covenant; we feel like there is no out, and we’re all in. When we’re living together, we think we can get out, so a lot of times, we carry that same mentality into our marriages.

To shift gears, the movie Old Fashioned, whose creation led to the writing of your book, is being released alongside 50 Shades of Grey over Valentine’s Day weekend. In your opinion, what does having these two movies side-by-side say about relationships and love today?

Well, after I saw the screening of Old Fashioned, I realized that the movie leaves you with this sense of hope and this feeling of, “Oh my gosh, that’s how I want to be treated!” This movie shows what love is. Now, I haven’t seen 50 Shades of Grey, but I’ve read the book, and I know it doesn’t make you say, “Oh, that would make me feel like someone really cares for me.” So what these two movies going head-to-head has to offer is that people can see two different viewpoints of relationships and love. Now, both show very extreme versions of love, but Old Fashioned is closer to the way people actually want to be treated.

Related Link: ’50 Shades of Grey’ Star Jamie Dornan Shares Unsexy Secret

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, what is your love advice for couples looking to celebrate the holiday in a fun and romantic, maybe even old fashioned, way?

People should let go of the expectation that is has to be perfect because it’s Valentine’s Day. I want to be treated like that every day! I’ve known couples who have gotten into huge arguments because of trying to plan big, romantic dinners and buying huge gifts instead of just enjoying each other’s company and doing something wonderful with each other. People set the expectations too high.

My friend Jonathan got married a couple of years ago, and for the first Valentine’s Day, he went all out. He got her a huge present and took her to an expensive dinner and did all these things. The next year, he did all these things, except he didn’t get her a present, and what did she decide to focus on? The missing gift, of course. He came into my office and said, “I don’t know what to do. I almost don’t want to celebrate it anymore!” Don’t end up focusing on a misplaced expectation instead of each other.

Learn more about Ginger on her website, www.gingerkolbaba.com/home.html and pick up a copy of The Old Fashioned Way today. Be on the lookout for future self-help relationship books from the author!