Romance. That dreaded word so many men hate. Gestures met with disregard from a wife feel like a huge letdown. Plans changed or tweaked communicate it’s never good enough. Unmet expectations that culminate in hurt feelings create paralyzing pressure. Trying to figure out romance feels like an opportunity for failure. So why even try?
But the word romance simply means to pursue. To tell our spouse by our words or actions, “ I care about you” or “I want you.” To not take them for granted but to continue wooing them. As our relationship matures, we become more in tune to their desires and what gives them a thrill. Romance communicates how well we know our spouse.
Culture has taught us that men romance wives. Really wives also need to romance their husbands. It might look different, but I want my husband to know that I think about him. Romance communicates that I am a student of his, because I love him. That I know his likes and his dislikes. I don’t take him for granted but continue to pursue him.
Romance does not have to be complicated. Simple gestures can mean as much as huge extravagances. One woman in class shared, a simple gesture that said it all. After 30 years of marriage they were getting away for a weekend. Unbeknownst to her, her husband packed their wedding album. Part of the weekend they spent time fondly remembered their beginning.
Let me help demystify the word romance as I share 4 practical ideas about romance.
1. Study Each Other
Romance communicates that you know your spouse. My husband and I always joke that every husband should know what kind of blizzard to order for his wife. Some wives know exactly what kind of coffee their husband likes. They might pick up their favorite drink once in a while, or faithfully make sure the pot is full in the morning. Romance is knowing the small things that matter to your spouse. Once my husband brought home a pack of Good and Plenty because he knew I was missing my fix. When we go on a really fancy date, sometimes I even like to just ask him to order for me. After 30 years of marriage it feels romantic to trust that he knows what I like.
Timing can make or break the impact of a romantic gesture. Yes, special days, create expectations of a gesture of love. But sometime the most romantic thing you do is treat the other just to brighten their day. When you notice that your spouse needs a little pick me up, you communicate they come before work, projects or kids. Even a simple text during the day, saying a “miss you today. Can’t wait to come home” puts a smile on our face. Picking up flowers or a small gift “just because” communicates much more than the card on valentines. Doing something nice, for no reason at all, says, “I’m thinking about you”.
3. Listen and Remember
When you do plan things that your spouse mentioned months ago, it communicates that you care enough not only to hear, but to remember. Maybe you noticed when they said they wished they had a new bathrobe, or cheese slicer. Or when they went on and on about the movie they want to see, you knew exactly what to plan for your next date. One of the men in class explained, “I usually hear things, but I used to always forget. Now I take notes in my phone to help me remember and I my wife loves it.” If you need to, set up a system and write a few notes to act on in the near future. Your spouse will be thrilled as you follow through.
4. Make Plans
There is nothing romantic about your spouse nudging you for sex at 11pm when are ready to drop off to sleep. Planning ahead let’s our spouse know that we are not just an afterthought. Simple things like lighting a couple of candles, drawing a bath, or inviting our spouse upstairs for a nice back rub can set the mood for an amazing night. Lining up a baby sitter and choosing a restaurant or activity in advance will add a thrill to your spouse’s step as you take the lead in making plans. Making plans opens up the possibility of rejection and takes courage. Making plans communicates you are not afraid to lead.
The Receiving End
Wives tend to have this special knack for discouraging their husband in the area of romance. If you want your husband to be romantic, then you need to affirm and encourage him in the small things he does – even if only for the effort he put forth. You also need to take your turn romancing your husband. Show him how well you know him by planning something he would love. Plan a picnic in front of the fireplace. Light candles in the bedroom and let him watch. Plan a fun, active date that both of you will enjoy. Turn romance into something good instead of something dreaded.