Today, many people walk out of relationships because, “That special feeling just isn’t there anymore”. There is a belief, fostered by Hollywood and our instant gratification generation, that love and romance ought to just happen; you know, like a Mills and Boon novel. But as the natural, hormonal high begins to diminish, the rose-coloured scales fall from a couple’s eyes. At this point, romance becomes a choice.
You see romance, like love, can be a noun or a verb. It can be something that you HAVE, or something that you DO. And let’s face it, while we all want the mountain-peak experience, not all of us want to climb the rocks to get there. But romance in marriage is to be desired and seen as something to strive for. While God requires that marriage be for life, He never intended it to be a sterile and soulless “life sentence”. So here are some pointers on keeping the romance in your marriage alive. (Please note: since I am a ‘her’, I write about ‘him’. If you are a ‘him’, please reverse the genders with my apologies.)
Point 1: Romance begins with “I Love YOU”
Everyday life is very destructive to romance. The hassles of career, kiddies, mortgage, bills, social obligations, etc all take their toll. For romance to flourish, we need to openly appreciate one another. Part of this is showing appreciation for acts of thoughtfulness; washing the dishes or a fresh 'cuppa' deserve gratitude. We should remind ourselves EVERYDAY “ I love him because…” and show it. Each kiss, each hug, each tenderness spoken ‘for no reason’, is an investment in romance. Cultivate romance with words of love, appreciation and desire. Make him feel special. He is!
Point 2: Discovery is the essence of romance.
When you were a new couple, everything he said was interesting. You could sit over coffee ‘til the waiters closed the shop around you and still have plenty to talk about. Now you talk about the kids, or the bills, or the dog, or the neighbours, and wonder how you will stay sane when he retires.
To feed the fires of romance, take the time to go out for coffee or a meal and have a meaningful conversation. Talk about memories of childhood, your dreams, visions and goals (past and present). Hey, talk about what’s on the news, or literature or philosophy; just not the house and the kids! LEARN about one another all over again. You will find that you gain a whole new appreciation of this person you have known so many years.
Point 3: Give and it shall be given unto you!
Notice, this is not GIVE TO GET. Give to your husband, generously, freely, without strings, things that will please him. This is what we all did in the springtime of our romance. It seemed every shop we passed had some little item to delight or amuse our beloved. DON'T go out and buy a thousand dollars worth of power-tools!!! But give little gifts, often. His favourite chocolate bar when you are shopping, a new fly for his fishing rod, small treats that cost little and say lots. “Here you go sweetheart. I got this for you today. I hope you like it. I love you.”
There are other things you can do too. Making his favourite dinner/ dessert is always a good move. And don’t forget to graciously and lovingly accept any gifts or acts of service he offers you. Sweetness and generosity fuel romance while coldness, lack of gratitude and other negative behaviours put a real damper on it.
(I guess it sounds as though the burden is on you, but in reality, it takes two to tango. Perhaps the best rule is “Do unto him as you would have him do unto you.”)
Point 4: “Bring back that lovin’ feelin’”
Romance is about feeling: the Romantic Poets, like Wordsworth, explored feeling and sensory experience. Romance is about taking time to reinvigorate the senses. Enjoy the smell of his aftershave, the feel of his hands, the sound of his voice. And say so! “Honey, I really like that cologne!” Take time together to enjoy sunsets and starlight. Smell the roses. Expand your sensory horizons. Take time to experience the moment. Share it. Relish it. Cherish it.
Romance can wane or live on in our hearts. Stoking the fires of your romance is an investment in the most important human relationship in your life and it is a flame which, if properly tended, will keep you warm for a lifetime. So let it burn, baby!