Build a Romantic Marriage
[so i went with him, and when we were climbing the rocky steps up the hillside, my beloved shepherd said to me] o my dove, [while you are here] in the seclusion of the clefts in the solid rock,
in the sheltered and secret place of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.
Song of Solomon 2:14 (Amp.)
Are you romantic? If so, great! If not, you can learn to be. Your marriage will need it. You need it! But do you really know what romance is?
A romantic relationship can include several important ingredients. First, romance often includes the element of the unexpected. The routines and tasks of our daily lives consume most of our time and energy.
An unexpected romantic surprise can help break up the routine and monotony of the day. Surprises also carry the message, “I’m thinking about you. You’re on my mind. I want your day to be different.”
You may develop your own routine for creating special romantic surprises. That is important.
But beware: Anything that is repeated month after month, year after year, or decade after decade may become humdrum.
Surprising your spouse with dinner out at the same restaurant every payday may not be as romantic after 20 years!
Be sure to look for new restaurants, activities, and ways to say “I love you” that will keep the excitement of the unexpected in your romancing.
A second element in a romantic relationship is called dating—something you now do and hopefully plan to continue.
Dating means selecting a specific time to be together and making plans for the event. Sometimes a couple may mutually plan the activity or one person may be appointed to plan the date.
Most of the time romantic dating will be just for the two of you and not a crowd! A few years from now when you’re out on a date, I would suggest not talking about work or the children.
Rather, talk about yourselves. Make it a fun time. Laugh and enjoy each other and be a little crazy. When you go to a restaurant, let the host or hostess know that you and your spouse are there on a date.
Dates ought to center on an activity in which you can interact together. If you attend a movie or play, plan time before or after the show to eat and talk together.
Third, because romance is often emotional and nonrational, a romantic relationship sometimes includes the impractical.
You may splurge on an outing or a gift, which you know you can’t really afford, but the romantic value makes it worth scrimping in other areas to pay for it.
Impractical romantic happenings are moments to remember. And that is what romance is so often built upon—good memories. Store your hearts with romantic memories and they will carry you through the difficult times.
A fourth element in a romantic relationship is creativity. Discover what delights your partner and then make those delights happen in many different, creative ways.
Even the way you express your love to your partner each day can be varied and innovative. If your spouse can predict what you will say, how you will respond and what kind of gift you will give on special occasions, you are in a romantic rut.
Fifth, romance involves daily acts of care, concern, love, speaking your partner’s language, listening and giving each other your personal attention.
Such acts convey a message of acceptance and thoughtfulness to your spouse. You see, romance begins in your mind and not in your glands.
Too many people, especially men, tend to let their physical drives take the lead in romance all the time. Rather, a thoughtful, caring attitude will create romance even when your glands are stuck in neutral.
Sixth, romance involves commitment. Every day of our lives as couples is marked by highs and lows, joys and disappointments. Romantic feelings will ebb and flow.
If commitment to each other is at the heart of the marriage relationship, however, romance will thrive. Mutual commitment creates a mutual love response, and commitment is first an exercise of the will based on an attitude of heart.
H. Norman Wright is a licensed Family Counselor and child therapist and has taught in the Grad. Department of Biola University. He is the author of more than seventy books