Dear Church Family,
Ahhhhh, Love is in the air! February is thought of by many as the month of love. And we all know that love is what makes the world go round, right? Well some are probably wondering What’s love got to do with it? Okay, okay I will stop the cheesy one liner song title clichés. Love, relationships and family are serious business. We are different, men and women. And how we are romanced is different. Marriage is tougher than growing a garden but similar in that both have to be maintained and weeded for the best to survive and be enjoyed. So let me take just a few moments of your time to share some things which may enhance you love life, relationships and family life.
Romancing The Ladies:
When asked to describe the purpose of romance, a woman will use words such as friendship, relationship, endearment, and tenderness. Given the same question, a man will answer with one of the shortest words in the English language—sex. For him, physical oneness and affirmation of his manhood equal romance.
Can two people with such different perspectives have their expectations met? Absolutely! But creating adventurous romance requires planning and enthusiastic effort. The relationship has to be a top priority. One reason so many marriage beds are frozen over or boring is that couples just don’t have time for romance and sex. Too many husbands and wives try to work sex in between the evening news and late night talk shows.
Let’s face it. Many of our activities and other important things get the best of our resources and energy. Jobs get our best. Children get our best. Church work gets, well some of our best. But are we saving any of our best for romance in marriage?
When we had Shari at home, Becky and I worked hard to save some of our best for each other. Shari learned over the years that Mom and Dad often like to have quiet evenings alone. When she was younger, we occasionally turned the kitchen into a famous big-time restaurant called the Becky’s Place, not the one at the Ramada Inn in Morristown, We would share a nice meal and time alone.
Later in the evening, Shari knew she was to go to her room and stay there, not coming out for anything except bathroom runs. At 9 p.m. or so, Becky and I turned our bedroom into our own romantic hide away. There we would relax. As we communicated, we were reminded of what attracted us to each other, and romance had an opportunity to ignite. We didn’t have to worry about a babysitter and didn’t have to leave the house to get away alone.
To make anything like this work, you must schedule it and then take the time to follow through. If I have learned anything in marriage, it is that romance, our relationship, and sex take time. And they deserve our best. But even the best will get lost in the shuffle life if not worked at hard.
I have spent the better part of my marriage learning and adjusting the following summary of a woman’s romantic needs. The list was developed through much observation and conversation with Becky and other women. I also have learned a great amount from the best book ever written on romance, passion, and sex—the Song of Songs in the Old Testament. And from good current biblical authors on romance of today. Obviously, a woman has more than five romantic needs, but I consider these to be the top five:
Romantic Need #1: To be spiritually ministered to by her man
Are you surprised that something to do with candy and flowers isn’t number one? A woman wants a man eager to be her protector, someone who cares not just about her security and physical needs but also (and even more importantly) about her spirituality, the well-being of her very soul.
A husband can be a spiritual protector and advocate for his wife by praying with and for her daily, putting his arms around her, and saying, “I want to ask God to bless you. I want to take any needs you have in your life right now to the Lord. And I’m going to pray for you throughout this day.” A wise husband takes the lead in sharing Scripture and eagerly initiating conversation on spiritual issues.
A husband can contribute to his wife’s spiritual well-being by giving her some time to pursue her spiritual growth. For example, he might take care of the kids by himself for the evening while she attends a Bible study.
I suggest that every young husband who wants to better understand his wife and his job description should read The Christian Husband, a book by Bob Lepine.
Romantic Need #2: To feel safe and secure with her husband
A woman needs to feel her husband’s covenantal commitment to stay married and to love her and accept her. Then she feels safe to give him the gift of who she is in the marriage relationship. The Shulammite woman, who was the object of Solomon’s passion, said, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song 6:3). She obviously had a strong sense of contentment and security.
A wife needs to know that romantic intimacy is just between her and her husband, that he will not share any personal details with his friends. She should not feel pressured or fearful, experiencing the love that casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
Romantic Need #3: To share intimate conversation
According to something I read recently, the typical couple spends only four minutes a day in meaningful conversation with each other. A lot of us husbands don’t realize that for our wives to consider us romantic, we first of all have to be a great friend and a conversationalist.
Grunts and one-word answers to questions just don’t cut it! Too many women don’t feel that their husbands really need them, and bare-bones conversation confirms their sense of low personal value. Many men who were accomplished at romantic, deep conversation during courtship seem to lose this talent later. You can rediscover the groove! Make a commitment to learn to make intimate conversation a priority with your wife. You need to talk and fill her in on the details of your life—not just facts, but feelings.
When a husband sincerely shows his desire for conversation and a deepening relationship—emotional intimacy—he will find that his wife is much more interested in sexual intimacy. Her dreams, hopes, desires, and disappointments then are not divorced from the marriage bed but are a part of it.
Romantic Need #4: To receive a tender touch and hear gentle words
Before marriage, two people in love can hardly keep their hands off each other because they find the touch of their beloved thrilling. What happens after the wedding? Some couples married for a while would find a firm handshake a wildly intimate encounter. This should not be the case in a marriage. There is great power in tender touch, even if it’s just a long, full-body hug or a lingering kiss. Or the touch may be a gentle caress of her face that has no motive to make sexual demands but communicates, “I love you, Sweetheart, and I care for you tenderly.”
Gentle words have similar power. I have made a partial list of some things that I think any husband could use in complimenting and praising his wife: charm; femininity; faithfulness to God, you, your children; hard work; beauty; personality; her love, including her receptivity and responsiveness to you as a man; her advice and counsel; character; desirability; friendship—and that’s just a start. What wife won’t respond to a husband who praises her regularly with gentle words for all these qualities?
Romantic Need #5: To be pursued and set apart by her man
A wife wants a husband who will sweep her off her feet, carry her away to the castle, and say, “Let’s spend time together.” Focused attention is like precious gold in a relationship.
Your wife craves this focused attention from you. What it takes is several hours away from phones, papers and bills, and the needs of children.
A great lover
One of my favorite stories is of an interview with one of Hollywood’s biggest male stars, a man known for his prowess with the opposite sex. At one point he was asked, “What makes a great lover?”
“Two things,” he replied. “First of all, it is a man who can satisfy one woman over a lifetime. And it is a man who can be satisfied with one woman for a lifetime.”
That was a great answer! To build a strong marriage where you and your wife are experiencing oneness, you must be committed to satisfying her physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. I hope you both enjoy a lifetime of satisfaction!
Wow! That took longer than I expected. I guess I will hit more of the issues on Romance for the man and weeding your marital garden next time. In the meantime, Have a Great Valentine’s Day, and wonder-filled month of love and be sure to Be God’s Valentine in our Church wide Fellowship.
With Many Prayers and Christian Love,