Romance

Steve Arterburn

Men tend to be less romantically inclined than women. In itself, that’s fine. However, we shouldn’t let that tendency cause us to fall short when it comes to stoking the fires of our marriage.

It’s easy to think, ‘Okay, now I’ve got a wife. What’s next on the agenda?’ But men, that’s a big mistake. Romance lies at the heart of the female essence. Most wives are incurable romantics, and it’s highly unlikely that your wife’s an exception.

Bring her flowers on your anniversary, or sometimes for no particular reason at all. Take her to eat at your old haunts; drive by your old homes and apartments; skip a Monday night football game to take her to dinner; walk together at dusk holding hands; and give the gift of your time generously.

Romance tends to become less a priority after marriage. To make matters worse, many of us tend to confuse sex for romantic intimacy. One married woman put it like this:

‘I love the romantic intimacy of a hug and extra attention, but any little hug and kiss I give’seems to suggest that I want to make love. How exasperating! I just want him to know that I love him, and I just want the same response back without feeling that I have to jump into bed. I just want him to hold me and talk to me; I just want to be near him.’

Men, being mindful and responsive to your wives’ need for romance is one of the most practical and powerful ways to love and honor her.

The ‘Why’ Of Romance

Steve Arterburn

Guys, if there’s any area in which we need to study our wives in order to serve them better, it’s in the department of romance. Romance inspires her and brings feelings of marital intimacy to the surface.

Yet ask most guys what romance is and he’ll begrudgingly mumble something about candlelight dinners and roses. But it’s more than that. In fact, for some men, it might not be candlelight dinners and roses at all. That’s because the chief ingredient of romance is knowing what special thing sparks her romantic motor.

But why is romance so important to our wives? Perhaps the best way to answer this is by considering a different question: why is respect so important to us? The answer to both questions: it’s how we’re made. It’s what makes us tick.

Therefore, for the vast majority of women, going through marriage without romance is the equivalent to how a man would feel having to go through life without respect. In other words, much of the color of life disappears, and everything turns to gray.

Guys, that’s why it’s so important for us to study how to cultivate romance with our wives; and in particular, how to do this in a way that is according to each of our wives’ own personality and liking. This is an important aspect of giving our wives the sacrificial love we’re called to offer, and that they deserve to receive.

Holy and Healthy Sex in Marriage: Part 4

David Wever

My guess is that many of you have heard this familiar phrase from your wives at some point in your relationship: ‘You just want sex!’ As men this is often times the main goal or mission we have on our minds even if it is with good intentions. The problem is that our lack of communication may leave our wives feeling that our sexual intimacy is more about getting to the goal rather than truly connecting.

One of the most essential, yet often times least developed facets of sexual intimacy, is communication. Romance and arousal are truly built on this necessary dynamic. Communication is the lubricant in a well oiled machine. Often times we learn as men by our culture or otherwise that talking may get us to sex. The problem though with our talking is that it may just be a vehicle to get our ‘goals’ met without truly connecting in the relationship. We may converse in order to get information or direction towards the goal we are trying to accomplish especially if we have hyper-stimulated ourselves to achieve certain goals in sexual intimacy.

I want to offer a different way of communicating for us as men. It is not the manliest way but it may help to establish connection rather than just completing a mission in sexual intimacy.

This proposed way of communicating is chatting. That’s right, I said it. You might be thinking, ‘But Dave, chatting is something guys just don’t do.’ You’re right! But when a person chats, there is often times not a goal or mission to get somewhere in mind. Instead when most people chat they are usually pretty relaxed and talking about their days or their hearts and thoughts. The main point I want you to catch here is that in your romance or arousal towards healthy, Godly sexual intimacy, sex is not the goal. It is truly connecting that needs to be at the forefront.

Sometimes a paradigm shift in the way we approach communication can help us move towards actually letting ourselves be there in heart and mind and then body. The Songs of Solomon are a beautiful picture of a couple moving toward God’s gift of sexual intimacy and then celebrating their oneness. The small but deeply explicit book on romance and intimacy is filled with conversations and chatting about how they feel about one another. Simply, it is filled with communication leading up to eventual physical intimacy.

One set of verses in particular can be found in Song of Songs 1:15-16, How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves. How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant.’ Here the Lover (the husband) and the Beloved (the wife) are exchanging not only feelings about one another but are expressing and conversing about the heart of their relationship that leads to a verdant or lush place of intimacy in their marriage bed. Their chatting, if you will, goes on throughout the entire book. An exchange of not only passion but of true hearts is shared in a back and forth dialogue.

Is the vibrancy or lushness of your marriage bed rooted routinely in how good the physical component of intimacy is? Or is it founded upon the communication leading to connectedness in the heart?

Communication leads to connection. Ultimately, connection allows communion with one another in celebrating God’s oneness in your hearts. Rebecca and I both do not commune in sexual intimacy unless we feel connected. And the way we feel connected is to talk, to chat, to dialogue and express our hearts not just to gear up our loins. You may be thinking, ‘Well what about spontaneous, ‘quickie’ sex? Is that ok even if we don’t communicate?’ Yes. But I would guess if you go back a day or two, you may find that even that spontaneity may be founded upon safe, understanding, heart felt communication. If not you may be cheating yourselves of the most important part of sex: true connectedness and intimacy from the heart.

Next time you and your wife are feeling aroused, give chatting a try as it leads to further physical intimacy. Ask yourself before the fires of desire are fanned, have I communicated or talked about my day with her? As you rebuild and restore your heart around sexual intimacy ask yourself: Am I communicating? Is the communication we are having leading to connection? And when we commune in physical sexual intimacy do I feel and stay connected emotionally and spiritually?

Remember, your communication is an essential building block to connection and safeness to allow desire to blossom. It is also a building block to physical foreplay in sexual intimacy. We will look further at Holy and Healthy physical foreplay next time in this series.

For more help, join one of our couples groups at our next New Life Weekend.