Giving Your Wife the Romance She Needs
- 2004 10 Aug
It is crucial that a man learn how to speak to the needs of his wife's heart in the area of romance. He must demonstrate to her both in word and deed that he understands her unique needs and appetites in this area. Most men do not understand romance from the female perspective. Most men would not recognize romance as women understand it if it were to slap us in the face or bite us on the nose.
I became acutely aware of this when I came home one day when we were living in Dallas, and I asked my wife Charlotte, "Honey, do you think I'm romantic?" She yanked her head around so quickly, it is amazing to me that she did not permanently damage her neck. There was a look in her eyes that I had never seen before, but I was certain that I was not going to like what she would say. Being the loving wife that she is, she began by saying, "Let me start by saying that I do love you, and I cannot imagine being married to anybody else but you. You are a good husband and a wonderful father. However, I must tell you that the answer to your question is no. You are not romantic. I doubt you would recognize it if it slapped you in the face or bit you on the nose."
As you can imagine, my feelings were hurt, and so I responded in typical male fashion, "I've been reading a lot about this stuff lately, and all these books that I have been reading say you need it." She responded by telling me that she did, and so I told her that I might try to begin to give it to her in the near future. I must add at this point, I had no idea exactly how that was going to happen, but I was pleased when she said, "The fact that you're even going to try, I find romantic."
Now I want all of you to know that what I am about to tell you is absolutely the truth with no embellishment. Feel free to look up my wife anytime and have the story verified. It was a Friday night. I snuck up behind Charlotte feeling that it was time to be romantic (you guys know what that means!). I began to rub her back and neck. After just a couple of moments, she turned around and looked at me and said, "Why don't you go on, leave me alone, and quite bothering me." I responded by telling her that I thought that was romantic. She informed me that it was not romantic now, nor would it be romantic later either. I clearly understood what that meant, and so I went off to bed early that night by myself. There was no need in waiting up.
The next morning my wife took a shower. When Charlotte takes a shower, she always loves to put on her body an Avon product called Skin-So-Soft. Those of you who are familiar with it know that it does three things: (1) It smells really good. (2) It will slime your dry skin if it needs it. (3) It also happens to be a wonderful insect repellant. Charlotte pats this on her body and then wipes it off with a towel. Her towel was lying on the bed after she had gotten out of the shower. I walked over and did an unusual thing. I picked up her towel and I smelled it. I turned to Charlotte and I said innocently, "Honey, this towel smells like you."
She responded by saying, "Now that's romantic." I looked at her, stunned at her statement, and I said, "You don't have to make fun of me. I am really trying at this romance thing." She responded by telling me that she really did find my statement romantic, and she walked out of the bedroom. At that point I looked up into heaven and told God there was no hope in this area as far as I could see. I would never be able to understand romance from the female perspective. At that point God was gracious to me, and He gave me insight as to how this romance thing works from the female perspective. I now share it with all my fellow males throughout the world.
Romance is basically a game. It is a specific game. It is a game of "hide-and-go-seek." She hides it and you seek it. If you find it, you will indeed agree that it's good! On the other hand, if you don't find it, you have one of two options. First, you can get nasty, mean, and bent out of shape and just be a miserable old grouch for the rest of your life. I have met a number of men just like that. Or second, you can remind yourself, it's a game. Sometimes I win, and sometimes I lose. But that's the fun of playing the game.
But there's a second part of this game, and this is not fair. However, we dealt long ago with the fact that some things aren't fair; it's just the way they are. Guys, you must understand. What is romantic to your wife, say Monday, may not necessarily be romantic on Tuesday. Indeed, women are adept at moving the romance on a regular basis, sometimes even hiding it in places where they can't even find it. When you go searching for romance in the place where it used to be, but now you discover it is no longer there, don't be surprised if looking over your shoulder is the woman that God gave you, and with here eyes she says something like this, "Yes, my darling. I moved the romance. It's somewhere else now. And I'm going to wait to see if you love me enough to look for it all over again."
Now again, guys, you can get angry, mean, and bent out of shape, or you can remember, it's a game. And games can be fun. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. But it's all a great game. Men, if you will approach romance in this way, not only will you find it fun, but you will also get better at it along the way. Carlin Rubenstein reminds us, "The level of romance in a relationship is a kind of barometer of love: When romance is low, couples have sex less often, are less happy about love, and are more likely to consider divorce."
Taken from God on Sex: The Creator's Ideas About Love, Intimacy and Marriage by Daniel Akin; Copyright 2003 by Daniel Akin; Published by Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, TN; Used by Permission.
Daniel Akin is Dean of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He holds the M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Arlington. He and his wife Charlotte were married in 1978 and are the parents of four sons.
Read more about what the Bible says about romance in our Marriage Guide that walks through many hot topics surrounding marriage today in light of God's Word.