Women: Are You in Love with Romance?

Jen Booth
As I browsed through my favorite store one evening after a long day, I found myself surrounded by a haze of pink and red hearts. Ah, Valentine's Day... but it was December! The dancing Santa’s and singing reindeer that greeted customers had been replaced by big-eyed cupids and teddy bears. The new decor just didn’t feel right to me.

What is it about this holiday that people crave so much? I'm not entirely sure, but I know one thing- our culture is in love with romance. Love is the rule. It makes you feel good. It seems that many base the quality of their relationship on the romantic factor alone... and when those less than romantic moments linger too long, they get frustrated. Some even find themselves seeking new romance, or at least a new distraction.

Let’s take a look at the movies. Romantic comedies are wildly popular, especially this time of year. I must admit, I enjoy one occasionally.  But, when I really think about the effects these movies have on me, I must admit – these movies are bad for me. Romantic movies portray love as something based on feeling and attraction. Boy meets girl. Boy buys girl lots of flowers and always gives her poetic compliments. Boy eloquently expresses his love. They might have a fight or a minor challenge to work through, but the passion endures unchanged. They live happily ever after. How unrealistic is this plot? Very. Yet, when I watch or read material encompassing this train of thought, I begin to expect it in my own relationship.

The problem seems to be worse for us women. After all, men don't chase romance. Usually, they just chase us, and once they've got us, the romance changes ... or, what we perceive as romance. Ladies, what are we putting our men through with our fairy-tale expectations? It would be lying to say we do not hint, whine, or demand for the same type of gooeyness that our society says is so vital. Just as our culture places emphasis and value on the externals of a person -- beauty, wealth, and status -- it places value on the external, temporal side of relationships. And, to some extent, we become brainwashed, expecting that if our husband or fiancé loved us enough, they would spout poetry and bring us flowers every day. Wow.

I recognized this flawed expectation in my own heart recently. My husband and I just completed one of the most unromantic challenges of married life - moving. We were two hours apart for the better part of a month, as I had to start my job two weeks before he could begin his. When we were together, I was packing and he was working. Then he got the flu. Yuck. When we finally were ready to leave our house, we had to move in with my parents for 2 weeks until our apartment was ready to be occupied. Then we moved again. We were exhausted, cranky, and stressed.

Through it all, I couldn't help but miss the romantic side of our marriage. I would think about how wonderful it would be if he'd send me flowers because he missed me so much. When the flowers never arrived, I felt disappointed. Of course, I failed to consider that he wasn't getting home until very late every night and was working as hard as I was. When we were finally together again, I'd expect him to take me passionately in his arms, pouring out his love for me (and telling me how beautiful I am, etc.) Instead, he'd give me a quick hug, and almost immediately, we'd begin packing together. I felt deprived and disillusioned.

I didn't realize that, in my yearning for worldly romance, I missed precious moments of true, Christ-like romantic love. Instead of flowers and compliments, my husband would hug me tight as we went to sleep. We'd talk about our future, and the blessings God was showering us with. We'd discuss how we could serve Him in our new life. When I had a particularly difficult day at work, I called him crying. He listened, and gently reminded me that things would be better when we were finally together and in our own home again. He was there for me -- patient, sweet, and caring. God hit me over the head with this truth after I displayed an unattractive moment of sheer brattiness.

As my husband and I grow in our marriage, I'm beginning to understand 1 Corinthinas 13 in a deeper way. It is a description of real love:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (v. 4-8)

This is how Jesus loves us. These are the qualities I so often see in the way my husband loves me. And, yes, he does show romance in more typical ways, too. But we developed a deeper understanding of each other through this trial, and a closeness that I wouldn't trade for 1,000 flowers or made-for-the-movies declarations. And when you think about it - that's pretty romantic.

Jen Booth is a social worker and a budding author. She resides with her husband in Louisiana. You can contact her at