ROMANCE. This one word results in all kinds of thoughts going through our minds. For most of us, it reminds us of happy memories of romance with our spouse beginning when we first met and dated. I still remember the first time I saw my wife Susan in August of 1976 just like it was yesterday. My first thought when I saw her was, “WOW! I would like to get to know her!”. God answered that desire and much has happened since that day we met. Since then, we have deposited countless happy memories into our marriage bank account. Yes, there have also been a few not so happy memories that come with life, but the happy far outweigh the unhappy because of the commitment we made to each other when we married on January 27, 1979.
Susan and I made a conscious decision before we got married that we would do whatever it would take to keep our friendship alive and the fires of romance burning. We made several specific promises to one another related to our commitment of working on our marriage and working through whatever challenges we would face in the future. Most of our commitments relate to everyday habits and small things we do for each other on a consistent basis. Our commitment still stands strong today as our journey continues. It has included a lot of learning and hard work. But the security and intimacy that has saturated our marriage is worth every bit of effort and sacrifice made by each of us.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for many married couples. The things that were once fun are now what couples fight about or long for. Why? Because they stopped doing fun things together after they married. Many married couples seem to take each other for granted and decided it is no longer necessary to take time for each other and share appreciation and praise to one another on a regular basis. I know life is tough and many people and things are screaming for your attention. However, it is so important to keep our spouse on the top of the priority list when it comes to life. We must call “time out” and inject our marriage relationship with intimate moments of time to keep the marriage healthy and connected. And, some of that time needs to be simple fun time. After all, we not only want to love our spouse, we want to like them too.
Statistics related to those who are currently unsatisfied with their marriage or have already divorced reveal that many married couples stop being romantic soon after the wedding ceremony. Another problem is that many men and women have not been taught what real romance is in marriage. A lot of men consider “sex on demand” as being the main ingredient of romance. On the other hand, women typically list things such as being made to feel special (honor), uninterrupted time together, and non-sexual affection as romance. I believe these differences are the main contributor as to why only 62% of the women who have completed a marriage survey on our website feel valued or honored by their husband in comparison to 78% of men feeling honored by their wife. I am not saying that a healthy sexual relationship is not important or vital to a good marriage. A healthy sexual relationship is very important. But, I do believe that satisfying sex is a result of the consistent emotional connections that are developed on a daily basis in marriage. If a couple is hateful and disrespectful to one another and is not cultivating intimacy in the relationship, it is impossible to have emotionally and physically satisfying sex as God intended for a marriage to enjoy. The art of developing and feeding romantic intimacy into your relationship on a daily basis is vital to a healthy marriage.
One of the most important things Susan and I have learned about romance over the past 28 years of our marriage is that we must create romantic moments. In future articles I will share some stories about how we have worked to keep romance alive in our marriage. The one thing we learned, romance is hard work but will worth it!
Steve and his wife Susan are co-founders of Eagle Family Ministries, a non-denominational ministry committed to helping strengthen marriages and families with seminars based on Biblical principles. He leads marriage retreats such as Romance In The Ozark Mountains and Making Room For Romance. Steve has an AA degree from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri and a BA degree in Christian Education from John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. He is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, is certified in Life Innovations Prepare and Enrich, and certified in Couples Communication I and II by Interpersonal Communication Programs. He is also a licensed and ordained Southern Baptist Minister and has been involved in full-time minstry since 1979. You can visit www.eaglefamily.org or www.romanceintheozarkmountains.com for further information.