For the last installment on our Realities and Fictions of Romance series I thought it fitting to ask my husband to chime in. A male perspective on this thing called romance could only be helpful in giving us a fuller idea of how romance looks and how it is practiced in a relationship. So without further ado I share with you Andy’s words on the subject:
Romance is an interesting word isn’t it? It just conjures up so many ideas and visions in people’s minds. Very different ideas. I would especially believe that to be true if there was a sociological study done on this (and perhaps there has been, who knows?) regarding different people’s ideas on romance, depending on their gender, age, marital status, years of being married to one partner versus more than one, and the comparisons could go on and on. Romance can simply take so many different forms depending on the lens or perspective through which each individual views it. Oh, how we love the idea of romance! Consider how pop culture pushes and promotes the gushy, butterfly stomach, warm fuzzy romance at every opportunity. Our society really sets itself up for real, deep-rooted disappointment if that is the only version of romance to be considered “real” or “acceptable”.
For my wife and I, the concept of romance has shifted over the 18 years that we have known each other. Obviously, when we first started dating in the typical summer camp setting that lends itself to romantic moonlit walks around the lake or lazy paddle boat rides, we were the classic romantics. Long talks, love notes, foot rubs, and a constant vigilance to look out for the other person’s needs fueled the romance of young love. Now fast forward a decade and a half and as my lovely wife stated in an earlier post, we could easily be considered one of the world’s most boring couples! (Which we’re okay with!)
I would argue that the romance is still very much alive, however. If it were not, why would we both be so content and truly happy with our lives both as individuals AND as a married couple? All too often you hear of couples splitting up simply because they have “fallen out of love” with one another. Those stories break my heart. I do realize things get very complicated very fast in relationships. It is HARD work and at times seems like drudgery to us, day in and day out. We all fall in ruts, become short tempered, and become too self-absorbed in our own personal agendas. Then, just maybe, we play that comparison game of what our lives have become compared to what pop culture tells us our romantic lives should be. That is a slippery slope that can lead to relational dissatisfaction.
Here’s the good news. Even though the foot rubs aren’t as frequent and the walks happen more individually on the treadmill than under the moonlight together, the romance is still there. It has simply shifted in its appearance. I try to remember every day when I come home from work that as soon as I put my hand on the door knob my number one priority is to serve my wife selflessly. As any husband should realize, that can take many forms! The romance is there, behind the words, when I truly mean the things that I say like, “Is there anything I can do for you right now?”, “Why don’t you go finish that project you’re working on, I’ll make dinner tonight.”, or “What would you like to watch tonight (instead of yet another ball game)?” The romance is there when I happen to see a job that needs to be done and do it without her having to ask me to like fold laundry, put dishes away, or vacuum the carpet.
I know this is not Hollywood’s idea of romance. I know it would not make good content for a romance novel. But you know what? Ask Tabitha if those things I just mentioned fill her “love tank”. I bet you can guess the answer.
Eph 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy…”
The phrase “gave himself up for her” sounds a lot like service, doesn’t it? If you haven’t tried serving your wife as a foundation for romance, give it a try for a week and see what that does for all aspects of your relationship…especially the romantic side of things.