e-Mom over at Chrysalis (http://www.chrysaliscom.blogspot.com/) hosts Marriage Monday, and what a precious, thought-provoking meme this is! I love to participate when I have the chance. She hosts this meme once a month, usually on the first Monday of the month. This month was an exception because of the holiday on last Monday. Visit her blog. You don't want to miss out. Even if you don't participate in Marriage Monday, this is a great blog to add to your blog roll and visit often. I've grown to love this blog and I check in as often as I can. Anyway, e-Mom's theme for this month is WHY ROMANCE MATTERS, and she asks this:
What tones down the tension, and tunes up the tenderness? How do you encourage your husband to open up and share his feelings? We want to know.
Here's my two cents worth:
It is just painfully obvious that men and women are wired different. Study after study proves that men love to have their wives share their physical bodies with them and fulfill their sexual needs. That's intimacy and romance to them. Women on the other hand, are usually just as satisfied, if not more so, with sweet, tender touch and closeness as they would be with sex. I know for me that's the case, although I enjoy my husband in relations both ways mentioned here.
I love to feel his tender touch. His hands are strong and they make me feel safe and secure. They physically tell me that he cares. I like to feel his body next to mine when we sit or lay down next to each other. I love the closeness and warmth. That would be enough for me. If I asked him, though I don't need to, that would NOT be enough for my dear, sweet husband.
I've figured out that all things in marriage, to make it successful that is, have to be learned. I mean we can have the natural tendency to be ourselves, but does that fill the need of the other person? Not always. Think about it. I'm a natural nurturer and I like to feel taken care of as well. My husband is a natural provider and he likes to be taken care of, but not necessarily in the ways that I do. If my husband were to just provide though, and not give me any attention, cuddle me, say the right words, affirm my duties and actions, and all the things that make me "tick" as a wife, I would feel neglected. On the flip side of that same coin, if I didn't purposely try and figure out then carry out what made my husband function and "tick," he would surely feel neglected also. I guess I'm saying that we should purposely, by many available means, try and figure out what pleases, helps, and satisfies the other person. We need to study the wiring of the other person and seek to connect and make things work. Doing this doesn't benefit one person, but both. Wouldn't you be more willing to do things for your husband (not by feelings of sheer duty and/or obedience) if you felt satisfied intimately and romantically? Wouldn't he perform or function better towards you if his needs were taken care of? Probably so, in a healthy relationship anyway. Submission to God and His words by both people, will always make the relationship work.
Romance does matter. My husband is an exception, I believe, when it comes to a man being naturally romantic. I don't mean creatively romantic. I mean intimacy-based romance. He is such a sweet man. He really fulfills my needs for touch, the right way, at the right times. He is thoughtful of me, kind to me, fills in the gaps for me when I physically can't do something for whatever reason, rubs my feet, opens my doors, pulls my seat out, gives me looks and stares that assures me that he has eyes for me, and much much more. For all the things I may temporarily moan and groan about, there is much more that he does right. For that I'm, truly grateful. This fills my female needs. While I would obey God and try, with His enabling me, to do the things that a wife should do, even if he didn't give me romance and intimacy, him doing so makes it that much easier for me to function and perform the way I should. God placed the need for intimacy within us women, and we shouldn't have those needs neglected or deny that they are there and need to be filled. When we're single, God takes care of these needs. He is our Comforter and Provider and Friend. If He decides to give us a husband, HE allows the husband to now fill those needs, although we should recognize that no human being alive could fill our needs as completely and rightly as God can.
I encourage my husband to open up and share his feelings with me as well as keep up the good work when it comes to intimacy and romance by meeting his needs. I believe that he would just be this way (romantic) anyway, but he would surely become discouraged if I were not to respond to his needs. While it's unrealistic to say that my husband is romantic and perfectly intimate 100% of the time, this is truly the way he is most of the time,...but, when he doesn't feel like talking or being creative in the relationship to keep "the fires burning," I give him ideas, I tell him what I would like to have happen, I try to be mindful of being consistent about filling his needs, we go to marriage retreats, we read books, we get ideas from other couples, we pray more than anything, and we read, read, read the Word of God.
One of the most romantic times in my marriage was when my husband and I were having a rather heated conversation about something I can't remember anymore, but I know that I was strongly disagreeing. We were dressed for a really formal occasion and had already gone to the function but had no time to go change before my son's soccer game, so we went the way we were. He in a nice suit and I in a beautiful dress of chiffon, satin, lace, a sheer wrap about my shoulders, and semi-high, strappy heels. When we arrived at the soccer game, I jumped out of the car first and headed to the field, assuming that he was close behind me. Big mistake! He literally ALWAYS opens my door for me, no matter what. He was very insulted. He doesn't care whether we disagree or not, he loves being the gentleman and having no one take that privilege from him. He leaned against the car and watched me saunter off, high stepping and moving quickly with an attitudinous "switch" in my walk. It was a little windy so I pulled my wrap (or shawl, depending on where you're from) close to me, cocked my head upward, and kept moving toward the field. Suddenly, I stopped and turned around and realized he wasn't behind me, and I started looking for him. When I looked back a distance, I could see he was leaning against the car, smiling no less!! What was he smiling about, I wondered!! This was certainly NOT a "smiling kind of moment," at least not in my opinion. I had to decide whether to go on to the field with my apparent attitude, or go back to the car. Of course, the sinful nature in me said to just go on to the field. He'll eventually make his way over. He's a big boy, besides, I'm not giving in to his little antics! Ha!! Yeah, right!! I walked back over to the car and he stands there, shaking his head and smiling harder. I got close enough to ask him what exactly he was smiling about, and he proceeds to say this: "I've never seen a more beautiful angry woman in my life. I watched you walk away and I love what attitude, in that dress, with those shoes look like. I wasn't turned off at all. Just the opposite. I wasn't angry anymore, I was capsized. You are beautiful, no matter how you feel. I can't stay angry or disagreeable with you. Come here." I came closer and well...he kissed me and walked me over, arm in arm to the field, staring at me the whole time, reminding me of how beautiful he thought I was. I will never forget this.
I hope you enjoyed this post today. There are more though. If you visit e-Mom at the link above, you can share in the romantic moments of others who participated this month. You can see why they think romance is important. I hope that your marriage is romantic, and if it's not, I hope you and your hubby find ways to make it so. It's worth every moment you put into it.
I share this picture a lot, but it's one of my favorites of us, and he had been being romantic towards me right before this picture was taken.