Here is something I’ve been thinking about. Women love romance. For some of you, that evokes flowers and dancing and sweet-nothings being whispered in your ear. For some of you it’s romantic comedies or Shakespearean sonnets and Disney princesses. For some of you, it’s washing the car, playing with the kids, and going to bed at the same time.
So why the huge differences? I think it has a lot to do with what we are told/shown is love in our culture, and what our men really see as showing love.
Now, I’m not giving our husbands the go ahead to never show love or do romantic things that we like, like the flowers, the chocolates, the chick flicks, etc.
What I’m saying is : maybe instead of expecting or being sad about NOT having those things, finding romance in the things he DOES do.
I am a lover of Christian Frontier historical fiction. Think Love Comes Softly and Redeeming Love. I love the unity and the faith of the people. I love the struggles and the strength. And I love the love stories – some bold and huge, some quiet and normal. But all beautiful.
It was while reading one such book that I started thinking about this notion of romance and how we see it differently than our men. In A Quiet Strength by Janette Oke, a young bride, Virginia, can’t figure out why marriage isn’t absolutely everything she dreamed it would be. And since I LOVE talking to young wives, I knew I would love watching the story unfold.
And more than just watch it unfold, I was amazed at what I found in the pages of Chapter 8. I want to share some exerts with you about how our husbands show us love and romance.
In these quotes, you will see an older sister talking to her younger sister, Virginia. Virginia has just heard an older woman rant about “hitting the stone wall” of marriage and Virginia, who thinks she already has only a few short weeks in, seeks her sister’s counsel.
“We live in a world that demands our time and attention. I think that is even more true for the man than the woman. He is expected to provide a home, make a living, care for the needs of the family. And if he is at all worth his salt, he takes those needs seriously. We need to realize and respect that. “For us, who are more romantic creatures, sometimes we struggle with understanding. With finding the right balance. It is easy to miss the intent and just judge the actions.”
Oke, Janette (2008-09-01). A Quiet Strength (A Prairie Legacy, Book 3) (p. 92). Baker Book Group – A. Kindle Edition.
“I decided, after prayer and tears, to grow up, Virginia.” “Grow up?” “I was acting like a child. Wanting his full attention. His declarations of love. I wanted to be his little princess, I guess. The one he worshiped and adored. Well, life’s not like that. And after thinking it through, I actually wouldn’t want it to be. We aren’t put together in a marriage to stroke each other’s ego. Marriage is a partnership. A blending of two lives. A working together. That’s where the commitment comes in. It’s a determination of the head—not the heart. No, I shouldn’t say it that way. It still involves the heart. It still is based on love, but it’s a new kind of love. A mature love. One that doesn’t ask, ‘What will you do for me?’ but rather, ‘What can I do for you?’ or ‘What can we do for each other?’ It gives meaning to love. To the whole marriage relationship.”
Oke, Janette (2008-09-01). A Quiet Strength (A Prairie Legacy, Book 3) (p. 93). Baker Book Group – A. Kindle Edition.
“Jonathan says that… that what he’s had has been enough to make him happy. He’s perfectly content to work at the farm all day and come home tired at night to a tiny room where we can scarcely turn around.” “Good!”“Good?”“You must be doing something right. Start there.” “I’m not doing anything. Not even cooking his meals.” “Why do you keep coming back to this meal business? Do you think all Jonathan thinks about is food?” “No. I … I guess it’s just… symbolic of caring for him, or something.”
“And do you know what Jonathan sees as symbolic of caring for you? Building your house. Giving you shelter. That’s the expression of his love. And he won’t rest until it’s done. He’s driven to provide for you, Virginia. Until you are in that new home, Jonathan will feel a failure. He’ll feel that he has not expressed his love to you like he should.” Virginia shook her head, tears brimming in her eyes. “Oh boy. If he only knew that I’d trade all the new houses in the world for his time.” “‘Time’ can get a little chilly on a winter’s night. Real love is more practical than that.”
Oke, Janette (2008-09-01). A Quiet Strength (A Prairie Legacy, Book 3) (p. 95). Baker Book Group – A. Kindle Edition.
“No. Only if you let it be a wall. You’ve come to a turning point. A decision-making time. Many couples flounder when the marriage reaches that point. But it’s a decision, Virginia. A choice you get to make. What are you going to do with a real marriage? Not a fairy tale. A real marriage. Are you going to throw your heart and soul into it and, with God’s help, build a happy and stable home with the man you love? Or are you going to retreat, still wanting to be the little princess on an imaginary throne? You can’t have it both ways.” “But I love romance.” “Romance? That’s when true romance begins. That’s when you learn to appreciate romance for what it really is. That’s the real beginning—not the end. You get so busy looking for ways to show love that your whole day becomes one exciting opportunity.” Virginia’s eyes widened, and she stared at her sister. “You still love Troy… like that?” “Still? No, not still. I love Troy more now than I ever have before. More than I ever did when I was going all giddy over his little love notes or our carved initials on a tree.” “But the honeymoon time… ?” “I love him more than that, too. I see him now, carrying in groceries, fixing downspouts, shoveling snow from the walks. I watch him listen to the boys’ evening prayers, see him teach them how to hit a ball. I feel his concern about my tired back at the end of a day as he reaches out to massage away the ache, see in his eyes his love for this new baby—the one he doesn’t even know yet. Those are the things that I love about Troy. Those and many, many more.”
Oke, Janette (2008-09-01). A Quiet Strength (A Prairie Legacy, Book 3) (pp. 96-98). Baker Book Group – A. Kindle Edition.
I know the quotes got lengthy, but there really was a point to them all – men’s love is a little more practical than ours. I would love nothing more than to sit with my husband an get backrubs and talk about whatever pops into my pretty little head, then go to bed at the same time, whispering to each other.
But reality, and practicality say that when he stays up late to run our business so that I can be at home with our kids, THAT’s romance. When he let’s me go to bed while he cleans the kitchen, THAT’s romance. When he picks up Chipotle so I don’t have to cook, THAT’s romance.
Sure, he does pick up flowers from time to time. I usually get a very sweet card on my birthday and mother’s day and our anniversary. Those are romance.
But to discredit how he takes care of me, and the kids, as not being romantic because it’s not MY definition of romance, isn’t fair to him.
Proverbs 3:27 says “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to act.”
Don’t withhold good from your husband when he’s trying to show you love. He’s wired differently than you, and that’s why you love him.
Dare you to share a way that your husband romances you that isn’t the “typical” definition of romance.