Does your husband write love poems to you that start like this?
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Neither does Lisa’s!
Not that I haven’t tried, but the effort often feels like I’m sitting in a cave wearing animal skins, and grunting while earnestly striking two rocks together, hoping for a spark.
Many husbands feel like cavemen when it comes to romance – even the husbands who are attentive to these things. Just glance at the expression of the guy packing a bouquet of flowers through a busy mall. He’s trying to mask his suspicion that everyone thinks he’s goofy – even as practically every woman he passes wishes flowers were waiting for her at home. That’s how dicey this whole enterprise is!
Attempts at romance are dangerous business. Why? Romance exposes the vulnerability of the most confident man. Vulnerability and men don’t go together so well.
What will she think of my stupid little poem? . . . of this awkward note? . . . of these flowers . . . did I even get the right kind? Probably not.
Most men want to be good, loving husbands and wives play a vital role in their growth in this area. The spark of romance lay not only in the fledgling efforts of a tentative, untrained husband but also in the response of a wife, willing to receive from an imperfect effort what she truly desires.
There is no question that men have the responsibility to reach out to their wives in acts of love. Any Christian man who doesn’t regularly love his wife is walking contrary to what the Bible teaches and it grieves me to say, I’ve heard from countless wives who are living this travesty. It is a scandal in the Church of the living Christ that there is even one wife who isn’t cherished. A lack of love for one’s wife reveals a lack of love for Jesus Christ.
But . . . (you saw that coming, didn’t you?)
When it comes to romance, the wise wife removes the danger most men feel. Instead, she encourages and teaches – yes, that’s right, teaches, her husband in the matter of meeting her romantic needs.
Remember, husbands are risking it . . . maybe only a little (a small spark) but they are risking it. Maybe his efforts aren’t exactly what she had in mind . . . but they are efforts – steps in the right direction. When wives express pleasure and approval, it shows husbands that being vulnerable wasn’t so perilous after all – something every husband needs to know but so few come to understand.
He may not be writing epic poetry today (okay, for most of us, never! But, you get the idea) but, if that spark of inspiration is nurtured by appreciation rather than extinguished by ingratitude, it will grow over time into something that will turn any cave into an inviting oasis.
Lisa has taught me a lot but if she had approached me like a schoolmarm pushing horn-rimmed glasses up her nose while looking down at me, it wouldn’t have turned out so well! If you take care with your approach, he’ll be better able to care about your words.
Romance isn’t today’s destination, it’s a journey of two lives learning to love richly, as God, the Author of romance intended.
NEW eBook: 100 Ways To Love Your Wife by Matthew L. Jacobson
and 100 Ways To Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson