The following are quotes to help those who are either romantically-challenged or have run out of ideas on how to keep the “spark” alive in your relationship or just are looking for a few new ones. The following are quotes concerning romantic ideas, and thoughts you may have never considered before:
Quotes on Romantic Ideas:
• The strength of your marriage depends on the choices you make to improve it. (Doug Fields in his book, Creative Romance)
• Couples mistakenly believe that the fire of the honeymoon continues to roar on its own. The truth is that it burns inconsistently, sometimes flaring up, sometimes burning steadily, and sometimes waning into mere embers. It’s up to both partners to keep the fire burning, and it takes effort! (Roseanne Ellington)
• It is our observation that many relationships endure a few years, and then the flame that once burned with such intensity dies down to a couple glowing embers. We believe romance can be as much a part of a 50-year marriage as it can be part of a honeymoon. It all depends on the amount of energy and effort that each person is willing to put into keeping the flame alive. (Rick Bundschuh and Dave Gilbert)
Quotes to Note:
• Science has proven that love doesn’t have to die, says Helen Fisher a research professor in the anthropology department at Rutgers University and author of “Why Him? Why Her?” Fisher used PET scanners to peer into the brains of people who had recently fallen in love and also those who said they were still madly in love after two decades of marriage. Amazingly, Fisher says, the same area of the brain lit up in both groups: the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a brain region linked to feelings of reward and satisfaction. The VTA marks an experience as either rewarding or exciting by upping the levels of a neurotransmitter called dopamine.
By sharing novel or exciting experiences with your partner, you’re duplicating some of the brain chemistry that fires up at the beginning of a relationship, Bartlik says. “If you do something a little scary —like ride a roller coaster —you’ll get a surge of adrenaline,” says Bartlik. “And that will make you feel sexier.” For those who want to keep love’s fires burning, Fisher has 3 simple-sounding suggestions: “Marry the right person, have sex with them regularly, and go out and do novel, exciting things with them. (Linda Carroll, “Dull Days Wreck a Marriage Faster than Fighting”, MSNBC.com news story)
• As we become busier each day with the needs of our children, our employer, and our community, it’s easy to put the needs of our spouse on the back burner. After all, they know we love them …right? By not keeping the needs of our spouse on the front burner, it breeds a feeling of indifference and lack of caring.
How do you overcome the indifference routine that you’ve fallen into? By daily acts of kindness, letting your spouse know you are thinking of them throughout the day. Never leave the house without a deep and passionate kiss for your sweetheart… give them a little passion to remember you by for the rest of the day. With the advent of e-mail, it’s extremely easy to take 30 seconds to send a note of caring, sensitivity and even enticement. Also set aside time to have a weekly date night so your relationship can continue to grow. (Beth Young)
• Marriage requires the glue of many forms of love, including romantic love. Romantic love causes us to delight in one another and to be excited by one another. It keeps alive the adventure of being pursued and chosen by another. Romantic love lifts our love beyond the routine and ordinary and can provide an emotional connection. (Melanie Chitwood, What a Husband Needs from His Wife)
• Being an artist at romance does not require so much a sentimental or emotional nature as it requires a thoughtful nature. It’s the thoughtfulness of the little gifts, the notes, the phone calls, the touch, the look in the eyes, that says to the other person, ‘You know what? You’re agenda is worthy of my life and my time. (Dennis Rainey)
• Often I have found it helpful to remember back to when I was dating the woman who is now my wife. Thinking back I realized that during that time everything I did revolved around how I could catch Elaine’s attention, how I could steal a few minutes with her, how I could make her smile, and how I could make her happy in some way. When I think of all the energy I expended doing this and compare it to the time I now take to try and please my wife I find it easy to realize that there is much more I can do to bring life to our relationship. (Roy Hitchman)
• QUICK TIP:
My husband and I each have a journal, and we write to each other occasionally. It might be just a quick little love note, or a note that says, “I was thinking of you,” or it can be a sensitive topic that we need to discuss further. We leave it on the pillow so the other one knows we’ve written in it. (Becky and Dick Berg, featured in Marriage Partnership Magazine)
• ANOTHER QUICK TIP: Book Lover’s Day – we heard recently of some friends who spent the better part of an afternoon with two chairs set in a cool stream while they each enjoyed reading a book together while the cool water rushed over their bare feet. Sounds like a refreshing way to celebrate this day! (Idea from Theromanticvineyard.com)
• Sticky notes: “They’re so practical and they can be used in a number of creative ways to bless others. So, your mission is to leave some sticky notes around for your [spouse] to find. You could write a brief encouragement, a small prayer, a cool quote or a sexy invitation. You could leave a trail of them. Also, you could make them into coupons for items or activities that he (she) would like. Have fun!” (Lori Byerly)
• Talking in front of your spouse to someone else about your partner’s good points is romantic. Take full advantage of opportunities to say, “I’m so lucky to have such a supportive wife (or husband) she’s such a treasure. I’m a lucky man. You can also do this when you’re talking on the phone and know that your spouse is within listening range.” If you’re not sure your partner heard you, when you get off the phone ask, “Did you hear me telling my sister what a great husband you are? I was really bragging on you!” (Nancy Wasson, from the Marriageadvice.com article, “Ten Ways to Add Romance to Your Marriage”)
• Love does not die easily. It is a living thing. It thrives in the face of all life’s hazards, save one —neglect. (James Bryden)
• Love is an act of will, both an intention and an action. “Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)
• Turn Off, Turn in, Tune in, Turn On. This is probably one of the most universally ignored bits of common sense with which woman-kind has been blessed. Turn off the computer, washer, television, telephone, reading lamp, Kindle or whatever is usurping your last bit of energy. Turn in to bed with your hubby, so you can tune in to one another. Leave some gas in your tank for him so that you can turn on your “love engine” and I guarantee you, you’ll enjoy the drive! (Tracey Goss)
• When you look at romantic love as the ultimate goal, you are leading a dangerous life. It is important to share romantic times with your spouse, but even greater is appreciating your spouse and loving them even during times you don’t “feel” romantic. Only then does your love become affection! (Randy Carlson)
• I hope you realize the importance of encouraging your spouse’s efforts. Even if you don’t see the romantic gesture you’ve been dreaming about, even if the timing isn’t perfect, express your appreciation warmly. There are few things that make us feel worse than being rejected after we’ve made an effort to please. (Doug Fields)
• Marriage is difficult! Somewhere between “We are gathered here today” and “til death do us part” there is a lot of real life going on —ups and downs, highlights and failures, dreams attained and dreams lost. Real-life marriage is hard, a balancing act of jobs, children, friends, in-laws, paying bills, cooking meals and maintaining a home. Not only these, but we also deal with transitions to different stages of marriage —adjusting as newlyweds, working dual careers, having kids, kids growing up, moving, changing jobs, and growing older.
Often the one we’re supposed to love most is lost in the confusion of life. You need to put activities into your life together to help you to enjoy and encourage each other as husband and wife as well as to foster talking, learning and growing together. (Kandi Arnold, Andrea Devin, and Dale Sprowl)
• The greatest use of life is love, the greatest expression of love is time, and the greatest time to love is now, because you may not have that opportunity tomorrow. (Rick Warren)
Our 37-year marriage is in a rut. I know how we got here, but I don’t know how to get out. What can we do? A: Ruts are simply habits that have been developed over a long period of time. Years ago when the western U. S. was being settled, roads were often just wagon tracks. These rough trails posed serious problems for those who journeyed on them. On one of these winding paths was posted a sign, which read: “Avoid this rut or you’ll be in it for the next 25 miles!” Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. There is no benefit in dwelling on the habits that have brought you to this point.
Instead, begin identifying new habits that can take your marriage from good to great. For instance, if you have gotten in the habit of not kissing each other as you leave the house, then start. If you no longer pray together before bed, then start. If you are no longer in the habit of complimenting each other throughout the day, then start a new habit of giving each other 3 compliments a day. Habits are hard to break. Starting new ones can be even harder. However, it will be worth it when your marriage gets out of the rut. Even if it does not feel comfortable, do it anyway. Habits are formed by repetition. It’s this healthy repetition that will take your marriage from good to great. (from Smalley Relationship Center)
• For those who want to keep love’s fires burning, [Helen Fisher a Rutgers University research professor at Rutgers University] has three simple-sounding suggestions: “Marry the right person, have sex with them regularly, and go out and do novel, exciting things with them. What kinds of activities does Fisher suggest?
“Anything that’s new or interesting —or even slightly dangerous —will help sustain feelings of romantic love,” she says. “And it will certainly kill feelings of boredom. I don’t mean you need to swing from the chandeliers, but a little bit of nude swimming after dark might do the trick.” For the less adventuresome, Fisher has some tamer suggestions. “You might try riding bicycles with your spouse after dark and stopping for dinner someplace you’ve never been before,” she says. “Or you might take a train without deciding beforehand where you’re going to get off.” (Linda Carroll)
• People often operate under the false assumption that love is the icing on the cake. The truth is, love isn’t the icing on the cake, it is the cake. People are so busy looking for perfect love that they miss out on what they have that is good. The key to loving relationships is figuring out how to spend time together and how to express love and appreciation to those around you. When is the last time you said, “I love you” to your spouse or family members? Human beings need loving relationships. It’s a matter of letting the people you love know how important they are to you. You have to make it a priority. (Michelle Weiner-Davis)
• Capitalize on the tiny moments. It’s important to celebrate those little moments, things like a really good day or a really bad day —those unexpected things that make someone’s day. (From the book, Happily Ever After by Toben and Joanne Heim)
• Many people think that the secret to reconnecting romantically with their partner is a candlelit dinner or a by-the-sea vacation. But the real secret to increasing the strength and passion of a marriage is to turn toward each other in little ways every day. A romantic night out really turns up the heat only when a couple keeps the pilot light burning by staying in touch in little ways.” (Judi, Dash)
Climate of Intimacy
• One way to develop the climate of intimacy in our relationships is by frequent glances at our spouses. This is one way to tell if an engaged couple are really in love with one another. Every joke, profound remark, or inane statement is a cause to glance at the other and share a look. Sadly, most couples begin to lose this eye contact after they’ve been married a few months. If you’ve grown less frequent in the deep, long, intimate looks or the quick, let’s-share-this look, talk about it and begin to glance at each other often when in group discussion (or even watching television). If the other doesn’t glance back, give a nudge (if you’re close enough) and soon you may again enjoy the warm feeling of sharing these intimate moments. (Jack Mayhall)
• Let’s face it, the list of to-dos for most of us are endless. And yet we browbeat ourselves with guilt over never completing the list when it would probably remain undone even if we had a clone. So here’s the deal. If your list is as long as a New York phone book, accept it. You’ve got a lot to do, and you’re never going to get to all of it. So place a priority on what you want to have accomplished by the time your head hits the pillow at night. What matters most today in the time you have with your spouse? This is not an approach to outsmarting the clock. Simply write this phrase then complete it: “If I do nothing else today for my marriage, I will …”
Stumped for ideas? Here are some examples: “If I do nothing else today for my marriage, I will take a twenty-minute walk with my spouse around the neighborhood … I will surprise my partner with a relaxing meal at a restaurant … I will pray for my spouse to feel less stressed.” You get the idea. Each day you can think about the one thing you will do to make more time together. Once that thing becomes a priority, you’ll give it the time it requires. (Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott)
• You know that old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” As a long-time marriage therapist, I am certain this philosophy applies equally well to keeping marriages healthy. There are some definite things all couples can and should do on a regular basis to prevent serious problems from arising that might chisel away at their love, friendship and passion. At the very top of this “love insurance” list is the importance of spending time together. Spending time with your spouse helps him or her feel appreciated, important and loved. It tells your spouse in no uncertain terms, “You matter to me.” Time together gives people opportunities to touch base with each other, to collect new memories, do activities they enjoy, laugh at each other’s jokes and to renew their love. (Michele Weiner-Davis)
Beware of Leftovers
• Marriage gets the leftovers—leftover energy, leftover excitement, leftover creativity, and leftover thoughtfulness. We do everything else first, and then, if there’s time and we’re not exhausted, then we’ll see if there’s something special or loving we can do for our spouses. I wonder what would happen if we flipped this around, if we started working after we focused on being married; if we fit our play and recreation around our duty to our spouses; if the kids had to occasionally give up something in order for Mom and Dad to get together —instead of the other way around. What would our marriages be like then? (Gary Thomas)
• Counselor Barry Cavanagh of Sacramento, California, says, “A marriage needs attention —regular infusions of zest, innovation and mutual self-disclosure.” He suggests that every couple ask themselves: “Is our marriage a priority commitment, or do we give it only the leftovers of our time and energy?” Oh, yes, there is a cost in keeping the marriage relationship vital and growing. And one of the prices paid is in time. It’s a payment that can’t be held back without devastating consequences.
So to continue ensuring a joyful relationship, or to return to a more loving relationship, decide here and now that you, as a couple, are going to pay the price in time. Commit yourself to that weekend without the children every other month; dedicate ten to twenty minutes a day for in-depth communication and/or prayer together; and weekly, or at least bimonthly, have a real rootin’-tootin’ bonafide genuine date where the two of you go out all by yourselves. It doesn’t matter if it’s just to a little coffee shop for hot chocolate on a winter night. What matters is that you spend a couple of hours of unpressured time being together. (Jack and Carole Mayhall)
• Learn to laugh with each other. Light-hearted evenings are great stress relievers. Two leading marriage experts have found that a marriage that thrives and last over 50 years has a 5 to 1 ratio of positive experiences to negative ones. So, they advise that you make all of your date nights and trips together free of arguments. Sign a short contract between you that there will be no fights or angry arguments while we’re having fun and kicking back together. That agreement will add to the ratio of the “5 to 1” positive experiences. (Gary Smalley)
• You will enjoy your marriage more if you laugh a lot together. Try to find ways to experience pleasure that endears you to each other … Develop secrets together, private jokes that keep you whispering fun nothings and keep you intrigued with each other. Wink at him and watch him melt. He’ll love it. Schedule time to go out and do something fun, even if your budget is tight. Be creative. Find ways to make fun happen. Instead of thinking, “Oh we can’t do that!” Find a way; be persistent and watch your dreams come true. (Linda Weber)
Don’t Let That Spark Die
• Unfortunately, many couples have lost the spark they shared before they married and have replaced it with a humdrum routine. Dating and romancing your spouse can change those patterns, and can be a lot of fun, but will require some hard work. Planning and energy are imperative for making good times happen. Is it worth the trouble? I’m convinced that the lack of dating and romance in marriage is one of the major causes of broken relationships. Marriages usually don’t collapse overnight. They become bankrupt gradually because they lack daily deposits of love, communication, and affirmation. (Doug Fields)
• Allowing marital drift: In geography class you may have learned about continental drift, where huge “plates” of earth move slowly and imperceptibly in opposite directions. The same thing happens in a lot of marriages. The shift is often so subtle that one day the partners wake up and say “I don’t really know who you are anymore.” And how can you keep from drifting? By talking regularly, setting mutual goals for your marriage, planning the future together, playing together, cultivating shared interests and fanning the flame of romance. (Louis McBurney, M.D.)
• Romance is a state of being. It’s about taking action on your feelings. It’s a recognition that Love in the abstract has no real meaning at all. (Gregory J.P. Godek)
Every time you romance your wife you deliver the message that she is important. When you give her flowers, you tell her she is worth the money. When you take her on a date, you tell her she is worth the investment. Because her thoughts about herself are always moving, romance helps her remember that she is valuable and worthwhile. Everything in her life is competing for her attention, and romance keeps you in first place. (Bill and Pam Farrel)
• MEN: Though every woman is different in what she thinks is romantic, anything that makes a connection to her heart will do. As a result, every husband who wants to be romantic must become a student of his wife. He needs to be willing to take risks and evaluate how well each one has worked. That is why we have included “Red Hot Romance Ideas” throughout this book. Some of them will work well with your wife, while some of them will be a flop, because your wife has her own romantic quotient. The challenge for you is to keep trying romantic gestures until you discover what works best with the love of your life. (Bill and Pam Farrel)
Be creative. Take the romantic lead. Teach your husband what is romantic. You are not usurping your husband’s leadership by teaching him how to be romantic. If you love candles, get out the candles. One night when we first moved to Virginia, we had moved from Texas and we didn’t have a fireplace in Texas, there was no need, and in Virginia we had a fireplace. And so we hadn’t been there very long, and one day I said, “Do you know what I think would be really romantic?” to Michael, and he said, “What?” And I said it would be really romantic to have a fire in the fireplace and just to be able to turn off all the noise in the house, put on some romantic music at night when the kids are in bed, wouldn’t that be romantic?
That’s what we had at our house that night. He set it all up, and it was wonderful. And it didn’t bother me at all that I had to plant, not so subtly, the idea. It worked, I thought, very well. (Cindy Easley)
• Instead of waiting for your husband to be romantic, go ahead and try initiating romance yourself. That’s right —you! Sometimes we women cling to the silly notion that spelling it out for husbands ruins the romance. We want our husbands to read our minds and create the romantic evening we’ve always dreamed of. Well, frankly, we need to get over it! If we don’t invest the romantic love, we take the risk that our marriage will become dull, boring, and disconnected. More marriages die because two people drift apart than because of a crisis, such as infidelity.
…Maybe your husband’s idea of romance looks a little different from yours. Perhaps he’s deathly afraid of being vulnerable and looking like a fool by being romantic. Maybe you’ll have to build up his confidence and be creative to resurrect romantic love, but the results will be worth the effort! (Melanie Chitwood)
Surprise Your Spouse:
• Reintroduce the element of surprise. Identify patterns and break routines. Become unpredictable. Celebrate anything and everything. Buy the unexpected present. Take an unplanned trip. (Jim Magruder)
• Sometimes couples complain that their time is limited because they’re so busy. The good news is that you don’t need to spend enormous amounts of time together to breed closeness and connection. Regular, brief get-togethers work too. Small changes in your schedule can make a huge difference. And, whatever you do, don’t leave “rendezvousing” up to chance. You need to plan and schedule dates together. Write these dates in your day-timer the same way you would a business appointment. Marriage is serious business. (Michele Weiner-Davis)
• When you go out for your date, do something that renews your bond. Watching a movie or going to a concert may be fun, but they don’t give you the opportunity to talk to one another. If you decide to see a movie, follow it up with dessert or coffee. There’s value in just sitting alone together, face to face, and talking. (Dr Alan Stafford)
• There are countless excuses guaranteed to keep you from taking action when it comes to dating your mate. We can always think of excuses to avoid doing certain things. I can think of 10 reasons for not getting out of bed in the morning, and another 5 for not filling my car with gasoline. I can make all the excuses I want to, but eventually the pressures of reality will force me into action. The urgency of life tells me I’d better get out of bed and get gas in my car. Otherwise I’ll never make it to work; I’ll get myself fired, and I’ll end up without enough money for survival! I’m forced to do what I should, regardless of my excuses. That’s reality.
But as far as my marriage is concerned, the consequences of my excuses aren’t nearly as tangible or immediate. If I don’t take Cathy out on Friday night, so what? Life will go on. I’ll still be employed. I’ll still be able to afford gas. I’m not forced to make any special effort toward our relationship because there appears to be no urgency. But you don’t need to be a rocket-scientist to figure out that this sort of attitude lies behind the rapid deterioration of marriages. Our nations divorce rate is phenomenal. If you want to add life to your marriage perhaps even save its life, you’d better do whatever it takes to bring romance and dating back into the picture. There’s no quick fix. But if you’re willing to make the proper investments, you’ll find great rewards. (Doug Fields)
• “We can’t afford a babysitter, and we can’t afford to go to dinner once a week.” It’s easy to conclude that if you can’t go out often, you may as well not go out at all. But once a month is better than never. Look for creative ways around your tight budget. For instance, choose one night a week to get the kids in bed early, put a pizza in the oven, and enjoy an after-dinner bath together. Ask the church youth director to organize a free babysitting service project for students. Pick up dinner at a fast-food restaurant and head to the local park. Time together doesn’t have to be expensive. (Mitch Temple, one of the authors of the book, The First Five Years of Marriage)
• A MESSAGE TO HUSBANDS:
Husbands often tell me they’re “too busy for that romantic stuff —besides, that isn’t reality.” I always respond by saying reality shouldn’t eliminate romance. I know a man who planned a scavenger hunt for his wife. About two weeks before they were to leave on a romantic getaway, he scattered little hints around the house. Using clues he gave her, she found these hints and collected them. On the day before they were to leave, she took all the clues and pieced them together a map of New England. Then the husband told her what was happening, and she had time to pack. They took off and spent their wedding anniversary in New England —seven days of peace, quiet, and romance.
You don’t have to plan scavenger hunts and trips to add adventure and romance to your marriage. Do you remember how you courted your wife before getting married? Use those same creative juices to make an area in your home an exotic love nest. (Dennis Rainey)
Continue the Romance
• Saying “I do” doesn’t mean you’re done! Nobody ever put gas in a car and expected it to run for years. But lots of couples are running on emotional fumes. Truth is, if you’re not dating your spouse, your relationship is running out of gas. (From the book, “40 Unforgettable Dates With Your Mate)
• Have you dropped the word dating from your vocabulary? “Well, that’s just how life is right now. It revolves around work and family and, hey, I’m not ashamed of that. I want to be a great parent and want to give my kids the best!” Giving your kids your best is an admirable goal. Your best, however, does not mean putting them before your marriage. One day your children will grow up and leave home, but hopefully your partner is your partner for life!
We use the word hopefully because divorce statistics are not encouraging. Why are so many marriages breaking up? Having worked with married couples for many years, we have our own opinion. We believe life goes out of a marriage when a couple stops working at it. To take it a step further, we have observed that when a couple stops working on their marriage, they stop having fun together, they stop playing together. We work with a lot of young couples, and we tell them, “Your work, kids, hobbies, and whatever will wait while you grab moments to build your marriage, but your marriage won’t wait until your kids grow up and you retire from your job.” Show us a marriage that is faltering, and we’ll show you a marriage where the fun is gone. (Drs. David and Jan Stoop)
Take Back Romance
• “We need to get the romance back.” I’ve heard so many spouses make that statement. Couples who are unhappy with their marriages often admit that what disturbs them more than anything is the lack of romance. Few couples expect to maintain the intense, supercharged, adolescent-style relationship that marked the height of their courtship. In fact, most couples feel somewhat relieved when life begins to settle into a more normal routine and they get about the tasks of real life again.
But many marriages settle down too much. Within a few short years the sparkle has faded completely. Feelings have become mere memories. Romance has become something to read about in cheap novels and spouses relate like roommates who share an occasional one-night stand. (Bill Hybels)
• Romance is a state of mind. If you have the right mindset, you can make cleaning the bathroom together romantic. If you have the wrong mindset, you can turn a moonlit stroll on the beach into a fight. (Gregory J.P. Godek)
• We have observed that when a couple stops working on their marriage, they stop having fun together. Show us a marriage that is faltering, and we’ll show you a marriage where the fun is gone. And where the fun is gone, there is a mighty good chance they don’t date their mate! Dating is something they did before they got married. It’s not in their marriage vocabulary today. (Dave and Claudia Arp)
• ROMANCE BUSTERS:
There are many things that can drain the romance and excitement out of marriage. Here are a few that many couples deal with: • The Curse of familiarity. Sadly we often pamper and care for new things: cars, homes, clothes, and even relationships. But with time, we don’t exercise the same care and concern. Familiarity breeds laziness, and we no longer take the time to nurture our spouse. • A twisted sense of security. Sometimes marriage partners work hard during the courtship phase of a relationship, but now they feel they have their prize and no longer need to work at the relationship —it’s secure!
• Physical exhaustion. Let’s face it, often we simply feel too tired to put a lot of energy and creativity into our marriage. While dating, couples would stay up talking until 2:00 A.M. Now it’s hard to stay up past 10:00 P.M. • Too many responsibilities. Schedules are full to the point of overload. Children, careers, church, community, and personal responsibilities fill our schedules, and we just don’t have time to be together like we used to. • Financial burdens. Mortgages, car payments, raising children, and a list of other expenses can weigh us down and make it tough to be as creative in our dating as we were during those early days. Money tensions often mean marriage tensions. (Bill Hybels)
How to Steer Clear?
• What do you do to steer away from “Romance Killers”? Some couples, like novelist Jane Kirkpatrick and her husband, Jerry, use visual cues to signal that a romance crusher has been sighted. When either of them raises a finger, the other takes a deep breath and redirects the conversation for the moment. Other couples have key phrases or words that serve as a signal to the spouse that a romance killer is on the way. A humorous word or phrase can keep things from disintegrating into an argument during a tense moment. For example, one couple uses the phrase land the plane whenever inappropriate topics come up during the wrong time. It breaks the ice, and they laugh and steer the conversation in a new direction. (Cindy Crosby)
More Thoughts on Romance
• No couple can avoid… irritations. Any two persons sharing one house will get in each other’s way from time to time. The closer and more intimate the association, the greater the opportunities for stumbling over each other and each other’s peccadilloes. So enjoy it! Don’t squeeze by each other in the narrow passageway —bump into each other! Make passing as difficult as possible, extending rumps and elbows, jostling shoulders and hips. Exploit every opportunity for “fun and games” and the delicious sexual stimulation of the passing rub and the sensuous pressure. (Dorothy Samuel)
• You can keep your love alive if you give it priority in your system of values. (From “God’s Little Instruction Book on Love”)
• A long-term benefit of dating your spouse is the model you set in place for your children. One of the best ways we can demonstrate love to our children is by expressing affection to our mates. When children have observed their parents placing priority on dating and romance, they will carry that expectation into their own significant relationships. Kids need to see quality, loving relationships in a world where those aren’t the norm.
It’s not uncommon for kids to fear their parents will get a divorce —half of their friends are children of divorce, and many kids think it’s only a matter of time before it happens to their family. Your dating can relieve a tremendous amount of pressure from your children and set an example they will never forget. (Doug Fields)
• Good romance happens when you are sensitive to the needs of others. It might be something as simple as fixing the leak in the faucet that is bugging her or making sure the phone bill gets paid on time. “If I take my wife out on the most wonderful, planned, extravagant date, and come home, and still haven’t taken out the trash when she’s asked four times, the date is all for nothing,” says Joey O’Connor, (author of Have Your Wedding Cake and Eat It Too). (Cindy Crosby)
• Here’s a great insight from one married man: “Most married men don’t want to abandon their wife to do guy things. They want to do “guy things” with their wife. They want her to be their playmate. It’s no different from when they were dating. For a guy, a big part of the thrill was doing fun things together. The woman who is having fun with her husband is incredibly attractive. If you see a woman out playing golf with her husband, I guarantee that all the other guys are jealous. Getting out and having fun together falls off in marriage because of various responsibilities, but men still want to play with their wives.” (Shaunti Feldhahn)
The Importance of Flirting and Holding Hands
• When is the last time you actually flirted with your own husband? Try it the next time you’re out at a party together. (Don’t be surprised if he wants to leave the party early!) (Gregory J.P. Godek)
• Recently we saw an article produced by Focus on the Family featuring a couple who, after thirteen years of marriage, noticed their fire diminishing into embers. They had a great idea. They decided to start acting like teenagers —starry-eyed crazy for one another. Then they began to plan secret get-aways. They began to touch each other again, to look deep into one another’s eyes again. Do you’ know what? The passion returned! We can learn a valuable lesson from teens in love. Together, begin to develop a new mind-set that says, “I just want to be alone with you.” “When will I see you again?” “I can’t wait.” (Patrick and Dwaina Six from GTO Ministries)
• Holding hands with your spouse is romantic. But did you know it can be therapeutic? Neuro-scientists at the University of Wisconsin and University of Virginia found that married women under extreme stress who reach out and hold their husbands’ hands feel immediate relief. And not just any hand will do —their husband’s touch proved significantly more comforting than that of a stranger. “The effect of this simple gesture of support is that the brain and body don’t have to work as hard in response to a threat,” says Dr. James A. Coan, the study’s lead author. “It’s deeply soothing.” So the next time you’re feeling stressed over deadlines at work, finances, or kids, grab your mate’s hand. You’ll both feel better. (The New York Times, January 31, 2006)
• Never meet without an affectionate welcome. (This is by far my [Steve Wright’s] favorite “rule” for a happy marriage.) It’s the 10 second kiss. It’s a great way to leave the house in the morning and to come home in the evening. Also, I wouldn’t want to be guilty of disobeying God’s word.) See what Solomon says here: “Kiss me again and again, your love is sweeter than wine.” (Song of Solomon 1:2). Do yourself a favor. Try the 10 second kiss tomorrow.
• Not Just a Kiss: The lyrics from that old song are wrong —a kiss is definitely more than just a kiss. Here are a few facts about smooching: ♥ A one-minute kiss works off 26 calories. ♥ Our brains have special neurons that help us find our mate’s mouth in the dark. (No wonder making out at the movies is so much fun!). ♥ A passionate kiss quickens your heart rate to 100 beats per minute. ♥ Kissing reduces tooth decay because the extra saliva generated by a lip-lock cleans your teeth. ♥ Nine out of ten couples in happy relationships kiss before bed. (Redbook, January 2006)
• Kissing — A means of getting two people so close together that they can’t see anything wrong with each other.
• Write a note to your husband or wife and tell him or her how much you appreciate all the hard work he or she does. Put it in a coat pocket or a purse for a loving surprise later in the day. (From Help! We’re Married – An Activity Calendar for Couples by Kandi Arnold, Andrea Devin and Dale Sprowl)
• Wives’ Tip:
Do you get frustrated with your husband when he forgets special days? Here is how you can fix that this month… and every month to come. Two weeks before any special day —your birthday, anniversary, the kids’ birthdays, even his mother’s birthday —warn your husband that special day is coming up. Tell him which day of the week it will fall on, and keep reminding him in a kind, and even humorous, way as the day draws nearer. Our brains are not like yours, Ladies. We need all the help we can get with stuff like this. So don’t get mad at us. Take pity on us and help us… please!
No matter how long we’ve been married, we all need reminded of the deep love that brought us together. This tip will help remind you and your wife of that love in a dramatic way. And I think you are really going to like it! Every day —when you first wake up, or leave for work, or get home from work, whatever time works the best for you and your wife —give her a long, sweet 10-second kiss. Little pecks are OK once in a while, but they don’t stir the senses like a 10-second kiss can. Remember, guys, ten whole seconds. (Harold and Bette Gillogly)
• Marriage is a venture into intimacy, and intimacy is opening of one self to another. (“God’s Little Instruction Book on Love”)
• We need to understand that the experience of exploring the other person and exploring the world with the other person intensifies our feelings. (Jerry and Judy Schreur)
• With each new discovery, love becomes more precious. (From “God’s Little Instruction Book on Love”)
• Remember, a thirty-five-year marriage does not guarantee a year number thirty-six. Take nothing for granted just because you have it today. (Jim Smoke)
• And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. (Philippians 1:9)
Dream or Nightmare?
• Some marriages have lost their romance because a woman has had her worst nightmare come true. She married a man who swept her off her feet with tender words, flowers, romantic dinners, and late-night strolls along the beach. She thought it would always be like this. Now he hardly communicates, never buys flowers, falls asleep in front of the TV, and no longer seems too interested in late-night walks. The man she married is gone. What happened? I fear that too many of us men approach marriage like a job to get done. Once we have our bride, all the courtship stuff goes out the window: manners, flowers, love poems, and nice dinners. They were just part of the chase.
This change in husbands often leaves wives confused and even resentful. This can also happen the other way. Some men watch their wives change after the wedding day and feel the same kinds of resentment. Take time as a couple to discuss the following: If you “shifted gears” after you got married and feel you might have hurt your spouse in the process, take time to admit that you recognize your mistake and let your spouse know you are sorry. … If you have not followed through on promises made to your spouse, what are you going to do to make this right and be a person of your word? (Bill Hybels)
If our men seem thoughtless or unromantic, they may simply be taking a safe course after what was (in their mind) a painful romantic failure in the past. Because men often feel left-handed romantically, they are incredibly sensitive to criticism or teasing. One man said flatly, “You tease me about not quite getting the candlelight dinner right, that’s it —it’ll be five years before I try it again.”
Another man relayed this story. “I spent a ton of time finding this special present for her birthday, and I was really jazzed about it. When she opened it, she smiled and said, ‘Thanks, sweetheart,’ kissed me on the cheek, and started talking about going out to dinner. I felt like after all that time and effort, I didn’t quite get it right. Next time I think it will be better just to aim low and be safe.” (Shaunti Feldhahn)
• Don’t over commit yourself. Leave time for your spouse.
• Love is the one business in which it pays to be an absolute spendthrift: Give it away; splash it over, and empty your pockets. Shake the basket; and tomorrow you’ll have more than ever. (From “God’s Little Instruction Book on Love”)
• Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Luke 6:38)
• Starting right now, do something for your husband of wife that they wouldn’t expect. If you aren’t accustomed to it, vacuum the floor or do the dishes without having to be asked. Turn off the television, look at your spouse and begin talking. Then, do it again tomorrow! Start to do things that show your love. Adjust your behavior daily to express how much you love your spouse and enjoy the changes after that. (Randy Carlson)
• Take your spouse off the treadmill of unrealistic expectations by making a list of character traits or romantic gestures he or she has already brought to your marriage. Buy a beautiful thank-you card and list the things for which you’re thankful. Mail it to your spouse’s place of work or leave it on a pillow or in another romantic spot. Then sort through any sources of sexual comparison (books, magazines, videos). Decide which encourage a hedge of privacy around you and your mate. Get rid of the rest.
Three key questions that may help you decide are: (1) Am I addicted to anything in these materials? (2) Does the advice in these materials help me to unconditionally love my mate with full acceptance of who he or she is? Or am I using this information unfairly as a measuring rod for my mate? (3) Does the advice in these materials make our love life less private? (Bill and Pam Farrel, Jim and Sally Conway, Pure Pleasure)
• Before embarking on any kind of creative activity with your mate keep in mind the differences between men and women especially in their thinking and perceptions. Even though men and women are alike in many physical capacities, there seems to be a difference in the “wiring” of the two sexes. Therefore, we must be sensitive to the difference in thinking and perspective that each person has when dating. What may seem fun and exciting to one spouse may be totally boring to the other. (Rick Bundschuh and Dave Gilbert)
• Busy schedules and physical exhaustion can take the romance out of a marriage. Talk as a couple about which day of the week and what time in the day each of you would say is your “best time.” When do you feel fresh, sharp, and the most energized? Try to plan a date or time together in the coming week that will reflect giving each other the best of your time. You might be surprised at what a positive impact this has on your time together. (From the Study Book, “MARRIAGE: Building Real Intimacy’ by Bill Hybels)
• Love, like a lamp, needs to be fed out of the oil of another’s heart, or its flame burns low. (From the booklet, “God’s Little Instruction Book on Love”)
• Love thrives in the face of all life’s hazards, save one —neglect. (From the booklet, “God’s Little Instruction Book on Love”)
• Don’t just tell your mate you love her. Tell her why you love her. She knows you love her. She craves to know why. Adding “because” at the end of “I love you” increases intimacy in your marriage. “I love you because you’re so unselfish …” (Jim Magruder)
• [The following is a letter which makes some points worth noting, which was written a while back to a newspaper relationship columnist]
Dear Ann Landers:
I find that I must respond to your disagreeing with “Faithful in Tulsa” who proposed staying in a marriage despite a loss of romantic feelings. Usually I think your answers show much wisdom but in this case I think your advice was shortsighted and encourages the current notion of getting out when things don’t look good leaving so many broken families.
First of all, “loss of romance” is not synonymous with “loveless”, which was a leap you made. There is more to love than romance. Secondly, “soul mates” are made and not a happenstance. My own marriage of more than ten years had reached a point where romance had faded. We had tried everything including counseling but the marriage had become an unsatisfying hassle and we both felt empty, unloved and defeated. I long debated getting out or sticking out our commitment in resignation.
Focusing on Positives
A third choice occurred to me which is what you and so many seem to miss. That is to give one more shot but focusing on the positives and desires and acceptance rather than the faults and frustrations. I didn’t have much hope but the change began to make a difference and after a while even romance and passion returned and grew.
Now another twenty years and a few more challenges later, we honestly agree that our relationship is better and stronger than ever. We could not have gotten here though without going through there. Most, if not all, relationships have some good points and are probably not totally loveless. Love is a choice and can grow through choosing to love through the “loveless” times. You can’t know it till you’ve tried it but it is worth it. (The grass is greener on this side, Richard Sroczynski)
THE TIME IS NOW
If you are ever going to love me,
love me now, while I can know
the sweet and tender feelings
which from true affection flow.
Love me now
while I am living.
Do not wait until I am gone
to have those sweet words chiseled
on ice-cold stone.
If you have tender thoughts of me,
let me know now.
• Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:33)