I can still remember the night John proposed. We’d asked my mom to baby-sit my son Cory, and then John drove me 70 miles away to a nice dinner. After that, we strolled in the moonlight at a local park. We laughed, talked, and joked. John even did a little song and dance, to my delight. Then, he led me toward the light of a streetlamp and he knelt on one knee, produced a beautiful ring, and asked me to marry him. Ahhh . . .
Even though we live 1,000 miles away now, we’ve been back to visit that park. A huge bridge crossing the Sacramento River has been erected on the very spot he’d proposed. As we gazed at it, once again in the moonlight, John whispered in my ear, “It’s only right that such a beautiful structure be erected as a monument of our love.” Double ahhhh . . .
The longer I’ve been married, the more my idea of romance has changed. Sure, I still enjoy dinner out and walks in the park, but my face really lights up when John sees me in the kitchen and helps me with dinner, or when he picks up Mr. Clean and spends 45 minutes on a Saturday morning making our bathroom shine. Those things mean a lot to me because John sees my need and strives to alleviate some of the work that comes with raising kids, writing books, and serving in church.
Likewise, John appreciates it when I curl up next to him on the couch during a movie . . . especially if it’s one I wouldn’t choose to watch. Or if I take him a sandwich while he’s working in the garage. Or if I give him a massage after a long day at work.
Romance doesn’t have to fade away with the years. With or without kids, romance can flame, spread, and provide a fire in the hearts of mates. Yet romance doesn’t have to be trite. True romance impacts the deepest part of our heart—where media, movies, and love songs can’t possibly touch.
Revisit Your History
“Tell each other what you saw in one another when you first met. What was it about your true love that intrigued and attracted you? That crooked smile? That infectious laugh? Courteous behavior? Endearing diffidence? Quiet confidence?” writes Toni Poynter, author of Now and Forever. “I remember my husband, on our second date, asking, ‘May I?’ before he took my arm as we traversed an icy patch on the sidewalk. It was so unexpected—so sweetly courtly. I fell hard—and not on the ice.
“It’s nice to know what we saw in each other—it connects us to a time when the energy between us was thunderous, crackling with possibility. Together, remember your common history. Sharing it with each other binds you together.”
Run Away . . . Together
Last January John and I started the year by running away together to Banff, Canada, which is only four hours away. We found January worked well for us, because I’m usually tired from balancing kids, book deadlines and holidays, and John is tired from end-of-the-year crunch at work.
We had the best time together: sleeping in, going on walks, bubble baths, talking . . . you get the picture. We liked it so much in fact we’re planning another weekend get away this year. And I’m hoping it turns into a yearly event!
Remember and Reflect
“Tomorrow morning, get your eyes off the toast . . . long enough to LOOK at your spouse . . . Look at his or her hands,” wrote Ed Wheat, author of Love Life for Every Married Couple. “Do you remember when just to look at those hands made your heart lift? Well, LOOK … and remember. Then loose your tongue and tell him or her how you feel . . . Ask the Lord to give you a sentimental, romantic, physical, in-love kind of love for your spouse. God will do this. His love in us can change the actual physical quality of our love for our spouses.”
I love how this author urges readers to go beyond remembering to reflection. Don’t keep your warm thoughts to yourself. Speak them to your spouse. Also, speak them as thankfulness to God. Apostle Paul says, “Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God,” Philippians 1:3 (NIV). Can you imagine how much love we’d feel toward our spouse if we did that? Can you imagine how loved we’d feel if our spouse did the same?
“Identify your spouse’s positive characteristics and choose to thank God for these traits,” adds Gary Chapman, author of The Four Seasons of Marriage. “Thank God that your spouse is made in his image and is therefore extremely valuable. Thank God that your spouse is uniquely gifted and has a unique role to play in the Kingdom of God. Thank God that marriage was his idea and ask him to give you the ability to be his messenger by communicating positive statements to your spouse. Then begin to express appreciation for the positive traits you observe in your spouse. You can choose a winning attitude even when your spouse shows no interest in improving your marriage.”
To me romance means wooing someone. Nothing solicits my affections more than when John puts my needs above his. And you know what? It makes me want to return the gesture . . . simply out of consideration.
Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:2–5 (NIV)
Jesus gave everything . . . to show His love. Thinking of this, I realize that giving a back rub doesn’t sound too difficult.
Do you need to rekindle the romance in your marriage relationship?
© Tricia Goyer author of Generation NeXt Marriage
Really enjoyed this post. Lots of good things to remember and I’m a newlywed so grateful for the insight!
Debbie F says
I have been with the same man for 23 years. This year I have tried to make an effort in appreciating him more. For many years I would complain that he took me for granted and then God spoke to me and pointed out how I was doing the same to my husband! Really opened my eyes. I really appreciate my husband now and I realize that he is a good man.
thanks for the post. Everyone needs a reminder and it has given me some ideas that hopefully will spice things up a bit. LOL!
Charissa Steyn says
Hi Tricia 🙂 Thanks for the lovely reminders of romance and practical tips. I am a newlywed still 🙂 But I love getting ahead of the game and working on showing my husband love in the little ways, so that it carry us through the tougher seasons of our love one day!
Practice makes perfect!
Awww, love this post!
Great reminders/tips for the future:)