By Dennis Rainey
Okay, let’s get this out of the way from the start: Valentine’s Day has been totally commercialized. But as we edge closer to it, I’ve been thinking that V-day is actually a pretty good time to evaluate how we show our spouses that we love them, care for them and want to honor them. Without the romantic investments/gifts of love letters, experiences, and some Dove dark chocolate, a marriage can be destined to a death-spiral, like the relationship described here in something given to me over a quarter century ago without an author to attribute it to …
Their wedding picture mocked them from the table, these two,
whose minds no longer touched each other.
They lived with such a heavy barricade between them that
neither battering ram of words, nor artilleries of touch could
break it down.
Somewhere, between the oldest child’s first tooth and the
youngest daughter’s graduation, they lost each other.
Throughout the years, each slowly unraveled that tangled ball
of string called self, and as they tugged at stubborn knots
each hid his searching from the other.
Sometimes she cried at night and begged the whispering
darkness to tell her who she was.
He lay beside her, snoring like a hibernating bear, unaware of
Once, after they had made love, he wanted to tell her how
afraid he was of dying but, fearing to show his naked soul,
he spoke instead of the beauty of her breasts.
She took a course in modern art, trying to find herself in colors
splashed upon a canvas, and complaining to other women
about men who were insensitive.
He climbed into a tomb called “the office,” wrapped his mind in
a shroud of paper figures, and buried himself in customers.
Slowly, the wall between them rose, cemented by the mortar
One day, reaching out to touch each other, they found a barrier
they could not penetrate, and recoiling from the coldness
of the stone, each retreated from the stranger on the
For when love dies, it is not in a moment of angry battle,
nor when fiery bodies lose their heat.
It lies panting, exhausted, expiring at the bottom of a wall it
could not scale.
But humans didn’t create romance. God did.
In fact, God penned some of the most poetic descriptions about romantic love in the Song of Solomon, found in His bestseller of all time, the Bible. If you haven’t read The Song of Solomon recently, may I invite you to read its eight chapters?
God isn’t blushing about marital romantic love. Romance was created by God to defeat the deadly, gravitational pull of isolation between a husband and wife.
Romancing your husband is an important issue. It isn’t the foundation of your marriage (you’ll find God’s prescribed foundation in Matthew 7:24-27), but romance is the fire in the fireplace, the glow and warmth of mutual affection that urge a husband and wife to merge and become one with one another.
My blog post a week ago, “What Wives or Girlfriends Wish their Husbands/Boyfriends would give them for Valentine’s Day,” pointed out that women spell romance … R E L A T I O N S H I P … and men spell it S E X! Our differences aren’t wrong, they are given by God to grow new capacities in our lives.
Before going further, I know that mentioning the sexual dimension of the marriage relationship elicits all kinds of responses from wives. Sexually speaking we live in a broken world that has impacted women and men in various ways … my friend Dr. Dan Allender has said, “Sexual abuse is the hardest stone the devil of hell throws at a human being.” Its impact can last for a lifetime. Porn twists a man’s view of sex and impacts his wife as well.
There are wives who try to meet their husband’s needs and they are repeatedly rejected. Some wives can’t keep up with their husband’s desires, feel guilty and begin to shut down after a few years of marriage. There are “low sex marriages” and “no sex marriages.” There’s promiscuity before marriage and affairs after marriage. And deep dark places in some lives that are unimaginable.
We are all damaged by our selfish choices and actions of others … we need this area of our lives to be redeemed. It is within marriage and a lifetime of love that this redemptive process can grow and transform you and your spouse into trophies of God’s grace. May I encourage you to continue to cry out to God to be at work in your life and marriage?
Here are six thoughts for wives about how they can communicate their love and romance their husbands. Read these carefully and pick one or two that you can begin to excel in now and over the next 12 months.
1. Catch the little foxes.
In the second chapter of The Song of Solomon, the bride implores her husband to “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom” (2:15). The vines were trying to blossom and grow delicious fruit, but these little critters were nipping the buds before they could be pollinated and grow fruit. The same thing that was happening in the vineyard was also happening in their marriage.
Passion was being nipped in the bud.
Ladies, are you growing “fruit” in your marriage? If not, perhaps you need to observe the “little foxes” that are stealing your romance before it has a chance to blossom? Perhaps it’s time for you to go on a lifelong marital mission of ensnaring the enemies that prevent you both from experiencing a romantically fruitful marriage. Here’s a partial list of some foxes that we’ve “caught and released:”
Children! One beleaguered wife wrote Barbara and me saying, “Our romance gave us our children and now our children are stealing our romance.” Children can go to bed early. Don’t go out to eat, stay home and bring in carryout from your favorite restraint. Have dinner in your bedroom and tell the kids to stay in their rooms!