This time of year we’re bombarded with images of romance as cute little chubby angels flying around with a bow and arrows, which is hardly appealing to most men. In fact, it seems more for our children than for us. But romance isn’t one day on the calendar each year. It’s a feeling reserved for our spouse alone.
Think about it. There is no one else who is privileged to know you in such an intimate way as your spouse. They know what you consider romantic and are the only ones who can do something to satisfy that need. That being said, there are many places a healthy marriage will practice romance, and it’s not where you’d think.
#1 – In sick times – When your spouse is sick, romance isn’t a lovey, dovey feeling, it’s taking care of your spouse’s need to be cared for in their infirmity. It’s fluffing their pillow. It’s preparing whatever food or beverage they can swallow. It’s giving them medications to ease their pain. It’s making phone calls and taking care of their chores while they are unable to. This is romance in action.
#2 – In poor times – When money is tight and bills are piling up, it’s easy to forget all about romance. But romance looks different in this season. It’s encouraging your spouse that you’ll make it through this hard time together. It’s reminding your spouse of the many ways you are rich in love and family. It’s taking the time to do little things for each other. It’s going for a walk or sitting outside marveling at God’s creation. It’s pausing to pray to God together asking for His provision. It’s continuing to keep your dreams alive even when it seems there will never be enough money to pay for it. This is romance in compassion.
#3 – In worse times – A worse time can be defined as a time that isn’t as good as it once was, and it can be for many different reasons. It could be due to sin–either yours or your spouse’s. It could be due to the actions of extended family members who have caused your own relationship to be strained. It could be due to family crisis with one or more children, or their health issues. Romancing your spouse in times like these can be the most challenging because you most likely won’t feel like doing it. But for those who are willing to go against the flow and do it, they’ll discover a new found freedom in their love for each other. Romance in this season is intentional or it won’t happen. It’s specific or it won’t be noticed. It’s putting the desires of your spouse above your own and choosing to bless them even if you think they don’t deserve it. It’s trusting God to help you express your love the way Christ has demonstrated His love for us. It’s nearly impossible for us to romance our spouse this way, but with God all things are possible. This is romance in sacrifice.
You may recognize by now that these are part of traditional wedding vows. Most couples don’t give much thought to this aspect of what they promised. And if they did at the time, many forget when the marriage faces difficult seasons. It’s good to remember what a privilege it is to care for and love our spouse in this way.
May there be no regrets when our days together in this life have ended and death parts us. Let’s make the most of each day we’ve been given and celebrate romance daily, not just when Hallmark says we should.
Tom and Debi Walter have been cultivating their romantic vineyard for most of their 36 years of marriage. It has been their conviction from the start. Now they are passionate about helping other couples discover the rich harvest of romance available to them no matter the current season. Through their marriage blog, The Romantic Vineyard established in 2008, they provide regular posts about growing your marriage for God's glory.