Posts tagged romance in marriage

5 romantic needs of a woman



Well, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. If you haven’t made your plans yet, it’s likely not going to be a good night for you, Mr. Casanova. So, just to help you a little, here are 5 things that every woman needs when it comes to being romanced by her husband. But, before you read the rest of this post, take out a sheet of paper and take a pre-read quiz. No cheating. What do YOU think the 5 romantic needs of a woman are? … Got ’em? OK, now check your answers with what I’ve come up with below.

Men and Women are different. Duh

I’m sure it comes as no shock, but men and women think of romance differently.

When asked to describe the purpose of romance, a woman will use words such as friendship, relationship, endearment, and tenderness. Given the same question, a man will answer with one of the shortest words in the English language — sex. For him, physical oneness and affirmation of his manhood equal romance.

Can two people with such different perspectives have their expectations met? Absolutely! But creating adventurous romance requires planning and enthusiastic effort. The relationship has to be a top priority. One reason so many marriage beds are frozen over or boring is that couples just don’t have time for romance and sex. Too many husbands and wives try to work sex inbetween the evening news and the Top 10 list on the Late Show With David Letterman.  To them, love in marriage is spelled S  E  X.

Let’s face it. Many of our activities and other important things get the best of our resources and energy. Jobs get our best. Children get our best. Church work gets our best. But are we saving any of our best for romance in marriage?

When we had children at home, Barbara and I worked hard to save some of our best for each other. Our children learned over the years that Mom and Dad often like to have quiet evenings alone. When the children were younger, we occasionally turned the kitchen into a famous big-time restaurant called the Rainey Rainbow Room and let each child order a special meal from a special menu. Barbara and I served as chef and waiter, and the kids had a great time learning a little bit about how to eat out.

Later in the evening, they knew they were to go to their rooms and stay there, not coming out for anything except bathroom runs. At 8 p.m., Barbara and I turned our bedroom into our own romantic cafe, complete with a small table, candles, and flowers (when I remembered to pick them up). There we would eat, talk, and relax. As we communicated, we were reminded of what attracted us to each other, and romance had an opportunity to ignite. We didn’t have to worry about a babysitter and didn’t have to leave the house to get away alone.

To make anything like this work, you must schedule it and then take the time to follow through. If I have learned anything in marriage, it is that romance, our relationship, and sex take time. And they deserve our best.

I have spent the better part of my marriage learning and adjusting the following summary of a woman’s romantic needs. The list was developed through much observation and conversation with Barbara and other women. I also have learned a great amount from the best book ever written on romance, passion, and sex — the Song of Songs in the Old Testament. Obviously, a woman has more than five romantic needs, but I consider these to be the top five:

Romantic Need #1: To be spiritually ministered to by her man

Are you surprised that something to do with candy and flowers isn’t number one? A woman wants a man eager to be her protector, someone who cares not just about her security and physical needs but also (and even more importantly) about her spirituality, the well-being of her very soul.

A husband can be a spiritual protector and advocate for his wife by praying with and for her daily, putting his arms around her, and saying, “I want to ask God to bless you. I want to take any needs you have in your life right now to the Lord. And I’m going to pray for you throughout this day.” A wise husband takes the lead in sharing Scripture and eagerly initiating conversation on spiritual issues.

A husband can contribute to his wife’s spiritual well-being by giving her some time to pursue her spiritual growth. For example, he might watch their child while she attends an evening Bible study.  Marriage romance begins in the soul.

I suggest that every young husband who wants to better understand his wife and his job description should read The Christian Husband, a book by my friend and colleague Bob Lepine.

Romantic Need #2: To feel safe and secure with her husband

A woman needs to feel her husband’s covenantal commitment to stay married and to love her and accept her. Then she feels safe to give him the gift of who she is in the marriage relationship. The Shulammite woman, who was the object of Solomon’s passion, said, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song 6:3). She obviously had a strong sense of contentment and security.

A wife needs to know that romantic intimacy is just between her and her husband, that he will not share any personal details with his friends. She should not feel pressured or fearful, experiencing the love that casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).

Romantic Need #3: To share intimate conversation

According to something I read recently, the typical couple spends only four minutes a day in meaningful conversation with each other. A lot of us husbands don’t realize that for our wives to consider us romantic, we first of all have to be a great friend and a conversationalist.  Conversation is a large part of love in marriage.

Grunts and one-word answers to questions just don’t cut it! Too many women don’t feel that their husbands really need them, and bare-bones conversation confirms their sense of low personal value. Many men who were accomplished at romantic, deep conversation during courtship seem to lose this talent later. You can rediscover the groove! Make a commitment to learn to make intimate conversation a priority with your wife. You need to talk and fill her in on the details of your life — not just facts, but feelings.

When a husband sincerely shows his desire for conversation and a deepening relationship — emotional intimacy — he will find that his wife is much more interested in sexual intimacy. Her dreams, hopes, desires, and disappointments then are not divorced from the marriage bed but are a part of it.

Romantic Need #4: To receive a tender touch and hear gentle words

Before marriage, two people in love can hardly keep their hands off each other because they find the touch of their beloved thrilling. What happens after the wedding? Some couples married for a while would find a firm handshake a wildly intimate encounter. This should not be the case in a marriage. There is great power in tender touch, even if it’s just a long, full-body hug or a lingering kiss. Or the touch may be a gentle caress of her face that has no motive to make sexual demands but communicates, “I love you, Sweetheart, and I care for you tenderly.”

Gentle words have similar power. I have made a partial list of some things that I think any husband could use in complimenting and praising his wife: charm; femininity; faithfulness to God, you, your children; hard work; beauty; personality; her love, including her receptivity and responsiveness to you as a man; her advice and counsel; character; desirability; friendship — and that’s just a start. What wife won’t respond to a husband who praises her regularly with gentle words for all these qualities?

Romantic Need #5: To be pursued and set apart by her man

A wife wants a husband who will sweep her off her feet, carry her away to the castle, and say, “Let’s spend time together.” Focused attention is like precious gold in a relationship.

One time Barbara and I had a little unresolved argument over a weekend. A couple of days later we went on our customary weekly date. We finally had the time and environment to fully discuss and resolve our differences. What it took was several hours away from phones, papers and bills, and the needs of our children. Your wife craves this focused attention from you.

A great lover

One of my favorite stories is of an interview with one of Hollywood’s biggest male stars, a man known for his prowess with the opposite sex. At one point he was asked, “What makes a great lover?”

“Two things,” he replied. “First of all, it is a man who can satisfy one woman over a lifetime. And it is a man who can be satisfied with one woman for a lifetime.”

That was a great answer! To build a strong marriage where you and your wife are experiencing oneness, you must be committed to satisfying her physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. I hope you both enjoy a lifetime of satisfaction!  Here’s to keeping your marriage romance alive, and a lifetime of love in your marriage.



Taken from Starting Your Marriage Right © 2000 by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

 

Becoming the man of her dreams



Getting you ready for Valentines day with some posts about love, romance, and a better understanding of what makes your wife tick.

Your wife needs you to pursue a relationship with her — not just when you want romance, but as a way of life.

What do Sean Connery and Harrison Ford have in common? Whether playing James Bond or Indiana Jones, these actors have been Hollywood’s idea of a manly man for decades. They’re rough and tough, and can fight, shoot, punch, or drop-kick their way through a crowded alley of bad guys … while barely cracking a sweat. They’re unstoppable. Unflappable.

And they usually get at least one girl in the end.

After all, jumping in the sack with any available warm body just goes with the action-hero territory. They reach for the thrill of sex without paying the price of intimacy. Take James Bond. Give him an adventure, and he’ll be in and out of more beds than a mattress salesman.

In the absence of role models who know how to love, cherish, and relate to one woman over a lifetime, is it any wonder that for the last few decades, boys have grown up to be men who are equally clueless about how to give themselves to a lifelong love? Taking their cues from Hollywood, they enter into marriage with guns blazing, thinking that their tough guy routine will save the day. But the show barely gets started when they find out how woefully ill-equipped they are to give a woman what she craves most.  A relationship.

I’m convinced we have a generation of married men who are confused and lonely; they’re stuck in a lifeless marriage because they never learned how to cultivate a relationship with a woman that speaks to her romantic need for intimacy. Sandy, who attended one of our conferences, described her relationship with her husband this way:

Dennis, I’m afraid that I am losing respect for him as a man. He is not really contributing to our marriage or even to his own life, so it’s like having a dependent rather than a husband, a partner.

If Sandy’s husband is ever going to become the man of her dreams, the best place to start is by meeting her relational needs. Unfortunately the media reinforces the notion of experiencing sex, devoid of a relationship. Men have been led to believe that great sex, like fresh fruit, is hanging off every tree, ripe, and waiting to be picked. All they have to do is reach out and grab some. They’ve been duped into thinking the same should be true in a marriage.

However, great romance is the by-product of a relationship.

Simple gardening tips

Becoming the man of her dreams - stepping up

The secret is learning how and what to sow in the garden of a woman’s heart. When you sow the seeds of respect, kind words, acts of tenderness, and thoughtfulness, you reap a reward from your wife in abundance. As God said through Hosea, “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love” (Hosea 10:12).

On the other hand, if you fail to cultivate this relationship, or if you sow seeds of criticism, neglect, or rage, sex becomes little more than a cold, physical act in which your wife feels used and unloved. That’s because God hard-wired a woman to desire relationship. Just as your wife has the power to affirm you sexually, you have tremendous power to provide her with the relationship she longs for, namely, a connectedness to your heart and soul.

When you withhold a meaningful relationship (I’m speaking about her need for conversation with you, her desire to see you plugged in to family life, her thirst to hear words of affirmation), she finds it difficult to give herself totally to you. Think with me for a moment: Do you sometimes feel your wife is not excited about your sexual advances? Step back and consider how much of an investment you’ve been making into her relational bank account. Her heart can be like a bank account where you make deposits and withdrawals. Far too often as men we can make withdrawals and disregard making deposits or investments. Every wife needs you to invest security, acceptance, and an emotional connection in her life.

Let me give you an example of what happens when a man squanders his power to validate and romance his bride with a relationship. Pam, a listener to our radio program writes:

My husband, Keith, has called me almost every low-life name that he could think of. He’s called me “fat” and said that I’m “bad in bed.” Although it has been almost eight years ago that Keith said these things, I can’t forget them. We’ve been married seventeen years and the TV is still more important to him than me. Recently, while staying in a hotel, I purchased a new nightie. When I changed clothes in front of him, his look was one of disgust. Keith didn’t have to say a word. The look on his face told me exactly how he felt about me.

I feel so rejected physically I can count on one hand in the last two years the times Keith has told me that I look nice. He’s never at home in the evenings to help me with the children. On weekends, Keith usually finds something other than his family to keep him busy. When I’ve tried to talk about this, I get yelled at or spoken down to. I hate living like this. I don’t know where to turn for help.

Now, I don’t know Keith’s side of the story but from what Pam has said, Keith has all but abandoned his role as the provider of a safe relationship — at great cost to his marriage. By calling Pam names, Keith failed to accept her. By ignoring her in favor of the television, he failed to make an emotional connection. And by refusing to involve himself with his family, he undermined her sense of security. His marriage is a divorce waiting to happen unless he recognizes that “love is patient, love is kind … It is not rude, it is not self-seeking … It always protects” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5, 7).

A woman’s need for relationship carries into the bedroom too. While a man is usually able to engage in sex almost instantaneously (almost anytime, anywhere), a woman needs the context of a relationship if she is to freely and playfully respond to physical intimacy. Sometimes a man will meet the relational needs of his wife during the day, but doesn’t nurture their relationship in the bedroom. And men wonder why women resent their sex drive.

When a man pressures his wife to perform sexually without regard to the relational aspects of such intimacy, sex becomes shallow. Physical intimacy becomes a battle of the wills or a manipulative game that ultimately dies a slow death.

Have I told you lately that I love you?

Just as your wife might wonder why sex is so important to you, you might be wondering why relationship is so crucial to her. You might even be scratching your head about why God wired men and women so differently. Look at it this way. As you know, God created Adam first. But did you know that Adam never asked for a wife?

It was God who said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18, emphasis added). God, in His wisdom, created Eve to be the companion that Adam didn’t even recognize he needed. She was created to remove Adam’s aloneness. No wonder God placed in Eve an intense drive toward relationship.

God knew that man’s tendency was to be alone. He gave us a gravitational pull in marriage—our sex drive—so that we would pursue our wives who, in turn, would call us to know and be known in the context of a relationship.

For a man, achieving relational intimacy is both a mystery and a challenge. I believe God wants to knock the edges off me, as a man, so that I learn to love my wife in a way that communicates love to her. During more than thirty years of marriage, I have repeatedly learned (emphasis on repeatedly) that Barbara needs me to pursue a relationship with her — not just when I want romance, but as a way of life. When a man pursues a relationship and gives his wife compliments only when he’s interested in sex, his wife will feel used.

For example, Barbara and I have a family of eight. As you can imagine, there are quite a few responsibilities that I’ve got to tackle on a typical weekend. As a man, I tend to count up the “points” that I’ve racked up over the weekend. You know what I’m talking about: I think if I just knock off about a half dozen items on her “honey do” list — cooking breakfast, weeding the garden, and so on — then Barbara will feel romantic when we go to bed at night.

But points are irrelevant to Barbara if she feels disconnected from me. In my way of thinking, a little sexual intimacy will connect us. But that may not even be on her radar screen as a woman. Romance for her begins heart to heart and is consummated body to body. In her way of thinking, she wants me to be her friend first, then her lover. Giving her a relationship first is how I become the man of her dreams. In other words, to her there’s a big difference between doing things for her and being involved with her. Sure, she appreciates what I do for her and for the family. But connecting on a friendship level with her is what she dreams of.

 

Adapted by permission of Thomas Nelson Inc., Nashville, TN., from the book entitled Rekindling the Romance, copyright 2004 by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. All rights reserved. Copying or using this material without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited and in direct violation of the copyright law.

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