Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Cultivating Romance

Photo by Ambro taken from freedigitalphotos.net
You've seen them at local restaurants and coffee shops--those couples who, though they sit together, maybe even across from each other, appear to be engaged in everything else other than one another. 

And of course, there are couples who've long since given up going out--or spending time together period. 

But then there are those couples who, twenty, thirty, forty years in still laugh, love, hold hands, and genuinely seem to enjoy one another! It's obvious to all--they are madly in love.

So why the difference? 

Honestly, answering that question would take a lot more space than this blog post allows,
Photo by Stuart Miles found on freedigitalphotos.net
but I would like to focus on one crucial aspect of long-lasting committed love, and that's romance. 

When we think of romance, often our mind jumps to five-star restaurants, candlelight dinners, and dozens of roses brought to our doorstep. But romance is much more a state of mind than a high-dollar evening. 

Romance is also an act of will. My phrasing might sound completely
Photo by piyaphantawong taken from freedigitalphotos.net
unromantic, but let me explain.

We live in a crazy-busy world. I know I'm not the only one who frequently looks at my schedule and to-do list, wishing I had but one more hour in the day and one more day in the week. With so many pressures and responsibilities pulling us in so many different directions, it's easy to allow our to-dos to crowd out our must-dos. And contrary to our achievement-oriented culture would have us believe, relational-building is absolutely a must-do. 

A must-do we must attend to with determination and focus, because otherwise, there's a good chance romance won't happen. 

Our daughter was away this past weekend, giving my husband and I more than two full days all to ourselves. Friday night was fun. We went out to dinner, then came home and did ... absolutely nothing, well, except tell each other we loved on another about half a dozen times. 

Talk about teenage regression: 

"You go to sleep first."
"No you."
"No you."
"I love you more."
"Uh-uh, I do." 

Saturday, we spent more time together--shopping, going to a birthday party, more shopping. (I had a gift cards from Mother's Day and Christmas I hadn't spent yet.) 

By Saturday afternoon, after having spent a good chunk of time with my love, I glanced at my to-do list, then at a speech I've been working on, and I felt a tug. I felt two opposing tugs, actually. One was to get busy and catch up on my rapidly imploding to-do list. (A list I'm even more focused on, thanks to a possible upcoming jury duty that could swallow all of June!) The other was a bit softer, less urgent, but I believe, prodded by the Holy Spirit, and that was to pour into my husband and our marriage. 

As I debated these two options, a thought came, quiet but swift, Your marriage is more important.

True, we'd already spent a chunk of time together, and no, our marriage wouldn't have collapsed had I pulled away for a couple hours to get a few things done. But in that moment, I sensed God nudging me toward my husband, reminded me of the treasure He'd given me in Steve, the treasure He'd given us both in our marriage. And as with every treasure, we needed to take time to guard that which we'd been given.

We do that by building and laying the ground work for deep and lasting romance. 

In other words, flowers won't bloom in untilled soil. 

Ah, that brings us back to roses, those uberly expensive flowers that somehow have become synonymous with romance. So what if you're broke? What if you have a bunch of little ones running around the house, requiring an exorbitantly expensive babysitter? Does that mean you and your spouse can only enjoy romance once a month?

Nope. It means you need to get creative, and as you do, I'm pretty sure you'll find those simple, free activities you discover along the way are much more romantic and heart-melding than hours spent at a fancy restaurant. 

They're also much more heart-melding than every moment you spend on your computer, or cleaning your floors, or chatting on the phone with your girlfriends. 

That's not to say you can't do those things, but rather, may we always keep the first things first, and our marriage, one of the most sacred unions known to man, is definitely a first thing. 

What does your week look like? Evaluate it from a "cultivating romance" angle. Do you have enough time carved out for your spouse? If not, what do you need to do to change that?

Share your thoughts, along with any cheap but swoon-inducing ideas you might have, in the comments below.

And speaking of romance, before you go, I want to invite you to participate in an Amazon give-away to win one of four copies of my debut novel, Beyond I Do. 

Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancĂ©. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

You can read the first 36 pages HERE.

You can enter the GIVE-AWAY HERE.

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1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, Jennifer. Great advice here, too. Now I gotta go hug my hubby.