Embedded within those questions are the assumptions that: 1. The romance has settled. 2. The flames are not burning brightly. Those assumptions may be entirely flawed. Romance may be dancing in your heart and burning strong like a hearty fire in mid-winter. Though all around you there is coldness, your marriage may be glowing. Great!
For most of us it is a mixed bag, isn't it? We love our spouse. We have the occasional big events that stir us from slumber, but something is lost in our daily encounters. That is not to imply that every day in a marriage should be like a page ripped from a romance novel (not a good place to look for real romance anyway). However, every day there are opportunities to stir up God-given desires and to invest in the person across the bed.
It is easier for romance to spark on special occasions. Why is that? One reason (maybe the main reason) is that we tend to be more thoughtful during those times. We tend to be more creative and more unselfish when our anniversary or some other special occasion rolls around.
Can that thoughtfulness be transferred to Monday morning? Wednesday afternoon? Saturday night? Is there any reason that, while sometimes we may dress up and go to a ball, that we cannot in jeans and tee-shirt dance across the living room floor (stepping over a few toys left behind)? Is there any reason why, though there are times we may swirl the juice across a table draped in white, that we cannot toast our partner thirty-minutes before bed (in a paper cup)? Is there any law against patting the knees to the sound of blue-grass, though we might prefer the big band in a banquet hall? Sometimes it is just a smile, a touch or a kind word that keeps the fire going.
Obviously most of us cannot visit fancy restaurants or travel the oceans each day. Those dates are reserved for special occasions. And if we could dine and travel in a bit of extravagance every day--then much would be lost. If it is Christmas everyday, is it really Christmas any day?
But everyday can be special! Everyday can be thoughtful. Every intimate encounter may not be "rockets red glare with bombs bursting in air" but every encounter can be loving and romantic. Are we going to miss the mark? Yes, of course. But should we not at least aim for the mark?
So how do we raise the window to let the winds of romance in? Sometimes the window is a bit stuck. Consider a few suggestions that might help to pry the window a bit:
1. Kiss regularly. Kiss when you wake up and when you go to bed and every time you come home. Kiss at other times also.
2. Invite. Invite your spouse to sit with you, read with you, walk with you, snuggle with you and help you with a project.
3. Speak with kindness. "A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself" (Proverbs 11:17). "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue"(Proverbs 31:26). Real romance is often sparked by asking questions such as, "what was your favorite dessert when you were a child?"
4. Show creativity. To be creative requires thinking. Think about ways to sprinkle romance into the mundane things of your day (eating and drinking). Twice a week prepare a bed-time snack of cheese and crackers (or whatever) to be enjoyed thirty minutes before going to sleep. Look forward to those times. Think of other things that you can do to add spice to blandness.
5. Engage. Don't be afraid to take the initiative in romance. Read the Song of Solomon and you will find that both the woman and the man initiate romance. Engage your spouse with thoughtful expressions. Engage them by taking their hand, rubbing their back, doing something for them that they enjoy. Read to and with them. Read the book: Date Your Wife.
6. Date. Dates do not have to be expensive but they should be regular. The best thing about a date is not where you go but who you go with. I once had a guy tell me that he packed a table cloth and candle and took his date to McDonald's where he spread the cloth and lit the candle. Have a regular time (preferably each week) where you either leave the house for a while or retreat to a private place in your house to date.
Make your own list and get started, like--right now! More to come!