Okay, just to be clear, we want it ALL. The stunning flowers. The scrumptious five-course dinner. The extravagant, meaningful gifts. The charming cards dripping with sentimental words of your undying love for us. Yeah, that’s what we really want.
Don’t discount your husband’s efforts at Traditional Romance. Shaunti Feldhahn asked men the following question for her book, For Women Only: “Men sometimes have different notions of what is romantic. If you take sex out of the equation, which of the following do you find more romantic for yourself?” The response? 60% of men say they enjoy the traditional notion of a romantic event-for example, a candlelight dinner, a cozy snuggle by the fire, or watching a sunset on the beach.
Given this large percentage, it is important for we women to encourage our men when they try to be romantic. Be willing to be adventurous with him. Validate his efforts. Remember what Ben said in post 94/444 that a man’s biggest question is ‘Do I have what it takes?’ If we complain rather than encourage, if we shoot down his ideas instead of catching his enthusiasm, guess what will eventually happen. He will give up. He won’t try anymore. And we certainly don’t want that, now do we? Not for either one of us.
But Traditional Romance is not realistic on an daily basis. Everyday romance is more realistic. And we have found that a key to being able to communicate everyday romance is to know one another’s Love Language. Gary Chapman wrote a classic book, The Five Love Languages that helps you identify, understand and speak your spouse’s primary love language. You need to speak their love language to them, not try to speak your love language to them. Something usually gets lost in translation if the only way you ‘love’ is in your own language. He breaks these down into 5 primary areas. I’ve included Gary’s brief descriptions of each type of Love Language from his website to give you a feel for discovering which might be yours or your spouse’s followed by an example.
Acts of service: “Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words we most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.” THIS is my primary love language, so when Ben does the dishes (or laundry, or makes the bed, or takes out the trash) for me…I feel loved. When he does them without my having to ask…I feel like I’m in heaven.
Words of Affirmation: “Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.” Meaningful words written on a card can speak volumes. I still remember a card Ben sent to me when we were dating that he wrote on a plane flying over Texas toward a golf tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico. I may have only been 19, and I may not remember the exact words, but I remember how loved I felt that he took the time to buy a card, write some heartfelt words, and mail it all the way from Mexico.
Gifts: “Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.” Again, it’s the thought that counts. One time I sent Ben out to purchase a book for me and he couldn’t find it…so rather than come home empty handed, he brought me flowers. All together now…awwwww.
Physical touch: “This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.” We actually like to divide this one into two categories…non-sexual and sexual. They are distinctly different. Snuggling on the couch is one example of non-sexual physical touch. Can it lead to sexual physical touch? Sure it can. But it shouldn’t always.
Quality time: “In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.” THIS is Ben’s primary love language. Directly opposed to Acts of Service. ‘Spend time with me’ vs. ‘Do things for me’. He used to ask me to sit with him on the couch and I would respond by telling him I would have time to sit on the couch with him if he would just help me out around the house more. Needless to say, we’ve worked on that dynamic quite a bit and I am more likely to be found relaxing on the couch with him or taking a nice long walk with him and he is more likely to be found making the bed most mornings or emptying the dishwasher – without being asked.
What I’m trying to say is…Romance me in a way that is meaningful to me. The best date my husband has ever taken me on was to the Pepsi Center in Denver for the NCAA basketball tournament...FOUR games in ONE day! It was the awesomest day ever. Really. (Yes, my husband knows he’s a lucky man). Your wife may not appreciate tickets to the NCAA basketball tournament. Or tickets to any game for that matter. Perhaps her most awesomest ticket ever would be to a play or a concert or even just a free pass to shop without the children.
When you romance me, and especially when you romance me in a way that speaks to my soul, it means you’ve been thinking about me, I’ve been on your mind, which goes back to being cherished and loved….and I think that was Number ONE (or 100/444 if you’re keeping track) on what Men Need to Know About Women.