Romance for Dummies

Written by Dave Klassen

Suppose I’ve just taken my wife out on a date, and the next morning a friend asks me what I did last night. Guess my likely response:

  • “Oh we went out to the Keg, it was great – I had one sweet tastin’ steak with all the trimmings! It was so good that Rushia tried to steal a piece. No way, all mine. Then we went to a movie – bit of a chick flick, but Rushia liked it. Stopped at Starbucks for a coffee and latte and then off to take the babysitter home…”
  • “Man, I just had such a romantic night with Rushia. I took her out for a candlelight dinner. The ambiance was perfect. Casting longing gazes at each other, we nibbled caviar, lost in our love. We were one. Then off to the movie, not one of the best I’ve ever seen, but it didn’t matter – it was just nice to be with her for some uninterrupted, quality time. I feel so close to her now.”

If you guessed “A” give yourself a point. I am a guy, after all. But how would my wife answer? Yep, “B” all the way.

My point? Romance is a vital part of the female persona. Men rarely, if ever, say something like: “Oh, how romantic, ” or, “My ideal woman is a true romantic.” While I really don’t have high romantic needs, my wife does. God created her with that built-in need, and He created me to meet it. So even though romance isn’t naturally a high priority for me, I need to enter into that realm for her benefit. It’s part of loving her sacrificially.

Rest assured, romance can be manly. I love this quote from John Eldredge’s book Wild at Heart: “You were created in the image of God as a man. He intentionally gave you a passionate, wild heart, and He invites you to live out what He meant it to be…a man who’s dangerous in a really good way. Your nature is hardwired with the desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.”

And if that isn’t enough to inspire you, take heed: If you don’t romance your wife, someone else will. There are always other guys ready to rescue the beauty. But assuming you’re up to the challenge, here are some tips to start with.

Get a master’s degree in romancing your wife

It would be nice if romancing your special lady were as simple as buying flowers or a box of chocolates. But the reality is that every woman has her own unique tastes, likes and dislikes. Not only that, but even if she does like flowers and candy, you can only do that so often before it starts to get old. Strive for more creativity.

Furthermore, really get to know your wife; discover what ticks her off and what tickles her fancy. A gift that makes one woman swoon may be seen by another as a huge waste of money. One woman’s dream date may be another’s worst nightmare. If you want to make your wife feel loved, communicate your love in a way that she will understand and appreciate.

Okay, maybe your head is spinning after many years of trying to discern what pushes your wife’s buttons. Relax! We can help.  Print out The Romance Questionaire (it will download as a PDF). Write on a card a note that says, “This year I really want to learn how to be a more romantic husband. Can you please help me by answering these questions?”

Trust me; she won’t mind at all.

Don’t re-create the romance wheel

There are two types of creativity – resourcefulness and reproduction. The resourceful guy creates an experience from scratch, tailor-made for his wife. The replica man uses other people’s ideas and makes them his own. You know what they say: steal from one — plagiarism, steal from many – research!

Put forth the effort to be resourceful from time to time. Your original endeavours speak volumes. Also, your unique ideas spell it out – you’re in tune with what she likes.

If the idea of resourcefulness has you sweating bullets, take heart. Some guys are just more creative than others. And even the most imaginative guy would have a very hard time devising a lifetime’s worth of romantic escapades for his wife. So take advantage of what’s already out there. Go ahead and plagiarize!

If you’re planning a nice evening out, there are many packaged deals available, especially around Valentine’s Day. For example, dinner and theatre tickets – notice I didn’t say a hockey game and a hotdog in between periods. The Internet is a treasure trove of romantic ideas – just Google “romantic ideas for men.” For daytrip ideas, check out tourist brochures from your city to discover fun places to visit. If you’re looking for a longer romantic trip, consider a cruise or an all-inclusive resort.

Or, rival Martha Stewart with this creative idea – free of charge! Items needed:

  • 1 old rowboat
  • 1 piece of paper
  • 1 envelope
  • 1 pen
  • 1 candle
  • 1 warm blanket

On a warm summer day write this note: “Meet me at the _________ dock at 10:00 pm.” Put the note in an envelope with instructions to be opened at 9:31pm sharp. Hand it to your wife as you leave the house in the morning, with no explanation.

When she arrives at the dock at 10:00, your ever-romantic self will be waiting in the old wooden rowboat with a lit candle at the bow. Row around the lake in the moonlight, stopping in the middle to drift and chat.

Don’t be afraid to glean ideas from others. In Cyrano de Bergerac (as well as movies like Roxanne and Hitch), main characters sought help from romance experts to help them woo that special woman. Now, I’m not suggesting that you try to deceive her like they did, but there is no harm in getting suggestions and advice from those who may be more creative than you. If you stumble over words, well, that’s what Hallmark is for.

The opportunities are practically limitless. Just make sure, whatever you choose to do, that your focus is on what will make your wife smile – not on yourself.

Seize the romantic moment

While living in Northern Saskatchewan , Rushia and I loved the big, open sky. Sometimes, while driving, the shimmering Northern Lights would suddenly flood the sky. If I wasn’t thinking about myself and getting to our destination as fast and as efficiently as possible, we would take advantage of these unexpected and unforgettable wonders by pulling our car over to the side of the road to watch in awe.

Sometimes romance is like that. It can happen anytime, anywhere, without any planning at all. Those spontaneous moments can be more powerful than thousands of dollars spent on a gift or a trip.

Spontaneity can be as simple as noticing your wife had a hard day – take her out for dinner. Or, if a romantic song comes over the radio, act on impulse and dance together in the kitchen. Make a comment about how great she looks in that outfit. Savour a nice sunset or a starry sky. These moments happen all the time, but usually we’re too preoccupied or focused to notice them.

You don’t always have to be a Casanova, spending hours (and money) plotting the perfect moment. All you have to do is keep your eyes open, watch for opportunities, and be flexible enough to take advantage of them.

Every stroke of romance paints a picture

A single act of romance may seem a little insignificant on its own. After all, how much difference can one bouquet of flowers make in a relationship as complicated as marriage?

Sure, if romance is an isolated event in a marriage instead of a way of life, it might not mean much. But if you are making a consistent effort to make your wife feel treasured, each romantic moment is like a single stroke in a beautiful work of art. The individual brush marks come together to paint a stunning picture.

It’s a picture that tells your wife she is cherished and thought of, and that your marriage is a real priority in your life. But it’s also a picture that impacts your kids. It gives them the security of knowing that their mom and dad’s relationship is solid. It teaches your sons how to treat a woman and give them value. It sets the standard for your daughters, encouraging them not to settle for a guy who doesn’t treat them right. In short, romancing your wife is a critical part of the legacy you will leave for your children.

Check your attitude at the door

I’ve been an athlete all my life, so I’ve heard it said by coach after coach, “Check your attitude at the door.” In a team sport that means it’s not all about me. There’s something bigger going on here, and I need to take the focus off myself and concentrate on the higher goal.

The same thing goes with romance. Our motivation needs to be in the right place. Let me put it plainly: romance is not all about the desired end result (ie. sex). Approaching romance from a selfish perspective is a dead end street.

We need to focus on what we’re giving, not what we’re getting. The objective is not simply to give my wife just enough so that she gives me what I want. When I married Rushia, I promised to put her needs ahead of mine, to love and value her regardless of her response. Romance is part of living out that commitment. As we do that, it will come back to us in many ways, and that’s awesome. But that’s not the primary objective.

Leave what’s behind and move toward what’s ahead

While it’s important to keep things new and fresh, traditions can also bring a sense of romance. Rather than getting stuck in a rut, doing the same thing year after year, find new ways to rekindle or enhance old traditions.

For example, instead of giving your wife a dozen roses every year for your anniversary, give her one rose for each year you’ve been married. Sure, it might get a little expensive when you hit 30 or 40 years, but not only will she love all the flowers, she’ll also be very impressed that you actually remember how many years you’ve been married. (Just don’t get it wrong!)

Also, try something outlandish from time to time. On a recent anniversary, I gave Rushia 100 roses. Yeah, it looked like I got them from a racetrack, but when she read the card listing 100 ways she has affected my life, I was a good boy.

Remember your audience

I already mentioned that I’m an athlete. As you probably know, sports teams carry with them a little tradition called initiation. When a new player joins the team, you welcome them and make them feel part of the group with some sort of ritual. It’s usually all in fun, but occasionally it gets out of hand…as it did on my honeymoon.

My new bride was taking a nice hot shower while I relaxed on the bed in our hotel room. Filled with the wonder and awe that comes with being young and in love, I really wanted to do something to welcome her to Team Klassen – something that would leave no doubt as to how glad I was to have her on board.

I knew just what the occasion called for: an initiation rite! So as Rushia enjoyed her shower, blissfully unaware, I filled up a bucket with freezing cold water. I crept towards the bathroom, congratulating myself and thinking, “She is really going to love this, and she’s really going to feel part of the team!”

I reached over the top of the shower and, with a howl of glee, I welcomed Rushia to the team with a bucket of cold water over her head. I roared with laughter as I peeled out of the bathroom and waited for her to come out and show her appreciation.

And show it she did…by inviting me to sleep on the extra bed in the room that night. By myself.

My problem was, I forgot who she was. She’s not one of the guys, and I shouldn’t treat her like she is. My wife doesn’t want to be slapped on the butt, tossed a bun from across the table or spoken to in jock talk. Lots of lot of times she just wants to be hugged (NOT GROPED). I must try to meet her needs and desires, which sometimes means going against my own natural instincts – especially if they involve buckets of cold water.

Just do it…now

Hey, we’re all busy. I understand that. But sacrificing our relationship with our spouse is a sure fire way to disaster.

A great marriage is not something that can wait till later. Start small. Start today.

Show her your marriage is a priority: Attend a Weekend To Remember marriage conference.

20 Responses to “Romance for Dummies”

  • Chris says:

    grace….when we allow God to direct us to the right person, we can trust him to join that person to us without having to try and win or keep the person trying to please them. a godly mate is someone jesus promises to supply for us according to his plan for us. as you yield your life to christ and his plan for you, you can concéntrate on pleasing him and doing his will knowing you dont have to try and maintain a relationship that is Gods gift to you. for more information on knowing jesus personally log onto knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above. i pray jesus enables you to rest in his plan for your life including the mate he has picked out for you in his time and way. blessings!

  • grace says:

    Hmmm.plz I nid to be romantic to my guy or else I wil lose him

  • Tom Tom says:

    Some men should really be women because they are such big boobs! Seriously though, you’re looking at a situation that you knew existed before you were married and it’s just possible he won’t change there. However, an attempt at a quiet, sit-down with him to honestly discuss your feelings and needs should be explored. Most of us guys just aren’t very romantic by nature and need to better understand how to meet our spouse’s needs in that area. Frankly, if he isn’t interested in the romantic things and isn’t interested in making some changes, only the Lord can change his heart. Hopefully he’s meeting your needs in other things.

  • Lolly says:

    it didnt work i approached my husband and i got yelled at he said why do i feel the need to have a love letter to be “romanced!?”

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Paul, sorry about the confusion. The link has been fixed so you should now be able to follow it to the Romance Questionaire at http://powertochange.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/romanceguide.pdf

  • Paul says:

    I’m looking high and low for the “Romance Questionnaire” for which you include a pdf link that is no longer active. Please help.
    [it is our policy not to publish personal contact information]

  • Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift up Maria’s husband to You that you will talk to him about his wife that You brought together under Holy Matrimony. I pray that we will receive what Maria wanting from him. In Jesus Name Amen

  • Maria says:

    I do not know how to get my husband to understand my need for romance. I try to talk to him but he either just sits there and states at me or gets mad stating “he is not that deep”. It breaks my heart. We do nothing. Birthdays, anniversaries, valentines day… Everyday is the same . If I am lucky he will remember my bday enough to say happy bday. I know it sounds petty…but it makes me wonder why I am not good enough. But I guess I am partially to blame.. He was not romantic from the beginning… He never even proposed… I thought it would not bother me… But it makes me feel like I am not worth any effort at all :-(

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    So star, Romance is not a feminine desire. Some men and some women like romance. Some of the happiest men I know are romantic.

  • So star says:

    Richard you may tend towards being a little feminine to desire romance. We are talking about romance here not give and take in a relationship.

    If u follow even just one suggestion in this wonderful article you may get that steak

  • aam says:

    Did you ever read the book “Garden of Peace”? you wont believe how similar your article and the bringing in god to our life is, i rely recommend it, millions were sold!

  • Shae says:

    Coming from a females perspective my idea of a night filled of romance would be my husband out on the back patio with two glasses of wine at sunset just talking/ cuddling. Or to be surprised with a prepared candle lit bubble bath just to relax and feel his body against mine. To be surprised with a massage. A picnic with a romantic card/letter. A drive to the top of a mountain or beach view depending on where you live to watch a sunset. All these things are very inexpensive and romantic. Women appreciate that a man just makes an effort to make her feel good.

  • Adrienniana says:

    This Romance stuff is really hard to follow- I just started dating. But this kind of helps, also with watching romantic comedies and stuff. People in their 20’s should defenietly read this.

  • Doug says:

    I’m really struggling with this romance stuff. I’m sure glad I found this site, some great ideas, gotta get in touch with my romantic side.

  • Tamara Barry says:

    can you send this Web page via e-mail to my husband?

  • Nick says:

    Hey man, I like this. I’m 17 and not married yet but it gives me something to look forward to. You make a very good point that you have to put her needs before your own. All along I’ve asked what she wants me to do to be a romantic and she either says ‘I don’t know’ or ‘Think of something’. Needless to say I’m a hopeless romantic and that would probably be why I’m on the internet looking for advice. I need to know when to play around and when to just be a comforting person. You had practical ideas and I was surprised that I could understand them so easily and it’s not an expensive thing to do. Hopefully I can get a job before the Army so I can get her flowers and things like that. Thanks man.

  • maricor yang says:

    the best thing that we have in our relationship is love n understanding for God is our center, and the next things is flavored of lives.

    thanks
    dave

    God bless

    Amen

  • you are talking about life as the bible said human being must not live only according to food feast and all of those things but we must also live by all words comming from God mouth mathew 4 v 4 because we are composed on 3 parts the body the soul and the spirit the body need food to live but the soul and the spirit need the real word of god to leave like he was before coming in your body .

    So let-s reply now to that question what’s this word of God ?

    because there’s the real one and the wrong one .

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Richard, I think you make a really good point. Romance is neither gender’s domain nor should it always go from one to the other. Like all aspects of marriage, it needs to go both ways. I take issue with Mirriam-Webster’s definition, I think romance is simply “taking notice and acting for the other’s benefit”. I think a steak can be very romantic, doing the dishes can be romantic, something as simple as leaving the light on can be romantic. It can say “I was thinking about you, and I noticed that you like/need/prefer ______ ” and so I took action, for you.

    I think that romance gets killed, for both genders, when it gets marred in expectation or entitlement. When there’s a sense of “you’re supposed to” or “you should” from either partner it takes the romance right out of it. I’m always saddened when I talk to women around Valentine’s Day and ask them what they are planning to do for their husband and they seem to think that they have no responsibility there. Romance is not gender-specific, both men and women need it, although I agree with you, what it looks like for each gender is different. But beyond that I think the definition of romance is different for each person. When we make the mistake that romance has to be a huge gesture, I think we really miss out. Sometimes the quietest moment can be the most romantic of all.

  • Richard Klassen says:

    Thank you for this well thought out and practical article. I, for one, could use a lot of help in my “romancing” of my wife.
    I do have a concern however that always bothers me when I read this kind of article. I suppose my concern relates to the definition of romance. The on-line Mirriam-Webster Dictionary defines verb form of romance as “to try to influence or curry favor with especially by lavishing personal attention, gifts, or flattery”. Most articles on romance immediately refer to candlelight, chocolates, roses, etc. It seems to me that these things relate to a feminine form of romance. Us men always come out looking like “dummies” and the women are the experts. But is there not also a masculine side of romance? To me a good steak sounds quite romantic. To some men hunting is romantic and they are very thrilled when their spouse shows some interest. And the list could go on.
    Certainly, as a husband I need to “romance” my wife in the way that she finds romantic (In our case my wife would be more pleased if I went with her to a yard sale than if I brought her a dozen roses.) But I maintain that my wife then also needs to “romance” me in the way I find romantic.
    Who is more romantic? I say men and women are both equally romantic – but it depends on the definition.
    God bless.

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