Have you observed how couples who are dating, or newly weds, act when they are together? Some signs of them being romantically in love are the way they dress up to meet each other, sit close, physically touch and stare into the other’s eyes. There are various views on what ‘romantic love’ is all about; who is it really for and how it differs from, say, devotion to God, affection shown to family members or intimacy between friends. Those married for some years become conscious that romance gradually, though not intentionally, can grow fainter, fade away or even die. Couples who ‘fall’ in love, soon realize their ‘flame of romance’ must be constantly rekindled, but how?
Someone has observed how romance begins with a splashing waterfall and ends over a leaking sink! Recollect how you felt and acted when you were first ‘in love’? Today, how do you ‘feel’ being married? Are you still ‘in love’ with your spouse? Before examining reasons why couples have left or lost that first love, consider common myths or lies married people believe about romance. You’ve probably heard it, or yourself thought: ‘Romance is out there, but it’s just not me, or for me’. ‘I married the wrong person’, or ‘my spouse can’t love me the way I want to be loved’. Perhaps when you tried to ‘make love’ your partner has let you know, in so many words, ‘I’m too tired today’ or ‘we are too old for that’. So, after some effort, you convince yourself that you are not the ‘lover type’ and accept as a fact ‘romance doesn’t really last’.
On Valentine’s Day, I asked a group what were evidences of a couple loosing their romance. Some symptoms they felt were: lesser communication, shoddy dressing, not finding time to ‘go out’ or do things together. Further, preoccupation with one’s job, neglect of household/family responsibilities, not attentive to the other’s needs and disregarding or taken the spouse for granted. Several factors including our careers, children and crisis situations can tempt us to forsake or draw us away from our first love. Marriages may be ‘made in heaven’ but they need to be worked out here on earth! So, how on earth are we to nurture romance for heaven sake?!
First and foremost, it is critical to note that the kind of love that cultivates true romance is not about erotic ‘sex’ or self gratification. Our hedonistic, commercial society wants us to believe this! A great lover is not someone who goes from woman to woman. Any dog can do that! I’m discovering that romance is a by-product; a natural gift, a blessing couples experience ‘together’ when each is keen to be the person God intended them to be. Caring enough to loving meet the needs of the spouse God gave them to cherish. Christians know such love is only possible when couples are ‘gentle with one another, sensible, sensitive and spiritual. Forgiving one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ has forgiven us! (Eph.4:32)