Chuck and Eileen Rife (c) 2004
Can you feel it? A stream of cool air blows through an open window, sending the sheer curtains fluttering across the room. Only the rods keep them from taking flight. Can you feel it? Romance is in the air.
Can you smell it? Spicy pumpkin pie baking in the oven and hot cider simmering on the stove. Can you smell it? Romance is in the air.
Can you see it? Two squirrels chase each other from tree branch to tree branch, only stopping long enough to gather an acorn to nibble. Can you see it? Romance is in the air.
Can you taste it? The smooth swallow of mocha latte sliding down the throat on a cool autumn morning. Can you taste it? Romance is in the air.
Can you hear it? Neighborhood children loaded down with books, laughing as they board the bus to school. Can you hear it? Romance is in the air.
You ask, what does all that have to do with romance? Call me sentimental, an incurable romantic, whatever, but the simple pleasures of life make me feel amorous. And when I do, I like to share those passionate pleasures with my hubby. Usually, the things we enjoy best are the very things we want to share with those we love best.
An autumn breeze through an open window makes me want to kick off my shoes, put on some classical music, grab Chuck, and cuddle on the bed together. Nothing more, just hold each other, and dream of tomorrows yet to come. Spicy pumpkin and cider make me want to serve up two helpings and retreat with Chuck to our back deck for some late night star gazing. Squirrels scampering in our back yard make me want to take a couple walk through the woods, stopping only to pick a wildflower or steal a kiss. The yummy taste of mocha latte makes me want to sneak away to our favorite cafe and hold hands while sipping coffee. And the neighborhood children returning to school make me want to take advantage of those hours when we are alone and can invest more time in each other.
All this sounds absolutely dreamy in my mind. The perfect picture of what romance should be. However, while Chuck is accommodating by nature, he would probably tell you that his idea of romance often takes a different twist. Indeed, ask the average married couple what they think of when they hear the word romance, and you will most likely get two different responses. Often the wife pictures candlelight and roses while gazing into each other’s eyes, while the husband pictures a scantily clad wife greeting him at the door after work.
Grounds for conflict? You bet. But it doesn’t have to be. According to the Random House College Dictionary, the word romance simply means “ a love affair” or “to court; woo.” The definition does not spell out how the affair or courting is to take place. That is a highly individual matter altogether. If each partner realizes that males and females are simply wired differently and that this God-given difference is meant to complement, then each partner will come to romance willing to try new things. Women tend to enjoy nurturing the relationship with sharing of feelings and cuddling. Men tend to enjoy sexual relations without the need for prolonged verbal sharing or cuddling.
Is one partner right and the other partner wrong? No. Just different. That’s what makes marriage so challenging, frustrating, and exciting! If our goal as husband and wife is to grow our relationship through our differences, then we will seek to incorporate our mate’s specific ideas for romance into our union. This is where loving compromise comes into play. Our different approaches to intimacy can stretch us, moving us beyond merely thinking about our own needs and wants, and encouraging us to step out of our comfort zones and view romance from the other mate’s perspective. Once this happens, we often discover that we are actually having fun! We have learned to adapt, thereby enriching the relationship and experiencing the oneness that God intended for the marriage.
We encourage you as a couple to continue reading 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 together daily so that you can each see your spouse through eyes of love. Pray that God will help you romance your spouse according to his/her liking this week. On a 3x5-card write down one romantic activity that you think would make your spouse happy. Share what you wrote down, ask for feedback, and decide how you can incorporate your combined ideas into lovemaking this week.
Is there a little romance in the air this autumn day for you and your mate? Think of the things that bring you joy and then share them with your spouse. But don't forget to include the things that bring him/her joy also.
ROMANTIC FALL GET-AWAY FOR TWO!
Sometimes, you don't have to go very far from home to relish some romance for two. Sometimes, you don't even have to leave your front door.
Such was the case last Friday evening when I surprised Chuck with a cozy, candlelit dinner for two in our den by a crackling fire, accompanied by strains of Amy Grant emanating from the CD player. I bought a bottle of sparkling, non-alcoholic cranberry juice, stuck it in a bucket of ice (like you see on the movies), dug out the crystal goblets, stuffed them with linen napkins, spread a festive linen tablecloth over a card table, and cooked up one of my hubby's favorites--southwestern omelets with plenty of onions and green peppers. A spontaneous venture, really. Most good times are, I've discovered. And yes, he was surprised. Normally, by Friday evening I'm dragging around the house consumed by one thing or another, when Chuck pops through the door and asks, "What do you want to do tonight for our date?" After a few rounds of "I don't know, you decide," we end up at a Chinese restaurant or at the Mill Mountain star rehearsing the events of the week.
Don't get me wrong, I like both of those things, but once in a while, it is refreshing to do something a little different, even perhaps, a little simple. Our candlelit dinner for two was just what the doctor ordered. It so happened that our youngest daughter went out on a last minute youth group outing, and Chuck and I had the house to ourselves to enjoy intimacy to the fullest! Look out! As we Christians know, God's timing is always best. And He knows how to put something together far better than we do. He knew we needed this special time to ourselves to enjoy our date night in just a little different way than the norm. I guess that makes God the best all-time romantic ever!
So, how about it? Why not try something just a little bit different this week for your date night? A homemade candlelit dinner for two may not strike your fancy, but I know something does. Give it some thought, and see what you come up with. Enjoy the creativity and let God be your guide. After all, He wrote the book on romance. Remember Song of Solomon tucked neatly between, let's see what are those books? Oh yes, Ecclesiastes and Isaiah. Consult Him. He's got some great ideas.