This post contains an excerpt from the married life blog that both Laura and I are big fans of. It's a post by John Loftness about romance. There is a popular misconception that romance is about physical intimacy. If romance was all about the pleasure we receive, then a 50% divorce rate would be justifiable.
In reality, romance is a pursuit of Biblical love. When we die to self and aim to sacrifically love another person, then that is when romance is achieved. The reason why it's so easy for romance to die is because we are by nature lovers of self. God's call to romance, is a call to bear our cross so that those that we love will better know His love. Neither Laura or I will ever truly ever be able to find true and satisfying pleasure in one another, which is why we must always be pointing each other to the cross, the only source of true pleasure.
John Loftness has four practical tips for achieving romance. After his tips are my thoughts in italics.
1. Feelings can never be the goal nor the ideal. Pursue God and your responsibilities to him (husbands love and cherish your wives; wives respect your husbands, etc.). Good Things Follow.
This makes me think of the passage in Galatians about sowing for good fruit. I have two options, I can for sow good fruit or bad fruit. If I am sowing to bad fruit, most likely, the results will come sooner and some of that bad fruit may even mask itself as good fruit. I am called to not grow weary of doing good and continually sow to what is true good fruit that has eternal value. Romance is work, but like anything that is not imitation, good things follow.
2. Don’t limit romance to the bedroom. Marriage is the union of two people, body and soul. It’s the intermingling of two lives, which means participating in each other’s thoughts, feelings, fears and joys. Nancy, my wife of 28 years, often surprises me with new ideas, new perspectives, new directions. As I ponder her unique personality and ways, it causes me to wonder. She’s more than a physical delight, and when I engage her whole person…Good Things Follow.
My friend Joe once told me that sex doesn't just begin in the bedroom. Instead, physical intimacy comes from knowing and appreciating the true person. True intimacy starts with words of encouragement and surprises that show a deep respect and desire to honor, cherish, serve and bless your spouse. Sex can be separate from romance, but that has never been God's purpose in romance. Romance isn't just a bedroom activity, but a lifetime pursuit of growing together and cherishing the uniqueness of the other person and what they bring to the table. Romance is an everyday activity for all the world to see for God's glory, not just for our pleasure.
3. Don’t allow any offense to go unreconciled. This may mean getting others involved to mediate. Resentment kills wonder and excitement. But when you are reconciled…Good Things Follow.
Is there a greater love story then the fact that while we were still enemies of God, that He would send His son to die for us so that we could be reconciled to Him. Let us imitate that love to our spouses, a love that seeks reconciliation and grace instead of a desire to be right and prove a point.
4. Take time regularly to cultivate the garden of your love. Isolate yourselves to talk daily. Take hours to be together just the two of you weekly. Get away, at least yearly, to focus on each other for days on end. Need I repeat myself?…Good Things Follow.
In the school of life, my goal is to major in knowing and loving God, followed by a minor in knowing and loving Laura. One of the things I get the most pleasure from is talking to Laura and being a student of her. She is so gifted and her thoughts are so gospel-saturated. It's neat to look back at some of the times when we talk late at night on the phone and not want to hang up. What excites me most about marrying Laura is that I am marrying my best friend!