This week it’s a special Valentine’s night edition of the podcast! We talk about my most romantic memory ever, Elvis, aging, Valentine’s Day, and more. Plus, a song!
A few days ago, we discussed romance on the podcast. A friend of ours posed the question, “Melissa, what is the most romantic thing Chad has done in the past year?” I sat there in silence, desperately trying to think of one huge romantic gesture that I could point to. I tried to remember if he had sent me flowers or had written me a song. I tried to recall some way that he had swept me off of my feet during the past year, and I couldn’t think of a single example. We moved on and finished the podcast, but for several hours afterward I was still troubled by the fact that I couldn’t think of any big thing Chad had done to romance me this year. Because I knew that I FEEL romanced. But, what exactly is it that makes me feel that way, even without a major romantic milestone to look back on?
And, then it hit me. What has romanced me this year isn’t flowers or nights out or even the beautiful diamond ring that Chad splurged on at Christmas (although I am never one to discourage or turn down diamonds). What has made me feel cared for this year is something that goes much deeper than gifts. Unfortunately, we women are so easily convinced that our husbands aren’t doing enough. We compare them to other men or to fictional characters, and we completely discount the ways that they make us feel on a daily basis. The truth is that while I was searching for some grand romantic gesture, I realized that one reason that I’m truly happy and feel loved and adored by my husband is that I decided years ago to try not to miss what’s right in front of me every day.
Like the way that he reaches over and grabs my hand when he’s driving. Or the way that he texts me What are you doonin? because that’s how Emerald used to say “doing.” The way that he saves the last of the whip cream for me. Or the way he picks up my favorite drink when he’s at the grocery store. The way he holds me close at night and makes me laugh even though I’m half asleep. The way he always asks if I’m getting sick when I clear my throat. The way he tells me that things aren’t as fun when I’m not there. Or the way he overlooks it when I snap at him for no reason.
Those are a few of the little things that actually end up being big things in the end.
And that doesn’t even include all of the other ways that he loves me, like working hard for our family, pointing me to Christ every day, adoring our kids, trying to keep his mind and heart pure, spurring me on to follow my dreams, helping me see my own gifts from God.
Oh, dear married friends, what if we quit letting movies and the internet convince us that we need a rose petal-filled bubble bath or a weekend in Europe or a candle-lit dinner in some fancy restaurant? We don’t need those things to be happy in marriage. We just need to be kind to each other. We need to be devoted to each other’s happiness. We need to do those little things that speak to our spouse, but even more importantly, we need to ACCEPT the little things as the most romantic offerings of all.
Someday when I’m sitting in a rocking chair looking back over our life together, it won’t be the big trips or the diamond rings that I remember most. It’ll be all the little things. The small gestures that he makes every day to communicate how much he loves me. If you’re searching for romance in your marriage, chances are you’re ignoring the most romantic things about your life. Stop and think about it, and appreciate all of the little ways that you are being romanced every day. I promise it’ll make marriage more fun and meaningful if you do. Be grateful for what you have and stop pining for a version of marriage that Hollywood dreamed up. Most of the people who wrote that stuff are divorced. Just saying.
Romance is real. And, it’s small. And, it’s glorious. Don’t miss it.
If you tried to listen to the podcast earlier today, you noticed that we had a little technical issue that cut if off at 21 minutes. So sorry about that! It should be fixed now. Be sure and finish the podcast. Don’t end on that note where Chad and I are arguing about Valentine’s Day! 🙂
This week we talk about being crazy sports parents, Valentine’s Day, date nights, and we even have a special surprise guest, Jackson Chang, romance specialist! Thanks for listening.
On Monday I had to have a wisdom tooth extracted. I have never had a procedure like that done at the dentist before, and I was nervous about it. I sat nervously in the waiting room until the hygienist called my name, and I followed her all the way to the back of the building, past all of the rooms where lucky people were just getting check ups and xrays, back to the rooms where the bad stuff goes down. I felt like I was being led to the electric chair. I could see the sympathetic looks that employees and patients were giving as I trudged past, headed toward what was sure to be my doom.
I settled into the chair, and the pink-scrub-wearing hygienist mercifully gave me the laughing gas, so I lay and listened to the echo-y sounds of activity happening in the next room. A teenaged boy was in the next chair over. He was also getting a healthy dose of laughing gas, and he kept saying, in a cracked and giddy voice, “My arms feel funny.” Some employees were trying to keep him from texting girls in his current state.
Finally the dentist came into my room and did his work. It was unpleasant, but painless. I can’t help but feel like I did some of my best thinking while I was in the chair, high on laughing gas. I probably had some of my greatest ideas ever, but somehow all I can remember is the teenager repeating, “My arms feel funny,” while a dental hygienist laughed at him.
While in the chair I did do some thinking about romance in marriage. I probably had all of the world’s romance problems figured out. If only I could recall my solutions. I have had some interesting email conversations, though. with husbands who were either appalled or confused by my Valentine’s Day post. It seems that this is a touchy subject for men and women alike, since even the Google searches that brought people to my blog this weekend were things like:
My husband never acknowledges Valentine’s Day
How do I romance my wife on Valentine’s Day
My wife isn’t interested in sex on Valentine’s Day
Why does my wife get mad on Valentine’s Day
I think that I felt encouraged by the fact that the guys cared enough to ask Google about it. But, what I’ve been hearing from readers of my blog are two main things. The guys are saying they resent being forced to romance their wives. The girls are saying their husbands are clueless about their thoughts and feelings.
And, with romance, like all things, the best solution to our problems can actually be found in the Bible.
Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.
No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband. Ephesians 5:22-33
To the Christian men, I would say what I emailed to one husband today: Have patience with your wife, and just remember that God calls husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Jesus holds no good gifts back from us, so you are doing best when you err on the side of spoiling your wife rather than letting pride hold you back from showering her with love in whatever form that she needs it.
To the Christian women, I would say: Have patience with your husband. He cannot understand what you haven’t communicated to him. Don’t tell him one thing when you want another. God calls wives to submit ourselves to our husbands, which DOES NOT mean that we are subservient or that we have to just accept it when we are mistreated or misunderstood. But, it does mean that we are to be open and honest, not manipulative or cold, so that or husbands understand the best way to love us.
Above all, we married people should communicate. We must talk about our expectations and then genuinely try to love each other in the ways that specifically speak to our spouse. The more we communicate, the better we understand each other and the more equipped we are to express the real love that is in our hearts.
One last word to any man or woman who felt disappointed by the outcome of their Valentine’s Day. We all want to feel loved and adored by our husband or wife. But, they are not the source of true joy, and we can’t expect them to bear the weight of making us feel our worth. Only God can fill that role. Turn to Him and allow His comfort and love to soothe your heart. Pray for your marriage and for your spouse. Love them well even when it’s hard. And, love God more.
I hope you all had a nice Valentine’s Day weekend. Chad and I had a terribly busy Valentine’s Day, but he didn’t fail to write and speak words that I needed to hear. His love is real. He says it, and he shows it.
As a follow up to my Valentine’s post on Friday, I would love for you to read the wonderful article by R.C. Sproul, Jr. , called Valentine the Brave. I’m not pointing you there because he calls men relational dolts. The end of the article is so very true, and it will benefit your marriage if you read it, men, and maybe if you pass it along to your husbands, girls.
Sproul lost is wife to cancer several years ago, and, maybe because he has had plenty of time to reflect on his marriage and what he did right and what he would do differently, I find that he always writes about marriage with tenderness and wisdom.
I’m convinced that communication is the key to having a happy marriage. Maybe this is one place to start the conversation.
Valentine’s Day is coming. And, it has exploded into every grocery store, convenience store, and drug store in America. It’s almost as if you’re assaulted by red and white singing lace trimmed hearts and hundreds of pink foil balloons every place you go. The day is highly commercialized. It’s a little corny. ESPN has even been running a ridiculous ad for 4 foot tall teddy bears for several weeks.
You may hate Valentine’s Day. You may resent the fact that “they” try to tell you when you should romance your wife. You may tell yourself that you are romantic all year long, and you don’t need Hallmark telling you when to do so. Your wife may even join in on the scoffing and nay-saying about Cupid’s big day. But, can I tell you a secret?
She is just dying for you to make a big deal about her on Valentine’s Day.
Yes, it’s true. And, it’s not just because it’s the “day of love.” She wants you to romance her because it’s her dream for you to take EVERY opportunity (especially a day specifically set aside for celebrating love) to romance her and tell her what she means to you. She wants to know that you still adore her the way you did back when your love was fresh and exciting and new, back when you wrote letters, back when you leaned over to whisper something sweet in her ear while you were at dinner. She needs to know that you are more than willing to show her, on Valentine’s Day and on plenty of other days, that you are still just as amazed by her, just as infatuated, just as engrossed in your relationship as you were way back when.
I’m not talking about spending a bunch of money (although if you want to do that, I doubt you’ll hear complaints). I’m talking about taking time to do something personal and special for your wife. Write her a love note. Tell the world how thankful you are for her. Buy her a flower. Pick up her favorite coffee.
Whatever you do, DO NOT refuse to do anything at all. Even if your wife never complains about it, even if she doesn’t seem upset, even if she tells you not to do anything, please hear me when I say she is terribly hurt when you ignore her on Valentine’s Day. Sure, it may be corny. But, can I tell you something? All of the girls who will be getting four foot tall teddy bears on Saturday will know beyond any doubt that they are loved. Even if they have no clue what they’ll do with a four foot tall teddy bear.
I often hear married men complain that their wives aren’t interested in sex anymore. Think back to the days when she couldn’t keep her hands off of you. How were you treating her, on Valentine’s Day and the whole rest of the year? Chances are you were taking time to make her feel special, treasured, and loved in all kinds of big and small ways.
Don’t neglect your wife on Valentine’s Day. Show her what she means to you. Pick out the biggest card at WalMart. Sing her a song. Get down on one knee and relive your proposal. Just do something, fellas. Your marriage will be better for it.
If your wife were here, she’d probably say, Oh, don’t worry about it. I don’t need for you to do anything. Lies. Trust me. She needs you. She needs your love and your reassurance. She needs to hear you say it. Or sing it. Or whisper it in the middle of a crowded restaurant. You won’t regret any day of the year that you loved your wife well. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Chad and I have come to an understanding on Valentine’s Day. It took us quite a few years to work through my love for and his disdain for the big heart-capped, chocolate-covered, balloon-topped, flower-filled extravaganza. I know how much most men hate being told what to do. And, I suppose that’s what Valentine’s Day feels like to a man–like all of the stores are forcing him to show love for his woman. And, maybe that’s what it is, just a stupid, commercialized, crazy dumb idea of a day that tells men they must spend money on things they find cheesy.
But, so what if it is?
When you were dating, chances are you used any available opportunity to let your then-girlfriend know what she meant to you. You sent her love notes for no reason. You sent flowers just to tell her “I love you.” You called her at all times of the day to hear her voice and remind her that you were hers and she was yours.
And, there’s something you should know! That’s the reason she was eagerly waiting to be alone with you so you could steal a kiss. That’s why she couldn’t keep her hands off you. Because you made her feel special, important, and let her know that you were thinking about her at all times.
So, once you are married and you start resenting Valentine’s Day, what kind of message do you think that sends to your wife? I can tell you–it hurts her feelings. It makes her feel like you don’t want to do nice things for her. It makes her feel like even if you buy her a card or a gift that you’re doing it under duress and that you don’t really feel like being sweet to her.
Chad and I figured out about 6 years into our marriage that Valentine’s Day is fun if you just do something small for each other that is kind and simple. I’m not talking diamonds here. But, why NOT take this totally obvious opportunity to let your wife know how great she is? And why not do it with a smile on your face?
I think men are incredible people. You guys carry the world’s weight on your shoulders, and there’s no area of life where people aren’t demanding things of you. But, don’t let Valentine’s Day be about you not wanting to be pushed around by Wal-Mart. Make it about how awesome your wife is, and buy her a card and a silly stuffed gorilla. What’s the harm in it? I can guarantee your marriage will be better for it.