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Creating a More Romantic Marriage

Author: Dennis and Barbara Rainey

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Do you know how your wife views romance? How about how your husband does? We dive into the deep end on Romance in this podcast Creating a More Romantic Marriage.
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FamilyLife Today® Radio Transcript  References to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Creating A More Romantic MarriageDay 1 of 8Guest:                       Dennis RaineyFrom the series:       Why Romance is Important _______________________________________________________________ (Nat King Cole singing "L-O-V-E") Bob:                Believe it or not, this is FamilyLife Today.  Our host is best-selling author and conference speaker, Dennis Rainey.  I'm Bob Lepine.  Stay with us as we talk about L-O-V-E today on FamilyLife Today.                         And welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us on the broadcast. Dennis:          Do you think our listeners know who Nat King Cole is, Bob? Bob:                Oh, yeah, everybody knows who Nat King Cole is.  I bought a two-record collection when I was in college, just because I thought, "He's got the smoothest voice, it's the most romantic music I've ever heard." Dennis:          Well, you know, we also have a lot of romantic adventures at our FamilyLife Marriage Conference, and I've got a letter here from a conferee couple who attended the Phoenix FamilyLife Marriage Conference – I think this was back in 1991.  This is a classic, keeper letter from the archives of the thousands of attendees who have been to our conference. Bob:                Now, this is on hotel stationery, right? Dennis:          That's right – the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale.  "Dear Dennis, when you suggested last night for us to be more creative in our romance, you never gave us the warning that it could be dangerous."  Then in all capital letters, it reads, "RULE NUMBER 1 – ALWAYS BE PREPARED!  AT LEAST WITH A SPARE KEY" – and now the rest of the story.                         "After dinner and the sunset, we decided to take your advice and to add a little romance and be a little daring.  Staying here at the hotel, we crept out onto our fourth-floor balcony for an incredibly romantic view, not to mention some privacy.  Unbeknown to us, while we were 'communicating' and 'learning more about each other,' the maid was inside our bedroom, turning down our bedsheets for us.  She did not know we were on the balcony.  We did not know she was in the room.  Maybe you can guess the rest.  She locked the sliding glass door."  It is signed, "Two lovers, romantic sky, and lots of privacy.  Embarrassed from California." Bob:                So you have no idea how they ever got back in, huh? Dennis:          Your mind is only left to wonder – how did they get back in, there on the fourth floor of the hotel? Bob:                Well, that is a part of what we hope will be a romantic evening for couples at the FamilyLife Marriage Conference, but we hope that's not the end of romantic evenings for couples. Dennis:          Well, we really talk about FamilyLife Marriage Conference, taking Saturday and making it an adventure.  That's not the kind of adventure we're talking about.  We are talking about adding romance to your relationship, and I think at our conferences across the United States, that's what a lot of couples really seen infused back into their marriage relationship through all the teachings of scripture that build intimacy in their marriage relationship, they better understand how to relate to each other as husband and wife, and what I wanted to do, Bob, was I wanted to take the next few days, prior to Valentine's Day, and I wanted us to talk about the all-important subject of romance. Bob:                Now, you call it an all-important subject.  You kind of get the feel that romance is something that's a part of the courtship process.  After marriage, romance just doesn't seem like it has the same, you know –  Dennis:          – sizzle. Bob:                Yeah, yeah. Dennis:          Yeah, that's right.  Well, let me just read something from Song of Solomon, okay?  Song of Solomon, chapter 1, verse 2 – "May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine; your oils have a pleasing fragrance; your name is like purified oil; therefore, the maidens love you.  Draw me after you."                         Now, here's the Shulamite woman who is attracted to Solomon.  She is wanting her husband as the bride, and, you know, it's interesting that our God devoted an entire book of the 66 books that are in the inspired Word of God to this subject of romantic love, and one of the reasons why I wanted to talk about this is I think Christians are afraid of the subject, Bob.  I think we're afraid to address this whole area of romantic love in marriage even though our God thought it all up in the first place. Bob:                Some people have suggested that Song of Solomon is a parable showing us God's love for Israel or Jesus' love for His church.  You're saying that God put it in the Bible to talk about the romantic relationship between a husband and wife? Dennis:          I wonder about the people who say that – if they really read the verses, because they've got to do away with a lot of physical imagery that doesn't leave that much to the imagination.  I mean, it's clear they're talking about the whole area of romantic and sexual love in a marriage relationship. Bob:                Is romance really important for a marriage?  I mean, can't a marriage survive just fine for 30 or 40 years and not have a whole lot of sizzle and spark to it? Dennis:          Well, I think marriages can survive, I think that's a key word, but will they be what God intended?  I say not.  One of the things that happens in a marriage relationship is if we don't have romance, something that adds excitement and adventure, intrigue, thrill, I think we get caught up in the negative about our spouse, and when you begin to focus on the negative and the faults of the other person, that relationship begins to spiral downward.  And one of the reasons why I think Valentine's is such an important time of the year, especially for the Christian marriages, is to remind us that we ought to be making this subject of romance a part of our everyday diet in our marriage relationship. The Bible speaks about, over in Proverbs, chapter 5, verse 15 and then 18 through 19, that a man was to be captured by his wife's sexual powers.  He was to be captivated by his wife.  That's a powerful image to be literally captured by your spouse.  The Bible is talking about this as far as thrill, excitement, adventure, an emotional excitement that I think sets a marriage apart from just a pure friendship.  I mean, Barbara is my friend, but there is a side of our friendship that goes way beyond just two friends who are pals to two people who, yes, share a marriage bed together and who dream thoughts and share intimacies that are shared with nobody else on this planet, and that's what God intended, I believe, in the marriage relationship. Bob:                Well, now, you've got 50 percent of your audience listening to you, goin', "Preach it, Brother Rainey.  Yes, amen."   Dennis:          And what sex might they be? Bob:                Well, some of 'em are women who are saying, "Yes, talk to my husband and teach him how to be more romantic with me," and others are men saying, "Yes, talk to my wife."  It's interesting that opposites attract in this area. Dennis:          Well, you know, therein lies a real problem in discussing this, because I'll just let our listeners in on some research we did out of our FamilyLife Marriage Conference.  We researched over 800 of our conferees at three different FamilyLife Marriage Conferences last spring about how they viewed romance, and, I've got to tell you, men and women view it through a different set of eyes.  A woman looks at romance through the eyes of intimacy, relationship, warmth.  It's that connectedness of the soul and emotions, heart-to-heart.  And the men looked at romance – well, how shall we say it?  It was one word – sex.  And you see what God is up to here, because he made us different.  We are to depend upon each other, and in the process of being different, I think what God wants to do is cause both of us to love each other where we are.                         You see what God is up to here, is I think God is wanting to knock the edges off of me, as a man, and our male listeners, learning how to love their wives in a way that communicates love so that she feels love – not how we feel about love or what communicates love to us as men but instead learning to put on the side of love that meets a wife at that relational point of need, and there are a lot of men today who I think are frustrated sexually in their marriage relationships, primarily – listen carefully – primarily because they still have not learned how to meet their wives' emotional needs so she can be released to meet her husband's needs. Bob:                Mm-hm.  I've had Mary Ann from time to time say to me, "I just don't feel like we've had an opportunity to talk with one another over the last two or three days," and for a wife that is a sign of drift in the marriage relationship, isn't it? Dennis:          Yeah, and I've had that same conversation with Barbara as well.  I think the reason God gave us romance is He gave us a mysterious emotional love that we were to experience together as a couple.  Even Webster's definition of romance, which talks about excitement, love, adventure – all those words, I think, are a part of what marriage ought to be – Christian marriage.  Our God designed these emotions.  I think romance – romantic love – is a part of the character of God.  May I quote a Christian statesman?  One of the most godly men who has ever lived who wrote a book, "My Utmost For His Highest."  It's been on the best-seller list for years – Oswald Chambers.  Listen to what he said about passion in Christian marriage.  "Human nature, if it is healthy, demands excitement, and if it does not obtain its thrilling excitement in the right way, it will seek it in the wrong. 
Transcript not available for this episode.
Transcript not available for this episode.
FamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Creating A More Romantic Marriage Day 2 of 8 Guest:                             Barbara Rainey From the Series:          Woman's View of Romance________________________________________________________________­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Bob:                This is FamilyLife Today.  Your host is the executive director of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey.  I'm Bob Lepine, and today we'll learn from Barbara Rainey just how a woman does view romance on FamilyLife Today. (Music:  "How To Handle A Woman")                         And welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us on the broadcast. Dennis:          You know, Bob, because of who we have in the studio today, I've decided I'm just going to kind of push back from the microphone and get my notepad out and take notes. Bob:                Is that right? Dennis:          That's right.  I really feel, in due respect for my wife, she's an authority on the subject she's about to speak on and, in fact, you know what I'd like to do?  You can ask the questions – because of the nature of what we're going to talk about, it's pretty delicate, and for me to ask my wife these questions, I mean, this could get a little interesting.  So – Bob:                – well, I'm lookin' forward to this and, Barbara, by the way, welcome back to the broadcast.  It's great to have you on the program. Barbara:         You're welcome, it's good to be here. Bob:                And, Dennis, I'm going to get right to it, because we're going to be talking over the next couple of days about how a wife views romance, and I think the thing that husbands want to know, the thing that kind of puzzles us in this whole deal is what is it that we can do that causes our wives to go, "Ahhhh."  You know, just kind of look at us and melt.  I mean, does that happen with a woman? Barbara:         Well, I think it does, but I don't think it's necessarily a particular situation, because the things that are romantic to me aren't necessarily a situation or an act or a thing or a gift – all of those things communicate romance – but the particular situation isn't necessarily going to produce what you're talkin' about, which is what we've talked about a lot.                         You know what I think it is, I think it is the relationship that she has with her husband, and I have been reminded again, as I've been interacting with my family, and I have seen where I have come from and how desperately dysfunctional it was, and I'm thinking, "I am married to a man who has absolutely been a savior to me because of the love and acceptance and all that kind of stuff, and I have been attracted to him because I’m realizing what he's done for me relationally.  So it's not like he thought, "I want to romance my wife, so I'm going to go buy her flowers, and so A+B=C, and this is the reaction and the response I'm going to get," although I think that's very romantic, and I love it when he does those kinds of things, because that communicates sacrifice, it communicates he cares about me, he's willing to go out of his way, he's willing to spend money that, you know, we may or may not have in the budget for that – those are all things that are very meaningful, but it may not necessarily produce the desired response.  In other words, if he's doing it to produce the response, he is very often going to be disappointed.                         That's why I go back to the relationship – to me, it's the relationship that is ultimately going to fuel the romance.  And so when you ask what I thought of, my thought was – was the day that we spent together in September, and he took a whole day off work just to spend it with me to do what I wanted to do.  We worked in the yard, and we got in the car in the afternoon, we drove for four or five hours and just kinda took off, and we stopped when we wanted to, and we did what we wanted to.  I mean, it was like, in a sense, being on a honeymoon or being in those early days of marriage when we didn't have any responsibilities, and that was more fun, but it was romantic in the sense that it was just the two of us, and we could do what we wanted, and we focused on each other, and we didn't have the demands and the – I mean – we had to come back to it, but, you know – just for however many hours it was, it was really a treat to have him all to myself and to have him say, "I will do whatever you want to do," and we talked all day long.  It was wonderful.  It wasn't romantic in the typical sense of sweep her off her feet, carry her to the castle, and they lived happily ever after. Bob:                You know, as you said, the A+B+C, I thought – men want it to be algebra. Barbara:         That's right. Dennis:          They do, and therein lies the frustration as well as the intrigue. Bob:                And women don't want it to be algebra.  It's gotta be – Dennis:          ­– no, they don't want a book. Barbara:         But they don't want to be figured out.  See, I don't think women want to be figured out, because if they feel like they're figured out, then they feel like they're controlled and they're had, and they don't want to be figured out.  I think they want him to love her and be willing to pursue her and to continue to know who she is, because she's not that simple.  I think women don't want to feel like they're that easy to figure out and, "Oh, he's got me pegged," and A+B+=C, and it's going to always work that way.  I think she wants to be more complex and more intriguing and more – Dennis:          – of a challenge. Barbara:         Yes. Dennis:          Because if the man goes A+B=C, and he knows that's the way it works, then she knows – Barbara:         – that he'll do A+B=C every time, and that gets boring, and I think she would also begin to fear that she'd be taken advantage of and, see, women don't want to be taken advantage of, and I don't mean taken advantage of sexually.  I mean to be taken advantage of in any way – just assuming on the relationship and therefore there's no more motivation to continue to pursue, there's no more motivation – because if you've got it figure out, then why work at it? Bob:                So if a man says to himself, "I would like" – he's thinking, it's, you know, here it is Thursday, "I'd like a week from Friday to be a romantic evening together for me and my wife."  What can I do to foster that?  How can I create a romantic evening, something that will speak romance to her?  You're saying "Good luck, buster." Barbara:         No, I don't think it's that hopeless.  I think that a man can make some plans.  I think he can make dinner reservations.  I think he can bring her flowers.  I think he can do some things that are creative that will communicate to her that she's special, she's unique – "I love you, I'm willing to sacrifice for you."  But he needs to do it without the expectation of whatever it is his purpose is, because – see, the verse that I go back to all the time, as we've had these talks through the years – is I go back to the verse that says, "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church."  And Christ gave himself up for the church.  He denied Himself, and I think when a woman sees that her husband is denying himself for her, she responds to that, just as the church then responds to Christ, and I think she sees that sacrifice, and she understands that it's because of love.                         But when a woman sees a husband doing that for what appears to her to be his own personal need, then she feels somewhat manipulated or somewhat controlled or less valued.   Dennis:          Used. Barbara:         Used – I mean, I think it complicates things, because I think that her ultimate need is to be loved as Christ loved the church and be loved unconditionally, and I think when she feels that, then she understands that commitment and that trust, then she can respond to her husband as he wants her to and as he needs her to, but it's just not as easy as bring home flowers and light the candles and have a dinner and A+B=C. Bob:                But I'm not even talking about her responding to his need necessarily.  I'm saying – let's say a husband with the purest of motives says, "I want you to feel special next Friday night, so I'm going to get the sitter, I'm going to take you out to dinner," and he's out with her, and it's just not happening for her – for whatever reason, she doesn't feel special, she doesn't feel warm toward him.  Maybe it's been a bad week.  Well, the husband is sittin' there goin', "This was a waste of time and money, because she doesn't feel special.  What do I do now?  I tried the babysitter and the dinner thing, and that doesn't work." Barbara:         Well, it may not work because of the circumstances but, see, he needs to understand his role is to continue to pursue his wife, and he may need to say to her, "I'm sorry this didn't work out.  I just want you to know I love you, anyway, and this may not have been good timing on my part" or whatever, but I think that part of the challenge for a husband is to understand his wife and understand what communicates love to her and figure that out and then do that. Dennis:          And if what communicates love to her is surprise, then that may be what you've got to heighten in that situation.  I mean, just setting down and spending some time – having fun over nothing of any significance but just spending time together and maybe talking as we play a game. Barbara:         Well, the reason that is helpful for us is because we sort of exit the world of reality in a sense and so often it's the pressures of real life and all the responsibility that we feel, especially as parents, it's such an ongoing thing, and I think that suppresses a relationship.  It suppresses romance, it suppresses interest in one another in doing something that is frivolous.  And I
FamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Creating A More Romantic Marriage Day 3 off 8 Guest:                             Barbara Rainey From the Series:          A Woman's View of Romance________________________________________________________________­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Bob:                This is FamilyLife Today with your host, the executive director of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey.  I'm Bob Lepine.  Today on the broadcast Barbara Rainey joins us to talk about what happens when a man loves a woman.  Stay with us for FamilyLife Today. (Music:  "When A Man Loves A Woman")                         And welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us on the broadcast, and if you were not here with us yesterday, you're in big trouble is what you are – if you're a man, particularly. Dennis:          That's right. Bob:                I took notes on yesterday's broadcast, and I've got my pencil ready today, because we're learning how a woman views romance.  Dennis:          We're learning how a woman thinks. Bob:                That's right.  And women think differently – that's not wrong – they think differently than men, don't they? Dennis:          They do, and, well, we've got someone in the studio who is definitely a woman.  She is a great woman, she is my wife, and it's really fun to have Barbara back with us on the broadcast again today.  Bob:                Yeah, Barbara, welcome back to the broadcast. Barbara:         Thanks, glad to be here. Bob:                You know, yesterday – and I've been thinkin' about this all night.  I went home and just kinda mulled on this.  It's a little frustrating to know that once I have an idea of how my wife views romance, she's going to change the rules on me – that was one of the lessons from yesterday's broadcast ­– and to be aware that romance is going to get progressively harder as we continue in marriage.  It was easy in courtship, but it gets progressively harder as we're married.  Is that right? Dennis:          Absolutely.   Bob:                Well, that's lousy. Dennis:          Well, you think about – what's God up to here?  He is trying to rid us of selfishness and, if we could, we would kick it in neutral and just coast all the way in to year 50 of the marriage – we wouldn't have to work at it.  It would just be like jumpin' off the edge of a cliff.  We would romantically fall into each other's arms and hopelessly under the control of romance, like gravity, and not have to really work at knowing and loving and caring for and meeting the needs of the other person.  And I think that's why God created marriage – He created it to be redemptive.  He wants me to give up my life for my wife. Barbara:         Exactly. Dennis:          And that's why romance becomes really elusive in a marriage where a man is threatening to leave or a man is sending all kinds of signals that he's not committed, and he's putting fear in the marriage, not casting it out.  1 John, chapter 4, talks about "perfect love casting out all fear," and that's a man's assignment, and a lot of men want their wives to fall in a puddle at their feet and romantic love in a swoon, but they're not willing to give up their hobbies, their interests, their selfish desires for their wives.  Now, how do I know that?  Because I'm a man, and because I've done that. Barbara:         See, when I was thinkin', when you talked about it being redemptive, I was thinking that as you were saying that, and that, ultimately, is what is going to draw a wife to her husband, because when she sees him loving her unconditionally, seeking to understand her and know her and be involved in her life and help her and all of those things, then she is going to respond to him, and as she sees him giving up himself and denying himself and getting rid of his bad habits or putting away his hobbies or whatever for her, those kinds of things are redemptive, and so I think that, in the long haul of things, as we see marriage as being a redemptive relationship, that is the hope of responding to one another.  That is the hope of having romance – is growing together in Christ, denying yourselves for each other, and especially for a husband as the head of the home and the head of his wife, as he will deny himself for her, as he will love her, as he will sacrifice for her, if he will seek to understand her – why she is the way she is and accept her for that and not condemn her for it and not seek to understand her so he can get her to change so he can be happy with her, but all in pursuit of loving her, then she will respond to that ultimately.  Again, it has to be for the purpose, though, that God intended, and that is to love her as Christ loved the church. Dennis:          With no response in return. Barbara:         That's right – with no strings attached.  In other words, he can't say, "I'm going to do this, and then she's going to respond, and then I'll get what I want," because that defeats the purpose of sacrificial love, because then it's not self-sacrificing. Dennis:          And that's the difficulty for a man, because a man usually sets goals, and he is after something, and with romance it may be the sexual dimension of the marriage relationship that he is in pursuit of his wife on, and that's why, as you approach this subject of romance and learning how to speak it as a man to your wife, you've got to understand that you deny your agenda and let the goal be solely that she would feel love; that she would know she is valued, cared for, and cherished, and that she is seeing you nourish her, just as Ephesians 5 talks about. Bob:                But here's the rub in that – because a man is thinking to himself – "The way I'll know that, the way I'll know that she's been loved is she'll respond." Dennis:          Right. Bob:                So if she's not responding, then the message is – Dennis:          "I haven't done a good job loving her." Bob:                I haven't done a good job – Dennis:          – and we've had that conversation. Barbara:         You've said that to me many times. Dennis:          I have. Barbara:         "I must not be loving you right," and it's not just because I'm not responding sexually or in a particular way, but you're sensing from me a lack of response toward you, and it's because of areas in my life that you didn't understand or that you didn't know about me or that I was unable to trust at a particular phase, and so we've talked those things through.  And I think good, solid, marriage relationships need to take the risk of talking those things through, and I needed to hear you say that, and you needed to hear back from me why I was not feeling loved, why I was not feeling like I could respond, and those kinds of conversations are not easy to have.  I mean, they have been difficult conversations that we've had through the years, but because of our commitment to making this thing work is to making it be all that God intended it to be, we have had some of those really tough conversations, and they've not been fun but, in the long run, as we've had them and had them again, they have ultimately been productive in bringing understanding to each of us, but particularly to Dennis in understanding me and in better how to love me. Dennis:          You know, as you were talking, there were really two things that I was thinking about – number one, the process that we have been through of 22 years of dialog, and I mean, at points, fierce dialog, I mean heated dialog, and the second thing is what we're talking about here has come out of something that is most fundamental, and that is a commitment, a bedrock, granite-solid that is immovable. Barbara:         That's right. Dennis:          No escape clauses, no escape hatches, no way out. Barbara:         And no threats. Dennis:          And no threats – never a threat.  This freedom of discussion has come about as a result of two people who are committed – committed, first of all, to Jesus Christ, because without the fear of the Lord and a commitment to Him and setting ourselves apart unto Him first, deciding He will be our Lord and Savior of our lives, our Master, our Redeemer.  He sets the agenda.  It is Him that must be obeyed above all else.  That settles it.  But there have been some evenings that lasted long into the night and some mornings that came early as a result of the dialog.  When we got up in the morning, and we looked at each other, there was no thought of going anywhere.  It was two people deeply committed to Christ, and that commitment was mirrored in our commitment to one another. Bob:                Yeah, those are the late nights or the early mornings, I'll look at Mary Ann, and I'll say, "You are not my enemy," and she'll say, "You are not my enemy," and we'll keep going, we'll keep after it. Dennis:          And I think a lot of young couples that are listening to our broadcast today and who go through life – they think they're entering into real war at these points and, yeah, it's rugged.  You're climbing some craggy cliffs at this point, but you know what?  That's a part of a relationship.  I mean, if it was easy and there were no rocky points, I guess I would have to say, "Hm, I think I may fear for you a little bit.  Have you not had anything hard to work through?"  I mean, I really fear for the couple who say they haven't ever argued, who haven't really differed, who haven't really had to hammer some of these misunderstandings out, because it's in those discussions that you realize how different you are from one another, and what a gift God has given you in your spouse. Bob:                I can imagine that there are women who listen to this discussion and they're going, "Yes, somebody understands what it's like to be a woman.  Somebody understands what women want romantically in marriage," and men listen to it, and they go, "This is much harder
FamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Creating A More Romantic Marriage Day 4 of 8 Guest:                         Barbara Rainey From the Series:         A Woman's View of Romance_____________________________________________________________ Bob:                Welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Today we're speaking frankly about how a woman views romance. (Music:  "Love and Marriage")                         And welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us on the broadcast.  We are beginning Week Number 2 of our look at Creating a More Romantic Marriage, and I just want to encourage folks, if you missed any of last week's programs, or if you're going to miss any of this week's programs, this is a series that husbands and wives ought to get and listen to together, and then they can talk, they can interact, about what they hear on the tapes. Dennis:          You know, this subject of developing and cultivating romance in a marriage relationship is a discussion that is long overdue among Christian couples, because we ought to have among the most passionate relationships on the planet.  Our God created romance in the first place. Bob:                Well, we're going to talk on today's broadcast about how men and women view romance, and we've brought your wife, Barbara, back in the studio with us today.  Barbara, welcome back to FamilyLife Today. Barbara:         Thanks, good to be here. Bob:                And one of the things that we want to do is look at research.   Dennis:          Right. Bob:                You commissioned that be done at our FamilyLife Marriage Conferences across the country – we had a researcher who talked with women about how they view romance, how they view it primarily, is that right? Dennis:          Actually, this Top 10 list of romantic acts came from both men and women. Bob:                Well, let me go over the list, Barbara.  I'm going to go from 10 to 1, and I'll read what people indicated expressed romance, and then I want to know, as a man, and I want to know how I can keep these ideas in front of me and sprinkle them into a relationship as a way to express romance – again, with no hidden agenda, no – not driving for anything.  Number 10, hands are romantic; holding hands, particularly, is romantic for a woman.  Do you like holding hands with Dennis? Barbara:         Mm-hm. Bob:                Why is that romantic for you? Barbara:         I do it because it says, "I want to be close to you, and I like you, and you're my friend, and I want to be next to you."  I mean, those are the kinds of things that communicates to me, and that's the reason that I initiate it, and I think that's probably the same for him, too.  So I think it's the closeness that it communicates. Bob:                Okay, how about Number 9, which is massaging one another – rubbing the neck.  Do you like when Dennis reaches over and rubs the back of your neck?  Dennis, massage oftentimes will have a sexual connotation, and some women may pull back from liking massage because they think it's just foreplay. Dennis:          Right. Barbara:         Exactly.  I think that's right. Bob:                So if it's non-sexual massage where it's just – "Let me rub your back, and you can fall asleep," then that's okay? Barbara:         Oh, I think so, yeah. Bob:                Number 8 on the list is serving – serving the other person – common courtesies – opening the door, holding a chair out for somebody, doing little acts of sacrifice.  Is that romantic for a woman? Barbara:         To me, I don't think of that as being as romantic, if I had to define them, as, say, holding hands but, again, I think it's important to do.  I think it says "I am denying myself for you.  I am going to serve you," and I think that anytime a husband can serve his wife sacrificially and do something for her, he's communicating to her that he cares about her and that he loves her and she's special, and he wants to make her feel special. Bob:                Okay. Dennis:          Let me make a comment on this next one – number 7 – because this made this spot in the combined list – 75 percent of the men picked this item as number 1 of what was most romantic.  So this, again, kind of lets you know the men viewed this substantially heavier and weightier than the women did because, together, it became number 7.   Bob:                So men had it at number 1, women – Barbara:         Someone must have had it a lot lower for the average to be seven. Dennis:          It must have been a lot lower. Bob:                And number 7 is a kiss – an unexpected kiss, a nibble on the back of the neck, or just kissing each other. Dennis:          Now, why do you think, Barbara, the women would have ranked that so much differently than the men? Barbara:         Because I think it probably, if the truth be known, they might have felt that he had another motive, and I just wonder if some of the women were feeling suspicious.  I think some of these other things might be able to be seen as an individual fact or as an individual gesture – Bob:                – so if he opens the door, she doesn't feel he's up to something, but if he kisses her, she wonders what's goin' on in the back of his mind. Barbara:         She might go, "Okay"—yeah, right – "I wonder what he's thinkin'?" Dennis:          And the rest of this list, really, if you look at it, with the exception of this and the massage – really, are statements of a relationship and women view romance through the eyes of a relationship.  They want to be loved, known – Barbara:         – understood – Dennis:          – there ya go – Barbara:         – accepted, valued, appreciated – Dennis:          – she knows the words – why did I even try, huh? Barbara:         Well, you did a good job. Bob:                It just wasn't complete.  All right, number 10 was holding hands; number 9, massage; number 8 serving one another, opening doors, common courtesies; number 7, kissing; number 6 was walking.  Now, there's a romantic 30 minutes – we went on a walk together – that's romantic for women? Barbara:         Well, it's very relational.  I think if you go for a walk, chances are you're going to go for a walk away from daily responsibilities – away from the telephone, away from the television, away from the children, away from work, away from whatever – and it allows you to focus on the relationship without having to sit on a couch and look at each other eye-to-eye and be relational, which is sometimes very threatening. Dennis:          And I think the reason why most men would respond just as you did, Bob, is because of what Barbara just said – it's not sexual.  When we think of what's romantic to us, and we really evaluate it, we would not put walking at the top of the list. Bob:                We're going to talk about this next week – but it is interesting, because I hear you saying in this – part of what speaks romance to a woman is "Get me outta here."  In the day-to-day of life with all of the kids and with all of the responsibilities – get me away from this for a little while, and that will be so refreshing to me, it will speak volumes.  That's at least a part of it, and then – have a relationship with me. Barbara:         I think that's part of it, mm-hm. Bob:                All right, number 5 on the list – something written – written notes or letters or poems or cards or notes on the bathroom mirror or just some written remind of affection – is that romantic? Barbara:         Mm-hm, I think it is.  In fact, I found this note, and I don't know how old it was, but Dennis had taped a note in the bathroom, and it said, "Have you found all the little notes around that say how much I love you?"  It was just fun to see that and read it again, and I thought, "You know, that's still true," and I don't know what the notes all were, but it was fun to see that. Bob:                As you said that, I was thinking it was years ago – I don't know how many years ago – but one night Mary Ann had gone to bed, she was exhausted, and I sat up, and I wrote a half a dozen of the notes, and I scattered them around the house in places where it might be weeks before she would find them, and one of them was in a recipe folder that she had for chicken dishes, and I just put it in there figuring, you know, it could be six months from now, but she'll find it, it will be a surprise.  Well, five, 10 years later, it's still in the same – every time I'm goin' through there, I go – Dennis:          – has she never seen it? Bob:                Oh, she's seen it. Barbara:         She's probably seen it and left it there. Bob:                But she's never thrown it away, and I keep – you know – why don't you throw this thing away?  I mean, it's old, it's on old stationery.                         All right, let me read through the list here again – number 10, hands; number 9, massage; number 8, serving one another; number 7, kiss; number 6, walking; number 5, something written; number 4, going out on a day – time away – dates with no kids, dinner out, a weekend at a bed and breakfast – just time alone together on dates.  Is that romantic? Barbara:         Yeah, mm-hm.  I think, for the same reason again, I think a wife feels that she is the focus of her husband's attention when she knows that he's doing this for her. Bob:                You two have made that a regular part of your relationship.  There is, as often as you're able, on a weekly basis, you have a date.  Does that make it less special? Barbara:         No. Bob:                It's routine? Barbara:         Huh-uh, not at all. Bob:                You look forward to Sunday night date night, even if it's every week? Barbara:         Yeah, I look forward to that moreso now than when we tried doing this when our kids were young.  We tried doing it when our children were young, and it was hard t
Transcripts are not available for this episode.
Transcripts are not available for this episode.
FamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Creating A More Romantic Marriage Day 5 of 8 Guest:                        Dennis Rainey From the Series:     A Man's View of Romance ________________________________________________________________­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­(Music:  "Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?") Bob:                This is FamilyLife Today.  Our host is the executive director of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and if you've ever scratched your head and asked yourself the same question Henry Higgins asked himself, then stay with us for today's edition of FamilyLife Today. (Music:  "Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?")                         And welcome to FamilyLife Today, and let me see if I can do a recap, Dennis, for our listeners here as we begin the broadcast.  Last week you talked with us about why romance is so important for a marriage relationship. Dennis:          Right. Bob:                You talked about the "romance robbers" that every relationship experiences.  Barbara joined us, and we spent three days talking to men about how wives view this issue of romance, and we just had a couple of days with the guy you describe as the "Michael Jordan of romance," who talked with us about some creative things that his group – that he calls the "Men of the Titanic" have done to communicate romance to their wives, and before we talk to wives about how their husbands view romance, you want to spend one more session talking to the men, right? Dennis:          Right.  You know, I think a lot of Christians are afraid to discuss the obvious.  There is a great struggle that is taking place in the Christian bedrooms of our nation, and if that struggle is going to be diminished, and Christian marriages are to emerge, then that means we've got to get honest and look at this biblically, we've got to look at it and speak out it forthrightly and, in the best way we know how to talk about it, be able to speak honestly first of all to men about what they're feeling when it comes to sexuality. Bob:                Now, is it okay for the wives to listen in as we talk to their husbands? Dennis:          I think, for today's broadcast, you ladies can just eavesdrop as I just have a heart-to-heart talk with the men, because I think a lot of us, as men, are really confused, and this first point I want to make with the husbands is you need to reserve romance and your sexuality for your wife only.  What I mean by that is God has blessed you and given you great sexual energy.  That ought to move you to serve her, to love her, to sacrificially give to her without resentment.                         Now, those last two words are very important – "without resentment" – because I think God gives us, as men, this urge to initiate toward our wives for a reason, because our wives are different.  They have relational needs, and what we do with our own sex drive, as we look at our wife's needs, can either move us to using our wives as an object or we, as men, can realize that we need to get on our wife's wavelength and how she views romance; that is, her need for relational love, and that means spending time with her, taking walks, some of the things we've talked about earlier in this series. Bob:                Are you saying here that if a man is failing in these areas, if he's not communicating love to his wife on her terms, then he really needs to make that a priority before he has any expectations from his own wife? Dennis:          I'm saying when Paul commanded husbands to love their wives, He commanded them to nourish and cherish their wives.  The picture is of bathing them in nutrition for their soul.  What is that for a woman?  It's a relationship.  It's sharing your life, as a man, with your wife, and if you don't do that, most likely your wife is going to feel like a sex object, and I think one of the best questions a man could ask his wife at this point, to see how he's doing, is say, "Sweetheart, when I make love to you, do you feel loved?" I'm convinced there are a lot of wives who would say, "No.  I may feel pleasure, I may feel sexual release, but somehow, sweetheart, you're not communicating real love to me, because you haven't met those relational needs." And it's not what the man is doing or not doing in the midst of the actual act of intercourse.  It's what he hasn't done to prepare that relationship with his wife and enable her to feast on having fun, on being nourished and cherished by someone who tenderly cares for his wife.   Now, this next thing I need to talk to men about at this point – this gets kind of tough to speak to men, but I've gotta do it – men sometimes have a higher felt need for sex than their wives, and I've got a couple of questions for you men who continually find yourself in overdrive in this area.   The first question is – are you feeding your sexual appetite throughout the day?  Your fantasies, what you look at, what you watch, what you allow your mind to feast on – are you feeding that regularly throughout the day in an unbridled fashion?  It is a wise man who, first of all, looks to himself in saying, "Am I really setting up our marriage to win here or am I somehow, because of what I'm allowing myself to think about all day, am I being selfish in arriving at the marriage bed almost setting my wife up to fail because I have so feasted in my mind on my sexual creativity?" Bob:                There needs to be some self control and discipline that a man exercises over his own thought life? Dennis:          Discipline is a part of the Christian life, and I think for a lot of men this goes down hard, because what we would like to say is we would like to have complete freedom to think about what we would like to think about and arrive home all sexually energized and charged up, but the problem is – what's our wife been thinking about all day?  She's had kids draped all over her legs and arms, tuggin' on her skirt, and here's the man arriving home.  He's had all these thoughts, and his wife is nowhere in the ballpark, let alone ready to go to bed with him.                         A third thing I'd like to encourage the men to do, and this is going to sound the riskiest of all, but it's absolutely important that you share your feelings about your own sexuality.  This is what women really don't understand about men, because men aren't in touch with what they're feeling about their own sexuality.  And a part of this, Bob, I believe, is a man must express to his wife the importance of his wife's response at the point where he initiates intercourse with his wife. Bob:                But you're saying before he does that, he needs to understand that importance himself? Dennis:          That's right.  First of all, he's got to understand what it is he's feeling, and then begin to put it in words with his wife, and this is the interesting thing – most men have never talked about this with anyone in their lifetimes.  It's interesting, America is a culture that is saturated with sex, and yet men, I believe, are more insecure, they've got more confusion, more anxieties, more temptations – I think they've got unreal expectations about themselves, about their spouse, and what may be the best vehicle for the man to discuss this is to simply write out a letter to his wife about how he feels about his own sexuality.  Include in there any anxiety you may feel, certain feelings you may have about your own performance, how you feel at the point when you are initiating, and then include a paragraph about how you feel when your wife says no.  Because I think sometimes the way men express their feelings is with anger.  They've been hurt, they've been disappointed, and what comes out is anger.  They kick wastecans.  I know one man who kicked a hole in his garage door.  That's a long way from the bedroom, so you've got to wonder how he got down there to do that, but the guy was ticked off.                         The time to communicate this is never in your bedroom.  It should always be in the midst and the context of a relationship – on a walk – it's not at 11:00 at night when you're both exhausted.  It's in a prime time of the day when you can talk about this and connect with your spouse.  I think there are a lot of women who really do want to understand their husbands, and what I would say to the women at this point – be patient with your man, because he, most likely, has never, ever talked with another man about this, let alone a woman.  And now you're his wife, and now you share this bed together, and you can't help but maybe feel it personally as well, as a woman, feeling like he's rejecting you. Bob:                One of the things that makes those discussions difficult for couples is what happens after that?  The next time you come together, there are all kinds of thoughts running through both of your heads, and it makes it awkward. Dennis:          Yes, and that's a part of a growing marriage relationship that I think young couples just need to relax and grow through – or a couple who has been married for 15 to 20 years, who may go through some discussions that they've never shared in the past.                           Yes, you may feel self-conscious, but do you know what I'd do at that point?  Learn to laugh and not be so serious about this thing called sex.  We're certainly devoting a lot of days to it here on the broadcast, and that's because it is a very serious subject, but one of the things Barbara and I have attempted to do is, we have attempted to keep laughter as a part of our marriage bed.  It takes some of the pressure off, it allows us the freedom to share some humor in the midst of what can be far too serious of a subject. Bob:                Mm-hm. Dennis:          Okay, men, this next point may not even sound like it relates to sexual intimacy, but it does, and that is you need to pray with your wife
FamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Creating A More Romantic Marriage Day 6 of 8 Guest:                             Dennis Rainey From the Series:          A Man's View of Romance________________________________________________________________­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ (Music:  "As Time Goes By") Bob:                This is FamilyLife Today.  Our host is the Executive Director of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  Stay with us as we talk about how men view romance today on FamilyLife Today. (Music:  "As Time Goes By")                         And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the broadcast today, as we continue to talk about romance on the program today, and today we're going to talk to wives, right, Dennis? Dennis:          And I've got what one man wants me to do on this broadcast.  He wrote me, "Help my wife understand how I think as a man." Bob:                And you're going to do that in one broadcast?   Dennis:          Well, maybe two, but we're goin' for it.  You know, we're talking about how you can build romance into your marriage here in anticipation of Valentine's Day, and there are undoubtedly a number of marriages who are listening into this broadcasts right now, who are much like the sailors of old, who used to be afraid of an area of the ocean called "The Doldrums." Bob:                The Doldrums? Dennis:          The Doldrums – they were near the Equator.  It's an actual spot, and it was a place where there was no current, there were no winds, and so a sailor could happen into this area and, literally, their boat could be stalled out in the middle of the ocean for days, even weeks, because there would be no wind to pull them out of The Doldrums, and I think that's what happens in a lot of marriages.  And, you know, that's really why we're doing this series.  We want to help marriages not just merely experience romance, because He wants us to have marriages that are alive, that are thriving, that are contagious – Christian marriages – so that we can tell the world about why our marriage is exciting – and that's Jesus Christ.  And I think Jesus Christ wants us to have a romantic relationship.  He doesn't want us to have our marriage be adrift in The Doldrums. Bob:                We've talked over the last couple of days about how a man can romance his wife.  It's a different process for a woman to romance her husband? Dennis:          It sure is.  A woman looks at romance, and she spells romance "relationship."  A man evidently doesn't need that many letters to spell romance, because he spells it very simply – s-e-x, sex.  And what we did was, we surveyed over 800 people at our FamilyLife Marriage Conferences, and it was really quite interesting to see what communicated romance to the men and what communicated romance to the women, and a lot of women are very good students of their husbands, and they are becoming very astute at learning how to communicate romantically in the love language of their husbands so that they have that romance as part of their relationship. Bob:                You know, I've got to believe there are some wives who, right off the bat, though, almost resent you saying that.  They almost resent you saying that romance and sex are synonymous for a husband because maybe it puts pressure on them, or maybe they just don't want that to be all there is to romance with their husbands. Dennis:          Well, there are a lot of women who have an aversion to that, because they are so relationally bent, but whether you resent it or your embrace it, I think you need to listen carefully what we're about to talk about, because it is of vital importance to any marriage that wants to be all that God intended.                           I ran across this little piece by Dr. Joyce Brothers, and Barbara and I included it in our book, "Building Your Mate's Self Esteem," and Dr. Brothers really points out that boredom in the bedroom can really be the demise of a marriage relationship.  She writes, "Sexual boredom is a major element in the 20-year fractures in marriage.  Too many women" – now listen to this carefully – "too many women accept their husband's decreasing interest in sex without stopping to think what might be causing it."                         I think what we've got to do over the next couple of days is talk straight to women about this subject of sex with their husbands, because it's my personal belief that there are a lot of men who are very, very frustrated with what is taking place in the Christian bedrooms of America – notice I said the "Christian bedrooms."  I'm talkin' about the marriages that are attempting to love each other with the sacrificial love that Christ spoke of in Ephesians, chapter 5.  There are women who are committed to their husbands but somehow, in the Christian community, I don't sense the sparkle and the sizzle that ought to be a part of Christian marriage.  And for that reason, I'm going to risk it.  I really want to talk honestly and straight about the sexual needs of men today.                         Now, as I do that, I really feel like, at this point, I need a little bit of a disclaimer here, because there is no doubt about it that men are selfish, and there are a lot of women who are listening to our broadcast who are married to men who really ought to be lined up on the 30-yard line in the Rose Bowl and kicked through the goalpost, because they are self-absorbed, they treat their wives like they're an object and, personally, I'd like to work 'em over, because they are either quoting verses, they're goin' to church and, in the meantime, they really do not give women the dignity that they ought to have.  We talked on the previous broadcast about how men need to romance their wives, and so I want the women listeners to know that I've been careful to talk about how women need to be treated by their husbands first.  But men are selfish.                         A second disclaimer I want to say is that a lot of men have damaged women emotionally.  I mean, they've neglected them, they've not made them a part of their lives, they have become apathetic.  There is no excuse for a man treating a woman with anything other than the love which Christ commands us to treat our wives.                           And the third disclaimer I've got to say about men is some men have really not assumed responsibility in just the most fundamental sense of their families – to lead it spiritually, to pray, to take their wife's hand and show tenderness, and I want you to know that as we move off in this area of understanding men, that I'm a real-world person here; I know a little bit about what's going on in marriages across the country.  But there's a side of men today that I think is being bashed, that is being neglected by some Christian wives, and I think somebody's got to stand up and say, "Could I take a few moments and just talk with you straight about how a man really thinks and really feels?" Bob:                As you describe the selfishness of men or their failure to be involved, I know you know, because we get letters from listeners.  For a woman to give herself physically, sexually, to a man who is not connected with her emotionally, or who is disengaged from the relationship otherwise – it feels demeaning.  She feels like a prostitute. Dennis:          You know, my heart goes out to those women in those situations, because that's not right, and that's not what Christian marriage was meant to be, and, you know, the Bible states it clearly that we're not going to receive all the rewards that are really due to us on this side of eternity, and all I could say at that point is I pray that you might get a chance for you and your husband to experience a FamilyLife Marriage Conference, where he could hear from some men who are real men, who would really challenge him to be a spiritual leader, to be a godly leader of his family and challenge him out of his spiritual apathy, perhaps out of his spiritual deadness.  He may not even be a Christian.  He may be going to church, but he may have never had a life-changing experience with the Savior.                         And we see that occurring over and over again in our FamilyLife Marriage Conferences, where men come to the conference and at the conference they really become husbands. Bob:                In the meantime, though, Dennis, are you saying that these wives need to be romantically involved, sexually involved, with their husbands, even in the midst of some of the selfishness and the spiritual apathy that you've described? Dennis:          Certainly in a situation that is damaging, I would not encourage a woman to continue to submit herself where a husband is damaging her physically, emotionally – but she needs protection in those situations, and that's why we have legal authorities.  Romans, chapter 13 talks about how God has put authority to protect us in the law of the land.  That's why the local church is there to come alongside you and coach you in those situations.                         But to the rest – and, Bob, this is the larger group that I want to speak to right now – to the rest of the Christian women who are listening in today – I want to ask you, have you somehow become self-seeking in your own rights, even in a self-righteous sense?  Do you feel justified in not responding to your husband and not paying attention to him in a vital area of your marriage relationship?                         Now, those are hard words to hear from a man, and I almost feel like apologizing on this broadcast for being a man.  That's how strong, Bob, I feel like the current is in this culture of what the women's movement has done.  It has not made it something to be proud of to be a man.  But you know what?  The feelings that I have as a man and other men that have shared with me in counseling
FamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Creating A More Romantic Marriage Day 7 of 8 Guest:                          Dennis Rainey                                From the Series:        A Man's View of Romance________________________________________________________________­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Bob:                This is FamilyLife Today with our host, Dennis Rainey.  Today we're talking about romance, and I believe the band is ready. (Music:  "It Had To Be You")                         And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the broadcast today as we continue looking at romance and today looking at how a man views that subject. Dennis:          And because of how he spells it, don't you think we ought to talk to the parents of some younger listeners who eavesdrop into FamilyLife Today occasionally, Bob? Bob:                Yeah, it would probably be a good idea for some of our younger listeners not to listen in on the broadcast today, because the nature of some of this material will be sensitive, and that's because husbands have kind of a one-track mind when it comes to romance. Dennis:          Yeah, we've been talking about how women view romance relationally, and we've hopefully done a good job on previous days of really equipping the men to know how to meet the relational needs of their wives so that their wives can have romance spelled on their hearts by men who really understand their language of love.                         But as we move to men, men spell romance differently.  They spell it s-e-x, and a lot of Christian marriages really suffer because they drift, and they become bored, and I think one of the best illustrations of how a man feels was written in Dr. Ed Wheat's book, "Love Life," and it was from a man who really shared how he felt.  He writes, "My wife and I need help.  I feel that all of our troubles stem from one cause – my wife does not want to have intercourse with me, and I cannot accept this.  The situation has existed all of our 18 years of marriage.  We currently have relations about once a month.  This occurs normally after many days of my frustrating attempts to have her respond.  Then it is not a love affair, but a surrender or duty attitude on her part.  I love my wife.  She's an outstanding wife, mother, and friend, except that she does not physically love me.  I'm afraid to face up to the fact that maybe my wife just doesn't love me and can't respond to me.  I have asked myself many times, 'What are you still married for?'  I have no answer.  I do not know what to do."                         That man is feeling rejection at the core of his manhood.  Now, on behalf of that wife, there may be causes for her that are inhibiting her own sex drive toward her husband that she needs to deal with.  But for that man, can you sense the rejection that he's feeling?  He's questioning the whole act of marriage, and that really points out the importance of this subject.  Romance is not an option for Christian marriage.  Romance ought to be a part of every Christian marriage.  Now, that doesn't mean there's not going to be times in a marriage relationship when you go through a valley or a drought, and there simply isn't a lot of time or a lot of feelings left over to experience romance, but I'm going to tell you something – that ought not to be the steady diet of a marriage relationship.  I believe God intended us to experience romantic love all of our married days. Bob:                Well, 1 Corinthians 7 speaks directly to that issue, doesn't it? Dennis:          Yeah, verse 2 says, "But because of immoralities, let each man have his own wife and let each woman have her own husband." Bob:                Now, what does that mean, "because of immoralities?" Dennis:          Well, I think Paul recognized the temptation that is in the marketplace, and realizing how, especially, men are wired, as well as women, by the way – they can be tempted even through relationships toward sexual immorality.  Paul was a realist.  He said because of the evil that lurks in the marketplace, you need to make your marriage bed a priority.                           Then there is a fascinating verse – in verse 5 it says, "Stop depriving one another."  That's a command – don't deprive one another sexual relations except by agreement.  Paul was realizing the need for us, as couples, to make our marriage bed a priority and specifically on this broadcast today I want to speak honestly and straightforwardly to the wives about helping them understand their husband's sex drive and his need for romantic love that only you, as his wife, can communicate. Bob:                I should interrupt you here just for a minute and let our listeners know, if they're tuning in for the first day, we've been talking about the subject of romance for several days.  We've talked about the foxes that interrupt romance in the marriage relationship.  You've talked to men about how they can be lovers of their wives and really treat them with dignity and respect and cherish them and romance them.  And then you spent a full day talking with men about what you're going to talk with their wives about on today's broadcast, and I think it's important for our listeners to realize that some of the hard things that you're going to say on today's broadcast fit into that context. Dennis:          Yeah, and I'm going to start right out with a hard thing to hear, and so, wives, please, I wish I could go back and give you the context of previous broadcasts, but I'm just talkin' to you straight, because I think today we really need to give you the benefit of hearing from a man how it really is.  And the first thing I want to say is you, as a wife, need to assume responsibility for your husband's sexual needs.                           You know, it was interesting, Bob, as I did a lot of hours of research and thinking and reading in preparation for this series, I reflected back that there are a number of books, there are a number of counselors that are telling the men how to romance their wives, and, really, there's a drought of writing about this subject of male sexuality helping women, helping wives, understand their responsibility to meet this area of physical need in their husbands lives.  And the interesting thing is, as I began to read, I began to feel like, more and more, the weight of romance fell squarely, nearly 100 percent, on the man's shoulders.  Now, do I think he primarily is responsible for this?  Yes.  But does that primary responsibility of the man absolve the woman of all responsibility?  Huh-huh.  I believe she has responsibility as well.                         Over in 1 Corinthians, chapter 7, verse 32 through 34, the command there is for husbands to please their wives and for wives to please their husbands, and if it was just the man's responsibility to please his wife, then the command of 1 Corinthians, chapter 7, would have stopped before verse 34 where it addresses the wife. Bob:                Okay, well, if the man is still to take primary responsibility over a couple's romantic relationship, then in what sense does a woman have a responsibility to be romantically involved with her husband?  What's her role in all of this? Dennis:          Well, I think she needs to be a part of creatively praying and thinking and actively pursuing her husband on his agenda, and we've stated that repeatedly over this series.  His agenda, for most men, is spelled s-e-x.  It's on the physical side of the love relationship.  Now, that doesn't mean she has to be preoccupied with sex all day long.  That's not going to be a part of her wiring and who she is.  It just means that she must make her husband a priority in this area of their marriage relationship.                           And let me just say to the ladies at this point – I don't want you to think, as we continue to move through these points, because over the next couple of days, these are going to get a little grittier and a little, perhaps, tougher to hear from a woman's perspective, but what I'm going to promise you is this will not be a superficial approach to a subject that, from a Christian perspective, I believe firmly must be dealt with from a biblical standpoint.                           The second point I want to make to ladies is that most men – now listen carefully – most men don't understand their own sex drive, and what is compelling them to pursue their wives physically.  Now, did you hear that?  Most men don't understand themselves sexually.  So you're wondering – how am I going to be able to understand him when he doesn't understand himself?                         You know, it's really interesting, as you listen to men talk, there are all kinds of sexual innuendoes in their jokes – and I'm not saying, by the way, that they're appropriate – but there's all kinds of statements made that just hint that they are horribly insecure about this subject.  And what a man needs is he needs the commitment, the strong commitment, the resilient love of a woman who says, "Sweetheart, I am yours, and I am proud to be yours.  You know what?  You can be real, and you can be frail, and you can be weak, and I will still respect you, and I will still love you."  But the problem is, is most men have a difficult time really hearing that message, because of the threat of this area of their own manhood. Bob:                All right, well, let me get this real practical, if I can.  Let's say it's 9:30 tonight, the kids are in bed – Dennis:          – that's ideal, that's not just practical – Bob:                – husband and wife have, oh, a few minutes together on the sofa before they go to bed, and a wife thinks to herself, "Now that thing Dennis was talkin' about on the radio, about how can a wife help her husband understand his own sexual desires" – what does she cuddle up next to him a
FamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Creating A More Romantic Marriage Day 8 of 8 Guest:                            Dennis Rainey From the Series:         A Man's View of Romance________________________________________________________________­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Bob:                This is FamilyLife Today.  Our host is the Executive Director of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey.  I'm Bob Lepine.  Happy Valentine's Day.  We're talking about romance on the broadcast today, I hope you can stay with us. (Music:  "My Funny Valentine")                         And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the broadcast as we continue looking at the subject of romance and, once again today, because of the nature of what we're going to be talking about, it may be inappropriate for younger listeners to be joining us.  Parents may want to use some discretion because we're talking about how men look at romance and, as you've said over the last couple of days, Dennis, men look at it – not exclusively – but primarily from the aspect of the sexual relationship.  In fact, on yesterday's broadcast, you mentioned that it is a wise woman who will assume some responsibility for affirming her husband in his sexuality.  You also talked about the fact that a lot of men don't understand themselves their need for the sexual relationship, and then you talked about how a man needs to be needed and needs to know that his wife desires him. Dennis:          Yeah, and even as you're going through that list we talked about yesterday – just revisiting that – you know, it feels risky to me, as a man, to talk to women about their husband's need sexually and certainly we're making some generalizations here that don't apply to every man, because God has made men differently, but I don't think we're too much off the mark when it comes to what men really desire from their wives.                         You know, I have counseled and interacted with men over the past 18 years at hundreds of FamilyLife Marriage Conferences, and their word to me, as you approach this subject, speaking to women, is "Just tell them how we feel.  Help us communicate to our wives what's going on inside of us," because I don't have a vested interest here.  I'm just after healthy marriages that are following Jesus Christ because I think our God made the sexual dimension of the marriage relationship. Bob:                And so a healthy marriage will necessarily involve a healthy sexual relationship. Dennis:          Yeah, and you would think Americans would be able to talk about this subject of sex, especially speaking to wives about their husband's sexuality, but I don't think it's that easy for wives to hear or for men to talk about.  Now, we're more comfortable talking about it in public, but really getting down past the superficial, down to the deep core issues, especially as it relates to a man's sexuality, I think that is very threatening for couples to discuss. Bob:                What do you think are some of those core issues for a husband or a wife? Dennis:          Well, I think a wife needs to know that her husband is not as strong and confident as he appears to be.  Now, he may look assertive, but in reality, most men, I think, when it comes to the sexual side of their relationship with their spouse, are unsure.  I think it's because we're marrying today without any clear passage into manhood.  For most men the passage from boyhood to manhood occurs when we get married, but in many cultures that passage has already occurred, and a young man has already had the opportunity to grapple with the issue of manhood and his sexuality.  But when men get married today, that's when they're confronted with the issue of performing sexually in marriage, and I think a lot of married men are really afraid of failing when it comes to the physical side of marital love. Bob:                What is it about these mystical passages that you refer to for a man?  Why are they so significant?  And what if a man has missed one? Dennis:          Well, I'll never forget a young man that became a close friend of mine over a period of time, and he'd grown up in a home where his father had deserted him as a young lad.  And as he began to have children and emerge as a husband in this new relationship with his wife, I could tell, from time to time, there was nothing on the screen that he could pull up by way of a memory of what a man ought to do or be or act like with his wife or with his kids as a man.  I mean, he didn't have that model, that mentor.                         And so I took that young man fishing one time, and in the darkness of that car as we drove to the fishing spot, which was an overnight trip, I began to talk to him about the passage from being a young man, moving on into manhood, and I told him – and I'll call him Chuck – I said, "Chuck, I want to bless you as a man, and I want you to know that, having observed you over the past four or five years, you own all the rights and privileges as a man, and I want you to know anytime you wonder what you're to do, how you're to behave, how you're to perform as a man, I want you to feel free to come back to me, because I want you to know, from this day forward, as an older man to a younger man, I want you to know that I am declaring and recognizing you and the full rights and privileges of manhood."                         You know, it was a number of months later that I got a phone call back from that young man, and he said, "You know, Dennis, it was interesting.  I did not realize what was occurring in the car that night until a few months later.  But now as I approach my roles and responsibilities of a man, I feel different about myself than I have in the past."                           And I think, to those women who may be looking at their husbands and looking at a young man who may feel very insecure or maybe an older man who is still driven out of his own insecurity, you know, you may be able to be an affirming part of his transition to manhood on a daily basis.  I think how a woman responds to a man sexually is a crowning celebration of a man's manhood.  I think a woman who is looking at a man, and she's feeling powerless to help him, perhaps needs to pray that God will bring older mentors into his life and perhaps encourage her husband to pursue some of them and maybe even ask for this blessing – perhaps ask them what he needs to become, what he needs to do, how he needs to act to be recognized as a man. Bob:                A woman may not be able to do what a father could have done for a son, but she can play a significant part in helping to supplement what may be missing. Dennis:          Yeah.  I'll say this about Barbara – when we were first married, there was a sense in which she affirmed me as a young man emerging into a mature man, and we've said on many occasions, I wasn't fully a man when I got married.  She finished the job of the transition from boyhood to manhood.  And it's the wise woman who realizes that when she gets married she may be marrying a boy in certain areas of his life.  He may have immaturities where he has not grown up and simply needs the belief, the affirmation, the support, the respect that only someone who knows him well and who loves him most can provide. Bob:                And romance and sexuality are tools, they're assets, for her, aren't they? Dennis:          They are, and it's the woman who understands that her response to her husband at that point is a crowning affirmation.  I don't know how to say it with any more dignity.  It is a very, very important part for a young man to feel affirmed by his wife.  George Gilder, in his book, "Men and Marriage," makes a great statement.  He says, "Women are puzzled by men's continual attempts to prove their manhood or ritualistically affirm it." Bob:                What is it, Dennis, about sexual performance that is affirming to a man's masculinity? Dennis:          Well, let me let George Gilder make a stab at this from his book, because he really states it clearly, as a sociologist, to help us better understand what's going on inside a man.  He writes, "Men must perform.  There is no shortcut to human fulfillment for men – just the short circuit of impotence.  Men can be creatively human only when they are confidently male and overcome their sexual insecurity by action."  Now listen to this next statement – "Nothing comes to them by waiting or being."  A man's got to initiate, and do you feel the risk that's there for a man as he initiates?  What's the woman's response?  He can't control it. Let me read on what Gilder says, "In general, therefore, the man is less secure sexually than the woman, because his sexuality is dependent on action, and he can act sexually only through a precarious process difficult to control.  Fear of impotence and inadequacy is a paramount fact of male sexuality.  For men, the desire for sex is not simply a quest for pleasure.  It is an indispensable test of identity."                         Now, did you hear that?  It is a test for a man to feel like a man, and when a wife can latch onto that idea, and she understands what is at risk for a man at that point, you know what?  The lights go on inside of here where, all of a sudden, she can now exercise the mystical powers God has given her in the marriage relationship for the health and the well being of the man.  Now, am I overstating the sex act for the man?  From the men I've talked to, I don't think so.  I think this is a core issue for men today.                         One last statement that Gilder writes about that I've got to read – he writes, "Unless men have an enduring relationship with a woman, a relationship that affords him sexual confidence, men will accept almost any convenient sexual offer."  Now, think about it.  Isn't that what the New Testament is try
FamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Creating a More Romantic MarriageDay 1 of 8 Guest:                            Dennis Rainey From the Series:         The Most Romantic Thing________________________________________________________________­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Music:             Bob:                And, welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us on the broadcast.  I did it yesterday; I went ahead and declared this the year of romance in my marriage.   Dennis:          All right. Bob:                So, we’re going to kick off a year-long romantic adventure.  Dennis:          Should we call Mary Anne right now and see how you did on day one? Bob:                I don’t know. Dennis:          We’ll save that for a little later.  All right?  You know, I ran across something that, even though it’s the day after Valentine’s Day, I found it fascinating to go back and look at, really, the historical significance of this day.  Valentine was a Pagan priest who lived in the third century.  He was not a Christian, but he really found it very difficult to stomach that these Christians were being persecuted.  He put his foot down – so much so that they threw him into prison.  While he was in prison, he converted to Christianity and was asked to renounce his faith.  He didn’t.  He stayed in prison for a long time.  One historian said that during his last days, Valentine often thought of his family and friends who were not allowed to come visit him.  Tradition has it that in order to communicate his love, he would reach out his window bars and pick the violets which grew outside.  He then pierced the heart-shaped leaves with a message like “Remember your Valentine.”  Then he sent the message home with some homing pigeons supplied by his family.  Toward the end of his life, the message changed to a simple “I love you.”  Finally, when he refused to renounce his faith in Christ, Valentine was clubbed to death in his cell February 14, 268 A.D.  You know, that’s interesting that yesterday is a day that we celebrate love, but so much of the world’s celebration of this love is not from an agape - God’s love for us, which caused us to love him.  Instead, it’s a narcissistic kind of love.  You know, if anybody ought to have the right kind of love on Valentine’s Day, or for that matter, throughout the year, it ought to be Christians. Bob:                Yeah.  I would hope that over the last two and a half weeks, Dennis, as you and Barbara have shared on this series and on this subject of romance, that message has come crystal clear – that the foundation for romance in marriage has got to be the solid commitment between a husband and a wife.  If for any reason folks have not been able to be with us over the last two and a half weeks, I would encourage them to get the cassette tapes of these broadcasts, and together, with their spouse, listen to this discussion on romance.  It will give them an opportunity to interact over what romance ought to be in marriage. Dennis:          I really agree.  I think a lot of times in marriage, we really miss each other because we’re communicating what communicates love to us, not what communicates love to my wife.  There are a lot of men who would really benefit from hearing Barbara talk straight about what a woman is looking for in romance from her husband. Bob:                Or, from hearing you talk straight to women about how men view romance.  If you’re interested in getting this cassette series, call us toll free at 1-800-FL-TODAY.  We’ll get you the information you need. Dennis:          Well, I’m excited about today because we’re going to give our listeners the privilege of hearing the most creative ideas we’ve been able to gather from our FamilyLife marriage conference speaker team, from our FamilyLife staff here in Little Rock, and from some of our FamilyLife marriage conference messages that have been given over the past year.  What I would encourage you to do right now, if you’re driving, pull out a 3 by 5 card or open your daytimes; or if you’re at home, get yourself a piece of paper and a pencil, because you’re going to hear at least a half dozen ideas that you ought to be able to use at some point in your marriage over the coming year. Bob:                If you’re driving, please write these down only at stoplights when you come to an appropriate point. Dennis:          That’s right.  There could be liability back here against FamilyLife Today. Bob:                Well, we kick things off with someone from our staff, Lance Coffman, sharing about the most romantic birthday he ever had. Lance:            “Yesterday was my birthday, and it was a very special time.  Just to show you how special I felt… I guess, to sum it up, she was thinking of me throughout the whole time.  What I mean by that, is Sunday she took me to the Macaroni Grill.  But, see, it was a gift certificate given to her, and it was just a special time that she would take that to spend on me for my birthday lunch.  She said, ‘Okay.  That’s a [unintelligible] of what’s to come.’  Anyway, we went to bed that night.  I woke up the next morning and went to the bathroom, and plastered all over the mirror was posters:  ‘Happy Birthday, Lance.  Happy Birthday, No. 30.’  Then she gave me a card and a present.  Then she cooked me breakfast.  I was off to work.  Around 10:30, the guys called me over, and Denise brought some oatmeal cookies.  They sang me ‘Happy Birthday,’ and I went back to work.  But, Denise, said, ‘Lance, call me before you come home.’  I said, ‘Okay.’  So, I called her before I came home, saying ‘I’m coming home.’  So, I come home, and there’s a note on the door.  It’s around 5:15.  I don’t leave work early.  The note said, ‘Lance, ring the doorbell before you come in.’  See, usually, I just come in.  This time, I was going to ring the doorbell.  So, I rang the doorbell, and Denise opens the door.  She’s in a black tuxedo with tails.  She goes, ‘Mr. Coffman, happy birthday.  Your dinner’s ready.’” Woman:         “This happened on Valentine’s Day last year, when I’d asked Jeff to stop at the store and get me some groceries.  I really think that he forgot it was Valentine’s Day, and I’d been on the phone with my friend.  She got flowers and a little necklace.  I thought to myself, ‘I know he forgot, and I’m not going to get anything.’  He came home from the grocery store, sat me down on the table and had this big bag of groceries.  He made me sit down, and he proceeded to take one thing out at a time.  It was all these different kinds of fruits and all these different groceries.  The ones that I remember in my mind was… As he took each item out, he’d say something sweet to me.  He grabbed the apple out, and he said, ‘Honey, you’re the apple of my eye.’  He sat it on the table.  He grabbed the diapers out and said, ‘I love to get Huggies from you.’  He set it on the table.  He had a pear, and he put that on the table and said, ‘We’re such a great pair.’  He had a little jar of that honey bear, and he said to me, ‘Your kisses drip with honey.’  Then, there was a little carton of milk, and he said, ‘I want to milk every moment God’s given me with you.’  Then, the last thing I do remember that he pulled out of the bag was a whole bunch of bananas, and he said he wanted to go peel my clothes off.” Woman:         “Well, I just have to share with you how Dan totally outdid himself for my birthday this last year.  The media department knows all about it.  I’ve never, ever in all my years of marriage, and we’ve been married 21 years, ever been kept totally in surprise of a surprise.  Anyway, it was my birthday.  The morning of my birthday, Haman Cross was supposed to come in to be with student venture at [unintelligible], so the setting was so natural.  Dan was home.  We were going to take off to go together to the school and spend the morning there and everything.  For some reason, that morning… Usually we have our celebration at night, but we had this big breakfast in the morning, all decorated and everything.  The kids had helped him with it.  I thought, ‘Oh, well.  Yeah.  Tonight we have a meeting, so this is probably their celebration.’  Anyway, I had my birthday celebration and got to the school and all.  Dan just whispered in my ear while Haman Cross was speaking, ‘I have a package that has to get to the airport.’  He said, ‘It has to be there by such and such a time, so we need to leave just a little bit early.  Then I’ll take you out to dinner.’  I thought, ‘Yeah.’  We don’t get a whole lot of time just to spend relaxing over a dinner.  I was really excited about that.  We got up, we left early, got to the airport; and there was this package sitting between us on the way out to the airport.  I thought, ‘This is kind of strange,’ but I know that he has all kind of strange errands to do, so I didn’t really question it.  We got to the airport, and I watched him go to try to check it in.  I went to look at some magazines.  He came back, and he said, ‘Oh, it’s going to be another half hour.  I can’t check it in for another half hour.’  So, we went and got ice cream.  I thought, ‘This is going to ruin our lunch together.  Should we really be eating this?’  He goes, ‘Oh, it’s fine.  You’ll still have room for something else.’  So, anyway, it got to be about five minutes before the time, and he walked me over to this airlines.  I just thought he was going to put the box on the counter.  He sat me down, and he handed me the box.  I go, ‘What is this?’  I didn’t have a clue what was going on.  I open the box, and in there was a gift bag just full of my favorite magazines, candy bars, a card from each one of the kids, a card from him.  I opened the card from him, and there was spending money and then a ticket to California to visit my best friend in California.  And, I totally lost it.  I cried.  I said, ‘I can’t leave my ag
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