A Man's View of Romance (Part Two)
FamilyLife Today® Radio Transcript
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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