A Woman's View of Romance (Part One)
FamilyLife Today® Radio Transcript
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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.
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.
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