A Woman's View of Romance (Part Two)
FamilyLife Today® Radio Transcript
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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?
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.
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."
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 b