In our last post we talked about how there are two different types of romantics in the world. Practical romantics and passionate romantics. Within a committed and loving marriage, each one of these romantics shows the other how they define romance by living out their definition.
Sadly, what often happens is that the signals get crossed. A passionate romantic speaks and acts in a way that communicates romance very passionately. Therefore, they may wonder why their [practical] spouse doesn’t respond well to romance. Even worse, they may take their practical spouses mannerisms as rejection.
On the other hand, the practical romantic may be left wondering, “What’s the big deal? Of course I love you! But I do really need to do ‘that’ to show you I love you?!” How can you get on the same page?
First, understand what kind of romantic you are, and then do the same for your spouse. As you can see, if you are one kind of romantic and your spouse is the other kind of romantic, you’re both going to have very different definitions of ‘romance’. If one of you happens to have too narrow of a definition of ‘romance’, it will cause occasional problems in your marriage as well as your sex life.
If you happen to be in a marriage with two passionate romantics, good for you. Your marriage probably just oozes romance all the time! The only caution here is that romance not become about competition or out doing each other. Neither do you want it to be about comparison. Romance is supposed to build friendship and fun in your marriage. Comparison and competition will not do that. So, be passionate. But be compassionate as well.
If your marriage is made up of two practical romantics (that would be us!) remind yourself that romance does matter. If you let the romance fade, as it inevitably will, you may end up in a place you never expected to be. Keep the fun, excitement, anticipation and thoughtfulness of romance a part of your life. This can be accomplished by taking purposeful opportunities to romance one another. Instead of simply jumping in the sheets, add a few minutes of extra foreplay. Instead of being practical all the time, do something spontaneous once every few months. Even though you’re practical people, make sure your spouse knows how passionately in love you are with them.
If one of you is a passionate romantic and the other is practical, take note:
If you are a passionate romantic, take the lead and ask for romance. Rather than silently resenting your spouse, plan a romantic evening and enjoy it rather than being upset that all the planning was done by you. If you want your spouse to compliment you on how you look, tell them what you love about their body and then ask them in return what they like best about your body. This is not manipulation; rather it is setting the stage for them to make a move in the right direction. They’re not going to take ten steps in one week, so remember that this process will take time. The most important thing is to extend grace. Your spouse does love you. Though they may not always show it in the way you want them to, remind yourself that their natural ability to “woo” you is not related to their love for you.
If you are a practical romantic, establish routines and remind yourself to appreciate and care for your spouse. It could be as simple as having a parting kiss everyday or putting it on your calendar to write an encouraging note or send a gift to your spouse. Be attentive to what they want and if you still have no clue, ask. Let them teach you how they define romance and then be a good student. And if all else fails, show up naked. That’ll get the attention of a passionate romantic real quick!
The bottom line of what I (Megan) am learning about romance: Romance is an invitation. An invitation to grow with one another, have fun with one another, enjoy one another, compliment one another, think of one another. That’s a lot of “one another’s”. Invite romance into your marriage and you may be surprised by the outcome. Take time to regularly communicate about romance. Caring for each other, meeting your spouse’s needs and helping them meet your needs will lead to a passionate marriage and help romance guide you through many years to come.