Have you heard the message? Every Valentine’s Day, our culture screams that romance is:
- teddy bears
- a pink-and-red-and-white card
- a date night written on a particular calendar square
Not that there’s anything wrong with any of these, but it does make me wonder.
- How many women and men are being held hostage to a standard of “romance” that doesn’t even, really, matter?
- How many husbands are guilted into buying things their wife may not even want?
- How many wives feel unloved if their husband doesn’t do “x”, despite the fact that he’s a good man who shows love in other ways, 364 other days of the year?
For my part, I would think my husband had lost his mind if he brought me a stuffed animal. Or I would think that *he* thought I’d lost mine. I don’t like chocolate. Honestly, I would never just sit and eat a piece of chocolate. Never. (I hear you gasping, but it’s true. I’ll eat a Reese’s PB cup but it’s really for the PB.) I don’t need a card, flowers, or a date night (although I’m thankful if/when I receive those).
But do you know what’s romantic to me? My husband doing things like:
- a year or two ago, programming into my phone to ding @ 9:45 each morning and remind me, “You’re my girl.”
- rubbing my feet with body butter occasionally while we watch a movie.
- telling me, “Go!” when I have a rare opportunity to get a few hours of solitude for journaling and writing.
- even when he works the early morning shift (leaving by 4:45 am), he doesn’t leave the house without kissing me
And here’s the other thing I want to share with you:
If my husband didn’t do those things, those things wouldn’t be what’s “romantic” to me. Because “romantic” (to me) means, the things HE does. So if he didn’t do those, but did other things instead, THAT would define romance for me. I don’t want to treasure the actions of others.
I don’t want to prize what other women’s (real or imaginary) husbands do for them.
- One friend’s husband buys tickets to send her on a trip to visit a special place or friend.
- Another’s takes her shopping and buys something she’ll love
- Another does nothing fancy on “big” days, but gives smiles and kindness throughout the year
- Another’s husband does anything his wife gives him to do on his “honey-do” list
- Someone else gets taken for a fancy dinner
- Another’s buys her a new car, or the van she’s been eyeing all year
- Maybe someone’s husband intuitively knows just the right thing to get & gets it for her (rare, but some actually do).
But those are what *their* husband has done for them.
Romance isn’t “what other women’s husbands do for them.”
Romance isn’t “what I wish my husband would do.” (Although sometimes, especially in the early years, or if we’ve never communicated those things, it’s OK to talk about those things and let him know what would mean a lot to you.)
Romance isn’t what the TV, magazine, Pinterest, Target aisle, jewelry commercial, or advertisement says he should do for me.
Romance is not universal among women.
And romance is something quite different from forced purchases or activities on a particular day. Now, I don’t want to sound like a grumpy grumperton. I like what Paul David Tripp said about Valentine’s Day: “Husbands and wives, I’m all for romantic acts and sexual intimacy on Valentine’s Day, but these things are the fruit of a healthy marriage, not the foundation.”
Romance is what my husband does for me, or what your husband does for you, however big or however small, that lets you know he really does love you. It’s the overflow of the real relationship, not the foundation or the measure of it.
Romance is unique, not universal.
Have you been evaluating your husband by some outside standard, or comparing him to other people’s husbands? Wives, let’s check our hearts and make sure that we’re defining romance by the right standards– the standard of the one husband that God has given us.
Image courtesy of NutdanaiApikhomboonwaroot/FreeDigitalPhotos.net