The moonlit walks, late-night talks, candlelit dinners, flowers… it all spells romance. Or does it? These gestures may be romantic, but are they “romance”? What is “romance” in marriage, anyway?

Romance: What It Is

I’d like to offer you a different way to look at romance. Now, this may be new to you, or you may be like, of course, that’s what romance is. But, I personally haven’t always thought of romance in this way…  Romance is the ongoing mission of making your spouse feel special. Does that mean you are off the hook for flowers, gifts, dinner? Not exactly. 

So, where do I start?

How do I make my spouse feel special? Well, sorry to tell you but there is no one answer. To know what makes them feel special, you have to be a student of your spouse. Now, I don’t mean being a student like in school when you learned just enough to pass a test, then forgot it all the next day. (Please don’t have nightmares of the periodic table or trigonometry.)

Romance in marriage is a lifestyle. It’s not confined to one day in February, but it’s a daily choice to be selfless and put your spouse first. It’s intentional—and it’s not expecting anything in return.

You need to be a lifelong learner of your spouse. What does this mean? Start with these questions:

  • What do they enjoy? 
  • What do they desire? 
  • Their dreams? 
  • Makes them feel loved? 

It’s the little things as well as the big ones. Part of being a lifelong learner is discovery. Now that sounds fun!

We all have a burning desire to be seen, heard, and understood. You play a huge part in fulfilling this desire for your significant other.

So that sounds great and all, but let’s get practical. 

How do I romance my spouse? 

You’ve done your research. Now it’s time to apply what you’ve learned. I mean, what good is knowledge if you can’t use it?

Maybe you get up every morning and prepare your spouse’s coffee or warm up their car. Perhaps you recognize they’ve had a rough day, so you prepare dinner or take care of chores around the house, not because they asked you but because you recognize that it will make their day easier. That’s romance!

Fellas, sitting and listening to your spouse, not interrupting or trying to fix everything, is romance. It shows your wife that you value her thoughts and emotions and genuinely care about what she has to say. 

Ladies, sitting with your husband and watching the big game or race, asking genuine questions, and seeking to understand what he is passionate about is romance. (Here’s Why It’s Important to Care About Your Spouse’s Interests.)

Now, those are general examples, but you get the picture. Romance is caring about what they care about.

I love to run. It brings me joy and relieves stress… yes, I said running brings joy, don’t judge me. My wife takes the time to ask me about my run. She listens, she encourages, she pushes me. She stood out in 30-degree weather holding signs of support for my first half-marathon. Now, that’s romance! I feel understood and loved by those actions.

Romance is showing your spouse that you see them and desire to know them more deeply. Become a lifelong learner of your spouse. If you’ve been married for several years and you feel like romance is missing, own it and make it a priority. 

If you need help knowing where to start, check out First Things First’s online experience Romance Your Mate. You’ll learn even more about what romance looks like and how to romance your spouse for a lifetime.

Commit to making romance central to your marriage! Start today.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

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