Creating a More Romantic Marriage

FamilyLife Today® Radio Transcript
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Creating a More Romantic Marriage
Day 1 of 8
Guest:                            Dennis Rainey
From the Series:         The Most Romantic Thing

Bob:                And, welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us on the broadcast.  I did it yesterday; I went ahead and declared this the year of romance in my marriage.  
Dennis:          All right.
Bob:                So, we’re going to kick off a year-long romantic adventure. 
Dennis:          Should we call Mary Anne right now and see how you did on day one?
Bob:                I don’t know.
Dennis:          We’ll save that for a little later.  All right?  You know, I ran across something that, even though it’s the day after Valentine’s Day, I found it fascinating to go back and look at, really, the historical significance of this day.  Valentine was a Pagan priest who lived in the third century.  He was not a Christian, but he really found it very difficult to stomach that these Christians were being persecuted.  He put his foot down – so much so that they threw him into prison.  While he was in prison, he converted to Christianity and was asked to renounce his faith.  He didn’t.  He stayed in prison for a long time.  One historian said that during his last days, Valentine often thought of his family and friends who were not allowed to come visit him.  Tradition has it that in order to communicate his love, he would reach out his window bars and pick the violets which grew outside.  He then pierced the heart-shaped leaves with a message like “Remember your Valentine.”  Then he sent the message home with some homing pigeons supplied by his family.  Toward the end of his life, the message changed to a simple “I love you.”  Finally, when he refused to renounce his faith in Christ, Valentine was clubbed to death in his cell February 14, 268 A.D.  You know, that’s interesting that yesterday is a day that we celebrate love, but so much of the world’s celebration of this love is not from an agape - God’s love for us, which caused us to love him.  Instead, it’s a narcissistic kind of love.  You know, if anybody ought to have the right kind of love on Valentine’s Day, or for that matter, throughout the year, it ought to be Christians.
Bob:                Yeah.  I would hope that over the last two and a half weeks, Dennis, as you and Barbara have shared on this series and on this subject of romance, that message has come crystal clear – that the foundation for romance in marriage has got to be the solid commitment between a husband and a wife.  If for any reason folks have not been able to be with us over the last two and a half weeks, I would encourage them to get the cassette tapes of these broadcasts, and together, with their spouse, listen to this discussion on romance.  It will give them an opportunity to interact over what romance ought to be in marriage.
Dennis:          I really agree.  I think a lot of times in marriage, we really miss each other because we’re communicating what communicates love to us, not what communicates love to my wife.  There are a lot of men who would really benefit from hearing Barbara talk straight about what a woman is looking for in romance from her husband.
Bob:                Or, from hearing you talk straight to women about how men view romance.  If you’re interested in getting this cassette series, call us toll free at 1-800-FL-TODAY.  We’ll get you the information you need.
Dennis:          Well, I’m excited about today because we’re going to give our listeners the privilege of hearing the most creative ideas we’ve been able to gather from our FamilyLife marriage conference speaker team, from our FamilyLife staff here in Little Rock, and from some of our FamilyLife marriage conference messages that have been given over the past year.  What I would encourage you to do right now, if you’re driving, pull out a 3 by 5 card or open your daytimes; or if you’re at home, get yourself a piece of paper and a pencil, because you’re going to hear at least a half dozen ideas that you ought to be able to use at some point in your marriage over the coming year.
Bob:                If you’re driving, please write these down only at stoplights when you come to an appropriate point.
Dennis:          That’s right.  There could be liability back here against FamilyLife Today.
Bob:                Well, we kick things off with someone from our staff, Lance Coffman, sharing about the most romantic birthday he ever had.
Lance:            “Yesterday was my birthday, and it was a very special time.  Just to show you how special I felt… I guess, to sum it up, she was thinking of me throughout the whole time.  What I mean by that, is Sunday she took me to the Macaroni Grill.  But, see, it was a gift certificate given to her, and it was just a special time that she would take that to spend on me for my birthday lunch.  She said, ‘Okay.  That’s a [unintelligible] of what’s to come.’  Anyway, we went to bed that night.  I woke up the next morning and went to the bathroom, and plastered all over the mirror was posters:  ‘Happy Birthday, Lance.  Happy Birthday, No. 30.’  Then she gave me a card and a present.  Then she cooked me breakfast.  I was off to work.  Around 10:30, the guys called me over, and Denise brought some oatmeal cookies.  They sang me ‘Happy Birthday,’ and I went back to work.  But, Denise, said, ‘Lance, call me before you come home.’  I said, ‘Okay.’  So, I called her before I came home, saying ‘I’m coming home.’  So, I come home, and there’s a note on the door.  It’s around 5:15.  I don’t leave work early.  The note said, ‘Lance, ring the doorbell before you come in.’  See, usually, I just come in.  This time, I was going to ring the doorbell.  So, I rang the doorbell, and Denise opens the door.  She’s in a black tuxedo with tails.  She goes, ‘Mr. Coffman, happy birthday.  Your dinner’s ready.’”
Woman:         “This happened on Valentine’s Day last year, when I’d asked Jeff to stop at the store and get me some groceries.  I really think that he forgot it was Valentine’s Day, and I’d been on the phone with my friend.  She got flowers and a little necklace.  I thought to myself, ‘I know he forgot, and I’m not going to get anything.’  He came home from the grocery store, sat me down on the table and had this big bag of groceries.  He made me sit down, and he proceeded to take one thing out at a time.  It was all these different kinds of fruits and all these different groceries.  The ones that I remember in my mind was… As he took each item out, he’d say something sweet to me.  He grabbed the apple out, and he said, ‘Honey, you’re the apple of my eye.’  He sat it on the table.  He grabbed the diapers out and said, ‘I love to get Huggies from you.’  He set it on the table.  He had a pear, and he put that on the table and said, ‘We’re such a great pair.’  He had a little jar of that honey bear, and he said to me, ‘Your kisses drip with honey.’  Then, there was a little carton of milk, and he said, ‘I want to milk every moment God’s given me with you.’  Then, the last thing I do remember that he pulled out of the bag was a whole bunch of bananas, and he said he wanted to go peel my clothes off.”
Woman:         “Well, I just have to share with you how Dan totally outdid himself for my birthday this last year.  The media department knows all about it.  I’ve never, ever in all my years of marriage, and we’ve been married 21 years, ever been kept totally in surprise of a surprise.  Anyway, it was my birthday.  The morning of my birthday, Haman Cross was supposed to come in to be with student venture at [unintelligible], so the setting was so natural.  Dan was home.  We were going to take off to go together to the school and spend the morning there and everything.  For some reason, that morning… Usually we have our celebration at night, but we had this big breakfast in the morning, all decorated and everything.  The kids had helped him with it.  I thought, ‘Oh, well.  Yeah.  Tonight we have a meeting, so this is probably their celebration.’  Anyway, I had my birthday celebration and got to the school and all.  Dan just whispered in my ear while Haman Cross was speaking, ‘I have a package that has to get to the airport.’  He said, ‘It has to be there by such and such a time, so we need to leave just a little bit early.  Then I’ll take you out to dinner.’  I thought, ‘Yeah.’  We don’t get a whole lot of time just to spend relaxing over a dinner.  I was really excited about that.  We got up, we left early, got to the airport; and there was this package sitting between us on the way out to the airport.  I thought, ‘This is kind of strange,’ but I know that he has all kind of strange errands to do, so I didn’t really question it.  We got to the airport, and I watched him go to try to check it in.  I went to look at some magazines.  He came back, and he said, ‘Oh, it’s going to be another half hour.  I can’t check it in for another half hour.’  So, we went and got ice cream.  I thought, ‘This is going to ruin our lunch together.  Should we really be eating this?’  He goes, ‘Oh, it’s fine.  You’ll still have room for something else.’  So, anyway, it got to be about five minutes before the time, and he walked me over to this airlines.  I just thought he was going to put the box on the counter.  He sat me down, and he handed me the box.  I go, ‘What is this?’  I didn’t have a clue what was going on.  I open the box, and in there was a gift bag just full of my favorite magazines, candy bars, a card from each one of the kids, a card from him.  I opened the card from him, and there was spending money and then a ticket to California to visit my best friend in California.  And, I totally lost it.  I cried.  I said, ‘I can’t leave my agenda for this week.’  It was just packed with all kinds of really important events and everything.  I just said, ‘The girls can’t do without me.’  ‘They can do without you, dear.  Honest.  Leave it with me.’  So, anyway, it took me until St. Louis to gain composure and stop crying.  The guy that sat next to me thought I was just totally out to lunch.  He couldn’t understand.  I couldn’t even gain composure to tell him what had happened.  Anyway, that is the biggest surprise, and it was a wonderful birthday.”
Man:               “A few years ago, I had to leave my wonderful wife for about a month on a trip in Europe.  She, of course, helped me remember the things to pack, and we had a list to check off.  The first night that I was there, I opened my suitcase, and I found a large manila envelope.  In the envelope, there were smaller envelopes with each date that I would be gone.  As I went through that trip for a month, every evening I had a different envelope to open with some very sweet little poems or some Snickers bars or something else.  She had gone to all the trouble to think about the whole 30 days I’d be gone and to just communicate things to keep us close, at least in spirit.”
Man:               “Letter B.  A wife feels cherished when there is romance in the relationship - little things and little comments.  You and I don’t care if our wife says, ‘You sure look nice,’ but our wives care very much if we would say, ‘Sweetheart, that really does you justice.  You really look good in hot pink or navy blue’ or whatever – things that would never occur to us, but it means a lot to them to hear us express it.  You figure it out.  Learn to speak woman, because her needs are different.  One day, I remember thinking of my wife.  I lived out… We lived out on the east side of town, and the hospital that I had to make a pastoral call in was in the middle of town.  The town center - the shopping center where Linda was working at the time to help keep the boys in college was in between.  I thought, ‘I’m going to express my love for Linda.’  I stopped at Safeway on the way.  I grabbed one of those rosebud things (it probably cost me $5.00) and a card.  The card probably cost $5.00 too.  I knew where she parked her car because I’d been in the parking lot.  I grabbed the key, I opened the car door, I put the rosebud on the console between the seats and slipped the card on the seat.  I shut the car and locked it and went off about my pastoral call and back to work.  That evening we had a conversation about that little episode.  I said, ‘What did you think when you saw that there?’  She said, ‘Well, I started to put my key in the car, and I saw somebody had been in my car.  I knew it couldn’t have been you.  So I checked behind the seat to make sure nobody was lurking there.’  Then, she said, ‘I opened the door, I appreciated the rose, I opened the card.’  She began to cry over a card that cost me $3.00.  One day… Friday was a day off.  I finally got a day off, and she was working that morning, but a half day.  So, I knew she’d be home around noon.  I figured, ‘Well, what would she do if she were there and if our roles were reversed?’  If I’d have looked through her lenses, she would fix lunch.  ‘I’ll fix lunch.’  I don’t do lunch.  When I go hunting with the guys, it’s donut holes and milk.  We don’t cook.  You know?  But, I thought, ‘what would Linda do?’  Well, she would not have lunch on the regular kitchen table because that’s just the hoy paloy table.  She would have lunch in the dining room.  That means more to her – the dining room.  It’s special.  So, I set the dining room table with the china, because you don’t use the stoneware; you use the china when you’re trying to give a message, at least you do when you’re a woman.  So, I’m trying to learn to speak this language.  I set the china on the table.  Now, the real challenge.  You’ve got to put food on it.  I don’t do much food, but I figured tuna fish.  I can handle tuna fish.  China and tuna.  It didn’t matter.  It was an effort.  She understands.  So, I got some tuna, and I put it on half of an English muffin, and I set it on the plate.  It looked really bad.  You know, big china plate, little English muffin, and a pile of tuna.  I remembered on Sunday nights after church, she’ll sometimes do that, and she’ll melt some cheese with some pineapple and stuff and that sort of thing.  It looked a little bit better.  It still wasn’t too cool, but it was a little bit better.  When she came in, she was overwhelmed.  She was absolutely overwhelmed.  She was struck by that.  The power of a woman to respond is incredible.  I would say we had the most powerful session of lovemaking that we had had in years, all because I was trying to learn to speak the language.  I wasn’t doing it for the selfish reason of her responding like that.  That was a gift she gave to me, you see, with no strings attached.”
Woman:         “[Unintelligible] when he’s kind of quiet and creative both.  So, the things that I want to share fit both of those.  First of all, Blaine designed my wedding rings.  We had a friend that was a jeweler, and he carved them out of a piece of wax and had the jeweler cast the gold and set the diamond for us.  He totally surprised me with that.  I wasn’t expecting it.  He didn’t get the same thing.  I’m not quite that creative.  And, a few years ago, on Valentine’s, we had, as many young couples do, struggled with finances.  Every year, we kept cutting out one more gift that we gave each other.  So, Valentine’s was one that we decided we’d have to cut out.  That year, I wasn’t expecting anything but maybe a card.  He bought one of those blank books that’s bound.  Now, every year at Valentine’s, he writes me a love letter.  That was really sweet.  Very special.  Something neat for our kids some day.”
Woman:         “My husband brings me home flowers all the time.  He does laundry when I don’t need it done.  He just does it.  But, one of the things that popped to my mind was he gave me the privilege of having two of his children.  And, over the years, I thought a lot about how much he does for me and how much he loves me.  But, the most romantic thing he’s ever done is he’s allowed me to have the privilege of being his wife and the mother of his children.  There isn’t a day that goes by that he doesn’t in some way express his love to me, whether it’s doing the little things or whether it’s doing the big things or whether it’s bringing home flowers.  But, he does it every day.  For me, that’s the most romantic thing my husband can do for me.”
Bob:                Well, what a treat.  We’ve been listening together to members of our FamilyLife marriage conference speaker team and folks who are on the staff here at FamilyLife, all of these folks sharing about romance in their marriage.  I think this is a fitting conclusion to the last two and a half weeks as we’ve tried to peel back our hearts a little bit and look inside to see how we can re-ignite the romantic spark in marriage.  
Dennis:          What we’ve talked about here is that romance is a need that every marriage has.  Men need romance because they need to be needed.  They need to be needed sexually by their wives, they need to be attracted to their wives, and they need their wives to be attracted to them.  Women need romance because they need a relationship with their husband, and they want a relationship with him.  They want to be courted and pursued by their husbands.  I think all too often, this is one area of the marriage relationship that we don’t pay attention to.  So, it’s no mistake that the fires begin to go out, and the coals grow cold.  A marriage ought to be a place that has excitement, fun and romance and some intrigue about it.
Bob:                I think there are two things we can recommend to couples, Dennis, as a way to breath some romantic life back into a marriage.  One of them is the collection that we put together called “Simply Romantic.”  That was put together specifically to give couples a plan, give them a tool, give them something that they can use in their marriage relationship, some practical help for making romance come alive.  Frankly, all of us need that kind of help from time to time.
Dennis:          Yeah.  We’re a culture that kind of gets into games.  Although this isn’t a game, it is a collection in a box.  We’ve got it right here in front of us.  It’s got some cards just for men that help men communicate romance to their wives, fresh ideas for every month of the year.  Then, it’s got some cards for the wife; again, ideas for each month that she can use to communicate romance to her husband.  It’s got a little checklist that a guy can fill out on his wife.  I went shopping last Christmas, and I was thinking, “What size is Barbara?  Is it an 8 or a 6 that she wears in this one particular garment here?”  If I’d have had this little thing right here, Bob, this would have saved me a lot of trouble.  It’s got love notes.  It’s got a booklet that I’ve written on why romance is important to every marriage.  It’s got mood music on a cassette tape on one side, and then on the other side, it’s got ideas from our FamilyLife marriage conference speaker team where they shared the best ideas that they’ve ever had in their marriages to communicate romance to their spouses.
Bob:                Yeah, like the ideas that we featured on the broadcast today.  We also have a questionnaire that a husband and wife can fill out that kind of is an inventory.  It’s a romantic analysis of your mate.  It gives you an opportunity to understand them better in this critical area.  Really, you mentioned it’s not a game, but it kind of feels like a game.  It’s fun for couples to do this, and it gives them a way to bring romance alive.  I think sometimes ten years in or fifteen years into the marriage, you feel a little awkward trying to make romance come alive in your marriage.
Dennis:          Okay.  Okay.  Okay.  Here’s one of the cards that says, “For February – romancing your wife.”  Now, I’m hoping your wife is not listening to the broadcast right now.
Bob:                This would be things that husbands can do that would…
Dennis:          This is something you’re going to do for Mary Anne this month.  I’m going to see which one of these you’d choose.  Idea number one:  “Tell your wife that being close to her still excites you.”  Hello.  Idea number two.  Well, it’s too late for this one because it says, “On Valentine’s Day, buy a pad of PostIt notes and write a brief message to your wife on each page.  Hide them in different places where she will find them.”  Oh, you did that before.
Bob:                I’ve already done that one. 
Dennis:          And she’s still finding some of those notes in recipe books and other things.  That’s a great idea.  Idea number three:  “Volunteer to do all the ironing for a week.”  Now, how is it I can’t picture that right there?  Idea number four:  “Plan a romantic evening.  Dine at a nice restaurant, and then go to the theater or ballet.”  Hey, that’s a good idea.  Idea number five:  “Have a bubble bath and favorite music.  Have a bubble bath and favorite music, or a book ready for your wife after she’s had an especially hard day.  Then give her a massage.”  Now… You know, all of those are relationship builders.
Bob:                I think I’ll do all of them, except maybe that ironing thing.  I’m going to have to pray about that one.  Well, listen, if you’re interested in getting a copy of “Simply Romantic,” simply call us here at FamilyLife Today.  The phone number is 1-800-FL-TODAY.  It’s 1-800-F as in Family, L as in Life, and then the word TODAY.  The cost for this collection is $19.95, plus $3.00 for shipping and handling.  In addition to this collection, as I mentioned earlier, we also have audiotapes of this entire series available.  If you’re interested in that, you can call us.  We also have other resources – a whole collection of books that are helpful tools for couples who want to build a more romantic marriage.  When you call, ask what resources are available to help with the maybe specific romantic needs you have in your marriage.  You can call us, again, toll free, 1-800-FL-TODAY.  Or, if you’d prefer to write, our address is FamilyLife Today, Box 8220, Little Rock, Arkansas.  Our zip code is 72221.  Once again, it’s FamilyLife Today, Box 8220, Little Rock, Arkansas.  And our zip code is 72221.  When you call or write, please remember FamilyLife Today is a listener supported broadcast, and we appreciate those of you who stand with us with our financial needs for the ongoing work of this ministry. 
                        Well, tomorrow and Friday, Dennis, we’re going to continue to talk about romantic feelings, but we’re going to talk about what happens when they become misdirected.  Lois Raby [sp] is going to join us in the studio to talk about the snare that is laying in wait for men and women all across this culture.
Dennis:          Don’t miss these days with Lois Raby.
Bob:                I hope you can join us for that.  Our engineer is Mark Whitlock; our host Dennis Rainey.  I’m Bob Lepine.  We’ll see you tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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