(For more foundational thoughts on “romance”, read Chapter 30 in Wife School, “When Your Husband is Not Romantic”).
I remember the scene vividly, although it was ten years ago. While eating breakfast at Perkins Restaurant with a lovely woman of God, she told me how sad she was over the romance and emotional intimacy she received in her marriage. Her husband “didn’t get her”. He was a good guy, she said, as far as being a good father and a good provider, but he certainly didn’t understand her soul.
And then, this intelligent woman said, “Being pursued by a man (i.e. romance, emotional intimacy) is the most exciting feeling in the world to a woman and I don’t have that in my marriage.” I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this recurring refrain from women regarding their marriages.
Of course, all women understand what my friend was talking about, of wanting a “romance of the ages” but instead, getting a man who thinks about work, money, and sex. Why, that’s why women love romantic comedies and romantic dramas, because women adore the feeling of being pursued. Sadly, this pursuit by husbands is missing in many marriages.
Let’s dissect this situation.
In marriage, each spouse has a strong, pressing desire for something the other spouse doesn’t understand. For example, men have hormones that make them think about sex every few minutes (seconds?). (Actually, only 80 % of men are like this. See Chapter 32 in Wife School if you are in the 20% of women who want sex more than their husband.) We women just don’t understand this sexual desire men have. It’s like saying there is another basic color in the rainbow called “fuma” and we have never seen it. How could we possibly understand it? Women have to take men’s huge sex drives on faith (read Chapter 8 in Wife School to better understand your husband’s sex drive).
But, there is a pressing desire that women have, too, and that is the desire to be pursued, romanced, and to have emotional intimacy. Men equally don’t get this, as it is as foreign to them as their huge sex drives are to us.
So there we have it. We don’t get this huge cry of a man’s heart for sex and he doesn’t understand our huge cry to have intense emotional and romantic intimacy. Lovely.
What is truly helpful to understand is that the reason both spouses are not giving each other what the other wants is NOT because they are selfish or because they are idiots, but because they don’t understand what the other spouse wants since they personally don’t experience that need. Your job as a woman is to meet your husband’s needs and then to make him “want” to understand your needs.
Here are a few steps to getting the romance and emotional intimacy you want (again, I am assuming you have read the chapter on romance, Chapter 30, in Wife School).
Step one. The first step to getting the emotional intimacy you want is to make sure your husband’s tank is full of the 8 A’s (Acceptance, Admiration, Appreciation, Attention, Activities, Approval, Affection (sex), and Authority). Remember that when a woman fills a man’s tank (soul) with the 8 A’s, it turns his heart toward her and opens him to her influence. In other words, when you are making him ridiculously happy by depositing the 8 A’s daily into his soul, he wants to make you happy. And remember to re-fill daily as husbands’ tanks drain nightly. (If your husband is mentally unstable, abusive, involved with alcohol or other addictions, this advice does not pertain to you and you must get professional help.)
The motive for filling your husband’s tank should be that “love gives and loves does whatever it can to benefit another”. I hope your motives are right, but the truth remains, filling up your husband’s tank makes him want to make you happy.
Step two. Realize that a big goal like “teaching your husband your need for emotional intimacy” is going to take some time and effort. Your husband cannot easily be taught what the color “fuma” looks like. Don’t expect him to quickly get this. For the most part, as I earlier said, women are the relationship gurus. We are the ones who read self-help books and want to understand relationships. You are the one who, over months and years, will gently and patiently explain to him what you want and need in this area. But the gigantic, humongous thing to understand here is that he is NOT a bumpkin. He is not an idiot. He is a normal man, who thinks about work, money, and sex. He can be taught though, if the wife is wise and patient. Give him a break! Remember, he has never seen the color “fuma” so this will take a while. Thankfully, you are on the fifty-year-plan with your marriage, so you have time. He will not get this by Christmas.
Step 3. Learn the art/skill of wisely asking for what you want in your marriage. (Actually, this works for whatever you want, not just romance/emotional intimacy). We will cover that in the next blog. But just so you’ll know what’s coming, I’ve seen men who totally didn’t get women’s souls have gargantuan changes over months and years when wise wives live Wife School principles. Women make many mistakes when they ask their husbands for things and we will explore that in the next post.
Blog #3 will be “How to Ask for What You Want in Your Marriage”.