Here is a bit more from the wife I quoted in yesterday’s post about The Artificial Romance Issue – How Romantic Movies/Novels/Music Can Be a Stumbling Block. I am so thankful for this precious sister of mine and her willingness to share what she has learned the hard way.
I’m not going to lie to you, it was really difficult to let go of my ideas of romance. I wanted very deeply to get love letters, flowers, dates, etc from my husband that I understood I would get if he “really” loved me. He thinks those things are blandly vapid and somewhat emasculating.
This was a point of contention in my marriage… I realized that romance was so commercially dictated today that I was unable to even see my husband’s home-grown version. You know-
- the “bring the trash can back from the curb in the pouring rain so I wouldn’t get wet”
- the “stop to pick up milk for the children”
- “get up and go to work without complaint (even though if he were single he probably would choose a much less stressful job)”.
I couldn’t see these things because to me they were “expected” and thus “not romantic”.
I had to train my brain- still do, in fact.
Every time I see him doing something thoughtful or something I don’t think he would do at all if single (and I look hard for it), I say to myself “how romantic”.
And, although I like a good sappy book or movie, I can’t consume them anymore because I know they mess with my thankfulness. Nice side effect is that my husband can’t stand chick flicks and is now happier on movie nights…
I work at a library and am amazed at how many women haul out bags filled with “honor books” that are basically female porn. They are 100% pushing discontent for women. I feel for them because I know they feel trapped- they only feel the rush of lust when reading romance novels. Life seems bland by comparison. But like how you cannot see for a time after being blinded by a bright light, your ability to feel the romance of your husband can be restored by strict purity and thankful thoughts. Don’t be surprised though if what you end up seeing is not the slightest bit conventionally romantic.
Wean yourself from those desires– they are a slavery. There is a vivid life of freedom beyond it.
I, too, realized a few years ago as I was learning about respect and being a godly wife and woman and about submitting to Christ and to my husband – that even the Christian romance novels left me feeling disappointed with my own husband, jealous, covetous and feeling like I was missing out in my marriage.
I stopped watching any romantic movies and reading romance novels of any description. I also stopped reading marriage books about what husbands should do because if I “go there” I know that I can easily start to feel like a “victim” if my husband is not doing all of the things the book talks about.
I personally also dropped all expectations about Valentine’s Day and even birthdays and anniversaries. I don’t force my husband to get me anything. If he gets me something, I appreciate it and thank him. If he doesn’t, I am totally fine. I am so thankful for what God has done in our marriage and in my heart. I don’t have to have a store bought card and flowers to know how much my husband loves me. I can see his love for me every single day.
I cannot allow anything to distract me from a spirit of gratitude and joy in Christ.
To me, there is great freedom in enjoying what I have and savoring and being content with my situation and my life as it is right now. I look for the ways my husband speaks love to me and don’t demand that he show love to me the way I want him to. I see his love for me when he:
- fixes up the guest bathroom because my cousin is coming to visit
- renovates our house to make it my dream home
- does the laundry without me asking and even folds stuff and puts it away all on his own! (He didn’t used to do that when I was controlling and disrespectful!)
- cuddles with me every night
- goes to work 5 days a week to provide for our family
- brings home something for me from the flea market that he thinks I’ll enjoy
- plays with our children
- takes us to church
- helps me when I am in pain or sick
- listens to me, talks with me and cares about my feelings
- makes me laugh with his great sense of humor
- desires me
- cares more about what is best for me than what is best for him
The greatest love story of all time is the one between Christ and His bride, church – and I get to be part of that! I also get to portray the church as I live out my marriage vows to my husband as he portrays the love of Christ. It is much better than fiction. It is very different from fiction – it is not a Hollywood script – but it satisfies in a much deeper way to seek to please Christ alone and to bring Him glory.
You want to know another amazing secret?
God somehow uses me now to be a little part of hundreds of other real life romances. I get a front row seat to see God change women and change their relationships and marriages for His glory. It is the most addictive and exciting thing ever! I get to watch the power of God create each unique romance. I wouldn’t trade my intimacy with Him, being in the center of His will and His pouring out His power into other people’s lives through me for anything!