We all want strong marriages. We all want husbands who treat us like queens. We want to know we are loved and cherished deeply by our men.
Our men want strong marriages, as well. They want to feel like our heroes and know that we admire, love, and desire them. Deep down, most men are romantics, too. Even if it may not be exactly the way that Hollywood portrays.
What choices do we have to try to help boost the romance and attraction in our marriages if things have gotten off track? And even more importantly, what actually works?
OUR CULTURE’S DESIGN
The world sends us so many messages about how to have the romance we long for. We hear messages like:
- If you are beautiful, thin, and sexy enough
- If he is rich, smart, and handsome enough
- If you are in the right circumstances and environment
- If he does everything you want
- If you get to go to fancy and expensive restaurants, hotels, and trips
- If you happened to get lucky enough to be with your one true “soul mate“
Romance and attraction magically happen. You have no control or influence over it. You just passively enjoy the ride and it should last forever.
You really don’t have to invest anything into it or work on things on your end to nurture the relationship. Your personal feeling of happiness, feeling loved, and feeling romance from your husband are the most important things in the marriage.
It is your husband’s job to make sure you are happy. If you are not happy, it is his fault and he is the only one who needs to change anything to fix it. Some would even say that your personal happiness, at any given moment, is the most important thing in life.
If the feelings dry up, it means you just didn’t find the “perfect person” who could most fulfill you and you need to try to find that person.
**News flash** There is no perfect man on earth! And there is no perfect woman, either. Jesus, alone, is perfect. He alone can meet the deepest needs of our souls. No human spouse can do what He can do for us.
However, God knows the ingredients necessary for attraction and romance in marriage. He designed the whole thing! Interestingly, the commands and roles He gives us as husbands and wives also tend to bless us in the area or attraction and romance, over time.
I am my beloved’s,Song of Solomon 7:10
and his desire is for me.
We are not talking about infatuation that fades away over time. This is about genuine love, respect, honor, unity, and lasting romantic attraction in a lifelong faithful marriage covenant.
Interestingly, most of us intuitively follow God’s design when we are dating or courting and our romance seemed to just grow and grow effortlessly.
But then, as we are married for awhile, we tend to begin to slip and let things go that we used to do to bless our spouse. Pressures and everyday stresses creep in. And things change.
Thankfully, if a wife courageously begins to honor God’s path and prescription for her end of the marriage, romance and attraction tend to begin to blossom again and deepen over time. Sometimes dramatically.
I’ve seen it happen many times. It has happened in my own marriage, as well.
When God gives us instructions, it is out of His love for us and His desire for our long-term wellbeing individually and in the marriage.
The way we treat each other in marriage is always either moving toward greater oneness and unity or toward greater division and disunity. Our attitudes, thoughts, motives, words, and actions either speak life to the relationship or they speak death to it.
This really isn’t magical or mysterious.
Cultivating romance and attraction in a godly marriage is much like cultivating a garden. We must chase away “the little foxes,” tear out the nasty weeds, apply fertilizer, water well, and give the plants plenty of sunshine and nourishment.
Catch the foxes for us,Song of Solomon 2:15
the little foxes
that spoil the vineyards,
for our vineyards are in blossom.
Briefly, here is how it works:
FOR MEN (who are remotely emotionally/spiritually healthy)
- Embrace godly masculinity
- Feel manly and feel their wives are feminine
- Feel genuinely respected and admired by their wives
- Know their wives genuinely trust them to lead, protective, and provide for them and their families
- Think positive things about their wives and cultivate gratitude about them
- Feel safe with their wives in every way
- Are generous, chivalrous, loving, and selfless with their wives
- Put Christ first in their hearts and don’t idolize themselves or their wives
FOR WOMEN (who are remotely emotionally/spiritually healthy)
- Embrace godly femininity
- Feel feminine and feel their husbands are masculine
- Nurture real respect for their husbands and try to avoid disrespect
- Feel protected, loved, and cherished by their husbands
- Think positive things about their husbands and cultivate gratitude
- Feel safe and secure with their husbands in every way
- Are open to receiving graciously from their husbands in many ways
- Put Christ first in their hearts and don’t idolize themselves or their husbands
>>>THEN: ROMANCE AND ATTRACTION SLOWLY BEGIN TO GROW AND THRIVE.
This works best when both spouses are helping to purposely tend the relationship, but even if only one spouse is working on the marriage, he/she may be able to begin to turn things around with God’s power and wisdom.
There are a few other things we could add that can help boost attraction:
- Good hygiene is super helpful in increasing attractiveness.
- Being good stewards of our bodies, nutrition, and exercise shows our spouse we care about them by taking good care of ourselves in a responsible way.
- Considering our spouse’s preferences in our hair and clothing styles (if he is not asking us to clearly sin).
- Smiling and being friendly and pleasant do wonders.
- Be polite, use good manners.
- Treat each other with honor, respect, and 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 kind of love.
- Be quick to apologize for any wrongs you commit.
- Be humble and quick to listen and to try to understand the other person.
- Develop a constructive, healthy sense of humor.
- Enjoy each other. Take time to laugh and have fun.
ROMANCE AND ATTRACTION ARE FRUIT IN THE GARDEN
Here’s an important secret:
Romance and attraction don’t come first.
First comes all of the cultivating, weeding, and tending to the garden well. Romance and attraction are the fruit that comes later.
Ultimately, we tend the garden well out of love and honor for Christ as our primary goal. If we try to make romance and attraction the main thing, we end up idolizing it. And whenever we idolize something, (meaning we desire it much more than we desire Christ), we destroy it. Or it destroys us.
It is the same with contentment, peace, and joy. Or lasting happiness. You don’t find these things by seeking them above all else. You find them by seeking Jesus above all else.
DESTROYING ROMANCE AND ATTRACTION
This is very simple. All we have to do is the opposite of the things God commands us to do to make our marriages strong to destroy romance and attraction over time.
- Hold onto bitterness, grudges, sinful anger, and resentment.
- Think terrible things about each other.
- Look for security, identity, and purpose from someone or something other than Christ.
- Assume the absolute worst.
- Freak out often.
- Have a negative attitude about your spouse.
- Reverse the roles God assigned to each of you or make up your own roles.
- Boss your husband around or go totally passive and give up your personhood.
- Be unkind, unloving, mean, and hateful.
- Argue and fight.
- Let little issues become more important than how you treat each other or your marriage covenant.
- Stop respecting each other.
- Don’t forgive each other.
- Ignore each other.
- Begin to nurture emotional intimacy with someone outside of the marriage.
- Indulge in fantasies about other people, even rated G ones that are just about emotional connection.
- Be obsessed with and idolize each other.
- Disrespect yourself.
- Expect your spouse to be responsible for your happiness.
Believers in Christ can and should have the strongest romance and most amazing attraction of any marriages in the world because we have God’s design at our fingertips and we have the power of the Holy Spirit to help us live it out in real life. Yes, even when things are difficult.
The attraction and romance in marriage are a living picture of the way Christ relates to the church.
- He is so strong and powerful, yet gentle with her.
- She is much weaker and more delicate.
- He leads her selflessly, sacrificially, lovingly, always looking out for her best interests.
- She follows him with adoration, devotion, faith, and respect.
- He generously and graciously protects and provides for her.
- She openly receives with gratitude and joy.
- They enjoy being with each other and delight in each other’s presence.
God even designed the physical one-flesh relationship of marriage to be a picture of the spiritual one Spirit relationship between Jesus and the church.
For more, check out “The Purpose of Marriage.”
WARNING: THIS IS DANGEROUS INFORMATION I AM SHARING, LADIES!
When God provided us with instructions for marriage, He gave us extremely insightful information about how to create and sustain romance and attraction between men and women.
It is critical that we commit to only apply these powerful insights in our marriages and in legitimate ways.
The truth is: a woman’s genuine respect and admiration do work on other men, too. Especially in our culture where there is quite a famine of respect for men.
So it is critical that we consciously avoid misusing our feminine powers. I’m trusting you, sweet sisters! Use these God-given super powers only in the proper parameters.
Vow to keep your “respect knob” and admiration turned down a lot with other guys. But keep it turned way up with your husband!
NOTE ABOUT SEVERE ISSUES— If you are facing really extreme difficulties in your marriage, infidelity, abuse, uncontrolled mental illness, major addictions, etc… you may not be dealing with a spouse who is emotionally/spiritually healthy. Please seek trusted counseling from someone who is spiritually mature in Christ and who can wisely help you navigate the serious issues in your marriage and in your life. Also, if you need help from a doctor, the police, or other professionals, please reach out for the help you need.
What kinds of things of general things (G-rated, please) have you seen that help to build up romance and attraction in marriage?
Have you tried God’s way in your own marriage? We’d love to hear about it!
NOTE – if you can’t see the comment bar or search bar, please click on the title of this post and you should be able to access it there. Thanks!
What’s the Meaning of the Foxes in Song of Solomon 2:15 by www.gotquestions.org
What Does It Mean to Be One Flesh in a Marriage? by www.gotquestions.org
A Metaphor of Christ and the Church – by www.desiringgod.org
Is It Possible to Marry the Wrong Person? by www.gotquestions.org