Want to Grow Real Romance and Attraction in Your Marriage?

Silloette of man kissing a woman's hand

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

THEN…

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.

GOD’S DESIGN

**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,
    and his desire is for me.

Song of Solomon 7:10

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,
    the little foxes
that spoil the vineyards,
    for our vineyards are in blossom.

Song of Solomon 2:15

Briefly, here is how it works:

FOR MEN (who are remotely emotionally/spiritually healthy)

When husbands:

  • 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)

When Wives:

  • 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.

Boosting Attraction:

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.

GREAT NEWS

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.

SHARE

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!

RESOURCES

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

Oneness in Marriage—Not Too Close and Not Too Far Away

Let’s Talk about Sex!

What If My Husband Is Not Physically Attracted to Me? Guest Post

Is It Possible to Marry the Wrong Person? by www.gotquestions.org

What If Your Husband Doesn’t Care about Your Feelings?

sad man standing by window

Recently, we talked about 6 Scenarios Where We May Need to Break Contact with Others. Then we talked about “What If You Want Your Husband to Cut Ties with Someone?” I shared ways that wives can influence their husbands respectfully if we feel our husbands are involved with someone who may be toxic.

Generally, wives can simply, politely, vulnerably share their concerns with their husbands:

  • I’m concerned about this.
  • I don’t feel comfortable with that.
  • I have a bad feeling about this woman.
  • I’d appreciate it if you try to avoid contact with this person out of respect for our marriage and me.
  • I’d rather our children not be around him because I don’t trust him.

Where things get really dicey is when a husband doesn’t seem to care about his wife’s feelings.

There are several possible scenarios:

1. He may actually care but you may not see it.

2. He may actually care but he may not be showing it.

  • He may not feel safe emotionally with you.
  • He may be hurting too much in the marriage to be able to focus on your pain, feelings, or concerns.
  • He may be feeling really disrespected which makes him feel unloved and demoralized. He may be reacting to his perception of your attitude toward him. He may not realize that you don’t understand that his masculine need for respect is just as strong as your feminine need for love. He may find it impossible to believe that you don’t know what feels disrespectful to him.
  • He may be sick, tired, stressed, irritable, or grumpy so he may act like he doesn’t care. But this is not truly how he means and wants to act. His flesh may be weak and he may be struggling to act like the man he wants to be.
  • He may feel that “he can’t win” no matter what he does. If he tries really hard to please you, and you are still usually upset or critical, he may decide it’s just impossible to try to make you happy.

3. He may not be capable of caring right now.

  • He may be so spiritually wounded (or spiritually dead – meaning he doesn’t have a saving relationship with Christ) that he is not capable of loving and caring as he should, even if he wants to.
  • He may have a mental/spiritual illness like depression, anxiety, or there may be spiritual warfare going on.
  • He may be addicted to something and it may be the addiction running his life, not the real man you know.
  • He may be crushed under the weight of shame due to wrong thinking, fear of failure, or a sin that he is struggling to overcome.
  • He may be crushed under the toxic messages of our culture. He may feel that he is evil just for being a man. That he doesn’t matter. That he has no voice. He may not understand God’s beautiful and good purposes for him and for masculinity.

4. He may have chosen not to care.

  • There may be significant sin in his life, and/or severe emotional/spiritual pain that may entice him to purposely choose not to care about your feelings. He may be acting in the worst part of his sinful nature. He may believe the voice of the enemy.
  • He may have tried and tried to show love and has burned out. Perhaps he has come to a breaking point where he feels things are hopeless. A switch flipped and now, he doesn’t want to be who he was anymore. He has decided he is “done.”

The best approach for you to take depends on the root cause of the problem.

If your husband really does care but you don’t see it, he may be very frustrated that he can’t open your eyes to see his love for you. He may have tried everything he knows to do to reach you, but he can’t give you the spiritual awakening you need.

The amazing thing is – God CAN do this for you! If you are willing, God can and will absolutely heal your mind and soul.

If your husband doesn’t feel safe with you, thinks things are hopeless or he is not doing very well, himself, your feelings may not be at the top of his priority list.

His own pain may be the only thing he can see right now.

In fact, your words may actually repel your husband from you and from the Lord, especially if he feels you are trying to control him, mother him, nag at him, preach at him, or look down on him.

In the next post

I plan to share how you can approach your husband depending on which category y’all are in from this post.

Share

What general principles have you learned about this topic that may be a blessing to other wives here?

Let’s not get into the details of a husband’s sin in a public forum like this out of respect for the Lord, our husbands, and our marriages, please. But let’s definitely encourage each other with stories of God’s provision, wisdom, and the power of prayer. <3

Do you need prayer, encouragement, or more resources? Please let us know!

If you need private counseling:

RELATED

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ Jesus

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected and Unloved

What Speaks Disrespect to Husbands?

How Do You Respect Your Husband without Idolizing Him?

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

To Speak or Not to Speak?

My Husband Doesn’t Spend Enough Time with Me

My Husband Doesn’t Speak My Love Language

Why Is My Husband So Skeptical of the Changes I Am Making?

Influencing an Unbelieving Husband (or One Who Is Far from God) for Christ

When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done.”

Handling an Unwanted Divorce with Christlikeness

BOOKS

For Women Only – by Shaunti Feldhahn – to help you better understand how men think.

The Peaceful Wife – by April Cassidy

Love Him Less, Respect Him More – by a Fellow Wife

1164855_61427028
A Guest Post by a Fellow Wife who began her journey to become a godly wife in October of 2012:
The very title of this sounds bad, doesn’t it?  But I think I am on to something.
So I have been aware that respect is very important to men.  I have learned that they would rather have respect than love, if they had to make a choice between the two, which is still completely shocking to me, even hearing it for the hundredth time!  I also know that giving respect is the way men NEED our love.  But I never really thought that I needed to scale back on the love.
I do not mean to stop loving my husband as much as I do.  I could not do that.  I do love him.  He has my heart.  And we SHOULD absolutely love our husbands. BUT, what if we pushed that love we feel to the backburner… and pulled the respect we have on simmer up to the front burner and turned the temp up on it?  (I have a slight love of analogies, ladies.  My apologies.)
I have been reading some of the archives on this blog and I am so thankful there is such a wealth of information for us to learn from.  I want to share something April wrote in her post on 2/5/12 in the post, “Before and After Pictures of My Soul.”
“Giving him more love didn’t seem to help, if anything, I think it made things worse.” 
 
That is kind of where I am going with this.  It is not that giving our husbands love is wrong.  They need our love.  But they need our respect much, much more.  After all, respect equals love in their book.  Our brand of love isn’t theirs.
And here is another thought to think on…. when we love, love and love some more, it can be so easily to love ourselves right into a situation of idolizing our husbands.  I know that is what I did.  And then I was in a vicious, ugly mess of sin that it took me a long time to dig out from.  No, let’s be a little more honest than that.  I didn’t just have to dig out, I had to claw my way out from under that idol and I still have to be constantly on guard for it.  It has been difficult.  I do not want to fall in that pit again.  And all because I allowed myself to love, love, love into an idolatry situation.
We certainly want to love our husbands, ladies.  It would be unwise to try to stop loving them.  But where should our  focus be?  It is so, so easy to naturally focus on the love that comes as naturally to us as breathing and give respect only sporadically and awkwardly, much as if we were trying to write with the wrong hand.  I have to shift my focus.  I need to keep my love on simmer but turn the heat up on the respect dial.  ( I know, more analogies!  I have a bit of a fixation on them!)
And here is one more analogy I thought about while processing all of this in my mind.  Let’s say love is apple juice and respect is water to our husband.  Apple juice is good.  It has some great nutrients.  But what he really needs, at least what he needs the most of on a daily basis, is water.  All apple juice would really leave him unbalanced.  He needs more of the water!  And I can make sure he is fully hydrated by giving him the respect he needs.  (Are you still with me?  We are going somewhere here).
I certainly do not want to stop giving him love but I need to let that love be the FUEL for giving him respect.  This may not be revolutionary to most of you.  However, what is revolutionary- to me, at least- is the thought of pushing love to the back and pulling the respect to the front.  Turning down the heat on the love burner and cranking it up on the respect.  I got that I needed to work on respect.  But I didn’t really get that I needed to turn down the love.  Just a notch.  Not turn it off completely.
I have spent a lot of time reading up on God’s instructions for wives in the bible.  From what I have found, I have only located one bible verse that instructs wives to love their husbands.  That is in Titus 2.  But there are many, MANY bible verses that stress the importance of giving our husbands respect, submitting, being in subjection to them and other similar terms. For starters, you can search out:
-Ephesians 5:22
-Ephesians 5:33
-Titus 2:5 (the very next verse following the lone bible verse that tells us to love our husbands)
-Colossians 3:18
-1 Peter 3:1, 5-6
This thought came to me and I want to share it with you….. WHY did God give us so many more instructions about respecting and submitting to our husbands?  There HAS to be significance behind that.
These are the reasons I feel like God showed me for having many more instructions about respect and submission toward our husbands versus love:
-God knows RESPECT is what our men need most.  He is telling us something by stressing this so many times in His Word.
-It is a very serious commandment.  God wanted to get the message to us loud and clear that this is expected of us.
-RESPECT is what we are weak – it goes against our natural inclination as women.  There is a lot of dying to self here.  Picking up our cross- putting our husband and his needs (not the need we want to transpose onto him) before our self and the need we WISH he had.  God knows we are weak in this and we need the extra reminders to respect our husband.
Should we still love our husbands?  Yes.
But should we *shift* that love to the backburner?  I believe so.  Our love for our husbands is usually strong.  It does not need the extra time and attention that our respect for them does.  Our respect, at least mine, is sometimes weak and needs the extra time and effort I put into it.  I speak love fluently.  Respect is foreign to me but with God’s help and the instruction of this blog and several godly books I have been blessed with, I am learning.  I am still awkward at it but I am learning.  With time and practice, it can become a second language to me.
Respecting our husbands is serious business with God.  I want to leave you with one last thought.  I have observed that I fully understand the need to give others respect, such as my employer or the authorities in government like policemen.  I know that not respecting them will result in serious consequences, especially if it occurred repeatedly.  There are also consequences of disrespecting your husband.  We are sinning when we are disrespecting.  God is displeased and we lose intimacy with Him as well as our husband.  Those consequences should be motivating enough to me that I understand the seriousness of the need to give respect to my husband.
FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
God does command us as wives to love our husbands – to affectionately love them (Titus 2:3-5) with the friendly love of “phileo.”
And God does command all believers to love all people with the God-kind of love, “agape” – which we can study about in I Corinthians 13:4-8.  THAT is the kind of love we are to have for them.  Sometimes our definition of love doesn’t match up with God’s.  Respect is part of agape love – “love is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it keeps no record of wrongs suffered….”
But I do love the picture of us as wives bringing respect more to the forefront and focusing on that because God did give us several commands to respect our husbands.  That doesn’t mean we must respect sin!  But as we meet our husbands’ deepest masculine needs and love them in the ways that most speak to them – we will bless and strengthen our marriages by the power of God as we walk in obedience to Him and in the power of His Spirit.
RELATED:
What is Respect in Marriage? – a number of husbands share what is respectful to them