Don't Let Romance Be Another Day on the Calendar
February 14, 2017
Becky Thompson is a writer. You can find more of her work at beckythompson.com or pick up her latest book from Love Unending.
Valentine’s Day this year looks something like this: My husband went work, and I went to my son’s school party with my younger two children in tow. I spent the nights before making 21 little gift bags for my son’s classmates, and my husband ran to the store about 10 minutes before it closed last night to grab us some chocolate to share. It probably goes without saying, but my husband and I could use a little reconnection.
The truth is, Valentine’s Day, while full of romantic gestures, often highlights how uncommon these purposeful acts of love really are. It reveals how much has changed since day one, providing a stark contrast to those early days of new love. And when we compare how we interact now to how we did in the beginning, it can make us wonder, “Will we ever feel like that again?”
Valentine’s Day might be one motivator to reach out and show your partner some intentional love, but it’s not the only reason to connect. We need to work to remain connected the rest of the year as well.
The foundation for romance or any form of intimacy is built on connection. Yet that basic connection isn’t always easy or possible after children, conflicting job schedules or any number of circumstances. Truthfully, it’s hard to feel romantic when you haven’t even had much time to talk.
So, how do couples reignite the romance? How do we transverse back across the space that seems to separate us no matter what has caused the stark difference between Valentine’s Day and every other day of the year? With limited time and less energy, where do we even begin?
Let’s think for a second about those early days of love. Romance might not have looked like picnics, but it most likely included intentional gestures. When it comes to interacting with our spouses, most of us, whether we have children or not, get busy and miss everyday opportunities to stay connected through simple purposeful moments.
Remind yourself how you felt in the beginning and reposition your hearts to see those day-to-day tasks with a different perspective.
Familiarity and routine are often the thief of romance. So protect your connection by breaking the cycle of monotony. Remind yourself how you felt in the beginning and reposition your hearts to see those day-to-day tasks with a different perspective.
A person might not think that romance starts with saying hello, but how you greet your spouse sets the tone for the rest of your time together. Simply stopping your day to hug or kiss or just say, “Hi,” can show your spouse that you're genuinely happy to be with them again no matter how divided the time becomes after that welcome. You may greet each other every day, but looking at that moment as an opportunity rather than an obligation it changes the heart behind the act.
Find hidden opportunities.
Romance after children doesn’t have to happen when you and your spouse are alone. My guess is that alone time doesn’t happen often anyway. There is something intimate about being in a room full of other people and showing your spouse that you really see them, that you’re aware of their presence over all others. Before children, this might have looked like holding hands in public or whispering kind words meant only for you two. This same principle can be applied after children.
We can reach over and say something as simple as, “I want to acknowledge that your presence in the room matters to me.” Even in the middle of all the noise, we can have a quiet conversation, making the effort to pause all other questioning or demands for our time. You can choose to really listen when your spouse speaks, communicating that you're fully there with them despite anything else that otherwise needs attention.
Sometimes, with the lack of emotional intimacy and connection also comes frustration and resentment. These feelings build up if unaddressed and can prevent the type of Christ-like love we want to show to our spouse and display for our children. The fastest way to handle these emotions and move to a healthier place where love and romance can grow is to have an honest conversation with our spouse, speaking with love and listening with love, remembering that we want to be whole together.
Valentine’s Day might be one reason to connect, but the other 364 days remind us that meaningful love must be maintained all year. When we ask the Lord to help us see our marriages with fresh perspectives, and take time to remember how we felt in the beginning, we can rediscover romance and reconnect in the middle of everything else.
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