How Romance Can Hurt Your Marriage
We all dream of romance! Every woman I know desires it. It’s fun! It’s beautiful! So, what’s up with the title?
Well, to be honest, romance can be a silent killer in your marriage if you aren’t careful.
For the record, it’s not that I don’t have romance in my marriage. I do. I think it’s fun to “keep the romance alive” in my marriage. Being intentional with your spouse is really important. However, being intentional and being romantic are two very different things.
I know for me it’s really easy to slip into the mode of “what have you done for me lately” when it comes to the romance department. This is especially true in our romance-saturated society.
Everywhere we look we see magazines, TV shows, movies, books, and more — ALL telling us that we need to have more romance in our lives and telling us what romance is “supposed” to look like. Then throw in a little social media and all the pictures you see posted of friends on romantic get-aways or candlelight dinners, and you have a recipe for discontentment!
Discontentment is a marriage killer, and there seems to be a lot of discontentment surrounding “romance!” So many expectations. So much heartache. So much bitterness.
Years ago, our marriage was going through a tough patch. Life was crazy! We had just moved to a new area, my husband was traveling a lot, we had two little boys close in age, I was serving in four different ministries at our new church trying to make friends, our house was having issues, we had two unexpected surgeries — and the list could go on! I refer to these days as the “dark days.” Life was a mess, but worse yet, our marriage was a mess.
We were like two ships passing in the night.
In the evenings when I was too tired to do anything productive and my hubby was out of town, I’d turn to the one thing I thought would cheer me up — TV!
What I found was that all those sweet romantic comedies that I liked so much were not cheering me up. They were fueling the fire. I became more bitter and discontent. I wanted to be romanced the way I saw on my screen. I wanted to be held, looked at, and adored just like the leading lady.
Now in my sweet husband’s defense, he has knocked my socks off during the years with grand romantic gestures. But it’s always in between those moments that I start feeling like we’ve lost that spark. I needed to stop basing the health of our marriage on how “romanced” I felt.
Love is a choice! It’s a commitment! It’s not based on feelings or circumstances. Well, at least it shouldn’t be. I’ve been learning through the years that instead of slipping into those unhealthy places in my mind and allowing bitterness to take root, I need to focus on what God’s Word tells me to do.
Nowhere in the Bible do we see love defined as candlelight dinners, roses, and long walks on the beach. Don’t get me wrong, those are all fun, great things. But when our pursuit of romance ends up taking precedence over the pursuit of biblical love, then we have a problem.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I had a record. I was rude. I was angered. I was not patient. I was not protecting. I was not persevering.
It all boiled down to the battle of the mind.
Creating a lasting marriage takes more than a little romance. Guarding our hearts, eyes, and minds from the lies that the enemy is constantly bombarding us with takes hard work. Now when I feel those old feelings of disappointment creeping into my mind, I try to remember to do these three things:
Guard Your Heart!
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” – Proverbs 4:23
- I want my heart filled with love and joy. Yet, when I allow those comparative thoughts to bog my heart down, then I have a problem. I know I said discontentment was a killer of marriage, but so is bitterness and the “comparison game.” Don’t compare your marriage to others — in real life or on a screen or page. Those misdirected desires left unchecked can cause serious problems.
Guard Your Eyes!
“Turn my eyes away from worthless things; persevere my life according to your word.” – Psalm 119:37
- What kind of a visual environment have I created for myself? Am I watching shows or reading books that could potentially cause these unhealthy feelings to creep in? If you struggle in this area, it may be a good time to fast from romantic comedies for a while — I know I had to for a season.
Guard Your Mind!
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
- We need to be intentional about what we’re allowing our minds to think about. What am I fantasizing about? What images am I allowing to linger in my mind? Am I allowing anger to stew just below the surface? I pray constantly over this verse when I feel like there are thoughts floating around in my mind that are not helpful for my marriage. If these thoughts don’t stand up to my Philippians 4 check, then I pray for God to remove them and renew my mind.
I pray that the Lord infuses His love into your marriage. May you be intentional in your commitment to love your spouse through the good and the bad — and the “non-romantic” times of life!
Blessings and joy,
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Kristi is a follower of God, wife to her high school crush, & mom to five blessings ranging from teens to tots. Aside from her family, she’s also passionate about homeschooling, creating family traditions, & finding new ways to run a more efficient home & school. Not surprisingly, you can usually find her at home trying to bring some order & fun into the mayhem of daily life. Kristi is a down-to-earth writer & energetic speaker who loves to share insights from her wonderful, yet sometimes challenging, experiences of being a homemaker and homeschool mom. Her tips are creative, practical, and help bring back some simplicity in the chaos of life & homeschooling. Kristi blogs about her adventures in wifehood, mommyhood, and the fun to be found in homeschooling at www.raisingclovers.com.