The sex need that rated the fifth highest among women in our survey was romance. Nearly 53% of the women placed romance as a top sex need. We suspect that many of you men are thinking, Okay, of all of my wife’s sex needs, this is the one I know the most about. This is where I am the expert. I’m the love doctor.
Men, we hate to break this to you, but most women do not equate romance with sex. Several years ago we conducted a survey about how husbands and wives define romance, and we found that men and women are quite different in this area. Of the husbands we surveyed, 50% said the most romantic thing their wife ever did for them involved sex, 25% said it involved food, and 25% said it involved doing something together. Of the women we surveyed, none of them directly mentioned sex in their understanding of romance; most of them felt that romance resulted from spending quality time together.
A wife feels romanced when her husband does anything that shows he cares for her and thinks about her: special phone calls or notes, surprises, something out of the ordinary on an ordinary day. She feels romanced when her husband talks with her without distractions, when he holds her hand and kisses her every morning.
Romance is the bridge between love and sex, so when a wife’s need for romance is not met, she struggles to move toward sex. She views her husband more as preoccupied and distant than as her lover. Will she still agree to have sex? Probably. But it’s not as exciting or enjoyable for her as it could be.
Gregory Godek, writer, speaker, husband, and incurable romantic, shares his passion for romance in his book 1001 Ways to Be Romantic. He says, “Romance creates a context within which sexuality can be given more meaning. Romance focuses sexuality toward a loving purpose: the growth of intimacy. Without romance, sex is just seduction. Without romance, sex can turn into an empty habit or dull duty. With romance, sex becomes connected to love. With romance, sex becomes about giving, not merely taking.”
Many things can deter romance: misunderstandings, the distractions of home, work, kids, and life. But without frequent doses of romance, a sexual relationship will get boring and shrivel up. Romance is a must if you want your sexual intimacy to deepen.
So what is romance? Love is a feeling; romance is love in action. Romance is something you do to express the love that you feel. How do you do that? The key is to know your wife. One wife commented that her husband thinks buying a card is a waste of three dollars, so she doesn’t buy him cards. But he gives her cards because he knows it gives her delight. Some women think romance is a candlelit dinner at home, while others need to leave home for romance. Some women are bothered if their husbands spend money they don’t have, so they prefer a picnic at a park rather than a fancy meal. Romance must be tailored to your wife’s unique preferences.
One thing you can do is ask yourself this question: When I was dating my wife and trying to win her heart, what really got her attention? Men tend to stop thinking about those things once they get married. They feel that once they’ve won the girl, the work is done. From there on out, it’s easy sailing. But that simply isn’t true. A husband needs to realize that life’s responsibilities have a way of wearing down his wife. She needs him to romance her all over again.
When men hear the word romance, they often become intimidated. Two images pop into their heads: a dollar sign (money) and a clock ticking (time). They imagine they’ll have to spend a week thinking of what to do, a week planning this special event, and a week earning the money to pay for it! Some guys immediately shove the idea of romance off, thinking, That sappy, mushy stuff isn’t for me.
But the real reason many men feel intimidated by romance is because they fear rejection. Perhaps a man has asked his wife several times to reserve two Saturday nights a month as date nights, but every time she has an excuse: she’s tired, the kids need her, the house is a mess. Or a husband might give up romancing his wife because he’s afraid she won’t like his romance ideas. But allowing fear to have the upper hand will harm their desire for sexual intimacy. The passion will drain from the marriage, and apathy or resentment will grow.
How to Meet your Wife’s Need for Romance
Husbands, we have good news. According to our survey, romance and your wife often means doing simple things that don’t require much time or money. One wife said, “It’s the little things that make me realize how much he cares for me.”
Pick a few of the following suggestions and begin the process of meeting your wife’s need for romance.
- Learn your wife’s love needs. What makes your wife feel cherished and deeply loved? Study her. Ask her what romance means to her and how you can meet that need. Then really listen to her answers.
- Show your wife that you care. Pay attention to what your wife likes. For instance, she may like to dress up when you go out, but you don’t. It means a lot to her when you take a shower, smell good, and put on nice clothes when you go out to eat.
- Surprise her. Women love to be surprised. You can do it in so many simple ways. Write a love message on a Post-it note, and put it on your bathroom mirror. Make her breakfast some morning. Give her a card for no other reason than to say “I was thinking about you.” Take home a treat she likes. Send her flowers at home or work. Give your wife an at-home spa experience. Run a hot bath with some of your wife’s favorite fragrance, place lit candles all over the bathroom, and tell her to relax as long as she wants. Plan a date night, but don’t let your wife know where you are going.
- Get away. As family responsibilities and challenges mount, husbands and wives lose track of each other’s needs. Sometimes it takes getting away from the pressures at home to get to know your spouse again. Plan a night to be together. Go for a long drive in the country, and take roads you’ve never taken before. Enjoy the adventure. Leave town – without the kids! Take mini-vacations.
- If you think it, do it. In his article “Strategic Romance,” Jim Mueller writes, “If you have a romantic thought during the day, take action! Pick up the phone and make the dinner reservation; stop by the store and pick up a card; call your wife and tell her ‘I love you.'”