Ways to Love Your Lover
About the Guest
Love can be expressed in many ways. Join us for today's broadcast when Dennis and Barbara Rainey give timeless ideas for loving your lover.
Love can be expressed in many ways.
Barbara: I think when a wife only feels appreciated for that and not for other things then she can feel that she is being used by her husband and that all he wants her for is for physical intimacy. So that's why it's so important for husbands to understand that wives need the relational emotional connection in order for her to feel valued as a person and not just valued for what she can do for him sexually.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, February 1st. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Real romance in a marriage is sparked when we're tuned in to meeting one another's very different needs.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. You know, when you work at a place like FamilyLife, we get to go to conferences – in fact, we'll have about 100,000 people attend one of our Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences all across the country this year; people who read the books that you and Barbara have written or other books that are available from us here at FamilyLife, folks who listen to our radio program, and yet we still run into people from time to time where you listen to them talk for a while, and you think, "Do you guys really understand each other? Do you know one another? Do you really understand what it takes to make a romantic relationship work?" Do you know what I'm talking about?
Dennis: Do I know? I think that's one of the major lessons that when you begin a marriage relationship, it's one of the biggest lessons a couple ever learns, and if you don't embrace it and don't understand that you're different and begin to appreciate that your wife is different from you, as a man, you're not going to experience oneness.
Bob: It's why you and your wife, Barbara, wrote the book, "Rekindling the Romance," and Barbara is with us this week. Barbara, welcome back to FamilyLife Today.
Barbara: Thank you, Bob.
Dennis: It's good to have Barbara. You know, the listeners really like having Barbara on FamilyLife Today. They've been calling by the thousands this week. I don't want to say that they've voted us off, Bob, but I think they want you and me to talk less, and her to talk more. So we're going to try to do a better job of that today.
Bob: You're the new FamilyLife idol, and we're getting voted off the island here, I think. Here's a letter that came in from a listener recently, and you included this letter in your book. Let me read what this woman said. She said, "I'm not even sure how to ask this. My husband seems to strongly desire me sexually, but he has trouble expressing his love in other ways. He's affectionate in the bedroom, but he's too busy for me the rest of the time. Is this normal for men? It makes me feel like I'm an object. It makes me question whether he really loves me. When we communicate sexually, he's nice; otherwise, he's selfish and doesn't think of me. Other things seem more important in his life, like the kids or sports, his time, the TV. The other day we had a conversation about my need to get my eyes checked since I was seeing spots. He actually said if I were blind, he could watch whatever he wanted on TV, and then he claimed he was joking, and I question that."
Now, her question is – is this normal for men? So is this normal for men?
Dennis: Well, I certainly wouldn't want to excuse his behavior by calling it normal and therefore okay, but I think the tendency of men is selfishness as can be the tendency of women. Their selfishness shows up in a different way.
But I think the problem here that she has really captured in her letter is that men and women come at the subject of romance with different languages. He was wanting the physical intimacy with her, he was nice to her when that was taking place, and what she was wanting is she was wanting a real relationship with him the rest of the time, and he was ignoring her.
Men spell romance s-e-x. Women, in order to give that gift to their husbands need a relationship. They need to know they're connected, as we talked about earlier this week, to their husbands.
Bob: And, Barbara, a woman really does view coming together in intimacy as the giving of a gift.
Barbara: That's right. I think it's really important if men can understand that, for a wife, for a woman, when she is intimate physically with her husband, she is saying to him, "I'm giving you this gift. I'm giving you the gift of my body. I'm giving you the gift of my soul," and she needs to know that that's valued, that's appreciated; she needs to feel cherished in that because it's a very vulnerable thing, it's a very risky thing, and I think when a wife only feels appreciated for that and not for other things, then she can feel that she is being used by her husband and that all he wants her for is for physical intimacy.
So that's why it's so important for husbands to understand that wives need the relational emotional connection in order for her to feel valued as a person and not just valued for what she can do for him sexually.
Dennis: You know, as I listen to Barbara share about that, I think, as men, and as we relate to our wives, we tend to relate to them the way we wish they'd relate to us. In other words, we're physical with them when we want them to be physical with us.
The problem is, is for them to be able to give that gift, as Barbara was talking about – they're looking for non-physical ways that express love to them by their husbands. In other words, they are wanting their husbands to use non-sexual touch, non-sexual words that have no demands that communicate value and love and esteeming her.
So when Barbara and I wrote "Rekindling the Romance," we thought, "How can we help a husband know how to really love his wife?" And so we have a chapter called "Thirty Ways to Love your Lover." And we wrote down 30 non-sexual ways for a husband to truly connect with his wife that are not sexual.
Bob: You were really picking up on what Paul admonishes all of us to, as husbands, when he says that a husband is to cherish his wife. These 30 ways are ways that a wife can feel cherished by her husband, right?
Dennis: That's right. I'll tell you what, let's see if we can make it all the way through all 30 of these 30 days to love your lover for husbands, but if we don't make it, we'll put these on the website.
Dennis: And go to FamilyLife.com if you want to get them, or you can get our book, "Rekindling the Romance," but let's see if we can make them through – and what I'd like Barbara to do is help husbands by coaching them on some of these. She can't coach them on all 30 of these, or we'll take somebody else's broadcast in the next program that follows us.
But, okay, let's get started. Number one, hug and kiss her every morning before leaving the house.
Bob: Now, does that make you feel cherished as a wife?
Barbara: Yes, I like that.
Bob: If Dennis comes up and says, "I'm leaving," and gives you a hug and a kiss.
Barbara: Uh-huh, I think that's an important little courtesy, a little interaction, a little touchpoint before he leaves for the day or we go our separate ways for the day, yes.
Dennis: Except when she's sleeping, if I wake her up.
Barbara: Well, I used to do it, though, because I used to would be able to go back to sleep when you got up early, and now I don't. So I tell him "Don't bother me now," but …
Dennis: I slip out, okay? Number two, reach across the front seat of the car when you're driving and hold her hand, even if it's just for a few moments. Now, that doesn't seem like a big deal. But there is no demand sexually there. It's just an act of affirmation and kindness. I'm going to keep moving, Barbara doesn't have anything to say about that. Number three …
Barbara: I think it's a great idea.
Dennis: Okay. Number three, write her a note that says "I'm crazy about you. Honey, you're the best," or take a yellow sticky note and put it on her mirror and just say, "I'd marry you all over again."
Bob: Now, is Dennis a note writer?
Barbara: Yeah, he's a note writer. It's fun to get those little notes. They're little surprises, little unexpected treats.
Bob: So what does it do? You walk down the island in the kitchen, there's a note from Dennis, and it says, "I love you. I'd marry you all over again," you pick it up, you read it, what do you do?"
Dennis: Throws it away.
Barbara: No – well, if it says, "I'd marry you all over again," I'd probably keep it. If it just says, "I've gone jogging, pick me up in 30 minutes, I'll throw that away."
Dennis: Number four, call her from work and say, "I've been thinking of how good I have it with you in my life. Thanks that you are all that you are as a woman and for all that you do for me and our family."
Number five, the next time you get a pair of tickets to a ball game, theater, or a concert that she'd like to go to, make a sacrifice, take care of the kids, and make arrangements for her to go with a friend, and send her off to the concert.
Bob: You're saying you stay home and take care of the kids, and she and a friend go off and do this?
Dennis: Yes, and I have to confess I should have done that more often than we did. We had six children in 10 years, and I want to tell you something, guys can find a way to get out and go play golf or go play some slow-pitch softball or go hunting or fishing. I don't think our wives get those times often enough, and men ought to make time available for their wives to do that.
Barbara: I agree. And I remember when I would get away with friends or to a women's retreat or something, I always came back much more motivated to work on our marriage and work with the kids, and you just – it freshens you up in a way that a lot of things don't.
Bob: It charges the batteries.
Dennis: It really does. Here is the next one – go an entire day without criticizing anything about her [chuckles]. Instead, try to notice something about her that you really appreciate and then tell her specifically how you value her.
Here is another one – go to bed at the same time with her for an entire week, seven nights in a row, all right?
Bob: When was the last time you did that?
Dennis: Well, since …
Bob: Don't make excuses. Just answer the question.
Dennis: She's been on a trip.
Bob: You're making excuses.
Dennis: With Rebecca – it was probably the week before that, because we usually go to bed together. We've made it a pattern in our marriage to go to bed together.
Barbara: Mm-hm, we usually do.
Bob: And that makes you feel cherished if you go to bed at the same time?
Barbara: Well, it doesn't necessarily make me feel cherished, but it gives us time for a relationship. It gives us time to talk and interact if we want to. I mean, sometimes we go to bed, and we both read our magazines and then go to sleep. But we're there in the same place at the same time, and the door is shut, and the interruptions are less likely to occur, and so we have time to talk.
Bob: And you have time to pray, then, as well.
Barbara: And we have time to pray, which we always do.
Dennis: Which we do, that's right. Number eight, brush her hair and compliment her about her hair and her eyes. When was the last time you did that, Bob?
Bob: Brush her hair?
Dennis: That's right. Turnabout is fair play. When is the last time you brushed Mary Ann's hair?
Bob: It's been years, I don't even …
Dennis: Hold it, hold it, Keith Lynch, our engineer just gave himself a high five.
Bob: I don't know if Mary Ann would even want me brushing her hair. I think she's afraid I'd mess it up. I probably would.
Keith: I'm sure that's it.
Bob: Yeah, yeah.
Dennis: That's probably it. Okay, number nine – and I just was beating you to the punch, because I don't do that very often with Barbara, okay?
Barbara: Well, it's not something that I've really thought about wishing you would do, either.
Bob: But if you had long hair down to the middle of your back, and your husband would brush that long hair, that might be something that you'd like.
Barbara: It would probably be nice.
Dennis: Yeah, yeah. Number nine …
Bob: You're a man on a mission. We're getting through this list.
Dennis: We're going to make it through this list because you know what? Guys need all the help they can get.
Bob: Okay, I agree.
Dennis: And I think these are just great, practical ways that men can cherish their wives. While she studies her face in the mirror, come up behind her and gently kiss her on the back of her neck. And then do not initiate anything further. Instead say, "God broke the mold, Sweetheart, when He made you. You are beautiful."
Barbara: Or something that he knows she would like to hear.
Dennis: That's right. And if your wife listens to this broadcast, guys, come up with another line.
Barbara: Don't say that because she'll go, "Yeah, I know, you just heard that on the radio."
Dennis: That's exactly right, all right? Number ten – evict Leno and Letterman from your bedroom.
Dennis: Cart the TV off, and when she asks you what you're doing, tell her you'd like to start making a habit of listening to her rather than a couple of middle-aged men in pancake makeup.
Barbara: That line you could use.
Bob: I was giving some counsel to a young couple who was getting married recently, and part of the counsel I gave was just don't ever put a TV in the bedroom, and we've gone 25 years without a TV in the bedroom at our house.
And there were some other married couples who were around as I was giving this counsel, and they kind of looked at me like – "You don't have a TV – you really think that's important to not have a TV in the bedroom?" And I guess, I never realized how normal or how regular that is. Now, do you guys have a TV in your bedroom.
Dennis: We do not.
Bob: Have you ever?
Dennis: Yes, we did early on.
Barbara: But it wasn't for long before we got rid of it.
Dennis: And it was because Barbara kicked me out of the bedroom.
Bob: You want to go watch TV.
Dennis: Because of the TV.
Bob: You go somewhere else.
Dennis: No, no, she just – I'm really kidding about that. She kicked the TV out of the bedroom.
Barbara: It really wasn't there more than a couple of months. It was very short-lived.
Dennis: She just didn't want to compete relationally with the TV.
Barbara: Well, it made us go to bed so much later. I mean, it was just too easy for him to get the little remote and turn it on and watch and flip a few channels, and we didn't even have cable, but just to kind of watch and see what was next, and then we're turning out the light at 11, and it was too late, and …
Dennis: There are not many things I would say "Never," but we will never have a television in our bedroom. It is a destroyer of relationships and of intimacy.
Number 11, call her or send her an e-mail mid-afternoon and ask her how her day is going.
Number 12, try your hand at making breakfast on Saturday morning. Tell her she deserves a break and should feel free to sleep in. I've done that a few times. That's a good thing to do.
Number 13, take her car to the gas station, fill the tank, vacuum the floormats, clean the windows. When you park it at the house, leave a note on the dash that says, "Thinking of you." Just a quick note.
Number 14 …
Bob: Wait, wait, wait, I want to comment on that, can I?
Mary Ann has always done a great job. I'll take her car and get the oil changed and have it washed and cleaned up a little bit, and she expresses back appreciation – "Thank you for taking care of my car. Thank you for" – it really goes to the security that we've already talked about this week. She feels more secure driving the car if I've paid attention to it.
Barbara: I would agree with that, because I lot of us don't like to mess with it, and it's really nice not to have to – I mean, I love it that I can get in my car, and I know it's going to work every time I get in it, because I don't have to take care of it.
Dennis: This next one is a good one – write her a short love letter in which you list several ways that she has blessed you this past year.
Bob: You know, at the Weekend to Remember conferences, one of the projects we have couples do there …
Dennis: Oooh, it's the highlight of the conference, frankly.
Bob: It is for many couples. On Saturday morning, we ask the husbands to take their manual off to one part of the hotel, and the wives go to another part of the hotel, and they write a little note to each other, and then they come back before we start the next session, and they read each other's notes. And, for a lot of couples, it's been years since they have expressed to one another the things that get said in those love letters, and I'd just encourage our listeners, if you want a romantic weekend away, that's one way you can spend it is at a Weekend to Remember.
Dennis: It's a great investment in your marriage. Number 15, resurrect common courtesies. Now, I have to say that this is something that I believe does a lot for romance, whether you're eating at home. Just stand by your wife's chair, guys, and pull that chair out for her. I did this last night. I like to go around and open the car door for Barbara.
Now, we're not legalistic about it. She doesn't stand beside her side of the car and wait for me to come around and open it, but I think it's the wise man who demonstrates courtesy for his wife. Courtesy says it's my life for you life, and I'll give it up for you.
Bob: When your wife gets home from the grocery store, and she carries in the first round of the bags, if you're home, go out and get the next ones, right?
Barbara: I really agree with that. It makes you feel valued as a wife to know that your husband is willing to do those small acts of kindness.
Dennis: Another small act of kindness is if she's doing the laundry, pull yourself away from whatever you're doing and offer to bring down the hamper or help her fold the clothes.
Number 17, now this may not sound like this is very important, but I think it is. Put the toilet seat down when you're finished and wash your hands. And this is a personal hobby horse of mine. I would estimate that 40 percent of all men do not wash their hands. Our wives know, they observe, and stroking her face after you've been to the bathroom suddenly loses its romantic …
Bob: Its romantic appeal?
Dennis: Yeah, no doubt about it. Number 18, put down the newspaper, turn off the computer, and say, "Why don't we go for a walk and have a talk."
Bob: Oh, come on. I think we need to wrap this up. Now you're starting to get to meddling, you know? I mean ..
Dennis: This is one of Barbara's favorite things.
Bob: To go for a walk?
Dennis: It is.
Bob: So you've got to shut down the TV and turn off the computer and say, "Let's go for a walk."
Dennis: We take a walk in our garden around our flowerbeds, and they generally don't change from day to day, but there are an occasional surprise or two where we get to see a flower that's blooming that wasn't blooming the day before. We did this last night. But it was a delightful time to walk outside and it was a lot of fun.
Number 19 – if you overhear her engaged in a difficult situation on the phone or with one of your children, which this occurred with a great deal of regularity in our family – compliment her on the way she handled the conflict or the conversation.
Barbara: And I just want to add to that that is very important, because we've been talking about affirmation and acceptance and how important that is for a wife, and if she can hear her husband say, "You did a great job with our child," or "You did a great job on the phone with that difficult situation," it affirms her that she's doing well and that he notices, and we all want to be noticed and appreciated when we do something right. So I think that's a big one.
Dennis: Mm-hm. Well, number 20, initiate daily prayer with her.
Bob: Now, this is something you guys really feel – I mean – we've been through a whole bunch of stuff – TV in the bedroom and helping with the hamper and the laundry, but if you had to prioritize the list …
Dennis: This would be number one.
Barbara: This would be number one, mm-hm.
Dennis: We kind of tucked it in here because I think most of our listeners, and those who know of our ministry, know we've emphasized this for the past couple of decades, but I feel so strongly about this. If you want to increase intimacy, romance, your relationship with your spouse, begin the process of praying together every day. Invite God into your bedroom, invite God into your marriage. Because when He shows up, He changes people.
Bob: I've kind of joked this week about every man wanting to know what it is that makes a woman go "Ahh," but I've said to a lot of men, "I'll tell you what does make a woman just go 'Ahh,' it's when you say, "Let me pray with you about that." There is something just about initiating prayer that creates such a sense of security, safety, and, all of a sudden, I've watched my life relax, I've watched her draw closer, and you can tell her confidence, her admiration of you as a husband, increases.
Now, we got through 20 of the 30.
Dennis: I've got to give you number 31 before we're done. I threw in a bonus.
Bob: Okay. Hang on.
Dennis: No, I want to go ahead and give it to them. Here's the bonus. For those of you who have young families, help her put the kids to bed each night. Not once a month, or a year …
Bob: Every night, the husband …
Dennis: Every night participate in that, and engage with her around the routine of putting the kids to bed. I can hear the women saying, in unison …
Bob: "I would feel cherished."
Dennis: No doubt about it.
Bob: There are another 10 of these suggestions, very practical suggestions that you've included. Which chapter is this? Chapter …
Dennis: Chapter 5 in the men's half of the book.
Bob: And that's how the book is divided. There's a men's half, and there's a woman's half, and the men's half provides coaching tips for us, as guys, on what we can do to express our love more effectively to connect romantically with our wives, and then in the women's half of the book, Barbara, you speak to wives about what a wife can do to affirm her husband and to speak his language romantically.
We've got copies of the book in our FamilyLife Resource Center, and you can go online at FamilyLife.com for more information. Click the red button that you see in the middle of the home page, and that will take you to an area of the site where there is more information about the book, "Rekindling the Romance."
There is also information on that page about a new resource from our team. This is actually Volume 2 of the "Simply Romantic Nights" collection. What this is is a couple of dozen great romantic date ideas for a husband and a wife – 12 for him and 12 for her. Volume 2 is brand-new fresh stuff. It's a year's worth of creative romance in a box.
So if you've found that your marriage relationship has gotten a little tired, and you'd like a way to wake it up a little bit, you may want to get a copy of the "Simply Romantic Nights" collection, volume 2, and get a copy of the book, "Rekindling the Romance." Both are available from our FamilyLife Resource Center, and you can go online at FamilyLife.com to request these resources, or you can call 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.
When you contact us someone on our team will let you know how you can get these resources sent to you, and you can also call 1-800-FLTODAY to request a copy of the free CD we're making available this week on the subject of romance that features our friends, Jody and Linda Dillow, talking about the subject of the romantic relationship between a husband and a wife.
This is from the Song of Solomon. It's a very helpful, very practical message, something that both of you will enjoy listening to together, or you can listen on your way to work and then hand it off to your spouse on his or her way to work the next day, and talk about it on one of your dates nights.
The CD is free. All you have to do is call and request it. 1-800-FLTODAY. We especially hope those of you who might be new listeners to FamilyLife Today will ask about a copy of this CD and, again, we're happy to send it out to you at no cost as a way to help strengthen your marriage relationship and help you understand one another better in this critical area of the romantic relationship in marriage.
And, with that, we've got to wrap things up for this week. Next week we're going to revisit this subject, but we're going to look at it from a little different perspective from the XY perspective, from a man's perspective, and I hope you can be back with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. I hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family can worship together this weekend, and we'll see you back on Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
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