When Marc and Sophia decided to do date nights once a month, Sophia couldn’t wait to see what Marc would plan. Maybe he would take her to that new restaurant in the city … pack a picnic dinner for them to eat on a blanket in the park … or treat her to a harbor cruise. When he revealed their destination—an indoor archery range to take their first lesson together—her heart sank. Her visions of relaxation, romance, and intimate conversation were dashed. Marc was disappointed too—that she didn’t share his excitement over trying a new activity together!
Ladies, when you envision romance, I’m guessing that what you picture is similar to what Sophia had in mind. Since we were little girls, those kinds of picturesque dates have seemed wonderfully romantic to us. And we care about romance. But unfortunately, somewhere along the way, we’ve come to assume that our man doesn’t care about romance at all!
Through interviewing and surveying thousands of men in my For Women Only research, I discovered something that really surprised me and helped my own marriage: most men (84%!) care about romance just as much as their wives do! The issue is that although many guys enjoy the traditional candlelight-and-flower dinner dates too, romance often simply looks different to a guy.
Many men define romance as getting out and doing things with their wife.
Romance, to a guy, doesn’t just mean ending the date in the bedroom—though you won’t find many men who would turn it down! Believe it or not, a sizeable minority of men (four in ten) said that they defined romance as getting out and doing things with their wife. Playing golf together, going for a hike, driving and exploring the countryside outside the city—even going out and wandering the aisles of a DIY store together and dreaming about that new flooring or restoring those kitchen cabinets can be romantic to him, because you’re doing it together.
For men, going out and playing together makes them feel close and intimate. Think back to your dating days. A big part of the thrill—of building your relationship—was doing fun things with each other! Believe it or not, even in the way the male brain is wired, doing something with another person actually stimulates the sense of feeling close to them! So although we women may not fully understand how this works, in a guy’s mind, a fun day hiking or playing a match of tennis is often his version of a candlelight dinner.
Recognize your man’s romantic intent when he wants to do things together—and respond!
If we look back to our dating years, ladies, we can see how those “go out and play” activities were in fact actually romantic. So if you want to rekindle the romance in your life, suggest doing some of those things again. And be very attuned to those I-want-romance-too signals that your man may have been sending you—like his idea of going out for the Sunday drive—that you’ve been missing up to now. What a shame that so many of us simply haven’t been seeing those signals for what they are!
Once Sophia realized that her husband’s heart truly was in it when he made their date night plans, she decided to appreciate and enjoy the evening. As they fumbled their way through the archery lesson, they encouraged each other and laughed a lot. She was surprised at how much they connected just by trying something new together.
Your man’s efforts to create romance may or may not match the visions you have, but either way, they’re a clear sign that he wants to spend time with you. And that is unquestionably romantic.
So recognize—and respond to—his romantic intentions when he wants to do things together. You just might be surprised at how much you enjoy that one-on-one time and are drawn closer as a couple through the experience.
This article was also published at Patheos.
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Charlie O. says
There is a special kind of bonding that occurs when a man has someone there with him when he is doing something. My dad, who was a train-wreck as a father and husband, would have my brother or me with him sometimes when he was doing a home repair. Because he didn’t really need us, we derisively called it “holding his hand.” We didn’t know that it was his desperate attempt to bring us into his heart and life. I wish I had known. For the same reason, some men like to just have their wife there beside them. Knowing adds meaning.
Thank you for making this comment! Having an “a-ha” moment!
Thank you also, Shaunti!
Yep, this is definitely true with me. When my wife shows little interest in sharing *my* interests, it just makes my heart sink.