In the world of marriage counseling, there is probably nothing heard more frequently than "he is not romantic." It is astonishing how often and how fervently wives complain about their husbands "not being romantic." There are two really simple thoughts that come to mind. 

First, there is the basic unfairness of this complaint. Why? Because it has no meaning. Seriously. What does "romantic" mean to you? Believe it or not, it does not actually have a set meaning. When you pin them down, each wife has a very different idea of what it means to "be romantic." 

For some women, romantic means flowers and dinners and gifts and such. For others, it means opening doors. For others, it means taking the children somewhere so she can relax. For some, it means all of these things, plus lots of other things. In short, it has no meaning beyond "doing what I want him to do." A man can hear a woman compliment her husband for "being romantic," do the exact same thing that night, and get an earful of complaining from his own wife about how unromantic he is. 

If you want your husband to "be" something, then tell him that. Seriously. Tell him what you want. Ask him to do what you want him to do. Men like to know what they are supposed to do. Men do not like having to guess. Just tell him. 

Wives often respond by saying that they "want him to just be that way, not to try to be that way." What? Do you get that? They are saying they prefer him to "be" something naturally rather than to make an effort to please them. They want him to "be romantic" by his nature (this will almost never happen), even though no one deserves any credit for what comes naturally. On the other hand, they will not credit him for doing something in order to try to be romantic, because then he is "being a fake." They will say that he only did it because "he was told to" not because "he wanted to" so it is "not really romantic." This is nonsense. 

Ladies, give him a break. You cannot be angry at him for not being what you think you want him to be. Your duty is not to trick him into doing something you want, but to love him as he is. Your job (as a wife) is to recognize who he is and love that person, not some other person you wish you had married. Stop watching "romantic" movies and judging your husband poorly because he does not read the same lines the actors read. Love the man you married. 

Second, when were you last "romantic" to him? If "romance" to you means him doing what you want or value, then you being "romantic" to him means doing what he wants or values. To him, romance may be going fishing or working in the garage. To him, romantic may be joining him for a football game. How often have you "been romantic" to him?

The reality is that "being romantic" is just noise generated by movies and television and the appropriately named "romance" novels, which are just filled with such nonsense. I understand there are even so-called "Christian romance novels," which is one of those phrases I wish I had never heard. Romance is not reading a book about someone who never existed. 

Romance is loving the man you married. Romance is sitting together of an evening with the children in bed. Romance is sharing a movie or a dinner or a Dairy Queen blizzard together. Romance is being in love with each other. Romance is not chocolates or flowers or poems or any of the other nonsensical things we think it ought to be. 

     What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together
     to strengthen each other in all labour, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with 
     each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories?

            -- George Eliot

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