January 17, 2016

Marriages Never Outgrow the Need For Romance

Marriages Never Outgrow the Need For Romance

Marriages never outgrow the need for romance

One of the greatest hazards of marriage is the tendency for the drudgery of daily living to displace the deeper purpose of the relationship. There’s no denying the need to manage the material and financial responsibilities of a family. The challenge is to keep these concerns in their place so they don’t weigh so heavily upon us that they drown out the voice that reflects our deeper needs and longings. One of the ways to maintain the kind of perspective that nourishes our heart, as well as our hearth, is to keep romance alive.

Romance is more than candlelight and flowers; it’s a quality of attention and feeling that we bring to each other in affirmation of our love and gratitude. It is the creation of an environment that nurtures and supports our heart’s deepest desires. Like the Sabbath, which is intended as a respite from the obligations of daily life and a means of spiritual replenishment, romance is a way of honoring the sacred space of our mutual love. Romance is a state of mind, a state of being wherein we focus our loving attention on each other in a way that interrupts the daily routines that often threaten to suffocate the flame of our love’s passion.

It is easy to slip into the role of roommate, friend, business partner, and coparent. We forget to be lovers or else make it such a low priority that everything else takes precedence. We stop dating. We fail to nurture the sweet connection that once consumed us with delight and passion. We don’t fall out of love; we simply allow our love to atrophy by failing to adequately attend to it. We forget that our love, like all living organisms, requires ongoing nurturance and maintenance. Keeping romance alive, in whatever forms we choose, is the antidote to the malaise that afflicts an enormous number of marriages.

As important as the romance itself is our motivation for doing it. If we act out of a sense of duty, then romance simply becomes one more obligation to fulfill. Anything done primarily out of a sense of obligation will be more likely to promote resentment and disappointment than fulfillment. The seeds of romance can be nurtured during those moments when we experience love or gratitude toward our partner.We can convert these feelings to romance by coming up with ways to honor, surprise, and delight our beloved. Romance can be a spontaneous expression of affection, or it can involve extensive plans that require great preparation.

Some people think that planning or scheduling connection time defeats the purpose of the thrill of romance. We’ve found that it’s possible to have regularly scheduled romance time together without losing the elements of spontaneity, surprise, and delight. In fact, the structure often enhances the experiences. Getting away and going places together can be a great way to reawaken romance, and it doesn’t necessarily require a change of setting. We can rearrange our home to provide the feel of a new and different environment. Candlelight, flowers, gifts, and little surprises can contribute to creating a magical and delightful experience. One of our favorite ways to spend an evening doesn’t cost anything.We take turns being in service to each other. We bathe together and wash each other’s hair. We listen to our favorite music and sometimes feed each other dinner very slowly. We sit very close and make frequent physical contact with each other. We deliberately look deeply into each other’s eyes and call each other pet names. After dinner, sometimes we dance together. Massage is often a part of our romance; we have a massage table and fancy scented massage oils.

The way we talk and what we talk about is extremely important. Our conversation is always sincere, intimate, and full of feeling from the heart. Talk about work, money, and responsibilities are all strictly off-limits. We focus instead primarily on what we enjoy and appreciate about each other. All these emotional interchanges are the main meal. Sex is usually the dessert, but not necessarily.

There is an infinite variety of means that you can use to bring more romance and joy into your relationship. Coming up with them together is part of the fun. If at first this practice seems awkward or uncomfortable, try to stick with it anyway. In time it will feel more natural and easy. Eventually, you won’t know how you could have ever been so neglectful, and bringing more romance into your lives together will become one of the most effortless and joyful experiences of your life. Enjoy!

From the book 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married. Copyright © 2004 by Charlie and Linda Bloom. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. www.newworldlibrary.com

About the authors

Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationships counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975.

They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They are regular faculty members at the Esalen Institute, the Kripalu Center, the California Institute for Integral Studies, and many other learning facilities.

They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs and are co-authors of the bestselling book, 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last and Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love.

Visit www.bloomwork.com to know more.

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