How Do You Spell Romantic?, Part 2
About the Guest
Men, want to be the lover your wife always dreamed of? It’s as easy as R-O-M-A-N-T-I-C, according to authors Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus.
Linda DillowLINDA DILLOW is the author of the bestselling Calm My Anxious Heart, What's It Like To Be Married To Me? and co-author of Intimate Issues. As a missionary in Europe and Asia for seventeen years, she's trained Christian leaders in Russia, Hungary, Poland, and Asia, teaching women and helping them launch women's ministries. Linda is a bargain hunter and can smell a sale a mile away. She and her husband Jody have been married for 48 years and have four children and ten grandchildren.
Men, want to be the lover your wife always dreamed of?
How Do You Spell Romantic?, Part 2
Lorraine: I don't think that men are aware of how bombarded women are daily with images of how they should look and act in terms of what the media does for them. Women need to be constantly reinforced by their husbands that they are beautiful, they are desirable, and that their husband would want nobody else but them.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, February 3rd. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Guys, today we're going to offer you lots of ways you can tell your wife how beautiful she is. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. This is day Number 30 of our 40-day Love Dare. For the last several weeks, we've been going through the book, "The Love Dare," which was part of the movie, "Fireproof," that is now out on DVD. And we've been doing this to lead up to Valentine's Day. Valentine's weekend is the weekend we kick off our spring conference season for the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference, which is a great way to celebrate your marriage together and to love like you mean.
So here is today's Love Dare assignment. It's around the subject of unity in marriage. In John 17, Jesus, praying to the Father, said, "Keep them in Your Name, the Name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are One." So today's Love Dare assignment for you is to isolate one area of division in your marriage – one area where the two of you aren't together. And take a minute today to look at that issue, get a fresh opportunity to pray about it, ask the Lord to reveal anything in your own heart that is keeping you from oneness with your spouse in this area. And then pray that God would do the same thing for your spouse, as well, and, if appropriate, discuss this matter openly seeking God for unity together.
So – pursuing unity in marriage is your Love Dare assignment for today, and we've got that assignment on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com if you need to review it or look it up, you can go there and, again, there is more information there about the book, "The Love Dare," and about the "Fireproof" DVD. You'll find all that online at FamilyLifeToday.com.
Now, we're talking this week about romance and particularly for men – how men can express romance to their wives and, Dennis, you brought a touching love letter with you into the studio today, didn't you?
Dennis: You know, one of my favorite people lives in San Marcos, Texas. His name is Bill Barber, he's a columnist for a San Marcos – well, I don't think San Marcos has a daily paper, but their weekly paper down there. But Bill and his wife, Jean, have been married since 1956, and on their 42nd anniversary, he wrote her a love letter, and, folks, I'm just sorry that we don't have a picture of Bill up on the Internet that we can't show you of Bill and Jean.
He is one of a kind – I love old Bill, his son serves here at FamilyLife, Clay Barber, and Clay is a real difference-maker in our ministry.
Bob: Bill is just a regular Texas good ol' boy, isn't he?
Dennis: He is, and he passes out peppermint to everybody – his pockets literally bulge with Glad bags full of peppermint chunks, all right?
But let me read you this love letter that he wrote to Jean. "Dear Jean and woman of my life, Thank you for cookin;" – and I'm going to read this like it's written – "Thank you for cookin' for me and cleanin' for me, and foldin' my underwear and socks. Thank you for grocery shoppin' and tryin' to please me, and thank you for scratchin' my back and lookin' pretty and keepin' clean and dressin' nice and not embarrassin' me. And I sure thank you for havin' our boys and puttin' up with our grandkids. And thank you for likin' sports and puttin' up with me hollerin' at refs and coaches and hangin' up my clothes and kissin' me twice a day, regardless. And also tryin' to keep me healthy and wipin' off the bathroom mirror and drivin' when I'm tired, and laughin' at my jokes, and makin' others wonder how I gotcha" – I like that line – "and buyin' me clothes but mainly just puttin' up with me all these years. And I suspect you'll keep it up, so thanks. I apologize for bein' loud and forcin' peppermint on everybody and makin' my pockets bulge and losin' my temper and actin' crazy, and goin' outside in my underwear and roamin' at night and gettin' up too early and all the things that frustrate you."
Bob: Yeah, they live out in the country – I just want our listeners to understand that.
Dennis: That's right, that's right, it's signed, "Your lover, your friend, and your husband forever and ever and ever." There is no "amen," but I'll add it – amen – "Bill."
Well, you know what? I've got to believe that Jean has got a copy of that letter because even though it – well, if you knew Bill, it's classic Bill. He spoke her language as he honored her and as he spoke words of romance to her after – at that that time – 42 years of marriage.
And we have a couple of ladies in the studio, Lorraine Pintus and Linda Dillow, who have been helping men speak romance to their wives. Ladies, welcome back to FamilyLife Today.
Lorraine: Thank you, it's great to be here.
Linda: We're happy to be here.
Bob: You know, these two women helped us design a resource a number of years ago that has recently been refreshed and updated – a resource called "Simply Romantic Nights," and over the last, I don't know what it's been, eight or nine years, we have had tens of thousands of couples who have taken advantage of this kit. This is designed to provide husbands and wives with creative date ideas, a dozen of them for a husband to put together for a special date night with his wife, and a dozen for a wife to put together for a special date night with her husband, and, again, we've had literally tens of thousands of couples who have taken advantage of this resource and used it to strengthen their romantic relationship in marriage. It really is a neat tool for married couples.
Dennis: It's a collection of romantic ideas that – well, I like what you said yesterday on the broadcast, Linda. You said it's your hope this will become a steppingstone to build an altar that makes the coming year a year to remember in married couples' lives. And I like that because I think each year needs to be set apart, and you have to work on romance if it's truly going to blossom and occur in your marriage.
Yesterday we talked about an acrostic – the word "romantic," and we spelled out "R-O." "R" for "romance her." That was the first principle for men. Second, "offer her help," and we talked about doing yard work, and I went home early yesterday to do yard work. We come to the next letter, though, "M" – "make time to listen."
Lorraine: The greatest way my husband can love me is to listen to me. Women have an intense need to process out loud in non-linear fashion, and when he allows me to do that, he is, in a way, making love to me. It warms me and gets me ready to meet with him.
Dennis: Linda, you're shaking your head yes. You're affirming that.
Linda: Women like to talk, and so if this is how God has made us, then men need to listen without offering a solution. The bottom line is, for a man, don't give her the bottom line. Let her talk, let her process out loud.
Recently, as I was driving from our home at the foot of the Rockies, a deer jumped in front of my car, and I hit this deer head-on, and the deer flipped and was in the middle of the road. Well, I love deer. I got out of my car; I was purposing to get this deer and put it in the car and take it to the vet until a man drove by and grabbed me and said, "Lady, that deer will kick you."
But I just felt terrible. The deer was wounded enough that the deer was going to die, and I came home, and my husband could have responded like this – he could have just said, "It's just a deer, it's an animal, I'm sorry you had this bad experience, but it's fine. The car isn't hurt that much." But I needed to talk. I needed to tell him how badly I felt, and he just sat and listened to me. And, you know, it didn't solve it. The deer was still hit, but …
Lorraine: The car was still dented.
Linda: The car was still very dented when I finally looked at the car, but I felt better because he had just sat and listened to me and let me get it out. He couldn't fix it, but he got on my team and listened.
Dennis: But I'll tell you what, there was something else he did in there, and I have made this mistake, and I'll bet you, you have, too, Bob, is I'll purpose myself, I'll say, "Okay, she doesn't need a solution."
Bob: "I'm not going to fix it, I'm not going to fix it."
Dennis: I'm not going to fix it, I'm not going to fix it, I'm not going to fix it, and so I'll be sitting there, and I'll be listening, and I will be disciplining myself to not move to the bottom line and attempt to solve the problem. And she'll talk on and on and on and Barbara will share about it, and then, at that point, she'll say, "Would you just say something?"
And, at that point, what I've failed to do is to empathize with her about what it is she is struggling with, and our wives don't want us to just hear, they want us to have some degree of understanding. You've got a grin on your face, Bob, like …
Bob: I'm thinking of those times when I've empathized, when I've said, "Oh," you'd tell me about hitting the deer, I'd go, "That must have been frightening for you. That must have been terrible." And Mary Ann would look at me and go, "Oh, stop it."
Linda: You must not do it often enough, Bob.
Linda: If you do it more, she won't be so shocked.
Bob: But I think you're right. I think it's one of those things where – and, as a man, there is part of you going, "Okay, so you hit a deer," you know? You're just thinking, "Okay," but you go, "Man, I can imagine, that must have been a terrible shock for you." And you're feeling a little bit insincere, but I guess it's just a part of getting on her side and saying, "Maybe I don't understand it, but I can tell by looking on your face."
Dennis: "R" is "romance her." "O" is "offer help." "M" is "make time to listen." "A" is "adore her."
Linda: And we suggest two ways to adore her. First, to adore her in private. I don't think that men are aware of how bombarded women are daily with images of how they should look and act in terms of what the media does for them. Women need to be constantly reinforced by their husbands that they are beautiful, they are desirable, and that their husband would nobody else but them. They need to say it verbally, in words.
We tell the women at our conferences there are 3 billion women in the world and only eight super models. And yet it's the super models that everyone looks at. We ask them, "How many of you feel good about your bodies?" Usually, one woman raises her hand. We evaluate ourselves against these airbrushed, overly thin women, and we all fall short. But if our husband is adoring us, not just for our appearance but for our character, for our spirituality, we don't need to compare ourselves.
Lorraine: And Linda brought up a great point there. Not only outward beauty but inward beauty. We need that reinforced.
Dennis: You know, I saw a movie star from Hollywood who was on TV the other day, and I thought, "Man, she is looking like life has been tough on her," and I looked at Barbara who is about the same age, and I thought, "My wife looks beautiful."
And I think a woman who is not loved, I think does begin to take on a hardened look. And so it's our responsibility, men, to do this in private so that their faces have a countenance that's soft and reflects Jesus Christ.
Bob: But not just in private. We need to do it publicly, right?
Lorraine: Yes. Linda and I have a friend, and she's a singer, and her husband is also on stage. He plays guitar, and whenever she sings, she looks like an angel, and her husband is looking at her with this gaping mouth open – ahhhhh! Admiring glance, and every other woman in the audience is – they're not watching her sing, they are watching her husband sing. I would give anything to have my husband look at me that way.
Dennis: Yesterday after work I went to an art show, and I went to the art show because Barbara has been taking art for the past year at my encouragement, and yesterday was her first party to display some of her paintings. And I sent an e-mail just around the office – to a few people around the office.
Bob: Yeah, I didn't get one.
Dennis: Well, sorry, Bob, it was late when I sent it, but I sent it around and encouraged folks to – I actually thought about sending you one.
Bob: You should have.
Dennis: But I thought about you and Mary Ann and the number of children you had, and I thought they need to go …
Bob: Well, we couldn't have come, but I'm just offended that I didn't get the e-mail.
Dennis: I know, I know, I almost sent you one, I really did. But I could tell me being proud of her and appreciating her for who she is but also the talent that she possessed, because she was painting when we started having children more than 25 years ago, and she took her talent and put it on the shelf for 25 years so that she would be a great mother and a great wife.
And it's fun now to see that talent begin to emerge again, and it's a great opportunity to honor her and to adore her for her values and the priority she placed on our family.
Bob: And we've talked about romancing a wife and offering to help and making time to listen and public and private adoration – the "N" in the acrostic is to "nourish and cherish" a wife, and, of course, that's one of the things that Paul says to the church at Ephesys that a husband is to do for his wife – to nourish her and cherish her.
Linda: You know, one way that Jody has always made me feel nourished and cherished is that he has provided such security for me. We were missionaries. We didn't make a lot of money, and yet he made sure that if anything ever happened to him, I would never have to go to work. He said, "You may want to use your gifts on some ways, but if I go to be with the Lord when our children are still in the home, you're going to have a full-time responsibility, and I don't want you to have to worry about money."
When other women heard that, they just said, "I can't believe your husband has that perspective. My husband has never even thought of that." That made me feel so cared for.
Dennis: You know, another way that we can care for our wives, too, as men, is be the spiritual leader of our wives and our families and yesterday, Bob, we had a wonderful day with the men here at FamilyLife. It was our annual wheel alignment day for the men, and we took a half a day away from the office and just talked about what it means to spiritually lead, love, and serve our wives and families.
And it was interesting – I asked the men who felt like they were doing a great job of doing that, to stand. Now, how many men do you supposed stood out of the 125, 150 men who were there?
Linda: This is FamilyLife. I'm sure every one of them stood.
Dennis: Six men. I don't think men feel especially gifted nor successful at doing what you're talking about here – nourishing and cherishing their wives spiritually. What's the most important thing you ladies would encourage a man to do in this area?
Lorraine: I think to pray with his wife and, again, the whole idea here is romance, and, obviously, leading to intimacy. For a woman, there is nothing more intimate than to kneel with her husband and to pray with him.
One thing that my husband does with me is read the Psalms with me every day, and we read the Psalms and pray them together. That makes me feel as if he is very concerned not only about his own spiritual relationship but about mine.
Dennis: I asked each of the six men who were able to stand, who felt like they were doing a great job, I asked them to all stand and tell what they did. One of the men said that very thing – that he said "I read to my wife," and he said, "She has expressed to me that just the mere reading of Scripture nourishes, it cherishes her, it creates a feeling that you care about my spiritual well-being."
Linda: From the Greek, the word "nourish" means to encourage to maturity by providing what is needed for growth. So that can happen in a lot of ways. It can happen spiritually, it can happen physically by providing a bank account, retirement, it can be something as simple as locking the doors at night or taking care of our car to make that she feels safe, loved, and in a position to grow.
Bob: And I think that's a part of what we're talking about here, Dennis. We're talking about the need a woman has for security – both emotional security, physical security, and spiritual security. And for a husband to nourish and cherish his wife, he is taking care of the physical things like locking the doors; he is listening to her, and he is emotionally making her feel secure; and then he is spiritually helping her feel secure by saying, "I am here and together we are going to go before the throne, and we're going to talk to God."
Dennis: And the very simplicity of that – of just praying together or of just reading the Bible or doing both – those can minister profoundly to your wife. You don't have to be a theologian. You don't have to write a book. All you need to do is make the effort – just read a Scripture, just read a portion of the Bible before you leave for work or before you hit the hay at night.
Bob: You know, the last couple of days, we've talked to men about romancing their wives, offering to help, making time to listen, adoring their wives, nourishing and cherishing. We've made Romans out of all of them. R-O-M-A-N – see, Roman? R-O-M-A-N. The only problem is there's been no time for "TIC-ing."
Dennis: Are we going to "TIC" tomorrow.
Bob: Well, I think we'd have some listeners who would be TICked off if we didn't.
Dennis: Here's what we'll do, Bob. We'll start with the men and see if we can't finish their assignment – T-I-C – and we'll tell you what that means as we finish "Romantic" and then if we get done with the men, we'll start on the ladies.
Bob: Yeah, that's right, and our goal in all of this is to help husbands and wives to draw closer to one another to have a more intimate marriage relationship. Because, as we say at the Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences over and over again, the natural drift in every relationship is not toward intimacy, but it's toward isolation. And unless we are working to try to draw closer together, our marriages are going to drift apart.
And while I'm on the subject of the Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference, let me just remind our listeners that not this weekend but the following weekend, we're going to be kicking off our spring season of conferences with – I think we've got eight or nine conferences on Valentine's weekend. I know you're going to be speaking, Dennis, at the conference in the Dallas/Fort Worth area at the Gaylord Texan Resort.
We've got a conference at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Valentine's weekend; got a conference at a resort in Albuquerque, New Mexico; one in Washington, D.C. All the information about where the conferences are being held not only Valentine's weekend but throughout the spring can be found on our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and we do hope that our listeners will make plans this spring to get away for a weekend together, a fun, romantic weekend at the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference where you can learn more about how you can love like you mean it.
If you need more information about what goes on at a Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference or if you're ready to register, go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and you can get registered from there. You'll also find information about the "Simply Romantic Nights" collection, which we have recently revised and updated.
This is a kit that we've put together for husbands and wives with 24 romantic date ideas in it – 12 ideas for guys, 12 ideas for the ladies, designed to provide you with some creative projects and dates that you can do to celebrate romance in your marriage. If you want to find out more about the "Simply Romantic Nights" collection or order one in time for Valentine's Day, again, go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and the information about "Simply Romantic Nights" is available there along with information about the book that Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus have written for women called "Intimate Issues, Answering the 21 Questions that Women Ask Most Often about Romance and Intimacy in Marriage."
Again, all of the information is online at FamilyLifeToday.com, or you can call 1-800-FLTODAY for more information – 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY. Get in touch with us, and someone on the team can either get the resources you need sent to you or answer any questions you have about the Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference.
I also want to take a minute here and say thank you to those of you who not only listen to this program each day but also who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. Thank you especially to the brand-new Legacy Partners who have joined with us in the last week. These are folks who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today on a monthly basis with a regular donation, and we appreciate your partnership with us.
This month, for any of you who can make a one-time donation of any amount for the ministry of FamilyLife Today, we have a thank you gift we'd like to send to you. It's a two-CD set that features a conversation we had with the author of the book, "Love and Respect." Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, his book on the subject has been well received, and I think this conversation is one of those things that can have a profound impact in a lot of marriage relationships. Both husbands and wives ought to listen to this two-CD set.
So – you can request a copy of the CD series when you make a donation of any amount to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. If you're donating online at FamilyLifeToday.com, when you come to the keycode box on the donation form, just type in the word "respect" so that we know to send you a copy of the CD or call 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, and let me just say thanks in advance for your partnership with us in the ministry of FamilyLife Today. We appreciate your financial support of this ministry.
Well, tomorrow we trust you will be prepared to be "TICked" off as we finish the acrostic "ROMAN-TIC," and get to the T-I-C part on how we communicate romance in a marriage relationship. I hope you can join 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. We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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