Catholic at Home: The Holy Blaze of Real Romance
It’s almost St. Valentine’s Day.
It’s my favorite non-Christmas holiday of the whole year, a spark of warmth in winter’s chill, a day when I’m allowed to unleash the mushy, lovey dovey because I’m a wife who loves romance.
But I know plenty of romance-loving spouses who don’t anticipate V-Day one bit. It’s dripping with hype and pressure, and it leaves me wondering if we as a culture even know what passion is anymore. It seems like society is grasping at straws and “looking for love in all the wrong places.”
Legitimate romance has been so twisted that the truth behind it seems a stark contrast. The scripted relationships in classic rom-coms leave us sure that our marriages will never blaze with that kind of fire or effect that cute, carefree love. But as scripture offers, the truth will set us free and it’s within reach.
Is It Genuine?
I think now is the perfect time to put honest words to the concept of romance, and time to have hope that a marriage of any number of years can overflow with it without succumbing to worldly ideas.
The secular approach to romance is self-seeking, involving another person to achieve a certain kind of pleasure whether it be a physical or emotional. On this foundation, romantic connections lose their spark and become less than thrilling.
So many turn to steamy books and movies to find some sort of rapturous love to inspire their own, when really, all that’s there is pleasure for the sake of pleasure. It’s this idea that is so deeply instilled in the culture that real romance is almost unrecognizable, so here it is: Genuine romance is delighting in another’s being – spiritually and physically.
It’s being captivated by who they are and drawing joy simply because they exist; it’s loving them to the point of devotion – a readiness to share and serve, and an abandonment of self for the good of the other. A love like this has 10 times the fire of anything the world will offer, and if you don’t believe me, crack open your Bible to the Song of Solomon; it’s within these pages that passion can be found.
Why is it that dating and engaged relationships are the ones noted for excitement while marriage gets a no thrills reputation? If we’re approaching our spouses with real romance, shouldn’t it increase as years pass? Contrary to popular belief, marriage can overflow with romantic delight regardless if you’ve been together five months or five decades, exuding that iconic bliss from the wedding day.
While it’s true that most of our relationships began with a sweet pursuit, it’s a disappointing fact that we, at times, run out of breath in the chase. We tire from careers, kids, time and personal pain, which deplete hearts and energy for wooing each other.
The good news is that dwindled or even lifeless romance doesn’t have to mean it’s dead-and-gone. In such cases, the best places to light sparks of passion in marriage are in honest, vulnerable conversation and small deeds of love and devotion. Go outside of yourself to recognize the needs and desires of your spouse’s heart, then seek to achieve them.
The act of pursuit isn’t an effortless activity – I’ve had to overcome my self-interest repeatedly – nor is it naturally intuitive. With lives packed to the full, my husband and I both need to spell out our desires and hopes for each other.
We’ve also learned the hard way that being receptive to a spouse’s needs takes humility and courage to act. It has taken us years of practicing communication and patience to increase our emotional intimacy.
Fellow wives: Take the time to romance your husband; anticipate his needs and help him carry his joys and burdens. Recognize the hero in him and tell him what you respect about him. Show him that his attention is priceless to you, and that he’s worth the effort.
And, dear husbands, give your wife the thrill of pursuit. No woman wants to ask for flowers, but we all want them, be they blooms or the loving gestures that add brightness to the day. At the end of all things, we want to know our hearts are important to you.
Show your beloved that they have your time and respect, and your shared romance will form deeply and stand the test of time.
Katie Sciba is a national speaker and six-time Catholic Press Award-winning columnist. She holds a degree in theology from Benedictine College. Katie and her husband Andrew have been married for 11 years and are blessed with six children.