"My husband doesn't believe in this lovey-dovey stuff. He doesn't think we need to date now that we are married. What should I do?"
This doesn't mean that you aren't adored. It may just be that his idea of what constitutes a romantic surprise is different from yours. Maybe he parks his car on the street so you can get out easily in the morning. Perhaps he always buys strawberry ice cream because he knows it's your favorite even though he really prefers cookie dough. In his mind, these sweet little touches are just as unexpected and significant as organizing all the nitty-gritties of a razzle-dazzle wingding date. When you get down to it, planning a romantic surprise, however big or small, is just shorthand for saying "I love you. I think about you. I am paying attention to who you are."
Of course, this warm fuzzy feeling may not be enough to cut it when you want to find a love poem in your wallet, to be serenaded at dinner and the whole extravagant nine yards. So tell him what you find romantic. Just say it outright. Coyness and suggestiveness may not serve you well with a nonromantic. Make it clear what you like, and there will be no room for confusion. Some men don't do romantic things because they think their idea will fail or you won't like it. Let him know what you like, and he'll feel safe enough to do it. So there probably won't be a violinist standing by the next time he brings you tea in bed, but there may just be candlelight and flowers…."
So, let's recap. Your husband is not a mind-reader. Ideally, we'd love for each of our men to suddenly knock us off our feet with some huge romantic to-do, but for most of us, it's just not going to happen. Here's the plan:
1. Adjust your expectations.
Don't get me wrong... this doesn't mean you should expect him to never do anything romantic, but make sure your expectation is reasonable and fair. Don't set him up to fail.
2. Be clear.
Tell him what you want and how you'd like your romantic life to be improved. Let him know that romance to you doesn't always mean him planning HUGE events, but that small gestures and/or surprises every now and then are important to you.
3. Cater to each other's love language.
Just as you might like to see more romantic gestures from him, he may like more intimacy from you. (Read about the 5 love languages here). It's about give and take. Make sure you're not always demanding romantic gestures when he's not getting the love he needs. You need to understand and satisfy each other's needs--even though it may not be what you think is most important.
4. Be patient
Realize that he won't turn into Prince Charming over night…offer loving reminders when needed and remember to keep your expectations reasonable.
If you've been through these steps and have not seen much progress, I recommend the following:
- Read the "The 5 Love Languages" TOGETHER.
- Have a romance schedule…perhaps something similar to my romance calendar. (Some guys like to know exactly what to do and when. This takes out most of the spontaneity, but it's a good start…)
- As often as you see fit, print out ideas of simple romantic gestures or date ideas that you'd love to have him do for you.
Here's what I would do: Print out 5 ideas (for example, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and staple them all together. Attach a note that says "Hey hun…I'm in need of a little romance. Try one of these." That way, he can pick what he wants to do and there's still a little spontaneity involved for you! (AND--you're not giving him the key to your wealth of ideas...just 5)
That's all I've got---I'm no expert, but romance is much too important (and much too fun) to sit on the sideline. I hope with these tips that romance finds its rightful place in your relationship.
I wish you all the best in your romance endeavors...
PS: This post is not meant as a solve-all solution. Every relationship and every person is different. Please don't take this post as an insult to men; just a generalized suggesion for those who feel the lack of romance in their relationship.