Romance Might Just be Overrated… And Why That’s Ok

–  Feature Guest Post by Tobi Atte  –

There you are… looking into her eyes… lost in her beauty and drowning in the ocean of love that you feel for her. You promise yourself and God that you are going to continue to love her and be the best husband that you can be. You determine in your mind that you are going to make her happy and put a smile on her face every day. You tell yourself you are not going to have a loveless marriage and that your wife will indeed be called blessed among women.

That is noble. It is right. In fact, that attitude pleases God.

But there is a lurking danger. It can go unnoticed and if you don’t catch it quickly, those great intentions become the reason why your marriage fails in the eyes of God.

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(Photo by LightStock.com: Faith focused, Cheesy-Free Stock Photos)

As good men, society bombards us these days with stories of how women are getting the short end of the stick and we promise not to be like the men who do that to women.

We hear all these stories about weak men who hurt their wives in order to look strong, and our Christian sisters tell single men about their long list of attributes a good man must have. The pressure is on for men to measure up as “good men”. The problem though, is that thus pressure can be dangerously utilized by the enemy to build a generation of men who are romantic… but not leaders. God however, is looking for LEADERS.

In the attempt to honor your wife…  in the attempt to always put a smile on her face and be the type of husband to make all her girlfriends jealous, many good (even Godly men sacrifice romance for leadership.)

God is looking for men with whom he can trust his daughters…men who will lead like God does.

The truth is that as much as God loves us and tells us in his word that he loves us enough to give up his son Jesus Christ for us, he does have expectations of us. His love is not based on his ability to please us and give us whatever we want; his love is an open invitation to a relationship according to his will.

Does that mean that as husbands we should be dictators and seek to be “mini gods” in our attempt to be leaders? Does that mean that we kick romance and the daily sacrifices we make for our wives/family to the curb? No. It simply means that as much as we want to be romantic…as much as we want to please our wives and make all their dreams come true, we must first seek to please God and must be quick to notice when the desire to satisfy our wives and please them is taking us outside God’s will for us.

It means that we must remember that we are accountable to God… not to our wives.

We assume that because we are married and that “we love each other”, her every desire (especially the ones she won’t stop tugging at you about) must not only shoot up to the top of your to-do list, but must also become part of your life’s mission. In fact… sometimes, we dangerously don’t perform the due diligence to evaluate those desires to ensure they are within the will of God for the family and the direction he wants to take OUR family.

That means that there are many “good” desires your wife will have, that won’t be the “RIGHT” desire for your family to pursue based on what God is trying to do in/with your family.

Many Christian men do all the fasting and premarital counseling to ensure that they marry a wife after God’s heart but they forget that afterwards, they have to continue to lead her and be accountable for her desires, actions and life.

There are many romantic husbands out there but very few leading ones.

How would this have played out in the days of Old? Perhaps Adam may not have been so carried away by his wife’s desire to share this “new fruit” and he perhaps could have asked her  (just to be sure it was not violating God’s will) where she got the new fruit and ensured that she went nowhere near the forbidden tree.

Or maybe we should ask Abraham… God had told him multiple times that he would be the father of many nations THROUGH his wife Sarah. HER desire to QUICKLY make this happen made her suggest a shortcut, and HIS desire to please his wife…to make her stop nagging…to keep the peace… to help her deal with her anxiety, caused him to go against God’s will.

Ask Samson too. So caught up in  Delilah’s beauty and his lust that he stopped leading and forgot that as much as he wanted to be romantic…as much as he wanted to make her feel important, he was still accountable to God.

In judges 16:15, Delilah nagged Samson into choosing romance over leadership at a deadly cost to him and the nation of Israel. The Bible says in verse 15. Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” 16. With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. Romance got him in trouble.

So what is the fine line between being a great romantic husband, and leading your wife? What does it REALLY mean to LEAD a woman? Why could it possibly be ok to say that “Romance just might be overrated”?

Well, here is a truth I realized lately…that Romance doesn’t automatically come with leadership. You can be very romantic in the eyes of your wife but be a total failure in the eyes of God. Leadership however,  (How God sees it… how Christ shows it by giving himself up for the church… how Christ shows it by washing the feet of his disciples and how he defines leadership as service) does cover romance. Husbands who lead like God wants them to lead, end up being the most romantic too.

If you do it right, you will epitomize romance at the highest order, but not at the expense to being accountable to God.

So are you? Are you just trying to be the best husband possible to your wife? Or are you primarily trying to be the best possible son to God? What has your experience been?

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Tobi Atte is a speaker and the writer behind IJustMetMe. For more on relationships, motivation, fresh perspectives on faith and personal improvement; you can visit him at www.ijustmetme.com and watch him on YouTube HERE 

  • Kumbi

    WoW! this is a great post Tobi. i was thrilled to find you as the guest author for this site which i JUST discovered yesterday. i’m reading this morning and here you are. awesome, awesome message. GOD bless you and continue to order your steps.

    • Hi there Kumbi! Thanks!! wow..isn’t that amazing?? Glad you enjoyed the post. Yea…Manturity is the real deal!

  • Joshua Burt

    Loved it. Could not have seen it at a better time. Excellent reminder.

  • aaron roy

    Come on! Im not yet married or dating, though super challenged to seek after deeper Sonship in preparation. Keep bringing it brother! Awesome word!

    • Wow @aaron_roy:disqus Thats incredibly encouraging! “Sonship in preparartion”…thats like a whole series. God bless you brother!

  • Hi Tobi,

    Thank you for your thoughts on this subject. I have a few questions for you…

    1) I may have missed it, so please point it out to me if it exists in the article… I always believe an author clearly defining his terminology is of utmost importance. And to that end, what would you say “romance” actually is? I especially ask because with all the OT examples that you emphasize, I would point out that each of those situations did not involve biblical romance, and hence it’s no surprise why said situations were problematic and sinful. Each situation could have obviously been different had true biblical principles been practiced.

    2) How does the book “Song of Solomon” fit into your argument? It’s certainly no accident that God dedicates an entire BOOK of the Bible specifically to the subject of godly, sexual intimacy and romance. God doesn’t suggest, He COMMANDS us to love the marriage bed, and be intoxicated with it. Certainly if you’re doing it wrong, self-examination ought to take place, but God definitely intends romance in marriage. It just needs to be done His way 🙂

    3) Is it not appropriate to believe God teaches us to balance our responsibility as husbands? We should be leaders AND romancers (word?), no? Why ought one take precedence over the other? Certainly we are to please God supremely, but husbands better be pleasing their wives as well (I Corinthians 7).

    I guess I’m ultimately having difficulty with a perceived assumption that husbands are so preoccupied with romance that they’re failing to lead? Well yes, things need to be brought back into balance if that’s the case. However, we also don’t want romancing husbands to swing the pendulum so far in the other direction that they become a date-night dud. Yes, no spouse will ever get all that they want, but what your spouse wants or would like better be of concern to us…otherwise the “one-flesh union” concept is a moot point.

    What say you Tobi?

    • Akeem

      This is a mind blowing revelation for me.. I will keep this in mind all the way. Thanks for this wonderful revelation..

      • Awesome Akeem! Glad it made an impact!

    • Justin,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to write these thoughts
      and questions.

      The direction of the article is not to say that romance is
      not important or that men should become insensitive to their wives’ needs. No.
      In fact as you rightfully mentioned, it is to encourage men remember to take a deeper
      look at what their definition of romance it and to ensure that definition does
      not take them outside the will of God.

      Songs of Solomon is a delight to read and even more so as a
      married man but remember that Solomon the author disobeyed God as it pertains
      to “WHO to show those romantic traits to”.

      So Justin, again, romance is great we as men of God must
      just make that romance doesn’t take us outside the will of God.

      The last two paragraphs actually do in fact give New Testament
      examples… Christ himself! Giving himself
      up for us, washing the feet of his disciples etc. So if we love our wives
      within how God wants us to love them and we stay within his will, then Romance
      is built in to that!

      How this clears it up for you.

      Thank you so very much for your questions! VERY insightful!
      God bless you Justin!

      • I appreciate your response, but I’m not sure I got the answers I was looking for. The reason why I emphasized the “definition” of romance is because it’s probably safe to say that most people think of lovey-dovey stuff, much as you explain at the beginning of your article, when thinking of the word “romance”. Are you suggesting that such thinking is inappropriate for the term? Do you believe that what Jesus did in His service was true “romance”?

        I ask that follow-up because I for one don’t think “romance” and “giving of one self” are necessarily interchangeable. Does someone “give him/herself” in the act of romancing? Well, yes, but at the same time, it functions differently between a husband/wife versus Christ/the church. And I referenced Song of Solomon specifically because Jesus would never act that way towards us. That’s kind of a duh 🙂 God inspired the book because of the different nature of the husband/wife relationship. Yes, marriage pictures Christ and the church, but Christ also does not interact with the church in the same way a husband and wife do sexually, which was what SoS encourages.

        Don’t get me wrong, I certainly agree that men must avoid “pleasing” their wives to the extent that they’re failing to lead…but as I’ve already stated, there can very definitely be a biblical balance. And frankly, I personally think the common struggle is the exact opposite. I think men struggle more in romance than they do at leadership. Men are hard-wired for leadership 🙂 Why else would so many blogs focus on “romance tips” versus “leadership tips”?

        Anyway, I’m not looking for a debate here, but I’ll be happy to continue the discussion if you so desire.

  • Austin Ogbogu

    Appreciate the write-up, perhaps if the Jesus was married we could have a better understanding? From this article marriage seems to be an old testament issue. What does the new testament say?

    • Great question. You know, even though Christ was never married in the context of marrying a woman, he shows us the greatest example of what love really is. Coming to give himself up for us, seeing himself as a servant to his “bride” putting her first, teaching her, helping her, feeding her, and doing all within the will of the father above.

  • Mike Wildsmith

    Just now reading this.. fantastic job. Good leaders must be willing to go where they want their followers. For me, I am learning to always put my own selfish desires/ambitions aside, put myself in my wife’s shoes, and lead. For years in our marriage I concentrated too much on just romance, and failed miserably in so many other areas; thinking I was a great husband because of the romance area. Boy was I mistaken. Thank you so much for your words here Tobi. Beautifully written.

  • guest

    I’m a woman and a wife. What brought me here? A link from Facebook….
    I’m always interested in reading first hand what men are taught. As a wife, I’ve had to deal with some of the fruits of teaching like this, and it’s not nice. Really.

    The examples you took from the Bible are not well applied and you are using them to make a point instead of letting the Bible speak for itself.
    Adam and Eve: Adam was standing next to Eve. She turned around and offered the fruit to her husband, who was right there with her. He knew where that new fruit had come from unless he was looking somewhere else when she picked it.
    Delilah was Samson’s crush and the Philistines bribed her into finding out the secret of his strength so they could destroy him. Hardly a good wife and helper suitable.
    Sarai in her impatience is the only example that illustrates your point that a wife can lead her husband to make a mistake. Husbands lead their wives into messes too, and wives have to stand up against their poor decisions too ( Abigail? )

    Teachings like these, as well intended as they are, make me sad. They create mistrust in marriage. A man ought to see his wife as his equal, his helper suitable, not a person he needs to try to control. Adam and Eve were given dominion together (Gen.1)

    The Bible doesn’t teach men to lead their wives, it teaches them to love sacrificially, as Christ loved the church. The word lead is not there.

    A man loses his most important (human) counselor in life when he mistrusts his wife. She is more interested in the success of her family than any man out there. She offers the other side of the reality of their life. When she says that something is too much, or that he needs to be there for the children, she is helping him be a better father or husband.

    I’ve been married for over 11 years now. My husband and I are together because we made the commitment, but we have suffered thanks to some of these teachings. He isn’t responsible for my desires, my actions, my life, my relationship with God. He is responsible for HIS. Together, we are responsible for teaching our children the right way.

    There is good advice in here, but some of it is very harmful.

    • Actually, the Bible does teach men to lead. You see that in I Timothy 3:4.

      “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?”

      You could also toss in there I Peter 3:7.

      In the case of I Tim. 3:4, manage = lead. Certainly that doesn’t mean the man can be a dictator, tyranical, or abusive, but absolutely he is supposed to lead. Otherwise he would not be able to potentially fulfill the office of elder in the church. And yes, not all men will be church elders, but each qualification should be pursued by every Christian man. And regardless, it wouldn’t make sense for there to be no leadership in a marriage.

      • guest

        Justin,
        notice that I said ” the Bible doesn’t teach men to lead THEIR WIVES”. The passages you quoted don’t make your point.
        Why must one spouse lead in marriage?

        • I hadn’t failed to notice your emphasis. I implied “their wives” with my words “men to lead [their wives]”. I’m curious why you believe those passages don’t support what I said? What is a household then, if not at minimum a husband and wife?

          And either way, Scripture is quite clear that the husband was ordained by God to be the leader of a marriage. If there’s no leader, then the commands to wives to “submit” to their husbands are downright bizarre. How can someone submit to a person that isn’t a leader/authority? Also, consider the sin in the garden. You don’t ever see in the New Testament that Eve was blamed for the fall of man. It’s always about Adam, the man, whom God created to be the “leader” of his marriage to Eve. Adam is ultimately held responsible because he was the leader/spiritual guide of the relationship.

          Essentially, husbands are to lovingly lead their wives, as wives are to practice respectful submission.

          And more specifically, the husband is supposed to lead his family in living godly lives. He is also responsible for the spiritual tone of his family. He is the one “out front” so to speak, responsible for his family’s well-being. You can’t accomplish such things if there’s no ordained leadership. How does a family member “follow” a non-leader?

          So why must one spouse lead? Because God designed it that way, and commands it.

  • Wise Captain

    Sir, this is the most legendary balanced and timely piece of communication I believe from God to me personally coz its true, the pressure to be romantic mostly crowds, and blurrs our ability for excellent sonship! Thanks for the encouragement and wakeup reminder. Delilah! What a perspective!