In July I will have been married for fifteen years. There aren’t many things that television shows and movies get correct about normal life, but one thing that they do tend to accurately portray is the idea that as time passes in a committed relationship, romance seems to go away. How often have you heard married women talk about how they wish that their husbands were as romantic as they were earlier in their relationship? I’m sure that my wife says the same thing. I feel that I need to help deal with this problem. However, I am not writing this to tell the husbands to take more opportunities to be more romantic towards their wives (although they should). I am writing to explain to some of the wives out there how often your husbands show you how much they care without you ever knowing it, much less acknowledging their efforts. I don’t claim to be an expert on male psychology. I tend to be more of an observer than a participant when it comes to many of the male-bonding rituals. What I have observed leads me to a conclusion about myself as well as other men: we rarely show our true selves. Men worry about our reputations a lot more than we will ever let on. You can’t show weakness in front of the other guys. Aggression is applauded. Meekness is degraded. There are a million things that a typical guy can do in a minute that can impact his reputation, both with other guys as well as with women. It might be his choice of vocabulary. It might be how he answers a question or if he chooses to answer at all. It might be his posture. It might be if he smiles and how. I don’t know if it is all social conditioning or a natural aspect of male psychology, but men have a lot of difficulty trusting someone so completely that they always show their true selves. (No, I’m not saying that every man secretly cries a lot and always wants to watch rom-coms. That only happens in the movies.) Once a man finds that level of trust in someone, it is a very big deal.
I understand that ladies want a romantic candlelight dinner and a night out on the town. That’s perfectly legitimate to expect and even demand. However, if you want to know how truly romantic your relationship is, just look at a typical day around your loved one. Look for the times when he relaxes around you. Maybe he holds your hand or puts his arm around you. Maybe he gives you a kiss on the forehead. Maybe he volunteers to tuck the kids in. Maybe he cut the time he was spending with his friends short so that he could get home. Sure, he may make jokes with his friends about “the old ball-and-chain,” but maybe he’s coming home early because he wants to be with you. Even if it seems like a lot of the things that he does are out of a sense of obligation, he may be doing them because he wants to. He may trust you enough to be showing who he really is.
In July I will have been married for fifteen years. I’m sure that there are times that my wife has wondered what has happened to the romance. She’s right to ask for more outward displays from me, and it would be appropriate for me to accommodate her. Still, I hope that every day she might look at the things that I do and realize that I trust her with seeing my true self. Each one of those acts that shows that I am relaxed around her is another time that I am showing her how much I love her, and how much I appreciate her for accepting me for who I am.
Featured image via candles.lovetoknow.com