How Do You Spell Romantic?, Part 3
About the Guest
Women long for an affirming touch from their husbands. Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus, co-authors of Intimate Issues, tell men how to encourage their wives through non-sexual touch.
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.
Women long for an affirming touch from their husbands.
How Do You Spell Romantic?, Part 3
Linda: We hear women tell us all the time, "The only time my husband ever touches me is when he wants me in bed. He never just reaches out and touches me." One of the ways that he can really show her that he loves her, and that he wants to be romantic is to touch her in non-sexual ways.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, February 4th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. From time to time, guys, we need to pull back and remind ourselves there is a lot more to romance than sex. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. This is Day 31 of our 40-day Love Dare. This has been fun to work our way through the book, "The Love Dare," that was a part of the movie, "Fireproof" that is now out on DVD, and if our listeners are interested in getting a copy of the book or getting a copy of the DVD, you can go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and we've got information available there about both the book and the DVD.
But we've been going day-by-day, walking our way up to Valentine's Day weekend when we kick off our spring season of Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences where you can learn to love like you mean it. We've been going with a different assignment each day, and on Day 31 the whole theme of the day is about the relationship between love and marriage.
In Genesis, chapter 2, God says, "A man shall leave his father and mother, be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." So the assignment today is to stop and ask yourself this question – is there any leaving issue that you have not been brave enough to conquer yet? Any way that you're still attached in an unhealthy way to your family of origin? You need to confess that to your spouse today, you need to resolve it and make it right. The oneness of your marriage depends on leaving father and mother. Then follow this confession with a commitment to your spouse and to God to make your marriage the top priority over every other human relationship.
You will find today's Love Dare on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com and, again, if you need copies of the book, "The Love Dare," or the new DVD of "Fireproof," of if you want to find out when the Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference is coming to a city near where you live, like the Dallas/Fort Worth area on Valentine's weekend, you're going to be down there, Dennis, for the conference at the Gaylord Texan Resort. All of the details of the conferences are on our website, too, at FamilyLifeToday.com.
Now, we're talking this week about romance, and I've been working on a little song here. You ready for this? (sings) "R is for the way you romance her; O stands for offering to help dada" …
Dennis: … around the house.
Linda: Around the house, that's about it.
Bob: "M make time to listen; A adore her dada" … it still needs a little work but what I'm trying to do, you know …
Dennis: Adore her person.
Bob: (singing) "Adore her person; N is nourish and cherish her, that's as far as as we have gotten in trying to spell out all the romantic things" …
Dennis: Tips – yeah, thank you, keep feeding me the lines, you're doing well.
Bob: Here is the thing – over the last couple of days, we've been taking the word "romantic," and we've been going letter-by-letter and offering husbands ideas, ways, that they can speak their wife's language on the subject of romance, and you do it by romancing her and offering to help and making time to listen, by adoring her publicly and privately, by nourishing her and cherishing her, and we got as far as the ROMAN …
Dennis: Without the TIC.
Bob: The TIC is still to come today.
Dennis: That's right, and as we start the broadcast today, we're going to share with men how they can touch their wives non-sexually, and we have a couple of ladies in the studio who are going to help us men and coach us in knowing how to be better lovers of our wives – Lorraine Pintus and Linda Dillow join us for a third day here on the broadcast. Ladies, welcome back to FamilyLife Today.
Linda: Thank you, it's great to be here.
Lorraine: We love being with you.
Bob: And I should let our listeners know, Dennis, that, as with our previous broadcasts we may, from time to time, touch on a subject that might be inappropriate for younger listeners, so …
Dennis: That's right. We're talking about romance, and as you so aptly and eloquently sung here at the beginning of the broadcast, Bob …
Bob: (singing) "R is for the" …
Dennis: No, no, not again, please! Back by popular demand – actually, we're going to speak it at this point. R is for romance her. We talked about how a man can do a better job of romancing his wife and making that a priority. O is offer help – doing the laundry, helping her with the dishes. M is for make time to listen. A is adore her, and that means publicly and privately speak well of her. N – I forget what N is for.
Bob: It's nourish and cherish her.
Dennis: That's right. I knew there was a reason why I couldn't remember that. And then there's T. We didn't get to T-I-C. And if we finish up on the men today, we're going to start with the ladies.
Bob: All right.
Dennis: But talk to us about a man touching his wife. You are speaking now, again, non-sexually.
Linda: Yes. And we hear women tell us all the time – the only time my husband ever touches me is when he wants me in bed. He never just reaches out and touches me. We had a precious young woman come to us and say, "Oh, you won't believe what my husband did for me. He came in the door, and the dog had thrown up right by the front door, the kids were screaming, there was mass chaos, and I was ready just to give up. And he took me into the laundry room and just put his arms around me and held me for five whole minutes. He didn't even say anything. He just held me. And then he said, 'Honey, I'm going to help you clean up the house and get the children in bed, and then we're going to have some time just for us.'"
She just said, "All of my tension evaporated when he just held me." And, men, this is what women want. They want to be held, they want to be touched, they want to be caressed because they're loved not just because their husbands want something.
Dennis: I've heard you ladies say that non-sexual touching – actually, you wrote about this in your book, "Intimate Issues," that it creates a sense of well-being, a safety in the relationship, a sense of being connected emotionally. How so?
Linda: When my husband slips his arms around me, I just sort of sigh into them. When his warmth envelops me and embraces me, I feel one with him.
Dennis: So it doesn't need to be a crushing hug, but a gentle, warm hug.
Bob: And you're talking about hugging, but it's holding hands, it's …
Linda: The whole thing, Bob. One thing is, my husband and I always hold hands in church when we pray together, and I've so many times had people say, "Boy, you guys must still be so in love that you always hold hands when you pray."
Dennis: The "I" that you mention in our acrostic, "ROMANTIC" stands for "invest in her dreams."
Bob: You gave us an example of this yesterday when you talked about Barbara's art lessons, when you encouraged her to take that up again, you were investing in her dreams.
Dennis: And last night when she told me how much it cost to get all of the paintings framed.
Linda: You knew you'd invested.
Dennis: I knew I had invested. It explained – I heard this giant sucking sound from our checking account.
Bob: It is important, Linda, for a husband to catch sight of his wife's dreams. I remember hearing one man talk about going out to dinner with his wife, and he had spent some time before they went out to dinner, and in the middle of the meal, he pulled out a piece of paper, and it had a page and a half written on it, and he said, "I've been thinking a lot about you – about your giftedness, about who you are, about how God made you, about the things you're good at," and he started listing some of those things. And he said, "And I've been thinking these might be some ways that you can express that giftedness to serve the body of Christ, and I want to help you do that." And so he had some suggestions for her on that.
Now, he'd put a little time into that that afternoon at the office, but for her to know that he'd been thinking about her like that, it was so affirming.
Linda: That was romance. My husband came to me in 1976 and said, "Honey, you need to write up your seminar "Creative Counterpart." I said, "I don't know how to write a book. Where would I start?" And he said, "We're going to sit down, and I'm going to help you outline it. And Jody outlined the whole book for me, and then I was able to fill it in. But he invested in my dream, in my vision and made it come to fruition.
Dennis: That assumes, though, that he understood that dream. He had taken the time to truly know that that was a heartbeat of yours and something that you ought to go do.
Bob: Yeah, I wonder, Lorraine, how many men are completely clueless when it comes to this issue of what's my wife – what are her secret dreams? What does she wish she could be doing?
Lorraine: And every husband should know his wife's dream, and, really, vice-versa.
Bob: You know, if I were to go home and say, "Mary Ann, what's your dream?" I have the sense she'd say, "I don't know."
Lorraine: Really, you don't know your wife's dream?
Bob: Well, I – I – now, boy, I feel like a real – here I am, I've got an assignment, don't I? But I do think that she has been so actively involved in being a wife and being a mom and the dailiness of that, that to think beyond that …
Dennis: That's the point, though, Bob. A lot of women so define their lives around their husbands and their children, they haven't spent the time to think about what they want to do, and they need help being drawn back to the big picture and looking to the horizon, because there will come a time when the nest will be empty, and they do need to start thinking about "What do I want to do? What are my gifts? What are my talents that I have to invest, and what am I good at? What do I enjoy?"
And then a husband needs to listen carefully to those and help his wife continue to develop those even during the childbearing and childrearing years.
Bob: It would seem this is particularly important at the stage of life where it kind of re-emerged for you and Barbara at the point where the nest is about to empty out. It may be that a young wife or a young mom is focused on those immediate priorities of the kids and establishing a home, but when the nest is about to empty, you start looking around on the horizon again, don't you?
Bob: Yeah. I want to ask you this, Linda, because you're an empty-nester. Jody undoubtedly did some things to help you prepare for the empty nest besides outlining a book and helping you put that together. What else did he do to prepare you for the days when it would just be you and he alone?
Linda: Dennis, I think the best thing he did was send me a message by what he said and what he did – "You and I are going to have a wonderful time together alone. I can't wait to be with you and just have you to myself."
Bob: In order for a man to be romantic with his wife, he needs to do all we've talked about – romance her, offer to help, make time to listen, adore her, nourish and cherish her, touch her non-sexually, invest in her dreams, and then the "C" at the end of that acrostic is commit to romance. Haven't we covered that one already?
Linda: We really have, but I think it's reiterated in the verse that we started out in the beginning from the message that says "Marriage is the decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out of bed," and what we've been saying to the husbands is that the decision for them is to make that important decision to serve their wives out of bed. That's what spells "romantic" for a woman.
Dennis: And, you know, it's taken us two and a half days, Bob, to spell it for me. We've got two and a half days left here in the week.
Bob: We're going to spell the same word, right?
Dennis: Right, but we're going to spell it using the same letters but different words for women. And the reason is it's what we already know – men and women spell "romance" differently.
Bob: And, Linda, you just quoted 1 Corinthians 7:3, and in Eugene Peterson's paraphrase, he says "marriage is a decision," as you said, "to serve each other whether in bed or out of bed." That's kind of earthy language, but it does communicate for us, doesn't it?
Linda: It really communicates, and we – as you say, we've just spent two and a half days telling the men that their service area is out of bed. But Lorraine and I believe that for women it's just the opposite – that the way we can minister, the way we can show love and romance and serve our husbands is in the bedroom. And part of that has to do with the research that we've done, and the thousands of women that we've gotten to speak to as we have traveled around the country doing intimate issues, conferences.
It has become clear to us that wives need their husbands to connect emotionally with them, whereas husbands need their wives to connect sexually with them.
Bob: Now, I've got to stop here for a second, because the way – you know how this makes it sound about us, as men – that we've just got one thing on our mind and that all we care about, all we're thinking about is sex, right?
Linda: Well, it may sound that way.
Bob: You're all looking at me, like, "Yeah, and you're point is?"
Linda: That's right, Bob. You know, we do need to say, though, that we're making some generalities here. This is not true in every case. Often, there is a role reversal. So as we speak, we are speaking in generalities.
Bob: And, undoubtedly, as you've spoken around the country – you've had women come up and say, "I wish my husband was interested."
Linda: And the pain of so many, so many.
Bob: What do you tell them?
Linda: It's a real hard one, Bob, but it is a very common problem today that their husbands aren't interested sexually. I ask them if there is any possibility their husband is involved in pornography – something you have to ask. Ask if he's on medication, because medication often is a culprit. Ask them if there are serious problems in the marriage.
Dennis: There is one other one – you may want to ask him about his work habits – whether he's driven and completely giving all of his energy at work so that there is literally nothing left when he gets home. He may be trying to convince his dad or you, as his wife, that he's a man of value and worth based upon what he does and what he brings home from work.
Bob: But, again, for most men, there is this issue that in order for our wives to communicate effectively that they love and appreciate us there is going to be some sexual responsiveness.
Linda: Right, and what the wives need to understand, Bob, is that this is how God made their husbands. It's different than the way God made us, but it's not wrong, it's beautiful. God made them like this, and so when we look at what "Romantic" looks like to a man, we women need to understand that we need to get behind our husband's eyeballs and see that romance, to him, is spelled with the word "sexual."
Dennis: And I think it's important to note here that in any marriage there will be those areas where there are unmet expectations, whether it's in the area of romance, whether it's in the area of affection, conversation, habits of helping with the dishes, different issues in a marriage relationship. Every marriage has its issues, and for a woman right now who is listening and saying, "My husband doesn't want me. I don't feel needed by him. What's wrong with me" or "What's wrong with him?" It just may be an area that God wants to claim in your marriage and His grace and forgiveness will teach you how to do that.
Bob: You know, I have to say here, though, Dennis, that if I understand the Scriptures correctly, if you go and read in 1 Corinthians, chapter 7, verses 4 and 5, this is not an area that a couple can simply say, "Well, we'll be okay with this. We'll be all right if neither of us is interested or if one of us isn't interested, we'll must make this not be a part of our marriage." The Bible seems to indicate you've got to press into this issue, and you've got to find a way to get to it. There's a spiritual responsibility to come together physically.
Dennis: I'm glad you said that, Bob, because it doesn't let the husband off the hook in terms of his obligation, his duty, according to 1 Corinthians, chapter 7, that he has to his wife. He has an obligation to her to care for her and to meet her needs, especially in the sexual area.
Now, we look at the word "Romantic," and, for a man, it was "romance her." But for a woman, you're saying "revise your vows?" What do you ladies mean by that?
Linda: We want wives to think about adding a new part to their vows. Because when we said "I do" at the altar, most of us said, "I will love you, I will cherish you, I will honor you, I will obey you," but we didn't make any kind of spiritual commitment.
Lorraine and I, in our research, found a beautiful old Anglican vow that, over 100 years ago was literally said by couples at the altar. Lorraine, tell them what it is, it's just beautiful.
Lorraine: "With my body, I thee worship. My body will adore you, and your body alone will I cherish. I will, with my body, declare your worth." And is that beautiful? The whole thing is the image of "with your body, I will declare your worth."
Bob: They said that up front in the church with all the witnesses.
Lorraine: And everybody was blushing.
Linda: No, everybody wasn't blushing, because the world had not so desecrated God's gift of sexual passion. It was beautiful, and people were pure when they came together in marriage, and so this was part of it. Today you could not say this without everybody snickering. Is that not tragic? And yet – we're saying, by the "R," revise your vows, bring it back.
Dennis: You know, it's really cool to watch couples stand facing one another, tears streaming down their faces, looking tenderly into one another's eyes, restating their vows, and they've done it, Linda, around the very thing you've just said – they've restated them spiritually. They are giving themselves to one another not just emotionally, not just volitionally with their will, but they are giving themselves to one another in a profound way spiritually, and I'm glad you take wives back to their vows, because that is the place where the marriage does spring forth. It comes from that commitment and covenant of marriage.
Bob: We've wound up using the little phrase, "to have and to hold," but that's what we were saying to one another – "you can have me, you can hold me, and I can have you, and I can hold you, and we're forsaking all others 'til death do us part." It may be a little less specific when we make the pronouncement, but it's no less profound. One of the things we're pledging to one another is that my body belongs to you, and your body belongs to me.
Dennis: And I'm looking at the "R," and I know that it's followed by "O" – offer your body as a gift.
Bob: Today it means "out of time." We're out of time on the broadcast. We're going to have to deal with that one tomorrow.
Dennis: And we're out of here, right?
Bob: That's right, but not until I first remind our listeners about some of the things we're highlighting this month to help them build a stronger marriage relationship. One is our Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference. We're going to be kicking off our spring season of Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences in eight or nine cities on Valentine's weekend – not this weekend but the following weekend. I know you're going to be speaking, Dennis, at the Gaylord Texan Resort in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. We've also got conferences going on at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania; at a resort in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Washington, D.C.; a number of other locations where the conference is available on Valentine's weekend, and then throughout the spring – conferences taking place in other cities all around the country.
What a great way to get away as a couple, spend a weekend together, enjoy a nice retreat, and learn, at the same time, how to strengthen your marriage relationship. More information is available on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com. You can also register online with us, if you'd like. Again, the website if FamilyLifeToday.com. When you go to the website, you'll also find information about the new updated "Simply Romantic Nights" collection that our team has put together – great date ideas for husbands and wives throughout the year – 24 creative date ideas, a dozen for a husband to make happen for his wife, and a dozen for a wife to arrange for her husband.
This has been a very popular resource over the years, and it has just been newly updated and revised. If you'd like more information about the "Simply Romantic Nights" collection or about the book that Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus have written called "Intimate Issues" designed for women on the subject of marriage and romance, you can go to our website, again, FamilyLifeToday.com, or if it's easier, just call us – 1-800-358-6329 – 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY. When you contact us someone on our team will let you know how you can have any of these resources sent to you or they can answer any questions you might have about the Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference.
Also, we want to say thank you this month to those of you who support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a financial contribution. We have a gift we'd like to send you. We sat down a number of years ago with the author of the book, "Love and Respect," Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, and had a conversation with him about what unconditional respect ought to look like in a marriage relationship. It was a very provocative conversation and one that many of our listeners contacted us about and responded to very favorably.
Well, we have that conversation in a two-CD series, and we're making it available this month when you support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation of any amount. We are listener-supported. Your financial contributions are what keep us on the air in this city and in other cities all across the country. So if you make donation this month, and you'd like to receive the CDs, just type the word "respect" into the keycode box on the donation form online, or call 1-800-FLTODAY, make your donation over the phone and just ask for the two-CD series, "Love and Respect." Again, it's our way of saying thank you for your support of the ministry, and we do appreciate your partnership with us.
Tomorrow we want to spend some time talking about what's going on in a marriage when the wife is the one who is more interested in the sexual dimension of marriage than the husband. Linda and Lorraine will be back with us for that tomorrow. I hope you can be back with us as well.
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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