A Husband’s Guide to Romance: Less is MoreBy Trillia Newbell | February 14th, 2013 | Category: Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Husband’s Guide to Romance: Less is More
By Cap Stewart
I realize my article title may get me in trouble, so let me begin by clarifying. “Less” does not refer to marital affection. Every married couple can always stand to grow in the romance department. No, the “less” I want to discuss is entertainment.
My personal experience has been that entertainment levels and romance levels have a direct effect on each other—for good or ill. What I want to explore is the idea that we can and should enjoy our wives more by enjoying worldly entertainment less.
For me, one recent development in this area has involved my exposure to movie trailers. The truth is, I love movie trailers. They’re like mini movies in their own right, tantalizing the audience with the promise of adventure, excitement, and discovery.
They’re often tantalizing in other ways, too. And, unfortunately, there is practically no way to gauge what kind of content will exist in a movie trailer. Therefore, my wife and I finally agreed that I needed to stop watching trailers on my own. With rare exception, she previews them for me before watching them with me. This practice put a damper on my sense of freedom, but it has also proven to be a hugely successful safeguard against temptation toward illicit pleasure.
Now, you may be wondering where the topic of romance is going to pop up. Stricter entertainment guidelines seem more like rigid rule-keeping than romance-fostering. But that’s only because we have forgotten what Christ says in Luke 9:24: “whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
Jesus informs us that self-denial is simply a means, not an end—and the end is more enjoyment, not less. It is the process of denying inferior affections for the purpose of enjoying superior pleasures—what Thomas Chalmers famously called “the expulsive power of a new affection.”
On the other hand, if we refuse self-denial in areas of entertainment because we don’t want to “miss out,” we will actually end up missing out on the very happiness we really seek. Hollywood glorifies the pleasure found in forbidden sexuality. We can pretend such material doesn’t affect us, but it is impossible not to be affected. Pretty soon, and often without even realizing it, we are acquiring tastes that cannot be righteously fulfilled, leaving us filling empty and frustrated in our married lives.
When it comes to romance, we can fill our souls with fleeting and faulty thoughts that contradict Scripture’s teaching about romance and marriage, or we can train ourselves to delight in the goodness of sexual expression with our wives. After all, God is the one who designed romance, physical affection, and sex. In the context of marriage, He expects sexual expression to bloom and grow. “Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. . . . Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 5:15, 18). This command is a far cry from stern asceticism.
What is ultimately better? Seeing whatever movie I want, regardless of the content? Or the day-in, day-out enjoyment of every look, word, touch, caress, and embrace with my wife? What smoldering candle can compare to that blazing fire? What temporary, tainted enjoyment can compete with a lifelong cultivation of soul-satisfying, God-sanctioned, regret-free ecstasy? The answer is nothing.
So, what do I suggest for a more fulfilling love life? First, cut down on your entertainment intake. Avoid media that tantalizes you with false notions of romance and sex. Put some safeguards in place to help guard your eyes, mind, and heart.
Second, take that unoccupied energy and direct it toward delighting in what is truly beneficial: enjoying God’s gift of your wife. Expose yourself to books, movies, messages, and songs that demonstrate the goodness of God in the beauty of marriage.
It’s one thing to pour your money into a hole in the ground. It’s quite another to put it into a savings account. Both actions deplete the funds in your wallet, but one of them brings great rewards. This Valentine’s Day—and every other day of the year—let us implore God for more grace to “lose” our paltry freedoms in order to invest in the substantial account of marital bliss.
I guarantee that the more you look to God and His provision for pleasure, you will discover more fully the truth of the hymn writer’s words: “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
Cap Stewart is a videographer, freelance writer, and the Media Manager for a multi-state southeastern construction company. He and his wife Shannon make their home in Knoxville, Tennessee. Cap blogs at http://www.capstewart.com/.