“Kiss the Girl”
My wife, Abi, loves Disney movies. (Ok, I like them, too. But let’s keep that a secret between you and me!) One of her favorites is The Little Mermaid. And last summer at the beach I sang her a song from that movie: “Kiss the Girl.” I changed up the words a little bit, and she loved it:
There, I see her, sitting there across the way.
She’s sure got a lot to say, but I love that about her.
And I don’t know why but I’m dying to try,
I gotta kiss the girl!
Fellow husbands out there, our wives love it when we’re spontaneous, sweet, and romantic like that. I sang that little ditty to Abi quite a few times at the beach, but not so much since then. But before we left for the beach last weekend, Abi reminded me, “Please sing me the song you sang me last year!” Now, I was glad she wanted me to sing the song again, but I felt just a twinge of conviction: I hadn’t been singing it as much lately. Yeah, summer’s a busy time. I’m keeping office hours during the week at Calvary, she has doctor’s appointments every week for her pregnancy, we had at least one event going on every week in June for the youth group. But I should’ve sung Abi that song more than I have been. So I’ve been singing it to her, intentionally, now that we’re at the beach again. It makes her happy, and it makes me happy, too. So why don’t I sing it more when we’re back at home, just the two of us, in our normal daily routine? And what can I do to remember to sing it to her more often once we’re back home from this vacation? These are the questions I’ve been thinking about these past few days, and hopefully my thought processes will help all us husbands out there be at least a little more romantic for our wives every day.
Normalcy Stagnates Romance
Why aren’t I as romantic with Abi at home as when we’re on vacation? To put it simply: normalcy stagnates romance. What I mean is that the normalcy of daily life diminishes romance. Not love, but romance. Loving Abi in normal daily life looks like helping her with dishes or laundry or Mr. Darcy or her diabetes. And in my limited experience, this love by service replaces love by romance. But that shouldn’t be the case. Don’t get me wrong: serving Abi in love is very important, not only for her sake but for mine. I want to love her by serving her. In fact, I told her when I proposed, “If you let me, I’ll love you and serve you the rest of our lives.” I meant it then, and I still mean it! Loving her by acts of service is vitally important, it mustn’t be neglected, but loving her by acts of romance is equally important. If the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach (and there’s at least some truth to that statement), then the quickest way to a woman’s heart is through her heart, through romancing her. It makes Abi unbelievingly happy when I either unload or reload the dishwasher, but you should see how her face glows when I ask her out on a date to a restaurant. Abi always thanks me whenever I take Darcy out to “go potty” or whenever I get her meter for her, but she smiles, turns her face down, and giggles whenever I sing a romantic song, such as “Kiss the Girl,” to her. When Abi and I are at home, living our normal daily lives, I sometimes neglect romantic love for serving love, but that shouldn’t be the case. I should serve Abi and romance Abi. Both-and, not either-or.
Stir Up Romance
Mom and I made a peanut cake the first night we were at the beach, but peanut cake is a challenging cake to make. Without giving away the secret family recipe, the trickiest part is making the peanut frosting. And the hardest part of making peanut frosting is getting the sugar water to boil down to the right consistency. You have to mix the sugar and water together and then boil it. You can’t turn the heat all the way up, but you can’t leave it too low. You have to constantly stir the boiling sugar water until it’s a fine thread (which you can’t see unless you’re stirring with a metal spoon, by the way) and then immediately take it off the heat and finish adding the other ingredients to the sugar water to make the frosting. Making peanut frosting is a very hands-on activity that takes a lot of care and attention. And that’s kind of how romance during normal daily life is. If you just live normal daily life, romance stagnates in all the normalcy. It’s like sugar crusting against the wall of your pot if you don’t stir it with the water. We husbands need to stir up romance with our wives. On vacation, that’s easy. You’re not in “normal” mode; you’re in vacation mode, and consequently have more time to devote to your wife, and thus are more intentional about romancing her. But that’s how it has to be in normal daily life: I need to intentionally romance Abi, not just with dates and on dates, but before dates and after dates and on days without dates altogether. I need to sing her songs that make her smile. I need to sing “Kiss the Girl” to her because it’s not a chore, and she’ll know that only when I sing it to her, without her asking, and as a surprise.
The Gospel and Romancing Our Wives
This is where the gospel comes in. I obviously fail to romance Abi the way I ought to. But because Jesus Christ is my heavenly Bridegroom, I can love Abi not only in service but also in romance. This is how Paul in Ephesians 5:25-30 puts it:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.
Right now, every day, whether vacation days or normal days, Christ “nourishes and cherishes” his body, the church, his bride. He thus “romances” his church, in a way. And this is how I should be with Abi (and you fellow husbands should be with your wives). Christ did for me what would bring me my greatest joy: he “gave himself up” for me, and he “cleansed me by the washing of water with the word” so that I could exult in him in the new heavens and the new earth for all eternity. Likewise I ought to show Abi my love for her by doing things that bring her joy and make her feel loved, like singing her “Kiss the Girl” and telling her stories and helping her during the day.
Husbands, may God help us love our wives not only by serving them but also by romancing them. May God help me love Abi so much that I not only remember to help her but also to romance her. I want to “Kiss the Girl,” so why don’t I tell her that with song and make her feel extra special?