I wish my husband were more romantic. I love spending time with him—we work out together and go to the movies, you know, normal couple stuff—but some of my best friends have husbands who plan candlelit dinners or whisk them off on romantic getaways a lot. My best friend’s boyfriend just surprised her with a picnic on the Commons downtown over the weekend. And my husband? He asked me if I wanted to go hit golf balls. Sometimes I’m like: seriously? Golf balls?! What happened to the candlelight dinners, you know?
–Missing the Romance
Dear Missing the Romance,
You may not believe me, but I am betting that your golf-crazy husband is actually being romantic!
It is easy to feel like romance is the last thing on the minds of our men. But I learned something fascinating in my research for For Women Only—it’s not just women who want romance! In fact, 84% of the men said they desired romance . . . for themselves!
Does this mean that men really do wish for that candlelit dinner or a romantic getaway along the beach? Believe it or not, yes, a lot of them would be thrilled to do that stuff with their wives. But they don’t always feel competent to arrange it well. They’re afraid we’re going to laugh at their efforts and that causes many men to hang back.
But even more important: many men look at romance differently — they want to go out and do things with their wives. And they find that incredibly romantic! In the male brain, in fact, the action centers are directly tied in with the emotion centers that make him feel close to the person he is doing something with! So for a man, going out and playing with his significant other feels romantic!
In other words: For your husband, going to hit golf balls or working out at the gym together makes him feel close and intimate with you.
Once I realized that many men view romance in this way, I started paying attention to all the activities Jeff suggested we do together (like hiking or going for a walk). They were actually his version of a candlelit dinner! Once I understood that he viewed spending activity time with me as romantic, it made it a lot easier to take him up on his offers and appreciate the sentiment.
So try to look at your husband’s suggestions for activities in a new light. Go hit golf balls with him. Catch that latest action movie he’s been dying to see. He wants to be close to you by spending time with you. You may just have a romantic husband after all!
Shaunti Feldhahn is the best-selling author of eye-opening, research-based books about men, women and relationships, including For Women Only, For Men Only and her newest, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages. A Harvard-trained social researcher and speaker, her ﬁndings are regularly featured in media as diverse as The Today Show, Focus on the Family, and the New York Times.