This is the fourth post in the 1/2 Marathon being orchestrated by the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association. I have a bunch of questions left from the A Males Perspective teleconference I spoke at last week. As such, I’ll be using this marathon to answer some of the questions I received. Please note, these are my perspective. I cannot vouch for all males and when I’m giving my perspective on women, I certainly cannot vouch for all women. Also, all references to gender traits are based on the average population, there are exceptions of course. Please do not be offended by these if you are not “neurotypical” for your gender. So, on to the question:
How would most men describe a romantic evening?
If you ask me to describe a romantic evening or plan a romantic weekend, or something similar, my answer will be exactly what I think my wife would think would be romantic. I don’t think I really grasp the concept of romance, and based on comments from lots of wives on message boards, blogs, etc, I don’t think I’m alone.
Intellectually, I understand that romance usually involve some key elements: flowers, chocolate, dinner, a movie, dancing, sunsets, a walk together, conversation. But, these are just elements, specifics that have no real meaning without understanding the underlying abstract concept of romance. The best analogy I can think of is electricity. When asked to describe electricity, people will generally talk about light bulbs, light switches, wires, outlets, things like that. But these are just elements. Most won’t discuss the underlying science of electrons, amps, watts, voltage, phase, etc., things an electrical engineer understands.
They know that if they turn on the light switch, the light bulb will turn on, most of the time, unless something is wrong, then we know to check the simple things: is the light bulb burnt out, is the breaker tripped. Past that the generally population has no idea what to do.
Likewise, a man buys some chocolates, some flowers, gives them to his wife and most of the time (depending on the wife), she’ll be “turned on” unless something is wrong. Then we know to check the simple things. Did I forget something important like a specific date? Did I do something wrong like walk into the house with muddy shoes? Past that, we have no idea what to do. We just know our wife is looking at us like “how can you not understand what is wrong?” And we’re not stupid, we didn’t miss the “obvious”, we just don’t understand romance. Now some guys understand more than others, and some guys are better at faking it than others, and some know more elements than others, but that doesn’t mean we are “romance engineers”, that role is predominantly filled by the female gender. We don’t understand it, we don’t need it for ourselves, and so we don’t grow up being taught it.
Now, can we learn? I don’t know, some will be willing to try, some will think they know already and don’t need help. One complaint we hear a lot from wives is that their husbands say “those holidays like Valentine’s Day are just a money grab, I don’t need a specific date to be romantic, I can do it any day!” Now, the first time you hear this you might think “Wow, this guy gets it, we want spontaneous romance, not contrived coerced romance!” The problem: these husbands rarely actually do anything romantic. Either they think they know romance, and are failing miserably, or they know they don’t, so they’re covering by saying they don’t want to do it on the prescribed days. Those guys may not be willing to learn. The rest? Willing: yes, able, not sure. We might be able to learn some more elements, which gives us a better chance of rolling together something that works, but many of us will never really understand.
So, please, the next time we screw up something romantic, go a little easy on us. We can’t help it, we just don’t understand, and some of us never will, despite desperately wanting to please you. And if your husband is one of the rare ones who does, maybe rent him out to other husbands to plan some weekends/dates for them.
25 thoughts on “How Would Most Men Describe A Romantic Evening?”
“One complaint we hear a lot from wives are that their husbands say “those holidays like valentines day are just a money grab, I don’t need a specific date to be romantic, I can do it any day!” Now, the first time you hear this you might think “Wow, this guy gets it, we want spontaneous romance, not contrived coerced romance!” The problem: these husbands rarely actually do anything romantic.”
Ummmm….yeah. Most “set dates” go pretty much ignored here. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day….He sometimes gets me the obligatory gift…sometimes it’s amazing, sometimes it’s meh, but that’s about as far as it goes. I get the gift that feels like it was an obligation rather than an genuine gift and that’s it. No eating out, no going out….here’s the gift, now he’s going to go curl up in bed and fall asleep to some slasher movie while I take care of everything as usual. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate and show my appreciation for the gifts, but I’d rather have him than a gift. Time with him….away from the kids and all my duties as wife and mom.
He was never really romantic to begin with, so I knew that going into the marriage…and he doesn’t respond well to being romanced, either. Too campy for him, I guess.
All that being said, I can say that he can be an amazingly loving and serving man. Just don’t ask him to sweep me into a tango with a rose between his teeth. LOL!
And does he know how you feel about all of that? What if you said “Dear, tomorrow is our anniversary, and I’d like to go out to dinner and a non-slasher movie?” Most guys do alright with blunt statements.
In times past when i did that, he complies and spends the evening distant, disengaged and sulking. I can only remember one anniversary out in 10 years of marriage that was a nice time. One anniversary, I took him out for breakfast and he was so put out and wouldn’t speak to me except for snotty, sarcastic remarks that he made me cry.
Yeah, we can be jerks when we’re doing something we don’t understand the reason for. I know I’ve done the same (I hate weddings) to my wife.
I’m starting to realize that these events are important to her, so I’m trying to have a good time when we go, but it’s hard to really have a good time when you really don’t like what your doing, it takes a while to shift that mentality.
I like this….it is making me think more deeply about my husband’s point if view. He has never done well with forced situations….I think it is safe to say that he feels it is a manipulation, something fake and forced….expectations he’s not prepared to meet because they are dictated by outside influences rather than his genuine love for me….sometimes it is as simple as he didn’t want to but didn’t want to disappoint me, so he went along. For our recent milestone anniversary, I first suggested a night at a b and b equipped with a jacuzzi for his hardworked muscles. He looked like I asked him to watch Jane Austen movies all night long. So, we did a big, fun family thing instead and when the anniversary pressure was off, I talked to him how I need just one night alone with him at a b and b I know we’ll both like. No pressures, no expectations, just us and relaxation. When I explained my plight with no strings attached, just us, he became open to the idea. Now, we just have to wait until the baby is weaned!
We’re in the same boat, waiting for the baby to be weaned. I would love a night away at a B&B … although I might have some expectations…
Electricity! Yes! There must be that connection!
I am married to one of those hubbies who struggles with romance. (I fondly call him Spock.) Great insight here for the wives, Jay Dee! I wrote a post a while back giving tips to wives whose husbands really aren’t romantic, even though they love their wives: Does Your Husband Stink at Romance? Mine too — http://hotholyhumorous.blogspot.com/2011/10/does-your-husband-stink-at-romance-mine.html.
My favorite show was Star Trek growing up. And my favorite characters:
Spock (any vulcan really)
Seven of Nine
See a pattern? These are my role models….
I have just found your blog and already I am loving it.
I think romance in its simplest form is showing you love someone. I think romance has become too complicated – I mean the advertising says “show her you care with a diamond ring” Huh?I think we women fall into the trap of needing stuff to feel loved. I know I used too. But to me now the most romantic thing my husband can do is to look at me and for no reason say the words I love you honey.
Every woman wants to feel special, and all a man has to do is show her that to him, she is.
And i think roMANce for a man for comparison (at least for my husband) would be to feel appreciated as a man in everything he does.
Thank you for the kind words Annie, I’m glad you like the blog.
I think your definition of romance is a lot easier to get a handle on. Now, if you could convert the rest of the world, we’d have a much easier time of it!
And I’m with you on the romance for a man!
I’ll be forwarding this on to my husband, he’ll get a kick out of it. You covered many things that we have often talked about, and electricity is exactly the word for romance for both the man and woman, it’s just achieved differently for each one
Yeah, I’m starting to get the feeling that romance isn’t something guys don’t get, we just get a different sort of romance, the kind not talked about in movies, magazines and music. We’re programmed by society to think that if we don’t have the same view of romance that our wives do, then we are deficient somehow.
I have to say, my husband and I are a bit unconventional when it comes to romance. I’m not a big chocolates-and-flowers girl. I actually couldn’t care less about being given flowers, except maybe when he picks one for me to wear in my hair; in fact, neither one of us care much at all about receiving gifts. His love language is acts of service, and mine is physical touch. I don’t think we’ve ever had a truly conventional day of romance. Looking at Valentine’s Day for example – one year we went to a backwoods b-b-q the night before (so we wouldn’t have to deal with crowds – we despise crowded restaurants), woke up the next morning and ate the leftovers with a bottle of champagne, went to the park and had sex on a bench, then picked up a box of chocolates and split it while we watched Fireproof. Another time, I made chicken-cordon-bleu, which we ate while sitting cross-legged on the floor, and his gift to me was presented in an accidentally stolen shopping basket. This past year, we had intimate time for a good long while, then at midnight we went to Waffle King. lol. His proposal was extremely romantic, though – he proposed to me on the same playground that we had our first kiss. I guess my husband shows love to me in various ways all the time – he’ll give me a foot massage, or cook me dinner, or other things like that on a regular basis. So I guess we kind of have romance every day, although we never really thought of it in those terms…hm, I have a pretty amazing man, I have to say!
Unconventional is good in this case I think!
This post provoked a thought in me… Even what I define as romantic is changing… It’s amazing how we change as we age… <3
That is a great compliment, to be thought provoking. Thank you.
At the very beginning, I told my husband he can relax about the candy, flowers, cards, and all those gifts and dining, throughout the year. I told him to skip them all except one thing. I let him know that every Christmas I will pick out one gift for me. That’s it, nothing else, no other expectations. He would be so surprised when I opened up the gift (from him). He married a low maintenance woman. Romance is having your oil changed in the car and replacing the brakes.
Do you want to know the best part? He now drives me to the North forty on the 4-wheeler and picks flowers for me. He takes me out for our anniversary every single year. It’s his idea. Some years, I even forgo the Christmas gift. It’s all about the journey. If I die tomorrow, I want my husband to have only good things to say about my heart.
me personally I am a woman and I don’t get the romance thing either I just don’t see the point it all ends up with the same result SEX! I am a straight shooter I guess I like to get to the point (this doesn’t include sex itself)