What Exactly Is Romance and Why Does it Matter in Marriage?

Back when my husband and I were dating, he asked me what I thought about romance.

It’s so important that we integrate romantic gestures into our marriages. Why is this and what exactly is romance anyway?

I don’t need flowers, chocolates, and Hallmark cards to make me feel loved, so I told him I wasn’t that romantic. This exchange occurred via email, so I was able to keep his response to my statement. It was quite insightful.

“I would define things as romantic based on the spirit in which you do them and their meaning to who you are doing it for. Romantic to me doesn’t have anything to do with hearts and other cliché things per se, though these may be meaningful to some. I am a firm believer that there are words, actions, and things that speak to everyone’s heart. When you learn what those are, then you have found how to touch someone in a profound way.”

Before you ask, yes, I know I married an amazing man. He was so spot on with his response. Romance isn’t necessarily about candlelit dinners or moonlit walks on the beach. Some people may find these to be romantic, but others may prefer a back massage, a handwritten note, or a trip to a coffee shop.  Romance is subjective. We all have slightly different things that speak to our hearts.

This may relieve some anxiety you’ve been having about Valentine’s Day (which is next week). There’s no one thing that you must do for your spouse in order to be romantic. This realization; however, may cause you some significant anxiety. If there isn’t some predetermined action or gift that is universally romantic, then what is it that speaks to your spouse’s heart?

Why romance matters in marriage

It’s so important for our marriages that we figure out what our spouses find to be romantic and that we do these things. Why? Because romantic gestures communicate to our spouses that we still love them and still think they are wonderful.

As we go about our everyday activities we often know somewhere in the back of our minds that our spouses love us. It sure makes a difference to have this love demonstrated to us, though! It’s like getting to indulge in a delectable dessert. Like dinners, our marriages can be sufficient and even fulfilling without romance, but they will lack the excitement, fun, and adventure that they could have if we enjoyed an occasional dessert.

Have you given much thought to the role that romance should play in marriage? How do you find ways to integrate romantic gestures into your marriage?

Shared at the following link parties:

Monday’s Musings, Wedded Wednesday, WholeHearted Wednesday, Coffee and Conversation, From House to Home, Shine Blog Hop, Weekend Wind Down, Titus 2sday, and Titus 2 Tuesday.


  1. I love how you fleshed out this idea of romance being subjective to the couple! It seems that so many times, especially when one is new in a relationship, it can feel like you have to do the whole checklist of “what to do for your significant other.” Chocolate, roses, curling up to watch romantic movies together, etc. It is a lot more challenging to take the time and make the effort to figure out what is the best gift for one’s spouse, since that doesn’t necessarily mean grabbing something off of the list-yet, it is a lot more fulfilling, and can mean so much more! For example, one of my top love languages is Acts of Service, so it means a lot to me when my husband does things with me or for me. One year on Valentine’s Day, he wanted to buy me roses from the stand at our college, but they were sold out. So, later in the day, he surprised me with roses that he had made out of candy wrappers and Valentine’s Day napkins! The fact that he took the time to do something creative for me-that wasn’t just off the simple “checklist” of running off to a store to buy roses when the stand was sold out-was far more romantic than any bouquet of red roses. It’s also kind of quirky, but my favorite flower is the dandelion (with many consider to be a weed)-and one of the most romantic things is when my husband and I will be taking a walk or playing Frisbee outside, and he’ll scurry around and pick me a large dandelion bouquet 🙂

  2. I’m single, but I love hearing (and reading!) of other married couples’ advice on marriage, romance, and all things pertaining to matrimony. This is encouraging to know that romance is not just flowers, or the usual cliche. I’ve wondered myself what it is exactly and you put into words so perfectly!
    Thank you so much! 🙂

    • Hi Haley,
      Romance is certainly a vague concept to many people. I love how my husband defined it. It’s so nice to be able to skip the cliche things and focus on the things we truly appreciate.

  3. This is a good and important post, because it can become too late for romance, and marriage becomes poorer for it.

  4. What a great reminder! I think movies and books have “ruined” our idea of romance. Women expect the big gesture that happened in the movie they saw last week. If they don’t get that gesture then apparently he doesn’t love us. It’s sad to see women think this way.

    • Great point about movies and books, Amanda! They can give us very unrealistic expectations. We have to remember that they are fiction and choose to invest in the reality in front of us.

  5. Learning what is important is key in a happy marriage. We have to learn how to openly communicate with our spouse to learn what is romantic to them. Then put it into action! Love your husband’s response!

  6. Just came across your blog… you have made some excellent points 🙂 Loved this post!

  7. Your husband is quite a profound man. I love his definition of romance–that it’s different for everyone and there’s not a one-size-fits all to mold oneself (or a relationship) into. I think romance in marriage is important, just for the simple fact that it allows us to be together, without kids, without discussion of schedules, bills, appointments, etc… Just the two of us enjoying each other’s company. Of course, it’s hard to do, but I think finding time–no matter how long or short–for romance is key. Making that effort, to make dinner reservations or just meeting your other half on the couch to watch an hour long TV show, is half the battle. It shows that you care and that our time, no matter the length–as long as it’s spent together is valuable.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely and insightful post you on #SHINEbloghop, Shannon. It’s always a pleasure to read your pieces 🙂

    • Hi Maria,
      Yes, it is often difficult to find time for romance. I think you’re right–it’s important to get that time together, away from the pressures of everyday life.

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