Meet Don. Don is a basketball "nut." He's the kind of sports buff who can talk nonstop about his favorite basketball teams with anybody who'll listen. One evening, Don's wife took a seat next to him on the couch. She placed her arms around his neck and asked him point-blank: "Do you love me more than basketball?"
Puzzled, Don considered her question for a long minute before answering. He finally said, "College or NBA?"* While most of us men would never make a blunder of that magnitude, we often miss the opportunity to affirm our wives. Marriage is not a spectator sport. Nor is it a place for verbal jabs or cynical put-downs. Those male digs might work in the locker room with the boys, but they're out of bounds with our wives.
What do Don's wife, your wife, and my wife need? Affirmation. Lots of it. Soft, tender, thoughtful, unexpected, meaningful, heartfelt affirmation delivered with no sexual demands attached. That's difficult for a man, I know. A man usually sets goals and generally acts only when he is after something. When it comes to romance, he's tempted to give affirmation only because he hopes to "get sex" in return.
As we look at showering our wives with affirmation in this chapter you and I will score big when we make our goal unconditional affirmation—no strings attached. My aim is to make my wife feel loved, valued, cherished, and affirmed as the love of my life.
We all would do well to watch Solomon in action. Solomon, by contrast, referred to his wife as "my beloved" forty times in the Song of Solomon. That choice phrase is packed with affirmation. It's a romantic expression, a call to rich friendship. Each time Solomon said, "My beloved," his words clothed her with dignity and value.
What woman wouldn't flourish under such a constant stream of loving affirmation?
Here are thirty nonsexual ways to cherish your bride through words and acts of affirmation. And by the way, these are nonsexual so that you speak her romantic love language. It's important to remember that you are not doing these things to get something in return. Perhaps she will reciprocate in your language back to you, but that's not your goal. Are you ready?
If you've hesitated affirming your bride, or if you've been slow to praise her qualities, trust me on this: just do it. Affirming your wife through even just three or four of these ideas will do wonders for your romance. Is that too difficult to believe?
You'll never know unless you try, right?
*See "Loving Her More Than the NBA," Reader's Digest, October 1997, for more on this.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson Inc., Nashville, TN., from the book entitled Rekindling the Romance, copyright date 2004 by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. All rights reserved.