Strategic Romance

While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance. My lover is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts. My lover is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi. How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves. How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant.       Song of Songs 1:12—16

Someone once told us that romance is easy. All I had to do was surprise my wife with a simple gift like flowers and then plan a surprise experience, something small but nice, like a picnic dinner or something more involved, like taking her away for a night after packing her clothes, taking care of the kids’ needs, and picking her up at work.

We think this guy understood romance better than most. He knew that first and foremost romance is not about sex. It’s about intentionality and action. And beautiful sexuality comes after romance. Gary and Barb Rosberg said it so well: “Love is a feeling; romance is love in action.” 1

Almost all healthy couples will respond to simple displays of romance like bringing home flowers or a loving card when it is unexpected. Taking time away on an afternoon for a leisurely walk together, love notes, a surprise getaway, romantic music, creating a home-spa environment with candles and soft lights–these are all ways of doing what some would call “strategic romance.” These romantic ideas don’t cost much, but they do take just a bit of intentionality. Too often romance is blocked by distractions like financial issues, lack of time or creativity, chores to do, kids’ activities, and a host of other everyday things. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Solomon (in the Old Testament) was the all-time romantic. If you haven’t read the book Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon) in the Bible for a while, or ever for that matter, take a look. You’ll get some great romantic ideas–even in the first chapter.

Kiss. “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth–for your love is more delightful than wine” (Song of Songs 1:2). Do you kiss with love and passion? A prostitute once said, “I will make love with my clients, but I won’t kiss them. That’s way too intimate.” Soft and romantic kissing is often a sign of how your relationship is doing. If it is lacking, most likely other parts of your romantic life are lacking as well.

Take time to clean up and enjoy each other. “Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. . . . Take me away with you” (Song of Songs 1:3, 4). In the first chapter of Song of Songs, Solomon’s wife is pouring it on. She compliments him on how he smells, she praises him, she initiates with the words: “Take me away. . . . Let the king bring me into his chambers.” This type of flirting and the time it takes to enjoy each other is incredibly romantic. When was the last time you took time to be proactive in the romance department? If it has been a while, plan something, and you will experience the benefits of preparation.

Create an En Gedi experience. “My lover is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi” (Song of Songs 1:14). En Gedi is an incredible oasis in the middle of the desert. David hid out with his men in the caves of En Gedi. In Israel, En Gedi is an oasis for travelers to stop by the waterfall, enjoy the birds, flowers, and quiet directly off the road in the barren desert. In the first chapter of the Song of Songs, Solomon and his wife give each other the romantic gifts of affirmation and special presents. With words and intentionality they basically seduce each other by creating an oasis of safety and refuge in the midst of their home. Is your marriage a place of safety and refuge? It can be with some strategic romance added to your relationship.


[1]Rosberg, The Five Sex Needs of Men and Women, 124

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Jim and Cathy Burns

Jim Burns is President of HomeWord. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Some of his recent books include: Finding Joy in the Empty Nest; Doing Life with Your Adult Children, and Have Serious Fun. Jim and his wife, Cathy, live in Southern California. Cathy Burns is the co-author of Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together. Along with being a mom, wife and Bible study leader, she recently retired from her job as a teacher in a school for “kids who learn differently” in order to help care for her three grandchildren. Cathy and Jim met the first day in college and married one week after she graduated.

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