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Wifey Wednesday: What Makes Men Romantic?

It's Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up!

This Wifey Wednesday post is reprinted from 2009.

Wild flower poesy
Photo by Rev Stan

Many of you would kill for flowers.

You can't figure out why he can always remember the oil change and when the game is on but he can't remember to pick up flowers every now and then.

I've had a rocky relationship with flowers myself.

When we were first married, Keith used to buy me chocolate truffles. I love chocolate truffles. Especially in the bath.

But then one day he started buying me flowers. In fact, he vowed, without telling me, that he would buy me flowers every two weeks for six months.

And he did. They started coming like clockwork. He was expecting me to be ecstatic. Romantic. Enthusiastic.

Instead I began to seethe.

And the more flowers came, the more upset I became.

You see, about the time Keith made his pledge to buy me flowers I realized that I had gained ten pounds. I don't know how I did it; it just appeared one day. And I was very sensitive to it.

So when he started bringing me flowers, all I could think was, "He thinks I'm fat so now he won't bring me chocolate."

Pretty stupid, eh?

Fast forward to last week. I was away speaking for a few nights, and the night before I left I was rather distracted. So we didn't--you know.

Then I came home at midnight. So we didn't--you know.

The next night I know he was hoping for it. And normally it would have happened! I like it, too, after all.

But I was tired and grumpy. So we didn't. And neither of us slept well.

The night after that I threw myself into it, we had a good time, and all was well.

The next day he brought me flowers.

Sex flowers.

And I thought, why do I get flowers on the days after we make love, and not on the days after we don't?

And I started to get angry again.

After I had come back to earth and realized that men are not actually women, I figured out what the issue was.

Keith is a guy. Guys don't think that deeply. Here is what was going through Keith's head:
"I love my wife. I think I'll buy her flowers."

Isn't that sweet?

Of course, as a woman, this is what I assume is going through his head:
"She made love to me, so she needs to be rewarded. I need to withhold romance and affection when she doesn't perform, and only give it to her when she does, so that she starts acting the way I want her to."

That's not it at all.

Here's the truth: women have this hormone called oxytocin. It's the bonding hormone. It's present when we make love; when we nurse our babies; and lots of other times. It's what makes us affectionate and cuddly.

The only time men have the hormone is after they make love. So they feel really close to us. They feel cuddly. They feel like women!

That's why men are so lovey-duvy the next day. It's not to be manipulative. It's because they honestly feel close to us and affectionate.

Isn't it great the next day after you make love, how he looks after the kids, and hugs you, and even does housework? It's because he feels affirmed as a man. He feels powerful. He feels loving.

I think we women need to stop seeing ulterior motives behind everything our men do and just be grateful when they are affectionate and loving. Isn't that what we've been wanting, anyway?

And realize that this is the way marriage works. When you meet his needs, he starts to meet yours. It's a give and take. But if you're waiting for him to be all affectionate and to be romantic before you make love, it may never happen.

So are you going to wait? Or are you going to do something about it?

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Have you ever had to confront your fantasies and throw them aside? How did you do it? Or do you have something else to tell us? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!

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At 7:11 AM , Blogger Terry @ Breathing Grace said…

Great post, Sheila. Women are conditioned to expect men to make the first move. This may be okay when you're talking about initiating a courtship, but it's not okay within the context of a marriage.

Wives can and should sometimes make the first move.


At 8:45 AM , Blogger Lori Alexander said…

I didn't know the "affectionate" hormone was released after men have sex, but it does explain a lot! Great info.


At 9:13 AM , Blogger Iva said…

I found myself giggling at your post because I found so much truth in it: women DO over think...EVERYTHING!

I'm not much for flowers; flowers die. However, there are those moments of complete thoughtfulness when I think, "He really does get me." It's a reassuring feeling.


At 9:15 AM , Blogger Christine said…

So funny! This is just the topic I sent you a post about today. This is something I feel strongly about as well. My own internal dialogue is so much more complex than my husband's, and I often assume the worst as well. It's been a learning process!


At 3:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

though I'm not married, I love reading about marriage in preparation. I'm dating a wonderful man, whom I plan on being with for the test of my life. my question for you ladies, is what does the affirming look like in courting? avoiding all sexual intimacy? thanks again for your post!


At 3:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Ohmigoodness, hate to be the science gestapo here, but your post wasn't very scientifically accurate. The oxytocin hormone is responsible for more than just sex and lactation. For instance, it plays a role in eating (ingesting the capsaicin in chili peppers causes a massive release in oxytocin)! The hormone can also be produced from positive, non-sexual bonding such as simple friendship. Men are not just dependent on sex for oxytocin. That's kind of ridiculous.

Also, don't you think it's a little insulting to men to state that they don't really think "deeply" about things? I donno, maybe you were being sarcastic?


At 4:06 PM , Blogger Sheila said…


I realize that oxytocin is present in the body in more cases that just these, but the fact is that it is present much more often in females than it is in males. That's also a scientific fact. And it surges in both sexes after sex. That's when men get the most boost from it, whereas women have it at many other times (sometimes just from hugging).

And I do believe that women think far more seriously about everyday relationship issues than men do--to our detriment. As you will see from the post, I wasn't making fun of men. I was making fun of women's propensity to overanalyze everything! I'm sorry if you didn't see that.


At 10:23 AM , Blogger Iva said…

Anonymous 2, I think what Sheila meant by men not being "deep thinkers" is that they don't OVER THINK. And it's true - as a general rule, they don't. It either is or it isn't and for the most part, their thinking processes are very compartmentalized.


At 11:33 AM , Blogger Karen (Canadian Soldier's Wife) said…

"Also, don't you think it's a little insulting to men to state that they don't really think 'deeply' about things?"

Response from my husband...

"ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! To us, a cigar is just a cigar. When you say something we are more than likely going to take it literally."

;) It took me almost ten years of marriage to actually believe him on this one. We've had lots of discussions that went something like this:

Me: What are you thinking about?
Him: Nothing.
Me: Nothing?!? No, really.
Him: Really.

Yes, foreign as it sounds, guys really DO think about nothing.

Thanks for a great post, Sheila :)


At 12:44 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

So funny, Karen!

I probably should have worded it more like this, though: Men don't tend to think deeply about relationships on a daily basis. They CAN think deeply; they just don't tend to very often. But they do think deeply about other things.

That's not the same as saying that men don't FEEL deeply, either. I think men do feel quite deeply; they just don't dwell on it and overanalyze it the way we women do!

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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