Welcome to Marriage Monday
How Marriage Works:
21 Secrets Every Couple Needs to Know
Secret #12: It Only Takes One to Reignite Romance
Q. How can we bring those warm feelings back to our relationship?
Is it even realistic to try to keep romantic love alive?
“My husband and I both discussed the question, “What’s the biggest problem or frustration in your marriage?” … We both chose the same answer: lack of romance. We have a small child. This isn't so much the problem as "everyday" events. We are so happy with one another and so happy to be together. We both describe our marriage as strong and bonded. We do both acknowledge the lack of romance as well. I fear this has the opportunity to become a bigger issue in the future.”—Katy M
A. You are wise to be concerned! Researchers have discovered that the romantic good feelings you are missing are tied to important brain chemicals. These hormones keep us healthy in mind and body, and also promise long life.
However, the key hormones that spell R.O.M.A.N.C.E. for husbands and wives are very different. Let’s delve deeper into the science behind it all …
Oxytocin for Wives
For women, the brain chemistry that creates romantic feelings is oxytocin. Oxytocin is the essential hormone that motivates women to “tend and befriend.”
Known as the cuddle, love, or trust hormone, oxytocin calms and relaxes women. It creates secure emotional attachments in marriage, friendships, and families. Oxytocin causes strong contractions during childbirth,
“let down” when nursing, and is released in the greatest quantities during orgasm.
Unfortunately, lifestyle stress can create a deficiency of oxytocin in a woman’s brain. As a result, she may suffer from postpartum depression, anxiety, social isolation, panic attacks or sleep difficulties. Other symptoms include a resistance to affection and sexual intimacy.
The most powerful (non-sexual way) to raise a woman’s oxytocin levels is through loving touch and hugging. Nurturing activities such as caring for children, the elderly, or pets raise oxytocin levels too. Foods like chocolate and spicey curries can also be beneficial.
A husband’s warm affection including kissing, holding hands, and gentle massage raises a woman’s oxytocin levels even higher. Other romantic gestures such as flowers, compliments, a listening ear, and planning dates help keep a wife’s happiness hormones elevated. All this special attention makes her feel secure and loved and spells R.O.M.A.N.C.E. to a woman. (See also 1 Pet 3:7-8)
Testosterone for Husbands
For men, the big one is testosterone. This is hormone has the opposite effect of oxytocin, motivating a man to action, including the “fight or flight” response. Testosterone levels fluctuate during the day, regulating a host of vital functions within the male body. Testosterone gives a man his muscle strength and that powerful
However, lifestyle stress and excess belly fat lower base testosterone levels significantly. Men who suffer from below normal T-levels often experience low libido, erectile dysfunction, and become sluggish, agitated, or depressed. They are also at great risk for deadly diseases like heart attacks, diabetes, and cancer.
A man’s testosterone levels rise naturally during sexual intercourse, sound sleep, sunbathing, weight training, sports & recreation, emergencies, competition, altruism, sacrifice, and job success. Certain foods like turkey, peanut butter, bananas, and oatmeal can also be very beneficial.
A wife’s warm smiles, her trust, gratitude, quiet faith, respectful behavior, sports companionship, good cooking, and enthusiasm in the bedroom also give her husband’s testosterone levels a real boost. These responses help him feel needed and important and that spells R.O.M.A.N.C.E. to a man.
(See also 1 Pet 3: 3-6)
So the good news is that yes, it’s desirable, realistic, and very possible to fan the flames of romance in your marriage. Fortunately, male and female responses are reciprocal, and it only takes one spouse to jump-start the process. The key is to focus on giving the strokes that your spouse finds romantic. Be patient, because sooner or later he will catch on and decide to
Another powerful way a wife can satisfy her need for romance is to calmly ask for what she needs in an undemanding way. Husbands are always happy to play the hero when they know exactly what is needed.
• 20 Ways to Please Your Lover: Top Tips for Married Women
• 20 Ways to Please Your Lover: Top Tips for Married Men
• Romantic Love: Is it a Realistic Goal for Marriage Therapy?
1. Can you identify the oxytocin & testosterone hidden in Gen 3:16-18?
2. Based on this information, why do you think 1 Cor 7:5 commands married couples to make love on a regular basis?
Photos: CoolLibrarianPhotographer, psigrist, Sangudo (Flickr)
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