Behold, the great day of romance is upon us! Cupid’s whisper is in the air and the store displays are filled with pink and red hearts. Florists are doing a booming business. Hallmark is adding to its revenues in great style. Boxes of chocolates are flying off the shelves. And husbands are thinking about how they can wow their wives with a presentation for this celebration of love. And it is appropriate that they do so. But here’s a tip that will keep the Valentine’s Day spark going for the rest of year  . . .
Kiss your wife.
Uh-huh. Kiss her at least once a day.
It’s really a small thing. Doesn’t take much effort. Hardly any commitment. Well, just your heart.
Let’s digress.
Women, wives, need affection. They want to be winked at, glanced at, purposely noticed, embraced, kissed, talked to . . . .romanced. These things tell her she is loved, prized, wanted. They will make her beautiful in ways her husband has never dreamed. They will give her energy to be at his side, keep the house, nurture the children and maintain a special interest in intimacy.
Wives need this kind of attention just because, randomly, spontaneously. And it costs a husband so little to wink at his wife from across the room. Or catch her hand and squeeze it when she walks past him or put his arm around her while they sit together in church (this means even more to pastor’s wives who almost never get this privilege!). Yet, for some men, it is too high a price. It will cost him his heart. You see, a man can enjoy sex without his heart being involved. But he cannot truly romance his wife without committing the inner core of his being.
Most Christian pastors and counselors agree that a wife should care for her husband’s need for intimacy as regularly as possible. For the most part, she should not base her response on his behavior. And she should try to accommodate him even if she feels a little tired or isn’t really in the mood. It is a biological need, and she should make the effort as an expression of her love.
Yet, there is a disparity when it comes to frequent teaching about a man giving his wife affection, regardless of her behavior or his mood. The affection thing seems tied to “chemistry” which in all honesty every married couple admits comes and goes. And so sexual fulfillment is viewed as a need, but a gentle hug or sweet kiss is not.
Willard Harley addressed this issue in his classic book His Needs; Her Needs. He ranked a woman’s need for affection as the number one need of wives, and sexual fulfillment as a husband’s number one need. They are equivalent.
What? Don’t believe it? Well, it is difficult for a woman to understand the sometimes strong sexual urge that her husband experiences. So, it would likewise be challenging for a man to comprehend that his wife has a deep hunger for his loving words and tender touch. But without his tenderness, she feels as starved as he does after a week of abstinence.
 Now, of course, there are exceptions. And there may be variation in the degree of affection women desire from their men. Some brought up in more reserved families may feel differently than those raised in “huggy” ones. But, as a general rule, even if she were raised in an austere environment, a typical woman wants and welcomes affection from the man she has married.
And the most affectionate thing a man can do for his wife?  Pray with her. Take her hand, sit or kneel together and come before the Father’s throne together, bringing praises, requests and thanks – simply opening your shared life to His leading and grace. It is an amazing bonding experience. It requires a bit of risk; you are vulnerable when you open up to God with another person. But the rewards are incredible. It will do more for your marriage and your romance than anything else you will try. You know why? Because He is the Unifier, the power that makes one out of two. He will give you eyes that seek to find the good in each other and give you the grace to overlook more than you thought you could. He will be the peace-giver when you let Him into the midst of your “circle of two,” as Steve and Annie Chapman used to sing. He will help you see ways to love your spouse and give you the desire to do so.  And He will bless your relationship and cause it to bloom like a June rose on a summer day.
My friends, that’s about it. If more husbands would pray with their wives and kiss them every day and wink at them now and then, there would be a lot less frantic shopping on the evening before Valentine’s Day! No wife is going to let a good thing get away from her no matter how wilted the flowers from the bucket at the gas station.

DISCLAIMER: My husband does not give me wilted flowers. He is a classy sort of  man and whatever he gives is topnotch. In fact, this Valentine’s Day, I was wowed with a “techy” gadget that he knew I would like and gave me early because he wanted to see how much I enjoyed it. Yeah, I’m gonna keep my guy. (smile)

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