Okay, okay. I'm NOT married to a cowboy. It was never really my dream to be. I love the country, the west, western movies, western music & horses. ...But my dream was ALWAYS to be a scientist. When Paul came along, I was blown away by my feelings for him. I still am. The first time I said, "I love you" the words literally flew out of my mouth without my permission. I was lost in his twinkling eyes the first time I looked into them and I still love him 27 years later so much it hurts.
Now, you're going to assume it's been like this the whole time. I just have the 'perfect' guy right? LOL, no.
Women see the tall, dark & handsome cowboy strolling up to us like John Wayne, calling us Ma'am and treating us like a high lady of some royal court. Extra points if he is an expert handyman and mechanic and helps with housework. She also wants him to be wealthy and hard-working yet financially able and willing to take regular fun vacations. He will appreciate every moment they spend together giving her his undivided attention, hanging on her every word, and yet overwhelmingly support all time and money she spends in her own pursuits.
Men see a thin, voluptuous beauty with long flowing hair that never tangles and a bright permanent smile on her face ready to show all respect and physical passion. Extra points if she's a great cook & housekeeper. He'd also like her to either have her own money or to be super thrifty and resourceful without being a shopaholic. The perfect woman will cost NOTHING to keep and will appreciate with overflowing gratitude every single penny spent in her direction.
No let us visit the real world...
- Appearance - Seriously, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Physical appearance can change in a heartbeat and should NEVER be a rating for romance. Honestly, the more you grow to appreciate someone, the more their true beauty shines through.
- Words - My love language is "Words of Affirmation". If you haven't read any of Gary Chapman's books about love languages, please do ASAP. Paul is a man who visits well with everyone, yet by the time he gets home and gets off the phone, he just doesn't have many words left for me. He has never showered me with verbal complements. I have learned to appreciate the few I get like bits of priceless treasure.
- Actions - While it is super nice that my husband has always opened the door for me and is considerate, my happiness is NOT dependent on his actions. Whether she does this or he does that, you decide your emotions through the thoughts you choose to have. See Dr. Caroline Leaf's books on how to rewire your brain with God's word. You'll be amazed! It is scientifically proven that your happiness does NOT depend on your environment, circumstances, or situation. (By all means, if you are being physically abused, remove yourself from harm!)
- Wealth - We all have to admit that financial stability is definitely a consideration. My husband's successful family business was a big plus for me. It showed he was willing to work and was respected in the community for his ethics and integrity. When it comes down to it though, it's more important to have integrity and good budget and spending habits than to have lots of money or a high paying job. His debt and the ups and downs and stresses of his business have been one of the hardest parts of our marriage.
One other thing I'd like to address is hormones. I'm of the opinion more and more that hormones are one of the biggest obstacles to perceiving romance. I did not even realize I was struggling with depression. I was tired all the time, exhausted. I kept thinking, if he'd only do this or that... I felt like I was doing all the work in our marriage and in parenting. My thought life was constantly negative, mostly against myself and since he wasn't battling my thought life by telling me all the opposite things the enemy was slipping into my head, I just didn't feel like he loved me enough, sometimes... at all. Yes, I felt unloved. Completely and totally unloved. That is a dark feeling indeed. Unfortunately, it's been a habit to think and feel that way for as long as I can remember and I've always had very, very little to tell me otherwise. The more unhealthy my body and hormones became, the worse my thoughts and feelings and vice-versa. It was an awful downward spiral. When I got my health under control I started to see the little things Paul was doing out of his love and consideration for me. I began to show appreciation for those little things, which encouraged him to show more consideration... And our season of winter was finally over. (Gary Chapman's 4 Seasons of Marriage: Secrets to a Lasting Marriage is another VERY helpful book.)
When you aren't feeling the romance in your relationship, stop and consider the baggage you've brought into it. We all have baggage of some sort, burdens we need to give to the LORD. (See Breaking Unhealthy Soul Ties.) Also consider your health and diet. Romance is more a state of mind and physical well being than an action or circumstance. Romance is a journey. Have you ever watched a movie where the heroine is standing on a hill with the wind blowing her hair and skirts but she looks positively thoughtful? It's a romantic scene, yet there is only her and the wind and scenery.
Real Western Romance isn't wrapped up in a handsome cowboy or some beautiful pioneer woman. Real Western Romance is having a very real relationship with "The Man Upstairs" and appreciating His Creation and purpose for everything around you. When you can rewire your brain to embrace that and care for His temple (your body) with that reverence, then you will experience Real Western Romance.
Now for a few fun words from our silly Miss Kathryn about Cowboys:
What is the most Romantic thing you have every experienced? Leave me a comment below. I'd love to hear it!