1461. Marry Without Romantic Appeal?

At #1101 Her Highness Denise inquired. Can a woman marry a bona fide Mr. GoodEnough who “she doesn’t have particularly strong romantic feelings for without her or his disappointment down the line?” Yes, in theory she can but is she capable of paying the price and adjusting to the consequences? Remember, this is just theory to explain how the male and female natures can be blended into compatibility. Different personalities might produce various outcomes.

Behind Denise’s question is this: Can love and romance be separated? Think of this: Romance starts in and stirs a woman’s imagination, but love abounds in her heart. Further, love and romance separate in every marriage when romantic love fades after about two years. The romance side fades in response to marital energies, pressures, and relationship maturation. Either enduring love replaces it or the unforgiveable irritants and unforgettable negatives in a relationship compound and lead to marital separation.

It turns her question into HOW can she make it work if her romantic feelings aren’t all that strong? She pays a bigger price, that’s all. Can she? Is she willing? Can she analyze herself honestly? If she thinks yes, let her consider the devil in the details of what it takes to succeed.

First Expectation. Is Mr. GoodEnough devoted to her? Not just committed to her or marriage, but devoted to her as person, woman, and potential mate? If not, she should delay or do without marriage until he does fit that mold.

Second Expectation. She needs a makeover so that she believes this: I am more interested in him than in myself and more interested in us than in me.* How does she get that way? Her many micro and macro actions imprint and confirm his importance in her life and tend to suppress her self-centeredness and selfishness to favor him.

First Principle. His actions program his heart. Her actions program her heart. Presume the principle works at 100% although reality makes it work at a slightly lower level, perhaps in the neighborhood of 80-20 in favor of the actions of the heart-owner.

Second Principle. Women quite naturally come to love whomever they take close care of. The same applies with romance. Act more romantic with and about him and she will feel more romantic. Eagerly initiate romance activities (with him of course). Smother love will help her but it may turn him off. If needed, do the best she can to fake romantic notions without going too far. In other words, fake it ‘til you make it. Will it generate greater romantic love? Sure, if her intentions are sincere, if her heart is dedicated to generating a great marriage. Moreover, it will help generate the enduring love that will be needed in a year or two after the altar.  

Extra Precautions.

  • Developing new habits—not inspired by romantic passion—to show more attention and affection for Mr. GoodEnough may take many months, so a long courtship should be anticipated and utilized.  
  • Converting and confirming his interest in her as reliable and detectable devotion may also take many months.
  • Analyze herself, just how important is romance to her? How important versus all her other priorities? Does she need her own version to show romance to him or will his displays of affection satisfy her? If he’s devoted to her, he probably shows attention and affection willingly and often. If she’s been captured by romance novels and magazines, however, he probably will never provide enough to satisfy her imagined need for romance.
  • She makes her marriage work this way. Ignoring or suppressing all negative feelings about him and what she does, she acts totally and completely devoted to him, his efforts, his interest, and especially his job. Not to put him first in all things but to put her actively demonstrating without negative thoughts that she loves him. It’s her actions that program her heart with love. Negative feelings curtail the growth of her love and alert her man to prepare for changes that are a’comin’.

This is a theoretical model that takes advantage of natural sex differences. I suggest at least a two-year courtship to see if romance can be stimulated and enduring love can arise after the usual fade time for romantic love.


*I paraphrase Marian the Librarian as she sings in the movie Music Man, ♫“He is more interested in me than in himself and more interested in us than in me.”♫


Filed under courtship

10 responses to “1461. Marry Without Romantic Appeal?

  1. G’morning, Guy!

    Can a woman marry a bona fide Mr. GoodEnough who “she doesn’t have particularly strong romantic feelings for without her or his disappointment down the line?”

    ABSOLUTELY! 🙂 In fact, I recommend this over marrying Mr. Romantic (every Mr. Romantic I knew, prior to meeting my husband, eventually revealed himself to be ‘high maintenance’ and more concerned about his own self interests, than he was ever interested in really pleasing me in any way. He used romance to dull my attention to his short-comings as a potential forever husband and father).

    My 12 year (and better every day) marriage is living proof that what we typically call ‘romance’ is over-rated! Guy is right, as usual… it took EXACTLY this: he was and remains absolutely “devoted to me and us,” and I was and remain “more interested in him than in myself, and more interested in us than in me.”

    At the time of meeting my husband, I was no longer looking for moments of intense pleasure, I was looking for a lifetime. We got to know each other in a church club setting for six months, we dated exclusively for six months, and we were engaged for six months before marrying. On my wedding day, my most heart-felt prayer was that I become a women fully worthy of the very fine man my husband is. The key IS “to put my actively demonstrating without negative thoughts that I love, respect and appreciate him” for his ability to make a good life for us, and for the effort he puts into loving/pleasing me.

    Does he ever buy me pretty girly presents? Nope… but he NEVER complains when I spend money on these things for myself… yet he does tell/show me how much he appreciates my efforts at looking attractive (his idea of a great present, shortly after we started dating, was a new tail light for my car so I would be safer driving… the first prsent he bought me… THAT was when I KNEW he was a keeper!). Does he bring me flowers even occassionally? Only if I ask for some (and I occassionally do ask… coyly, “wouldn’t some fresh violets look lovely on that table?”)… yet he doesn’t complain if I spend money on fresh flowers regularily. If he buys some when I ask, I exclaim as though he thought of it himself (and he sometime thinks he did, LOL!) and if I bought them, he thanks me for making our home so inviting to come home to. Does he take me dancing? Nope, but he’ll dance with me to any song, any time, any place the mood grabs me! Most importantly, he never makes me cry, and he tenderly wipes my tears and holds me if something else does.

    Does my husband ‘complete me’? Nope… but he encourages me to pursue anything that does (and takes an interest in what I get excited about), and his devotion to me and our daughter makes me want to be a better person on daily basis… and I AM a better person for choosing to love him, and for submitting to the idea of a great marriage over feeling romanced on a regular basis.

    Thanks, Guy, for yet another opportunity to celebrate the love (by choice) of my life!

    Your Highness Ramona,

    Thanks for a delightful story. You took my theory of how compatibility can be built and wove it into well-established real life harmony. Well done in both marriage and writing about it.

    Yours is by far the more valuable or our writings. I’ve wanted to say for a long time that romance is highly overrated except in the imagination of females, but I lacked the evidence. You provided it. Thanks, and I’m sure that women who profit from your experience will also be grateful.


  2. Tania

    Dear Ramona,
    What an encouraging history to read–you’ve so wisely learned how to tell the glitter from the gold. Building a good life with a good man IS the ultimate “romance.”;)

  3. Sir Guy,

    Thank you, this was very helpful!

    And Ramona, thank you as well! I’m so glad to hear your story; your attitude seems great and I love the prayer you prayed on your wedding day. I’m sure the Lord is honoring it.

    As for me, the following phrase gives me much to ponder: “I am more interested in him than in myself and more interested in us than in me.” The latter seems more difficult than the former.

    Your Highness Denise,
    Of course it’s difficult. In the case addressed in article 1461, the lack of powerful romantic attachments weakens her attachment to ‘us’. But women expect the same thing of their man. Until conditions are enjoyed mutually, separation lingers right around the corner.

  4. anonymous

    This post was very helpful! I’ve been wondering the same thing for the past two years but could never articulate the question.

  5. laceagate

    Hmm, this is interesting. How do you think people married and were able to succeed in their relationships when they met their spouse through matchmaking or arranged marriage?

    Your Highness Laceagate,
    Good points, well said.

  6. Lin

    I have been pondering on this for a while and this post and Ramona’s great story echoed my thoughts. In looking for my Mr Good Enough I have recently often wondered if that feeling of romance is as important as we are made to believe and if it would be wisest for me to pay less attention to it as Ramona did in her wonderful story

    Looking at the men around me I slowly started to realize that even though romance is lovely, it is certainly not the bedrock of a great marriage. A great marriage requires maturity of thought from both partners and a good understanding of the sexes, their differences and differing needs.

    This post is very timely, for me at least and thank you Denise for bringing the theme up.

    Sir Guy, wondering what your take is on this one. How do you explain loveless marriages?

    Your Highness Lin,

    I don’t think such a thing exists. If a couple lives separate lives under the same roof, they at least appreciate and are satisfied with their arrangement. Also, one or both love themselves sufficiently well to continue as is. It means some love is present but ‘us’ has too little or no meaning to one or both individuals. (For example, parents stay together until the nest empties.)

    Of course, I know what you mean, the absence of love is obvious. Look around some more. You’ll find love around but just not BETWEEN married mates. If there’s anything wrong with either of them, they’ll change the arrangement in their respective best interest. That means its no one else’s business.


  7. anonymous

    This article on the cultural delusion of love might be of interest to someone reading this post.

  8. Tania

    Thanks for sharing this article. This woman has a lot of sense.

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