Parents, perhaps more than anyone else, require the loving spice of sexy affection that is romance passing between them. They won’t die without it, if by life you mean only the active heartbeat that can be sustained through artificial, mechanical means. Romance is not essential to life like air, water, food, sleep and exercise, but it is a necessity for genuine matrimonial bonding. Friendship and love-making, humane teamwork, honest communication and giving one another space for regrouping are all integral to the thriving marriage, but no more so than the consistent nurturing of the romantic spark of secret infatuation that lives when it is shared.
The influence of romance in your marriage impacts your children deeply. A dearth of it drains you emotionally and encloses your sentiment with blank stares, making you seem inaccessible and therefore unreliable to your child. The child who feels this deficit of emotional bonding soon demonstrates an excess of difficult behavior. On the other hand, when spouses give play to their romantic sides, they bring the their own overflowing heart to their child, nurturing child’s trust with bright, loving patience, unity and understanding that naturally inspires the child’s most caring self-direction.
Beyond impacting your capacity to bond with your child, the quality of your relationship with your mate models the kind of relationship your child will form and gravitate toward. A marriage hardened by a lack of loving softness leads children to relate insensitively with others, with themselves, and toward their environment; and it often drives them to compensate by entering wildly fiery relationships that toss responsibilities to the wind.
Out of love for our child, then, we parents need to remember that parents need romance too, and most likely most of all. Romance may include flowers and candy, perfume and feathers, a dance on a date, but not necessarily. Those special eruptions of the internal, volcanic warmth that builds through mild affectionate interplay over time are just punctuations that occasionally mark the sentence of daily kindling. Romance grows through caring looks, soft kisses that may last only a second, a fleeting touch as you walk by that leaves both wanting more.
We adults often find it easier to trust young children with our hearts than other adults because in childhood adults intimidated us with the threat of their size. The conditioning of childhood shapes the personality for a long time, until self-work undoes the limitations. So we carry our childhood fears of other adults, until we confront them.
Confronting your fear of intimacy is the first real step to kindling, or rekindling, the spark of romance and claiming or retrieving a love-life. Take total responsibility for the way that you relate with your mate. If you cannot trust her, it is not she who needs to change. If you cannot lovingly look, touch, and embrace in a way that returns infatuation, it is not he who dams the flow of romance in your life.
How you see your mate is not your mate’s responsibility. The attitude you express toward another is an experience you give to yourself. Don’t wait for your mate to thaw your heart’s frost. Engage the warmth of a giving look melt the barriers that protect only loneliness. It only takes a momentary glance that says, “You are safe with me.” You are always free to set out in a new direction. One baby step is enough to soon hear yourself calling your lover “baby” once again.
Bob Lancer leads individuals, businesses, families, and associations to fulfill their greatest dreams. He does this through a wide variety of venues, including his WSB radio show, Bob Lancer’s Parenting Solutions, a show that focuses as much on the raising of ourselves and of our society as on the raising of children. The show has been on the air since 1995 and broadcasts to 35 states over the radio, and worldwide over the internet.