How to teach your man to romance you

Husbands who truly love us and have at least the IQ of golden retrievers should know what we like and what we don’t, right? They shouldn’t need a manual. We shouldn’t have to spell it out for them, right?

Wrong.

It’d be nice if our men intuitively knew what we wanted, but they don’t. They really don’t. Most men have no clue what women want. None. My husband certainly didn’t. Early on in our relationship, he used to communicate his desire to get busy by turning on the Playboy channel. Now, I have nothing against the Playboy channel. My husband and I used to watch it together. It was quite an education, but turning it on doesn’t equal foreplay or romance in my book. In fact, it’s the opposite and I eventually cancelled our subscription for that reason.

You can’t fault your man for brining you chocolate when you are on a low carb diet. You can’t fault him for taking you out for Mexican when, by gum, he should know already that you despise spicy food. You can’t fault him for buying you flowers when you really just want to hear the words, “I love you.”

Men are clueless. Almost all of them are. (I was going to write, “They all are,” but one or two somewhat more clairvoyant men read this blog and will send me a comment about such a statement. So let’s just say, all men are clueless except for the one or two who read this blog, and they are only clued in because they are avid blog readers). If you want romance in your life, you need to give your man the clues.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds because, if you are like me, you don’t know what you want. There! How can he know what you want if you don’t know yourself? To help figure out what you want, think about these questions:

1) Romance is the way your man shows his love for you. What words or actions make you feel adored?

2) When you watch other happy couples together, what do they have that you pine for?

3) When you watch romantic movies or read romantic books, what do the male characters do or say that makes you swoon?

4) Think back to when you were happier in your relationship. How did he romance you then?

Then, talk about it. Tell him what you want. Explain that you want to feel loved. Say that you need him to show you that he adores you. You need it because of the hard times because, sometimes, you truly don’t know whether or not he gives a damn. Write a Romance Instruction Manual, such as the one below that I wrote for my husband. Give it to him. Let him carry it around in his pocket. It just might make all the difference.

Touch me, not because you want to have sex, but because you love me. Touch the back of my arm. Touch my neck. Hold my hand. Place your palm against my upper back.


Kiss me. Kiss my cheek. Kiss my forehead. Kiss the back of my neck. Walk up to me in front of other people and kiss me on the lips, and say, “That’s just what I needed.”


Court me. Show me amazing things. Remind me to see the sunset. Marvel at the stars with me. Sit and listen to the crickets with me.


Be with me. Walk with me. Ride the tandem with me. Watch James Bond with me.


Tell me that I’m beautiful. Tell me in the morning, when my hair is a mess. Tell me when I’m dressed up. Tell me when I come into the coffee shop. Tell me just because.


Say I love you. Say it when you leave for work in the morning. Say it when you come home. Say it as we are falling asleep at night.


Surprise me. Send me small gifts, even if it’s not my birthday or Mother’s Day. Pick flowers for me. Take me somewhere unusual. Send me a card for no reason. Hide a note in my purse. Send me a text message.


Help me. When I seem tired, harried or overwhelmed, do more. Ask to help and, when I don’t suggest a way to help, help anyway. Entertain Kaarina. Empty the dishwasher. Straighten up the house. Sort the mail. Scoop the poop. Wash the dog. Make dinner.


Excite me. Encourage me to face my fears. Rekindle my sense of adventure. Help me to loosen up. Push me beyond my limits. Make me ride a roller coaster with you. Blindfold me and feed me.
Bring me on adventures. Take me to new places. Enjoy new cuisines with me. Explore the world with me.
Listen to me.


Look in my eyes.


Rub my back, neck, or shoulders without me asking.


Practice random acts of helpfulness. Let Rhodes out in the morning or put food in his bowl. Take dishes out of the sink, even if they are not yours, and put them in the washer. Put the clothes away.

97 comments… add one

  • oldie March 22, 2013, 2:24 pm

    Have you tried finding out why your man grunts about the movies? My husband is a bigger man, and hates movie theaters because of the cramped up seating. Raising 3 girls kinda made him feel he needed “man” connections and chick flicks were just to much “feminism” for him. (Now the girls are grown, he kinda enjoys chick flicks though he won’t admit it.) What are your ideas on a romantic dinner? Maybe hitting the hot dog stand at the corner of the street for lunch can be just as romantic if you have fun, such as stealing his hotdog and making him beg to get it back before you eat it all. (Just be sure he isn’t actually starving because that would make him angry if you ate it.) As far as (in his eyes) a sappy pull out my chair, quiet dinner so we can talk, do you realize that there are long table clothes in some restaraunts so you can maybe rub him in mentionable places and he may be more willing to take you out? :} Insist he take you to one of these places, and show him that it doesn’t have to be sappy. Have him taste the wine from your lips to see if he likes it before ordering. Get creative, and if he doesn’t respond to your overatures, maybe there is something more seriously wrong. My husband always said there are more fish in the sea, and I confronted him with “and have you been fishing? I haven’t, but if you like I can.” That made him think for a bit. The point is, if he isn’t interested in anyone else, or he isn’t depressed which may mean counseling, you need to force him to go have fun and show him it can be fun. And it may by your reaction to some of his wants that make a difference. We went to a zoo with the kids once and he started hollering “hey come and look at this.” I told him to let the kids take their time, and he told me, “I’m sorry but I got excited, I have never been to a zoo before either”. Boy do I feel like a heal even years later because I didn’t know enough about him.

    Reply
    • jikky April 11, 2013, 3:48 am

      My question please is what should I do alternatively for my husband for him to feel really different and a lot loved ….i feel he deserves a lot more than what I do for him…..

      Reply
  • Michelle April 26, 2013, 8:44 pm

    My biggest issue is that I’ve done all of that until I’m blue in the face. Our No.1 argument to this day and about once a month over the last 4 years of marriage is that I do everything for him, and I never feel like I get anything in return. I’ve given him suggestions, written them down, and still nothing. I’m not an expensive girl either, I am more of a country girl so my idea of romance is a warm blanket and a starry sky. Almost all of the things that make me swoon are free or nearly free so I know it’s not money.

    Sometimes, I just feel like I’m at my whits-end with him. He did so many romantic things before we were married, and since I haven’t had a night under the starts or a bouquet of flowers when it wasn’t my birthday, and even then sometimes I wouldn’t get much.

    Your probably wondering, “Well, how do you show him you love him?” He likes to sit his butt on the couch and watch show after show and waste the night away. I don’t necessarily like it all the time, but I understand it’s what he likes to do so I try to do it with him. Sometimes, I’ll get up in the middle of a show and bake him something yummy from scratch just so he has something to snack on. I take all of the work load of marriage onto my shoulders so that he can concentrate on his career. That means I do the housework, chores, bills, cooking, cleaning, etc. I write him love notes and leave them on his phone, or the fridge so he sees them first thing in the morning. I help him with work projects, and I always compliment him.

    The truth is, he is my world. I say that not just because technically he has treated me better than previous guys (of course, that’s not saying a whole lot…another long story there), but because I have no family (orphan), and no friends he is my everything.

    We’ve always been best friends, and I enjoyed his courtship in the beginning, but now I feel like my self-esteem is starting to fall under the lack of having romantic gestures returned. I would do anything for him…I put so much passion into our relationship cause he’s all I’ve got, but I can’t help but feel that I’m wasting my time, and he’ll never change, and I’ll always be lacking that love that I need in my life. I can’t imagine a life where I am constantly second guessing my value in my marriage, but I also can’t imagine what I’d do or where I’d go with out him.

    I read a post on facebook today that speaks to the fact that, “God never gives us more than we can handle,” and is followed by “Then God must think I’m a badass!” Story of my life!

    Anyways, I am at a loss. I don’t feel like arguing about it anymore, but I can’t live a happy marriage without it.

    Sincerely,
    Michelle from Tulsa, OK

    Reply
    • Molly April 29, 2013, 6:23 pm

      I’d like to hear advice, I need it too for my similar situation!

      Reply
    • jessica May 10, 2013, 3:29 pm

      My dad tells me this all the time: you have to have something other than just your husband. You have to have friends and go out and not need him every minute. Not that you do. I’m a lot like you in the fact that my husband is my everything. We just moved across the country and I had no friends in our new state, so I went on meetup.com and meet some other stay at home moms, I also just got a gym membership and have been working on myself a lot. I think if you make yourself less available and less dependent on him for your happiness it will wake him up and make him see what a catch you are! My husband would jump up and down like a little kid if I made him treats mid tv show! Lol. It will boost your self esteem too, to find meaning in yourself and not just search for it in your husband. It will also put less stress on your relationship so you guys can just relax, and you’ll also have more to talk about. I wish you luck :) don’t give up, love is worth the work :)

      Reply
    • JEN June 11, 2013, 8:28 am

      girl i feel you. we got the same dillema. and i’ve been planning to leave him a couple of times mainly because it makes me feel down everytime im trying to please him, do things for him but in return it will end up in a heated arguement. and damn im already worn out.

      Reply
      • leanna November 13, 2013, 7:26 pm

        That’s a great idea.

    • mary July 8, 2013, 3:47 pm

      Michelle,

      Reading your post was chilling because I have the EXACT same problem. We’ve only been married 3 years (next week) and I’ve talked to him and TOLD him what I want, what I need, in the nicest way, til I was blue in the face. He seems to listen and says okay, that he’ll try hard to work on that but then nothing is done about it.
      I don’t know what else to do…Divorce is NOT an option for me as I am a strong believer in marriage and he is a great person with a great heart. He just sucks at being romantic (before marriage he was more physically and verbally affectionate) ..not to sound conceited but I’m a very pretty woman and at times when I meet up in public w/ him and go to give him a kiss hello, its almost like hes embarrassed and doesnt want to kiss me in front of others. I’m talking a peck, not a makeout session.
      Does anyone have any other ideas for what I can do? I’ve tried being everything and doing everything…I know I’m doing my part. I feel more like a friend than an adored wife.

      Reply
    • Yahaira October 26, 2013, 1:52 am

      Stop doing what you do for him; for one day or two, he’ll be very surprised and ask you what’s wrong, in return you can tell him you don’t feel loved or you miss those old days you used to have with him.. and I guarantee you he will do something nice for you;)

      I know from experience

      Reply
    • Mandatoryink March 10, 2014, 11:53 am

      I just want to comment on the ” God never gives us more then we can handle” comment. I see it so much and it is not true. It does not say that any where in the bible. This is a prime example of humans confusing things so easily. The saying goes ” THROUGH GOD, all things are possible.” God never expects us to do anything alone, but to walk with him every step of the way so he can help us with the difficult and seemingly impossible.

      Reply
      • Nevermore December 8, 2014, 5:19 am

        There are many things in the Bible people misinterpret, you can draw two opposite things from this book if you want to – so just relax, ok? Don’t let faith blind you – follow it with your eyes and mind wide open, not shut. What does it matter to you if a saying helps people find some comfort? Besides, perhaps no one is talking about x-tian god here. There are other religions too, also just generally referring “god” to “fate”, “universe”, etc.

    • Marsha October 8, 2014, 9:17 pm

      Dear Michelle,

      The problem is not your husband. I believe you do not love yourself enough and you define yourself inside your marriage. Instead of all the times that you put for your husband, do something for yourself. Something that reminds you that you love yourself. Sign up for a yoga/painting/charity class you always wanted or go for a massage. Change you hair style or even try school again. Do something for yourself which gives you more self-esteem. You are a worthy girl not a lonely one. If you love yourself more your husband’ll act more affectionate too.

      Reply
  • Javier May 2, 2013, 4:25 pm

    Good afternoon,
    My situation is different and I am probably one of the few men which Alisa refers to – read blogs – try very hard to understand women – and what I can do to have a better romantic relationship with my sweetheart, how to be a better lover – (loved the instructional article on “going down town” by the way).

    We both come from different marriages, my kids are in college her two girls are in H.S and I adore them and they see me as their dad, refer to me as their dad when speaking to their friends. She was married for 9 years and I was married for 24. She left her husband, kind of a verbally abusive jerk. My ex announced to me one day at dinner, in a restaurant, that she was not in love and wanted out…. I am 51 and she is 44.

    So, my sweetheart and I have been together for almost three years and we moved in together about 10 months ago.

    My issue is that I know she loves me, she does tell me from time to time, but she does not show strong feelings most of the time. Sometimes I wonder if she does love me. Other times I know that she is deeply in love with me, because she will tell me like a spontaneous “love surge” of sorts, like she has had an epiphany.

    Early in our relationship she was very lovy dovy, lots of kisses, very affectionate, always was visually that I came over, huge smile, and genuine excitement. On the days where i would spend the evening or weekends she wanted sex all of the time, lots of cuddling, hugs, inseparable. As of about a year ago, the demonstrative attention has really slowed down, for the most part, she does not kiss me, I initiate the kissing, if i did not initiate it we could probably go for a week with out a single kiss, really.

    At times, it almost feels like I am bothering her, she did refer to me a “being needy” for wanting to kiss her, this was right after we woke up and got the morning started. When she does initiate a kiss, which catches me off guard, it is wonderful and I feel very loved . Where she used to be happy to see me, now when I come home, its more of a “oh, hey what’s up” no get up and kiss me or a smile or excitement to see me. basically content to have another adult at home to whom she can vent to about her day or anything else that might be bothering her. At times it feels , from an emotional stand point, that she is the stereotypical man, aloof, not very loving, not a whole lot of attention given, except when she wants sex, in the morning; about once a week if you must know. There she wants to climax fast where I want to take time and make love, take time to enjoy each other. Its almost like she needs it and just wants to get the release then be done with the whole thing and move on to other stuff, chores laundry, etc. Again it feels like a role reversal. The stereotypical man is “let me get my release and if you don’t get yours , well possibly next time” .

    What I do to romance her:
    1) Once a month on the anniversary of when we met , I have fresh flowers delivered to her school, she is a middle school Algebra teacher. I figured, better at work because there is the whole, “oh wow you got flowers” etc., which I know ladies like. It makes a lady feel special, loved wanted and well, everyone knows that she is appreciated by her man.
    2) Just about daily, I sneak a love note in her lunch bag, or hide one in her underwear drawer, attach one on the bottle of conditioner in the shower, stick one next to her towel. Sometimes the note just says “I love you” other times I write why I love her, or how I feel when I see her. Other times my notes are a bit more risqué, and at times right down graphic –not crude – but I let her know what I would be doing if I were with her right then and there…She saves all of the notes in a special box so I know she appreciates the notes.
    3) I help out with dished without being asked, take the trash out, do the recycling, and if I have time fold the laundry, though she is quite fussy about how things are folded. I help with the shutting of our girls – both in H.S. to sports and other activities, I keep the front and back yard very tidy. I fix stuff like drains, faucets toilets and slay the occasional bug which might be terrorizing one of the girls.
    4) I tell her , all of the, time that I love her, waking up, before bed, just sitting with her watching TV. I also tell her, all of the time, how beautiful I think she is, how she excites me, etc.
    5) Random foot rubs with lotion, leg rubs if her legs hurt from running or cycling, shoulder rub if she has a head ache. If she cannot fall asleep, then I give her a foot and leg rub until she is out – say 45 minutes or so. She does tell me how much she enjoys the foot rubs and massages.
    6) We hold hands every time, grocery shopping, walking to and from the car, etc.

    So what’s the problem you ask…?
    It feels as though I have to ask permission to kiss her, and when we kiss its strictly lips only, unless she initiates a different sort of kiss. She is not very expressive and is definitely sparing with initiating a simple ” I love you Javier” but will always respond with “I love you too” . Stupidly, I’ll wait for her to say the words before I say them, and it could be all day and not a word until I say the words. The odd part is that if she texts me during the day or emails me, there are plenty of I love yous from her, sometimes even some I’d like to BE with you stuff. However, face to face it’s a different story. It feels like a role reversal. I hate the feeling of not being loved as much as I love her.

    Thoughts/ Advice. Am I just whining? Should just get over it and forget the romancing stuff?
    Thanks for reading.
    Javier

    Reply
    • nina May 5, 2013, 5:44 pm

      Hi,I am in relationship for almost two years and I have the same problem with my boyfriend.Sometimes I feel so neglected and ignored but deep down in my heart that he loves me although he doesn’t say it often.When I love someone,I love with all my being,but I guess that we are not all the same and that you and me have to accept that and learn how to live with it if we can’t change it.I’m just afraid that this won’t affect much our relationship on a long term.

      Reply
      • Stephenie May 6, 2013, 4:22 pm

        Javier, I really think you need to talk to your lady about how you feel. It sounds like she loves you, she just isn’t good at demonstrating it and maybe doesn’t even realize that she isn’t. I’m married to a guy who sounds a lot like you and when he finally told me what was bothering him (he felt like he was doing all the work) I was stunned. I had no idea that he felt so neglected and I now try to do the things he asked me to do (like asking him about his day, kissing him hello when I see him, etc.)

      • Javier May 17, 2013, 11:14 am

        Thank you Nina, You are probably right. I do need to talk to her about how I feel. When your husband approached you, what was your initial reaction? Were you defensive or did you “take his word for it”? I am also curious to know what setting he chose to confront / express his concern to you. Casually one morning or afternoon, over dinner; was it a “honey we need to talk about something that’s been bothering me” thing? I assume that he just did not just blurt it out, then again he might of. I ask because as a person who tends to avoid confrontation, especially in my personal life3, another issue…, I tend to get tongue tied and freeze up when challenged or if my complaint / concern is met with some push back. Naturally I would expect some push back from her. As you were stunned, I would assume that she too will be stunned and will probably push back.
        I would love to know how to handle this sort of “next step”. I do want to let her know that I am feeling neglected and would like more attention. I need help from anyone advising me / coaching me on how to approach the subject and what to do if there is push back. Why do I think there may be pushback?
        A few times I have felt “brave” on the way home and ready to sit and talk with her about my feeling neglected. Every time I think it’s a good time, I get home, greet her with enthusiasm, only to get the standard one word response with a very monotone voice. I ask how her day was and it simply one word; “fine”. Sometimes I will state that she seems down or upset and ask if there is anything bothering her. The response is her two word answer; “I’m fine”. Clearly she is not fine, clearly something is bothering her; sometimes the youngest girl 13 YO, will approach me and ask “is Mommy okay?” . All I can say to her is that I think she must be tired. My gut feel is to walk up to her, get in her face and challenge her, tell her that NO she is not fine and that there is obviously something bothering her based on her demeanor. Sort of taking off my “at home hat” and put on my “work hat” and confront her as I would a vendor I am having issues with or a difficult employee I have to deal with. Then I think for second and ask myself if this is the time to start a fight or push her hard to say more than a one word or two word response. This could be very bad…
        So, I really need help from the point of view of a woman. Thanks

      • racy December 6, 2013, 3:22 pm

        nini just do the same what he does
        a taste of hs own medicine will make hm realise so he will know how it hurts

    • Mia June 23, 2013, 10:53 am

      Javier, you sound like the perfect man!

      Reply
      • Maddie July 11, 2013, 12:40 am

        Javier, when I find myself getting like that, as an introverted person, it’s because I have so much on my mind and I need a break. Silence. Alone time. If she’s an introvert she may need that time to “recharge”. When we don’t get that time we tend to go aloof, distant & shell-like. That’s how I feel. It’s possible your lady has this dilemma and maybe when you see her getting that way it may be best to let her have some alone time to reset. My husband always takes offense to me needing “me time”. It’s hard to be intimate when I have so much on my mind. Just a thought :)

    • cindy July 24, 2013, 8:43 pm

      I see a lot of things that you do pretty regularly. Have you ever thought about not doing things so routinely. Your wife sounds bored and I bet you are too if you think about it. Try stepping out of the box and surprising the two of you with something that gets your heart beating and your stomach butterflies going.

      Reply
      • Javier August 3, 2013, 10:26 am

        Thanks ladies, all of your comments are very helpful. Maddie, I think you might be on to something about her needing time alone when she has so much on her mind. I’ve been observing her moods and she often stresses about a myriad of things, chores, what to get at the grocery store, what lessons she needs to plan for school, etc. I am trying to simply leave her alone during these times and not to take these moods as her not being interested in me. I do notice that when she is relaxed she tends to have more fun and is more jovial. Now that school is about to start,she teaches Algebra and geometry, she will surely begin to stress and bring home her day stress.
        As to the repetitiveness of what I do to romance her, I actually tried to slightly cut back a bit, kind of like an experiment. She actually made a comment on one of the “experimental days” that she did not get he love note also that I had not kissed her since the morning nor spontaneously told her I love you. So…it seems as though she likes to be romanced but at times she gets so wrapped up in the day to day nuances that she can easily shut everything off while she is in that zone. So me, her girls, everything. So space seems to be the way to manage the situation. Its sort of like inside her heart she is very much in love with me, appreciates what I do for her,etc. But when she is in a pensive state and she has lots on her mind, she projects a sort of indifference which is really no more than a deep state of thinking.
        So, it seems that I need to try and find ways to help her relax and give her mind some pause so that she can come out of that Bubble she creates for herself.

  • Jason May 31, 2013, 12:47 am

    This post has some good points but as a married man reading it, it doesn’t strike true with me.

    You mention talking a about what you want and your feelings etc

    “Then, talk about it. Tell him what you want. Explain that you want to feel loved. Say that you need him to show you that he adores you. You need it because of the hard times because, sometimes, you truly don’t know whether or not he gives a damn. Write a Romance Instruction Manual, such as the one below that I wrote for my husband. Give it to him. Let him carry it around in his pocket. It just might make all the difference.”

    To be blunt, this is some very surprising advice…. Men hate ‘that talk’. When their better-halves go on (and on) about feelings and emotions and needs.

    It gets grating to say the least. Maybe your husband is an exceptional exception but I don’t know a single man who likes or responds well to that kind of talk in the long term.

    And an instruction book telling him what to do? Sounds like you’re treating your husband like a child.

    There are ways you can teach romance (written by women for women) and maybe your way worked for you but I cannot see it working for the majority of men.

    Reply
    • Josephine June 2, 2013, 12:53 am

      Different strokes for different folks Jason. Sounds like you’d be more susceptible to the methods found in

      * The surrendered wife
      * How to Teach Your Husband to Love You
      * Fascinating Womanhood

      Reply
    • Nevermore December 8, 2014, 5:29 am

      Then, Jason, be so king, and give us a great advice instead of the one you just criticized – unless criticizing is all you’re good at…

      Reply
  • Maya June 6, 2013, 3:49 am

    hello,
    I have been married since 2 years.. my husband never told me ‘I love you’. I have asked him before mariage and he was not interested. Now i dont ask him to say me these words.. he doesnt like to go for any tour with me.. he says it will be boring if only we both are going…so always waiting for some one to come with us.. and it never happened in our life..

    Reply
  • China September 16, 2013, 9:49 pm

    I been having this issue for years been with my husband 8 years been married 2 Im really just tired of waiting on him to change when I suggest romantic thing he could do for me he walks away I often wonder if I love him more than he loves me it sometimes feel like Im in this realationship alone we dont kiss unless I initiate it no hugs no I love you unless I say it first he is a mechanic and the only time we conversate is if he is venting about his jobbut if Im going through something I dont get his attention Im just so tired of feeling unloved maybe its time to move on you cant change someone they have to want to change

    Reply
  • teemah September 24, 2013, 1:27 am

    hmm
    i wish i can do it

    Reply
  • Erin October 25, 2013, 7:23 pm

    To all of you not getting the love and attention you want…The only way, and I genuinely mean this, is to detach from that need and focus on yourself for a while. Take a class, get a hobby, start exercising, most importantly-make friends and spend time with them (but don’t talk bad about your partner because it will bite you in the ass later when you want them to like and befriend your partner) Become someone that your partner finds interesting. Become someone that you find interesting. Stop demanding- nothing makes someone want to do anything less than someone else demanding them to do it or making them feel guilty for not doing it. Dedicate at least 6 months to this. Do it for yourself…to increase your self esteem. You will find that your improved self esteem will change your life and your relationship; some people feel threatened by this; if your partners behavior doesn’t improve or gets worse, at least you know that your partner does not support you and your goals and you will have the support of friends and the new found confidence to leave. No matter the outcome, forward movement is better than stagnation. Last but not least, don’t do anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable with your partner doing.

    Reply
  • CYNDI April 23, 2014, 2:21 pm

    this stuff is soo cool, just wish my husband could com across it online

    Reply
  • helen August 3, 2014, 7:11 am

    That’s really good advice. I think doing this would generally get a man to sit up and take notice of what he’s got. I’m pretty sure that any woman who does this will quickly get the attention she craves. If it’s positive attention, your man clearly loves you. If it’s negative attention, your man is not supportive of your independence and autonomy as a woman and a re-assessment of why you are in the relationship at all is in order.

    Reply
    • helen August 3, 2014, 7:13 am

      Sorry, this was supposed to be a reply to Erin’s comment above

      Reply

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