There’s a new blog post I’ve seen friends talking about called The Real Truth about ‘Boring’ Men — and the Women who Live with Them: Redefining Boring (the site autoplays music so watch out). The post is written by Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts (a book I haven’t read, though practically every woman I know has and swears it changed her life).
Voskamp writes her post as a letter to her sons and uses this platform to address the pressure men feel to be romantic in flashy, internet-viral ways. She also speaks to women’s expectations about romance. Her main premise is that the world often leads us to pursue expressions of romance that, while great fodder for YouTube videos and great fun, ultimately miss the heart of what real love and real romance are all about. Real romance is, in a sense of the word, boring.
The main example of flashy romance Voskamp uses is in crazy marriage proposals. It seems like more and more guys view their proposal as a challenge to create the most viral proposal video. I’ve actually even seen this obsession in high schoolers. One high schooler I know put on the classic teen look-of-indifference while his mom told stories of how he and his schoolmates went to disturbingly extravagant lengths to ask girls out to dances in the most unique way. This kid ended up sitting in a big gift box on a girl’s front porch for hours because he drastically miscalculated her ETA. I found myself a little put off by how the theatrics these guys were putting on seemed to be more focused on competing for the best story than about wooing the girl they didn’t even seem to have the simplest of puppy love for. If high school girls are expecting this kind of treatment in a dance invitation, what will their proposal need to be like?
Voskamp isn’t really hating on the wild and crazy ways men find to propose to their wives or ask girls out. She’s just saying that the theatrics aren’t what really matter. In her words:
“Sure, go ahead, have fun, make a ridiculously good memory and we’ll cheer loud: propose creatively — but never forget that what wows a woman and woos her is you how you purpose to live your life.”
Later she says,
“The real romantics imagine greying and sagging and wrinkling as the deepening of something sacred.
“Because get this, kids — How a man proposes isn’t what makes him romantic. It’s how a man purposes to lay down his life that makes him romantic.”
And this is where the “boring” part comes in. Voskamp tells her sons that real romance is this lifelong commitment full of the nitty-gritty as well as the ecstatic.
Reading her post, I realized I could use Voskamp’s advice in my own marriage. I realized that it’s easy to save the “romance” for special date-nights, Valentine’s Day and anniversaries. But the real romantic foundation of our marriage is built with the day-in and -out actions of speaking encouraging words to my wife, looking for ways to serve her, and putting her before myself.
Both the guys and gals reading this post should check out Voskamp’s blog (again, sorry for the awful autoplay) for a healthy dose of expectation-tuning, character-challenging, and encouragement. There’s a better and more beautiful romance available to us and one that looks more like Jesus’ love for the church.