It’s February – the month that husbands and wives typically spend time and money on ways to show love and appreciation for each other. But why does the emphasis on romance disappear after February 14 has come and gone? Shouldn’t romance be a vital part of your marriage all year long?

Yes, it should, says Jimmy Evans in the February edition of Rock Solid Marriage, a monthly teaching resource of Family and Marriage Today. Jimmy is joined by his wife, Karen, as they share their own experiences of keeping romance alive, and offer tips to ignite the spark of romance in your marriage.

Here are some excerpts from this valuable teaching:

The Mystery

“What is romance? When I began studying on this issue, I looked up ‘romance’ in the dictionary and found that there really is not a good definition of the word. ‘Romance’ is defined as ‘being romantic,’ and the definition of ‘romantic’is ‘the act of romance.’ No wonder many of us are confused about what romance really is!”

The Real Meaning “There are the three elements of romance, and the first is self-initiated pursuit. It means that you, without any coaching or begging, do something special for your spouse. If you’re doing something for [your spouse] without being nagged to do it, it means that you really care about the relationship and that [she] is on your heart. That’s what romance communicates: ‘You are really on my heart.’ ” Ways to Say “You’re Important to Me”

“The second element of true romance is a creative communication of value. This means that when you send flowers or a card, when you help out around the house, when you plan a special weekend for the two of you, what you’re really trying to do is to show how valuable your spouse is to you. It’s focusing on anything you can do to make your spouse feel cherished and valued.”

Speaking Their Language

“The third element of romance is speaking love in the language of your spouse. A lot of times we want to be romantic, but we don’t understand that romance is not something we do for ourselves; romance is something we do for our spouses. To be romantic means that you meet his or her needs, not your own.”

A Vital Element

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“It’s so important that we have romance in our marriage relationship because it keeps the relationship growing and our passions alive. It also keeps our relationship positive and keeps it from deteriorating. Where there is a lack of romance, there is a deterioration of the relationship, always.”

What It’s Not

Karen Evans: “I think one of the most important things about romance is that it’s not something you’re asked to do. It’s something you want to do because you love someone. It’s the attitude of, I just love you so much, how can I surprise you? What can I do to bring a surprise and a delight into your life that you don’t expect? It’s that unexpected thing that just means a lot.”

Keep the Joy

“Romance isn’t something that happens just once a year on Valentine’s. It really is something that you’ve got to make happen regularly. It’s a discipline; it’s a priority. Don’t let anything rob you from that. You know, the joys of life need to be protected. There’s enough pain automatically. The joy of life is romance. The joy of life is the relationship that we have with God and each other and our children. That’s the prize. And whenever you stop being romantic, you lose that joy, and life becomes a drudgery.”

In the February Rock Solid Marriage teaching, Jimmy not only defines and explains the value of romance in a marriage, but he and Karen also share creative suggestions for revitalizing the romance in any marriage.

Each month’s teaching covers another valuable and vital topic to improve your marriage. Read more about the Rock Solid Marriage monthly resource, and sign up today. As Jimmy says, your marriage is worth it:

“All the investment we put into building our marriages is one of the best investments we can possibly make. Many people spend a lot of money getting married, but they don’t spend very much [money] learning how to be married. By choosing to invest in your marriage, you’re one of the wise ones, and I believe it’s going to pay big dividends for you.”

Copyright © 2005 Jimmy Evans, Used by Permission.

Author & one of America’s leading authorities on family and marriage relationships, Jimmy Evans is Founder & CEO of MarriageToday. He and his wife, Karen, host MarriageTodayTM, a national television program. Jimmy is the author of many resources including the books Marriage on the Rock, Freedom From Your Past, 7 Secrets of Successful Families, and Resolving Stress in Your Marriage. He also travels nationwide presenting life-changing truths for couples through his marriage seminars and conferences. Jimmy and Karen have two children and two grandchildren.