How Do You Define Romance?


Join Josh and Kit this week as they discuss Romance. What is it? What it is not? What is a more holistic approach to Romance?


…God romances us, it’s part of being a human being…

…getting to know someone’s heart is a lot harder than taking them out to dinner…

…have fun together, be light-hearted…laugh…

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

Josh 0:04
Here’s the deal. We want to talk about romance today. We just we’ve just gotten off of Valentine’s Day and a lot of us are thinking about or we’re thinking about romance. And honestly, Valentine’s Days is a holiday I don’t like and it’s not because I don’t like being romantic. It’s because it I like what I see of it doesn’t feel like I don’t know, it doesn’t feel authentic. And feels kind of fabricated in some way.

Kit 0:54
Yeah. And it’s like, you know, this this order be romantic. Today’s the day.

Josh 1:01
That Yeah. So so we want to we want to talk about romance because it’s important God, romances us. romance is a part of being a human being. It’s a part of the longing of the heart. It’s part of the longing of the person. But I think there’s some misunderstandings about what romance really is. And I get some ideas about that. But why don’t you like, what do you when you think that like Valentine’s Day or the way that the culture frames up romance? What do they typically do and are talking about? What does it look like?

Kit 1:27
Well, what I hear people talking about is, well, where are you having dinner on Valentine’s Day, so making reservations at some special restaurant,

Josh 1:35
you go to a romantic,

Kit 1:37
romantic restaurant, you have a really special meal,

Josh 1:40
the lights are dim,

Kit 1:41
yes. candlelight, with the lights being damned, staring into each other’s eyes. Everything’s just, you know all about how wonderful love is, and you just talk all night about it.

Josh 1:58
Talking all night about what love is does not sound romantic to me. And then, and then. And I think for a lot of people in our culture, it leads to the end, whatever, whatever you’re doing the chocolate, the romance, the flowers, the music, the dancing, the end goal is sex. And this is all just for play. It’s all just to get Person A and Person B in the mood for sex. And that’s kind of the goal. Yep. And there’s something pressure full about that. That is not very romantic. Yes,

Kit 2:28
gosh, yes. It doesn’t sound like an invitation doesn’t sound like this, you know, lovely kind of, let’s live in the present moment and see what happens and inviting each other into intimacy. It sounds like this setup, there’s not

Josh 2:43
much room for error, right? So many times on Valentine’s Day, or whatever the romantic occasion is, you’re like, crap, like now now we’re not in the mood like, because something went sideways or south or the meal stunk, or the car got stolen or whatever, a flat tire that doesn’t. Alright, so let’s reframe Oh, and here’s, here’s, we should say this too. I think. Honestly, I think that in a lot of the world today, a lot of in our culture, that there is this there’s almost like this expectation. So it’s not only does it not feel Invitational, but it’s like, Hey, you owe me this, like, I, I took you to dinner, I got you this we did this, like, this is what we need to do, like, because it’s Valentine’s Day or because it’s, you know, it’s Friday night or whatever. Yes, yes. And that being framed up as romances is actually an assault on, on what it means to be human. So yeah, so let’s talk about I want to we want to redefine romance, we’re gonna talk about it from a different angle, I think, a more biblical and more godlike angle. on it, I don’t take credit for this, because I this was not my idea. I heard this from somebody else, I can’t remember who. So if you’re listening, and it’s you like, hat tip to you, and let me know, and we’ll give you credit in other podcasts. But here’s a different definition of romance, a different way to approach romance, I think is really good and helpful. It’s pursuing another person’s heart. Specifically, it’s getting to know another person’s heart, and then doing something to pursue the good or the nourishment of that person’s heart. So getting to know their heart and then doing something for the good of that person’s heart. And I know there might be some people listening going well, no, actually, you know, the chocolates the night out. That sounds more romantic, romantic to me, and I’m happy just getting in the mood for sex. Like, I respond to that actually, by saying like, first of all, in in most romantic relationships and true romantic relationships. It’s not all about you, and there might be another person who would feel differently than you do. And then secondly, could it be that your hunger for that, first, you know, to do something that ends insects, your hunger for that beautiful evening that we’ve just described, is actually rooted in a deeper longing inside of you? And I? I base that question really on my experience, as I walk with so many people through our ministry, who are wrestling addictions and broken relationships, and part of what they uncover as they look at their patterns is I was I actually was looking for something deeper, I was looking for someone to know my heart, I was looking to know someone in a deeper way than just sex or deeper way than just that that evening out. So, yeah. So here, here comes the challenge, though. Getting to know another person’s heart is actually a lot harder work than taking them out to dinner, and having someone cook them a beautiful meal, etc, etc.

Unknown Speaker 5:29
Yeah. kit, what

Josh 5:30
does it take, to know a person’s heart to get to know a person’s heart time?

Kit 5:38
You know, it takes time you can’t be rushing through life and being like, Hey, you know, you just like time to, to have conversation to, to understand them. It’s, you know, it’s interesting when you were talking, I was like, it’s knowing them, and it’s understanding them. You know, it’s a difference. How

Josh 5:54
do you?

Kit 5:54
Well, I guess, you know, maybe if I feel like this, Greg, does Greg know me? Or do my friends know me? Yeah, they know me. They know about me? Do they understand me? Have they made an effort to understand me? Maybe some more than others. And I think over time, we’ve been learning how to do that. And I think about clients that I talk about in their marriages, and talk about their marriages, and they talk about that really desire to be understood. Because they’re, they’re different people. And so to take the time to understand someone, who are they what makes them tick, huh?

Josh 6:33
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, even as you say that, I’m like, Yeah, I want that. Understanding those things to me recently about, we’re talking about sharing these passionate parts of our life, things we’re passionate about in life. And each of us have experienced times where like, we know, we’re sharing that with somebody like, yeah, this, this this, and the other person’s like, yeah, cool. No, pass the pretzels. It’s like, it doesn’t really go, like, Ah, oh, really, I want to be understood, I want you to kind of get a glimpse of, of, of what’s inside is, you know, is the fire in me, or that’s it that makes me come alive.

Kit 7:05
And to ask good questions. I mean, I think I really appreciate it when I can tell that someone may be isn’t necessarily being like, Oh, I feel that too. Oh, I totally feel that too. But they’re like, oh, tell me more about that. They’re leaning in, they’re trying to understand, because maybe it’s different than them. That’s very much a gift to me.

Josh 7:23
Yeah, I mean, that’s beautiful. I mean, that’s actually like, I’m okay with that. You don’t need to be just like, mate. Right? But man, you’d be interested in want to know me and want to understand what makes me unique. And

Kit 7:35
that’s romantic and be

Josh 7:36
excited about the things that make me come alive. Like, yeah, none of the patronizing way

Kit 7:40
now, a real genuine way.

Josh 7:42
I think, you know, one thing is that, that we haven’t said yet that I think bear saying is that there is a there’s a unique language of the heart. Like the heart has a different kind of typography than your typical day does, right? You can’t you be able to learn about somebody’s day. And that that requires a certain kind of, you know, certain map to get there. And it’s pretty standard, like, Hey, tell me how your day went? Or hey, how’d the game go? Or hey, Mina, but to get to know someone’s heart, there’s, it’s there’s a different way. And and you mentioned questions, and you mentioned listening and leaning in an interest level, in the end kind of understanding a person. I think my experience like the heart is is more skittish than the facts about our day. Yeah. And in different different ways from people like you can’t, you can’t, like I could I could call somebody else and say, Hey, tell me what happened in kids day, you know, or I could, you could find it information. But you can’t just open the door of somebody else’s heart. If they don’t want it opened. And not just any kind of knocking on that door will open it.

Kit 8:49
Yeah. Yeah. And I think, you know, I’ve heard this question, which I think would work for some people, I don’t think it would work as well for others. But this idea of instead of just saying, Hey, how are you doing? You know, saying, how’s your heart? I think that would work. For some people that work for me. I think for other people, that would feel a little awkward. So another question would be when someone’s talking to you about their day, how was that for you? Yeah, they then it gets a little bit deeper into what’s your experience? What did you feel, you know, what was how was that for you? And so being able to just ask questions that don’t put someone on the defensive, but just show that you are really interested in understanding a deeper level of who they are. All right. Let

Josh 9:31
me back up though, because even as you’re saying, I’m like, Oh, no, no, we’re missing something still like, Okay. Because not just anybody can come up to you and ask that question. So in the area of romance, the area of like, like, and not even just any day, I mean, like what has to happen? I see that. So let me just take take you in Yeah. And Greg for a minute. Your husband So, you know, Greg comes up to you like, what would be the conditions where, if he says, hey, how’s your heart? You’d be like, ah, nope, not open. That door. And and what would be the conditions would be like? Yeah, I mean, what is it about Greg that that, you know, or what is it about? Greg? Sometimes you’re like, yeah, this is a good time. This is I want to open my heart to you. Yeah, I

Kit 10:11
guess it would be? Just, I mean, honestly, I, I apprec I would appreciate that question anytime. But I think probably space, you know, just like, you wouldn’t just be doing it on the run, that it wouldn’t be just any kind of a manipulative sort of question. It would be a Hey, I really mean this. Let’s, let’s talk about how you are, let’s talk about your heart.

Josh 10:33
You have to be convinced like the other person really wants to know, yes. And there’s going to be in the, whatever response you’re gonna get is not going to, it’s going to respect what you’ve just opened to them like,

Kit 10:43
yes, so I’m a safe place. That’s good.

Josh 10:45
I have a story. Like, once I was talking to a friend of mine, and I, and he asked, he’s like, Hey, how are you? How are you? And I told him how I was, and I wasn’t doing well. And his response was so dismissive. It was kind of as trite. Like, yeah, but in the Lord, you’re good, right? And I was just like, Ah, you know, I just felt like, okay, close that door, like, you know, I’ll stand behind it on the side, like, and obviously, like, that wasn’t a romantic relationship. But my point is, like, I need to know, or need to at least have some good evidence that when I open my heart, the other person is going to be able to receive it. Yeah. So I think time matters there too. Like, you know, if you’re, if you’re rushing out the door, or you’re in a hurry, yeah. Like, that’s not, that’s not a real, like a way to romance my heart, or romance another person’s heart. So maybe there’s a track record that needs to be in there too. Like, you know, like, Do I know you enough? Do I trust you have you have you shown yourself to be someone safe and it and this comes back to it, we didn’t say this either, like, you can’t actually pursue the topography in other print. So you can’t proceed to the presort. Unless you’ve actually know the typography of your own heart? Yes, you have to have done some hard work yourself in order to be trustworthy with another person’s heart. Because if you’ve never, like, even begun to map out what your heart is like, and how on earth, you’re going to, like, respect and honor, what comes out of somebody else’s. So

Kit 12:08
what does that mean? You know, someone’s listening, and they’re saying, How do I, what do I do to know my own heart? What does that mean? What does that look like?

Josh 12:17
And maybe, you know, maybe another question is, what if I don’t want to? Like, there’s not much there? You know,

Kit 12:22
that’s scary to me.

Josh 12:25
Yeah. So I mean, since we’re talking about romance, maybe the question for that person is, hey, look, you know, maybe it’s maybe it’s enough of a reason that if you really want to care for for your, your spouse, or your girlfriend or your boyfriend, like, then this is worthwhile just to do for for their sake. But yeah, yeah, I mean, I think I think it’s the same kind of thing. I mean, for me, I mean, honestly, I think I didn’t know how to open my heart, even to myself until I had people who were inviting me to do so. And so I do think that my ability to be in a really wholesome way to approach this new definition of romance with people my life comes from people who not in a romantic way even but it really in a platonic or caring, or fatherly, or motherly way. Were asking me questions about my heart. Yeah. And they took time to listen.

Kit 13:14
Yeah. And isn’t that a great thing? It’s kind of funny that people would be like, you’re talking about romance and you’re talking about knowing your own heart, what’s that about? But you know, it really is true that it, it’s an opportunity when you think about the depth of your intimacy with someone being, you know, related to the depth of your own, knowing yourself, your own accepting of yourself, and to take time to have conversation with a trusted friend, or mentor or spiritual coach, or read and process and reflect with God about some of these things. Like, it definitely affects our ability to be available for love and to be available to love.

Josh 13:53
And here’s why. Here’s why. Because Because the heart tends to be more skittish and won’t just open up to anybody. When when someone begins to open their heart to you, if you’ve not done that kind of work, then your your own heart is going to push you away from that person. Yes, it’s gonna say I am not carrying on I don’t want to go there. Yeah, so it’s going to start to pull back true. And there are ways the other person is going to sense it, and they’re going to, and their heart is going to respond that

Kit 14:22
that’s really so true. I think that if you haven’t done the work, then you’re going to receive some of these questions as criticism, or as invasive. Because if you’re covered up, if you’re like, I’m not going to some of those places. I haven’t gone there. I’m not ready to go there. It’s scary. And someone starts asking you about or wanting to see it. You’re not gonna be you’re gonna feel defensive. Yeah,

Josh 14:45
yeah. Let’s get practical. Yeah. You know, it’s in the last minutes of podcasts, like we’ve said, you know, we want to redefine romance. It’s not this is not the, the setting that you produce that someone gets in the mood for sexual intimacy, although this certainly, you know, can be can be Something that would lead that way, in a marriage. But but it’s instead it’s it’s understanding. It’s the pursuit of another person’s heart, trying to get to know them, and trying to care for to give their heart something good. And so how do we do that? I mean, what are practical ways that we get to know someone’s heart? say there’s a person there willing, and we’ve established the trust, they’re willing to open up their heart? What are some just simple things we can do? What are kinds of questions we can have? We

Kit 15:25
mentioned questions I mentioned time. So what are the kinds of questions? I think one really great question to ask each other is how can I love you best how what do I do to make you feel loved? Because it’s different for everybody. And I know that one thing that I said to Greg was, you know, I would love it in the middle of the day, or before you leave, you know, like, just, you know, give me a hug, give me a real hug, not a passing hug. Not to like See you later. But a real hug. Like that, that matters to me. At the end of the day, beginning of the day, in the middle of the day, like just an intentional, really like, I see you, I’m looking at you, I’m holding you. And present with you. Yeah. So that’s one thing that I think, for me, and for Greg, he’s said a lot of things about things that I can do for him, like, give him time, even though that’s weird. You’re like, that’s romantic. But it’s not just the moment that’s romantic. It’s what you do leading up to understanding and respecting them that I think can also play into it.

Josh 16:27
So part of what you’re bringing up is that is that different people? Like the knock that they their heart opens to is different.

Kit 16:34
Yeah. And now what that is for your

Josh 16:37
partner? And so and so the question, How can I love you is a question of like, how can I like what, what kind of way? Can I knock on your heart? Yeah, that works for you. That works for you. Yeah. And for some, it might be, you know, well, you know, what, like, sitting down eyes, doesn’t really do it for me, like, we go for a hike, we go for a walk? Yeah.

Kit 16:58
What are the things that we could do? questions we could ask?

Josh 17:02
So I think I think one thing for me is a willingness to listen, and take the time to hear without thinking about how what the person saying, really, like, stirs something in you, or what it means to you, or what you would say to that question or even, you know, considering what, what was my follow up question, you know, yeah, so just even leaving that room for like, I’m going to ask you, and I’m going to listen, and then and then whatever you say, I’m going to, I’m going to seek to ask more about that. And it can even be as simple like, well, would you tell me more about that? Or would you? I don’t entirely understand, would you help me understand a little bit more, like when you said this, what does that mean to you?

Kit 17:41
I really love this is again, this is gonna be like people are like what but being listened to is romantic to me. It is, like, I think that’s a significant thing that, again, it’s back to being understood and known. And if someone’s really sincerely listening to you, first of all, we don’t do that very often very well to one another. So I think it’s a that’s a, that’s a significant thing, you know, have a legitimate conversation where you’re actually listening to somebody could be very romantic.

Josh 18:16
So I, one of the things I’ve done in, so I’m going to give one example that I’ve done with my wife, and one example I did with one of my daughters, and I’ll explain why. But I’m not necessarily always attuned as I get busy in my own head in my own life. And so. So in setting aside time, one things I’ve done is actually brought a list of questions. And I’ve been explicit about it, not hiding it, you know, it’s not written on my arm, like, Hey, I wrote some questions down that I want to ask you. And so I could take time ahead of time to frame up, these are things that I don’t know about you that I’d love to know about you. And so questions about my wife’s childhood, which she experienced. I remember at one point, like seeing some pictures of her when she was a kid that gave me an impression about what she was like, and I wanted to check in with her about those things. And it was really sweet, a sweet time for us to get to know each other better. And then was one of my daughters. We were actually on a road trip together and really kind of wrestling with kind of the conversation. And so on the spur of the moment, I had this idea, and it ended up working really well we, I said, here’s what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna play a game, and we framed it that way. So it took some the pressure off. I said, you’re going to come up with one topic. And I’m going to ask you two questions about that topic. And then you’re gonna ask me to come up with a topic and you’re asked me two questions. And that’s it. And the topic could be could be something obvious or something very, like plain. So like, for example, you know, like, it could be sports, it could be shapes, it could be smells, and then and then the idea was just get creative about the kind of question the quick question can be light or it can be deep and so say the question, you know, so the topic is smells. What’s one smell that you remember that you have a memory around related to a time that that gasket? Yeah, so now she’s talking about me or what What’s the smell that just grosses you out beyond belief? Yes, it was. Yeah, it was kind of just this mix of stuff. And then it’s her turn. And we end up having these really great conversations. And sometimes we kind of riff off the game and kind of end up talking about something else. It’s great just kind of trying to get to know each other in some way.

Kit 20:15
So to two things kind of in mind about that. One is a book that john Gottman wrote called eight dates, and it has, it’s about eight dates and questions that you can ask one another, and they’re, you know, creative and clever. And I took a picture of the eight, the eight questions so that I could keep them on my phone. So that, you know, when Greg and I are together, I can be like, you know, as something creative, something a little bit different something. And the other thing that came to my mind was, have fun together. Like, really, that’s so important. Be light hearted, you know. It’s not all about serious conversation. It can also be really laughter and I mean, some of the best times that we have are just laughing. I

Josh 20:54
mean, let’s not forget the reality like our our hearts love to have fun. Yeah. to rejoice and to delight. Yes, I mean, sunsets and music are the language of the heart for credit for a reason. So yeah, it’s not all serious and somber. Right? People aren’t hearing it that way. Right? Some of these questions, these conversations have been some of the most delightful uproarious times too. So yeah, it’s really important. So let me close with this thought, as we’re talking, I didn’t think about this at the time. But really, that initial idea of you know, you set the scene and kind of make it romantic and the candles and blah, blah, so that it ends in sex, like that’s not bad. We’re not trying to say that’s bad. We’re trying to say there’s a better way that’s more a more holistic approach to romance, that that does take more work, but it is, in the end, more fruitful and more meaningful, and actually, in the end, to be honest, also leads to better a better sex life with your spouse,

Kit 21:44
deeper intimacy, for sure.

Josh 21:46
So the first is kind of saying like, how do we get to the place where we’re taking our clothes off? The second definition that we’re talking about is, how do we help each other to expose our hearts for hearts to get naked with one another? Could anything be more more vulnerable? romantic, or loving?

Kit 22:07
less safe to feel safe being you’re having your heart be naked? Yeah, someone? Yeah.

Josh 22:13
So there are corollaries between those two and more we could say about that. But we hope that just gives you something to chew on. And this post Valentine’s Day, whatever your Valentine’s Day was like, but as we pursue deep and meaningful relationships, and we’ve been talking about romance, of course, these apply to all sorts of things, even friendships but but we hope that’s been helpful to you today. So Jesus, we we just turned to you. And, Lord, we acknowledge before you that our hearts are hungry to be known, and we are hungry to know one another. Alert All of this points to your deep and emphatic romance of us that you pursue our hearts because you deeply love us heart, and body. we present these things to you and Jesus.

We would love a 5-star ⭐ rating and review on the Apple Podcasts app if you’re an avid listener of the podcast. It helps us reach more people! Also, it’s a free way to support the podcast❤️

Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.

Lastly, if Becoming Whole has been a blessing in your walk with God, would you consider making a donation to our ministry?

Thanks For Reading.

You can receive more like this when you join Regen’s weekly newsletter, which includes 1 article, and 2 new Podcasts exploring God’s good, holy, and beautiful design for sexuality. Over 3,000 people subscribe. Enter your email now and join us.


By Matthew Snider

Our Latest Offerings