Sustaining a Healthy Romantic
By Paris Finner-Williams, Ph.D., L.P., Esq. and
Robert D. Williams, MSW, ACSW, DCSW, LMFT
In their book “Marital
Secrets: Dating, Lies, Communication and Sex,” marital
counselors and real-life married couple Robert
D. Williams and Paris M. Finner-Williams give
ideas on how to avoid costly marriage mistakes
and enhance the commitment in your relationship.
Read this excerpt for some helpful tips on healthy
In our society, romance and sex are indeed a
significant part of civil and covenant marriages.
When you hear someone say sex or romance is not
important, it is usually not the truth and it
is their defense to the dissatisfaction they
may be having in their marital romance or sexual
life. If you are not satisfied with your marriage,
ask yourself the following questions:
- Being careful to avoid any thoughts
of jealousy, suspicion or distrust?
- Actively participating in family
events and including family members in weekly
family discussions in the home?
- Giving and insisting upon mutual
respect among all family members?
- Aggressively seeking to eliminate
or prevent all crime, violence, drug use or
abuse of any kind in my home?
- Going out of my way to add romance
to my spouse’s life?
- Paying careful attention to
the traps and patterns that have caused trouble
in the past?
- Developing immediate (next
12 months) and long-range (next 5 years) goals
in terms of my spiritual, family, financial,
mental, social and physical life? Do I have
a timetable for my goals and a plan to monitor
- Always learning about my spouse?
- Letting my spouse know verbally
when something is wrong, instead of displaying
negative attitudes or body language?
- Displaying romance as much
as possible, complete with kind and loving
gifts such as massages, favorite meals, intimate
presents, surprises, etc.?
If you answered “no” to
several of the above questions, consider these
suggestions to assist with sustaining a healthy,
- Be honest about your relationships
with other people. Have full disclosure about
all relationships with females and males.
- Agree on how the two of you
will relate to each other’s family members,
friends, former lovers and others.
- Have a zero tolerance level
for adultery and any abuse by either party.
- Don’t accept your situation
as being your final situation; expect that
those temporary and temporal things will change.
- Except in cases of abuse and
a few other biblically-based exceptions, view
separation and divorce as no options to a marital
- Allow your roles and responsibilities
to change and make gracious transitions as
life conditions so dictate.
- Socialize with in-laws, children,
friends, co-workers, etc. together instead
- Identify those areas of your
life that need to be healed and get assistance
or support to heal and bind all of those open
- Learn to enjoy your own personal
company without the closeness of intimacy with
another person. Refuse to surrender to the
feelings of desperation and loneliness.
- Maintain a lifestyle that can
easily be supported by one income and avoid
taking on heavy financial commitments.
- Don’t socialize with
single friends of the opposite sex who despise
their singleness and want to get married.