I was talking to a gal recently about relationships and the different things that men and women want out of them. She was telling me that her husband wants her to fall asleep with him. That’s the height of romance to him. If he’s on the couch playing video games, and she curls up next to him and falls asleep – that’s his happy place.
Her statement reminded me of the first time I realized that I had more feelings for my husband (who wasn’t my husband yet) than I’d realized. We were out in the Arizona desert stargazing from the bed of his pickup truck. And I fell asleep. In the hard, ridged, metal bed of his pickup. When he woke me up (to tell me coyotes were coming and we needed to get into the cab and get to safety), I realized (after escaping into the cab) that I felt safe with him…and, being as how I wasn’t the type to let down my guard around people, made me realize I had some of those warm fuzzy feelings in my chest where my friend-of-many-years-but-not-even-a-boyfriend-yet was concerned.
Why does sleep matter?
Well, when you fall asleep in someone’s presence, you’re vulnerable. You’re truly vulnerable, but you’re also openly vulnerable. You don’t fall around someone unless you trust them. You trust them not to take pictures if you’re drooling, sure. But you also trust them to keep you safe, to protect you. And that’s kind of important. Men are protectors. It’s part of the way that God designed them.
Some men may protect the ones they love from wild coyotes. Other men, though, protect by making sure there’s always gas in the tank or by keeping the house tidy and picked up. Maybe they keep an eye on the weather so they can remind us when to wear a coat. Or they deal with the auto mechanic so that we don’t have to. (I have an amazing mechanic. Honest Christian guy. I’ll recommend him to anyone in Northern Virginia. I’ve had to deal with my share of mechanics in the past, though, who thought they could say – and charge me for – anything just because I was a woman. My hubby always dealt with those mechanics so I wouldn’t have to.)
The point is – men have different skills, different personalities, and different strengths. Regardless of how a man expresses it, though, his desire is generally to protect those he loves. So, when a woman falls asleep in the presence of a man? It’s code for, “I trust you to protect me. I know you’ve got my back.” It’s romantic – apparently even if there’s sleep drool involved.
What are some other unconventional things that scream romance to one sex but totally not to the other? Whether you’ve seen it in a book or in real life, I’d love to hear about it!
One commenter will be randomly selected to receive a $5 Amazon gift card. ^_^
Deb Galloway says
This question made me think of the woman I shared a hospital room with after a surgery when I was 19. She was a couple of years older than I am and was married to a man that made a big impression on me. We always knew when he stepped off the elevator where he wore cowboy boots that made a unique sound-we obviously live in a small town. I remember how those first steps we heard always brought a radiant smile to her face. He always came in with a huge smile, greeting her with a kiss and I love you . I always thought it was such a romantic thing for him to come to visit her as often as he could. I could see the obvious love and bond between them. This was 40 years ago and they are still together today! The way he valued being with her showed a romance I could truly see in her with each visit. Thinking back to all of the times I was in the hospital after being married myself I know how important each visit could have been. I’ve had several hospital stays myself (so far I’ve had 25 surgeries) and my husband only visited a few times. Taking the time for a hospital visit can definitely show romance by a spouse!
Heather Gray says
You’re so right! Taking time in general shows romance, but taking time when it’s inconvenient and out of the way – that definitely shows romance. It’s often those little things that keep romance alive in a relationship. The big, showy things don’t hurt, but it’s the ways that we show love in the day-to-day that helps us keep relationships strong – be they romantic, familial, or friend relationships. Thank you for sharing!!
At this point in my life, as a never married woman, it will totally thrill me if a man would take out the trash!! I can’t stand taking out the trash! If he also mowed the yard and did trimming, that would be wonderful, too!! Or, a nice walk on the beach would be nice!
Heather Gray says
Hahaha! I hear you on the trash and yard work! A pastor once told me that you can generally tell who does the bulk of the housework based on who takes out the trash. ^_^
As for mowing…my hubby did that for several years but then just kind of stopped, so I took it over until my son was old enough to run the mower – then it became his job. Now we’re at a point in life where none of us wants to actually go outside and deal with the lawn. If the housing market and inflation weren’t all wonky right now, we’d be looking into moving somewhere either without a lawn or that provides lawn care for us.
I doubt I can find a housing situation where they provide trash care, too… ^_^
Priscila Perales says
I loved this post! And great question. :)
I remember once reading in a book that it made his day for her to not only care for him and his son but for her to try new things that interested him. In this case, it was learning how to drive a four-wheeler and entering into a race.
Another one I’ve seen is words of affirmation. Not only for women but also for men. Knowing that the woman he loves believes in him made him invincible and like he could accomplish anything.
Heather Gray says
Those are both really good! My husband loves it when I play video games with him. Video games aren’t really my thing – but spending my with my husband is, so it works out. It’s had the added benefit of my adult son wanting to play video games with me, too. I’m truly terrible at them, but that both of the men in my life go out of their way to find games they think I’ll enjoy speaks volumes to how valuable that time spend together truly is.
And you’re totally right about words of affirmation. In romance books, we often like it when the male character says all the loving and affirming things that the female character wants/needs to hear…but we often forget that men crave affirmation, too. They don’t all need it verbally, but do they all need it. That’s part of how God made us.
Hi Heather! Been pondering your blog about sleep all morning. Makes me wonder WHY am I such a light sleeper. Because I don’t want to be vulnerable. Or is it a lack of trust. But someone in the family had to hear the child crying or the dog whining to be let out or the crash from lightening hitting the house.
Yep living with a dad, brother, husband, 3 sons and 2 grandsons – guys have different skill sets. Some of them depend on how they are trained and others are innate. My hubby does the yard work, kitchen clean up and is the family IT man. Since I was the oldest, even though a girl, I did yard work as a child and teen. Watching my father and then my hubby being waited on hand and foot, I refused to add yard work to my chores. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry is enough.
Don’t mind taking out the trash, since we when we had a dog, we have a small trash can under the kitchen sink. Otherwise collect trash once a week for trash pickup. Best wishes. Enjoying the answers.
Heather Gray says
You’re so right, Renate! As moms, we often become light sleepers because someone needs to hear the baby, toddler, child, etc. I suppose, though, that if you won’t fall asleep even though someone else is there who could handle those responsibilities, then perhaps that’s a lack of trust. Maybe. That’s not a situation most people get to test, though. So we’ll just go with “care and compassion” being the reason for light sleep in the situations you described. ^_^
Alicia Haney says
When my husbands goes out of town he will ask my daughter (our daughter and her little family live in the same town we do) to take care of me while he is gone. He always gets up before me in the mornings and when I get up , he always has a cup of coffee ready for me and he is always making breakfast and most of the time breakfast is ready by the time I get up or he will come and tell me time to get up , breakfast is ready. I think actions speak louder then words, a person can tell you they love you all the time, which of course is nice, but for me actions speak much louder than words and they make a bigger impression. God Blessed me with a very caring and loving husband. Have a great weekend and stay safe. I loved reading your post, thank you for sharing.
Heather Gray says
Your husband sounds wonderful, Alicia! I think we’ve all had people in our lives who have said the words but not backed them up with actions. Because of that, we’ve all learned to judge a person by what they do more than by what they say. My hubby works graveyard, and I’m usually still asleep when he gets home. He always makes me a cup of coffee, though, and has it ready for me for when I do finally drag myself out from under my cozy blankets. It’s those little things that show care and tenderness. Thank you for sharing!!
I remember years when my husband and I were first dating, he wanted me to come over to his house to watch The Hunt for Red October (Sean Connery). Something to which I was not all that interested in but wanted to spend time with him….and probably about halfway through the movie, I fell asleep on his lap. I remember waking up to him running his hand over my hair and saying something like “I’m so blessed to have a woman like you” (swoon/sigh). I’ve spent many a movie nights since then curled up next to him & felt truly loved, appreciated and comforted.
I think love to me is doing something with your other half (married or dating) that you really don’t want to but you do it because it’s more about quality time together than anything else :-)
P.S. Though I will draw the line at say, bungee jumping or jumping out of a perfectly good airplane (even if it’s tandem parachuting)….that’s not my idea of fun, lol!
However in my defense, I did go up the Space Needle twice because he really wanted me to the first time and my mom was with us the second time :-D
Heather Gray says
LOL! I think it’s healthy that you know where your boundaries are. And let’s face it – you probably wouldn’t have fallen for a guy who drew his own boundary differently and said, “If you loved me, you’d strap yourself to this giant rubber band and jump off a bridge…” ^_^
You’re so, so right, that going out of your way to spend time with someone doing something they enjoy is love. While this is huge in romance relationships, it also applies to parents, children, friends, etc. Time is important, and the time we spend with people matters to the relationships we have with those people.
And for the record – totally a swoon-worthy moment there w/ Red October!!! <3
The most romantic thing I’ve ever heard is when a husband makes sure is his back is the to the shower when the water is first turned on (and cold) so his wife never feels the cold water every morning for the last forty odd years.
One thing I think that’s romantic is when you’re walking with a man and he walks on the outside, nearer to the road, so as to keep you safe.
Mary Preston says
Sometimes it’s the nothings that say it all. Just sitting together quietly watching the sun set.
My mom thinks it’s romantic when my dad brings in the clean clothes and folds them … he is also the one who is in charge of ironing the clothes when I went to school, he ironed my blouses, skirts and polished my shoes.
My dad loves that they cook for him … especially cake or bread.
Personally, I would love a boy who sees that he is responsible and has leadership skills at work and spiritual. All my life I have been the girl who is good academically so everyone rests on that and lets themselves be guided, I don’t mind being a leader but sometimes it would be nice to rest. Spiritually … well my husband is supposed to be spiritual leader but they are all my male friends they are not Christian husband material right now … except one, and we don’t like each other that way hahaha he is older than me so we see ourselves more as brothers in faith only.
Natalya Lakhno says
My hubby is the same, he wants me in the bed with him…reading, listening, etc, , as long as I’m near 😁
Debra J Pruss says
Being willing to be a full time caregiver when the other is unable to take care of herself. My husband is that person. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.
Never married either but was a carer for my mother for a long time.
I don’t mind the trash actually I get really annoyed when people where I do cleaning etc don’s separate the rubbish right like putting things in the recycle bin that doesn’t belong there (This happens at the church all the time and it frustrates me no end).
If someone did the dishes for me I would be ecstatic. I don’t mind mowing the lawn or pruning but having someone who will do the higher branches would be a great help.
We had a pastor who use to visit with the family for a meal and he would fall asleep for a short time often in the afternoon cos he felt so comfortable visiting. I think a sign of comfort in a relationship is being able to say if you don’t like something. Like when they go to buy your meal but its something you don’t like and you say I would rather have. or even doing something rather than just doing an activity be able to say while I am happy to try this I am not really a fan etc.
Amy Perrault says
My husband & I both can’t sleep without each other in bed.
Sylvain P says
I like to make dinner for my wife
Hi, Heather! Though it is usually a learned skill, a guy who can listen first and fix only if truly needed can be a treasure. I know that the more I learned in this department, the more I saw that it was actually a gift for me not to have to always be doing something whenever my wife started speaking.
On the flip side, I love it when my wife is the one who hugs me first or comes up behind me and scratches my back, just simple demonstrations of affection. Men may be seen as the initiator, but it is still nice to know that we are worth the effort from our beloved.