On Guard For Good

Graphic Credit: www.singsnap.com

Graphic Credit: http://www.singsnap.com

We recently went to see the movie Unbroken, and unfortunately got there in time to see the previews of upcoming films. We were shocked to see the trailer to the movie, 50 Shades of Grey, rated R, which is set to release on Valentine’s Day, being previewed in a film that is rated PG-13. I am one who is affected visually, so I have to guard strongly the things I let myself see. Needless to say, I closed my eyes through most of the trailer. What is appalling to me is the fact that 13 year old children can legally see this preview and be drawn into the web of sensuality and BDSM by their own curiosity. In much the same way young boys and girls are drawn into pornography via the internet. Not to mention the adverse effect this movie could have on struggling marriages.

This brings up the need for us to sound the alarm once again!

We have already covered the many reasons we strongly disapprove of this book’s–and now this movie’s–message. Read Stop Grey From Becoming The New Black And White. We’ve also written a positive antidote to this movie’s message in a series we did titled 50 Shades of Grace in Marriage. Click the picture to read…



We love marriage. We love God.

We desire to our children and grandchildren grow up to embrace a life-long commitment to love and cherish their spouse. We pray daily that they will grow to love God with all of their heart, mind and spirit. It is a legacy to which we are committed for as long as we will live.

What about you? Have you given much thought to the danger of such movies and/or books? We pray you will think long and hard about it. The future health of the church as well as our culture depends on it.

If you would like to see a movie on Valentine’s Day we recommend a new Indie film titled, Old Fashioned. We watched the trailer, and it didn’t even make me close my eyes. It celebrates what true love looks like in a relationship, and looks like it will be an enjoyable movie.  Click here to watch it yourself. :-)


Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Showing Honor | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Are You Free To Do This In Your Home?


It is greatly needed in every home, yet oftentimes life gets so serious that months can go by and we haven’t even thought about it much less found a reason to do it. But we encourage you to find venues to help you do this every day!

We are talking about…


That said, do we have a treat for you–especially the wives/moms who read our blog! We want to introduce you to a young mom, who happens to be a good friend of our daughter’s in GA, who writes an amazingly funny blog called…

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 3.27.52 PM

Her name is Jordan Watts. She will tell you stories from her own life that will make you cry tears of sympathy (or empathy if you’ve experienced similar circumstances), joy and unbelievable laughter–the kind that makes your belly ache. Her writing is par-excellence, and once you read her posts you will anxiously look forward to the next one, at least I do.

But her posts are more than just hilarious; they are full of lessons with which we can all relate.

I’ve selected five of my favorites below to make it easier for you to find the best of the best. Her desire is to reach as many people as she can to help them laugh and learn in the midst of trying situations. Every story has a lesson, and Jordan does this well as you’ll see.

The Day I Was Banned From Chick-Fil-A << This post has gone viral–read it and you’ll understand why. This is my favorite of the five!

Silent Night? << This post will cause anyone who has given birth to remember and wince at the memories, but the lesson Jordan brings home at the end will cause you to think of Christmas in a fresh, real way.

Unplug << Talks about the need to not only get away with your spouse on a regular basis, but to unplug as well.

Awkward Family Double Takes << This one is a brilliant idea as a gift for grandparents who have more than one child. You’ll have to check it out to see what I mean.

Wax On, Wax Off << Be warned, this post is a bit more graphic (and hilarious!), suited best for the ladies. However, the lesson Jordan learned makes this one of my favorite posts.

To end my introduction to you of Jordan Watts, there is no better way than for you to see her in action. Check out her latest venture–a self-produced and written parody about when your family gets the flu. Hilarious! Warning on this one…you’ll be singing the song the rest of the day, but with that will come more laughter making it worth it. Right? ;-)

Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, humor, Parenting, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Kind Are You? Does It Matter?

Today is our monthly post on the Engaged Marriage blog. This month’s title is…The Role Kindness Plays In Romance. I’d love for you to click over and read about what God has been saying to me recently in regard to this Fruit Of The Spirit.


Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Fruits of the Spirit, Romance, Romance in Marriage | Tagged , , , ,

Time To Trade In Your Old Marriage For A New One?

This is how we treat our cars, our furniture, our things. But it isn’t how we are to treat our marriage.

Tom and I will soon celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary. We’ve been through many seasons–newlyweds, becoming parents, home-ownership, raising three children (including one miscarriage), homeschooling, church planting, small group leadership in our church, small business owners, becoming in-laws, becoming grandparents, saying goodbye (in this life) to terminal parents (Debi’s), caring for elderly relatives, practicing retirement. You name it, we’ve most likely experienced it. The only thing still on the horizon that we’ve yet to go through is old age, and it seems more real than ever lately.

Maybe it’s because it’s the start of a new year. 2015! How can it be that we’re already 15 years into the 21st Century? Time does seem to fly.

We can remember as if it were yesterday the Y2K craze. We were cautious, but not overly ridiculous about the switch from one millennia to the next. Tom was sharing with a friend yesterday how his biggest mistake was buying a very expensive phone system for our business because he was told they wouldn’t work when the calendar switched from 12.31.1999 to 01.01.2000. They were wrong, but we were the ones out the money. It was a lesson we learned, but hopefully won’t have to experience again in our lifetime.

Fear always makes us think irrationally. It takes us to the worst-case scenario causing us to respond in panic, not common sense. Fear is not to be trusted. Fear is our enemy and destroyer. Who, by fear, ever saved themselves? Fear robs us of today because it paralyzes our every thought, word and deed.

Back to the thought of experiencing old age. As young couples or middle-aged couples it’s easy to look at those older than you and think growing old is romantic and sweet. But there’s nothing sweet about our bodies wearing out. There’s nothing romantic about “when death do us part.” Just watch The Notebook and see how difficult it is to let go of a lifelong love.

Why do I bring this up? Because we do well to consider these facts. Ignoring them doesn’t make time stand still. In fact, it makes time seem to go faster. We need to be intentional with everyday, every moment that God gives us together. We have no guarantees for tomorrow. Our marriage is precious and so is our time on this earth.

Are you feeling like it’s time to trade in how you’ve been living to embrace something new? Then, we encourage you to seek The Lord while He may be found. He is the One who created us and breathed life into our souls. It is for Him that we live on this earth. Our marriage, our spouse is a gift to be enjoyed. But God is the only One who will never leave us. This is a promise we can cling to when facing fearful times.

Marriage is good–so good! But our relationship with God is to be foremost above all others. He will lead and guide us into the new year and into all the seasons of marriage yet to come–one step at a time.

It’s not a new marriage we need, but a new way of looking at our marriage and at each other.

“16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV

Posted in Christian Marriage | 1 Comment

Lessons From An Unbroken Man

Movie poster by www.imdb.com214

Movie poster by http://www.imdb.com214

You’ve most likely heard about the new movie, Unbroken, based on the true-life story of Louis Zamperini. What you may not know is that his story is not only one of survival, but of forgiveness.

Louis said that hatred does more damage to the one who hates than anyone else.

It is a disease that will destroy relationships.


Mr. Zamperini was ill-treated and brutally beaten for two long years. Yet, when he got home he realized that he needed to let go of the past in order to embrace the future. This “letting go” required him to travel back to Japan to tell his former captors that he had forgiven them for what they had done. His forgiveness wasn’t dependent on their apology. I don’t know if they ever admitted wrong to him, but he knew it was necessary for him to forgive.

I’ve heard it said that if we’ve been wrongly treated and the person hasn’t come to us to ask our forgiveness, our responsibility is to get to the place where if they did ask, we would be able to forgive them. We must posture our hearts to forgive, and in so doing it releases us from the damaging effects of harboring bitterness and hatred in our hearts.

I realize that during the Christmas season there are many families who deal with issues that are difficult to face. If there is unforgiveness it is nearly impossible to ignore. It screams in your mind of all the reasons you are justified in how you feel. But these thoughts hurt no one as much as they hurt you.

Hatred and bitterness paralyze, which in essence prevents you from moving on with your life. 

Louis passed away this year at the age of 97. He believed God kept him alive so that he could see his story told by both author (Laura Hillenbrand) and director (Anglina Jolie). His life impacted theirs forever. And their lives impacted his. Forgiveness has a way of spreading healing to all who encounter it.

Photo Credit: olympictalk.nbcsports.com

Photo Credit: olympictalk.nbcsports.com

In 2015, let’s purpose to walk in forgiveness. It’s a choice, and if Louis Zamperini can forgive the horrific prison guards who so violated him, certainly there’s a place for forgiveness in our hearts towards those who have wronged us.

NOTE: If you are in a physically abusive relationship, we are in no way condoning an acceptance of this at all! We encourage you to seek refuge and help.

Finally, I invite you to take a few minutes and listen to this excellent interview where Mr. Zamperini tells his story. It’s heart-warming and inspiring. Great motivation for the start of this new year.

Happy New Year!

Posted in Christian Marriage, Conflict, Forgiveness, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

It’s Complicated


You may wonder what I’m talking about with the title of today’s post. Actually, I’m talking about life.

We have been in an extended season of change and challenges. There are no easy answers, only learning to adjust to a new normal, while waiting for unresolved issues to find their solution. In the meantime, my emotions don’t take a backseat. In fact, I feel as if they’ve taken over the wheel completely, leaving me breathless and exhausted. If you’re like me, you are tempted to imagine what could happen, before all the facts are known. This is never good to do. It leads to all sorts of fears and worries. It’s true…

Life is complicated.

I mentioned to Tom the other day that it felt like I didn’t have the grace to go through this. That’s when he said something profound–like a nugget of Truth hitting me right where my heart was hurting, bringing needed relief–He said, “You don’t have the grace to go through this because you’re not going through anything yet. God provides grace in your time of need, and you’re imagining the worst case scenario, instead of trusting God for the unknowns.

It was something I knew, but was having trouble remembering.

Tom spoke the truth to me in love in the moment when I needed to hear it, and I was helped.

What complicated situations are you facing today? Are you allowing your spouse to walk with you through the unknowns? Or are you tempted to pull away?

I encourage you to let them speak to your weary heart. Give them access to the painful places, and see how it draws your hearts closer together.

If this is an area you struggle with in your relationship, being vulnerable enough to let your spouse know the weak and hurting places, then I encourage you strongly to get outside help. There is a rich treasure in cultivating such a safe and loving relationship with your spouse. They have the ability to speak Truth to you when your heart is being tempted to think otherwise.

Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Difficulty | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Merry Christmas From Our Home To Yours!

Posted in Christian Marriage

What’s The Romantic Temperature In Your Home?


Every month (the second Monday) we are featured on the Engaged Marriage blog. Our topic is romance in marriage. Following is this month’s post…

If marriage is like a house, then romance is the central air and heat.

Think about it. A marriage can make it without romance–many couples have proven this fact, just as you can live in a house without central air and heat. It may be do-able, but it certainly won’t be as enjoyable.

When things get difficult in your life–trouble with work, children, schooling, relationships–it’s nice to know your spouse is there to let you vent about the struggle. It’s even better if your spouse plans something special, romantic even, to help you get your mind off the trouble at hand.

Romance is NOT foreplay, but it can be.

Any husband or wife, who is using romance as a way to get what they want in the bedroom, is abusing this very special gift.

Romance is like a comfortable chair in your favorite room of the house. It feels right.

Romance has the ability to cool a heated situation or heat up your relationship when the air has chilled.

Romance is something you share with your spouse alone. No one else has the privilege of romancing you, and vice versa.

Do you see romance as more of a privilege or an obligation?

How you answer this question is key to how successful showing romance to your spouse will be. (Read more…)

Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Romance, Romance in Marriage | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

A Christmas Infused Marriage


Infusion is a popular term used today in regards to the craft of making a good cup of tea. It’s the process of steeping to promote strength and character. 

I love to look up the definition of words from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. He was the first person in the New World to commit to recording the definitions of the words used at the time using the Bible as his primary source. It is a rich resource that gives deeper meaning to words that have lost their original definition in our culture.

Infusion is one such word. Take a look at the modern definition:

: the addition of something (such as money) that is needed or helpful

: a drink made by allowing something (such as tea) to stay in a liquid (such as hot water) : a drink made by infusing something

: the act of infusing something

Now look at how Mr. Webster defined it nearly 200 years ago:

INFU’SION, n. s as z. The act of pouring in or instilling; instillation; as the infusion of good principles into the mind; the infusion of ardor or zeal. 

How can Christmas infuse your marriage with greater ardor or zeal? It’s simple really, but something you may not have considered.

Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Christ. He entered our world, clothed in humanity to embrace our limitations. He experienced life as we do, yet because He was God, He lived without sin. It was His life, death and resurrection that has opened the way for us to know God in a way we couldn’t before Christ appeared. God is holy. Only those who are holy can approach His throne without fear. If you belong to Christ, then you have an open door of access to the Father. What a gift!

How does this Truth effect our marriage? It makes it possible for two sinners to love another in the same way Christ has loved us. He takes two separate individuals and makes them one flesh. No longer do we live for our own interests and pursue our selfish desires, but our heart and mind find great enjoyment in seeing our spouse blessed and loved.

A marriage infused by Christmas is strong and able to withstand the difficulties along the way.

  • It is able to forgive when sinned against.
  • It is able to serve when tired.
  • It is able to love when the feelings have waned.
  • It is able to pursue the good of another at great sacrifice to your own desires.
  • It is able to humbly admit when you’ve sinned and ask for forgiveness.
  • It is able to give and give and give, even when you don’t feel like it.

Best of all, a marriage that has been infused by Christmas, shines like the Star of Bethlehem over your relationship. Others see the way you love each other and notice. Others are surprised by the affection that exists between you two. They make comments which point to the strength your relationship with Christ has secured. They may not realize why your marriage stands strong in a culture where marriage isn’t valued, but you know why it is so.

And when this happens all glory goes to God in the Highest. He is exalted when we let His Word, His Son, His power shine brightly through our relationship. We are jars of clay, and left to ourselves would be worthless. But when Christ entered our world and won our hearts, the impossible became possible. Suddenly worthless objects had eternal value.

It is our privilege to make much of Christ at Christmastime and all year long. If you know Christ and love Him He will infuse your marriage with strength and hope that will satisfy and glorify Him for a lifetime.

How has Christmas infused your marriage in specific ways? Spend some time this evening talking about it with your spouse over a hot cup of infused tea.

Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, The Gospel & Marriage | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Do You Know How To Dad?


Face it, a big part of marriage involves raising kids. They have a way of consuming all of our time and energy, if we let them. This is why priorities must be established in order to keep our marriages strong and healthy during the child-rearing years.

There will be a day when our kids are grown and move away. Every mom tears up when she considers this thought. Every dad shutters when he considers walking his daughter down the aisle to place her hand in another’s. This is life. It slows down for no one, but it is perfectly measured so we can find the rhythm and walk with purpose and stride–confident that what we do each day matters.


I recently discovered a video that celebrates what being a Dad looks like in very practical, everyday sort of ways. It’s powerful, fun, will make you laugh, but most importantly will make you think. It may even make you want to run out and buy a box of Peanut Butter Cheerios just to support this great commercial!

Do you know how to dad? This guy gets it…

Forward this post to all the dads you know, and thank them for their willingness to be all this and more. Let’s celebrate the men who know how to dad!


Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Husbands | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving


Six of our seven grandchildren. The littlest one was sleeping. We are thankful to God for the joy they bring to our lives.



Posted in Christian Marriage | 4 Comments

In Sickness And In Health


For the past month we’ve been busy, but haven’t gone anywhere. Tom has been fighting the flu and bronchitis which has been a bear to defeat. I have worked hard to make sure he’s comfortable, well-fed and well-hydrated. Thankfully, he’s been able to sleep at night helping him be more comfortable with all the other discomforts of such an illness.

Our lives have been put on hold–at least the life we live outside of the home. We have missed being with friends. We have missed going out for a normal date night. We have missed being able to have a conversation without interruptions of chronic coughing. And we have missed feeling normal.

But on the other hand, we have enjoyed quality time together. Being able to show my love to Tom in such practical ways by making something for dinner that actually “sounded good” to him took thought, research and planning. We saved a lot of money just staying home. Our lives slowed down to a snail’s pace, and I realized how tired I was as well. If he needed a nap in the afternoon–he took one. If he needed fresh air, he would walk out our back door for a small dose. All in all sickness serves a good purpose in helping us slow down and take inventory of our love.

During sickness we discover:

  • How unselfish our love is–showing a willingness to serve without being served in return.
  • How strong our friendship is when nothing romantic is able to happen.
  • How much we enjoy just being together doing nothing, as opposed to always having to do something to find our time enjoyable.
  • How far we’re willing to go to prove our marriage vows are still true.
  • How much I’m willing to be inconvenienced for the good of another.
  • How grateful I am for time together.

This week of Thanksgiving is a great time to assess the quality of your love.

If you haven’t been tested in the area of “in sickness” in your marriage yet, be assured you will be at some point. Investing your time during the healthy years will go a long way in helping you love well during seasons of sickness too. This is why we provide “Healthy Marriage Tips” on a daily basis on our Facebook page. It’s like a constant reminder to be at work building your marriage, so that when sickness and hardship comes you’ll have a deep well of wisdom from which draw.

What things have you discovered about your relationship during times of sickness and difficulty? How did God help you learn and grow as a result?


Posted in Christian Marriage, Difficulty, In Sickness | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

There Is A Day Coming…

…that we all know is certain, yet the way we live might say otherwise. I’m talking about the day when “death do us part”.


Why this topic? Why today? Because we received a text this morning telling us that a dear friend passed away last night at 9:15p. We recently heard that he had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. He only found out himself on Labor Day, and yesterday was his last day in this life. He was surrounded by his wife and grown children, a comfort indeed. He was at peace knowing where he was going, but still saying goodbye is hard. He was 63.

This is our friend’s first day in heaven, and his wife’s first day without him.

We are sad for the changes, but grateful for the hope we’ve been given. For those of us who recognize our need for a Savior, death no longer has a sting. Instead, death is a gateway to all the promises Christ has secured for us.

For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?” – 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 ESV

This is what we believe. This is the Truth, and one day every knee will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. This is why we are passionate about marriages becoming all God intends, because it reflects Him and His love for the church. We live to glorify God in every way possible, even though we walk through the valley of shadows, we are not afraid. Christ is with us. He knows us. And He is leading us safely home.

To offer comfort to this grieving family, another friend shared a video with them. It’s a song titled, Though He Slay Me, by Shane and Shane, and it speaks volumes as to where we must fix our eyes when we are faced with trials on every side. May it comfort those of you who may be facing similar heartaches and losses.

If you don’t know Christ, this post probably sounds incredibly foolish to you. But it is more real than anything else in this life. God is alive, and His purposes are being accomplished in and through us everyday. We pray that you will come to know Christ as your personal Savior. He is the reason we do what we do, and when all is said and done–He is all that matters!


Posted in Christian Marriage, Death and Grieving, Difficulty, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

It’s Our 6th Blogiversary!

Six years ago today we launched our first post of The Romantic Vineyard. We had no idea what good things God had in store for us. It has been a privilege to play a part in lifting your eyes to see God at work in your life and your marriage. He is the faithful One, always willing and able to help us through every season and every storm in marriage.

First we want to share the winners in our “Capture The Romance” Photo Contest. Thanks to all who took the time to send us your photos–what a blessing it is to have such memories to share of romantic places. Great job!

First Place – A Walk to the Mailbox, by Steve & Meghann Roberts (daughter – Reagan)

1st Place

Judge’s comments: A lovely capture by the young photographer of a small, but special moment in her parent’s lives together.  This shot is nicely composed with the road providing a natural line to lead the eye to the couple, and then beyond to their destination.  This walk  is beautifully symbolic of a life journey together, made up of many small moments and trips to the mailbox. A great inspiration and my congratulations on your marriage and producing such a promising young photographer.

Second Place – The Light of Love, by Joel and Brittanie Quain

2nd Place

Judge’s comments: This shot is well-executed to capture the beautiful light, making it appear to radiate from the couple.   The light also gives the couple an anonymity that allows the viewer to relate to this very romantic moment.  Well-done.

Third Place – Mountain Trail in NC, by Michael and Emily Henderson

3rd Place

Judge’s comments: A lovely, peaceful place to spend time as a couple.  This photo is beautifully composed with great clarity.  The trail makes a perfect leading line, symbolizing our path in life and marriage.  A lot of it is uphill, but when we get to the top, we can stop and enjoy a smooch.  :-)

Honorable Mention – Love Multiplies


Honorable Mention – Enduring Love


A huge thank you to Doreen Hollett who volunteered to judge our photos and did an outstanding job!

Finally, we want to share with you a very special music video produced by Bethel Music in their Loft Series. It’s titled, Come To Me, and reminds us that God is always ready and waiting for us to come to Him. It is because of Him that our marriage has anything to offer to others for their encouragement and help. God is good, and together we praise Him for His kindness to us these past 6 years.

We count it a privilege to serve you in this way.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We love you!

Come To Me

I am the Lord your God, I go before you now
I stand beside you, I’m all around you
Though you feel I’m far away, I’m closer than your breath
I am with you, more than you know

I am the Lord your peace, no evil will conquer you
Steady now your heart and mind, come into My rest
Oh, let your faith arise, lift up your weary head
I am with you wherever you go

Come to Me, I’m all you need.
Come to Me, I’m everything
Come to Me, I’m all you need.
Come to Me, I’m your everything

I am your anchor, in the wind and the waves
I am your steadfast, so don’t be afraid
Though your heart and flesh may fail you, I’m your faithful strength
I am with you wherever you go

Come to Me, I’m all you need.
Come to Me, I’m your everything
Come to Me, I’m all you need.
Come to Me, I’m your everything

Don’t look to the right or to the left but keep your eyes on Me
You will not be shaken, you will not be moved ooh
I am the hand to hold, I am the truth, I am the way
Just come to Me, come to Me, cause I’m all that you need
Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/bethel-music/come-to-me-lyrics/#81L10CkEzqa4IUCy.99

Posted in Capturing Romance Photo Contest, Contests, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Heartfelt Thank You To All Veteran’s Today

Veteran's Day

Credit: Madison Rising

Posted in Holidays, Wordless Wednesday | Tagged ,

Happy Monday!


Graphic credit: Seeyoubehindthelens.com

Graphic credit: Seeyoubehindthelens.com

This is the 2nd Monday and the one day I guest post on the Engaged Marriage blog. Today’s post is titled, What’s Your RQ? Any guesses about what RQ stands for? Give it a shot, and then click over to read it. It’s an interesting thought and something you and your spouse might want to discuss when you have the time.

Also, tomorrow is the deadline for our Capturing Romance Contest. We will be celebrating our 6th blogiversary on Wednesday, and we’re celebrating by giving the three top photos a special prize to say thank you for being a part of The Romantic Vineyard.


Posted in Capturing Romance Photo Contest, Christian Marriage, Contests, Guest Post | Tagged , , , ,

Fall Back – An Extra Hour To Romance Your Spouse


Tonight we turn our clocks back an hour, ending Daylight Saving Time for 2014. Not all areas of the country take part in this annual manipulation of time, but if you do, we have some ideas on how to squeeze in an hour of romance for your spouse’s pleasure.

One Hour Romantic Ideas:

  1. Bake your spouse’s favorite treat, and read out loud to each other from your favorite author.
  2. Take turns giving each other a 30 minute massage. (Great tips from the Dating Divas blog)
  3. Put your electronics away, pour your favorite beverage and purpose to talk about your marriage. Topics not allowed in this discussion: children, work, church activities, politics, hot topics that usually lead to conflict. If you’re not sure what to discuss, use these questions to help you.
  4. Take a walk holding hands.
  5. Play Romantic Scrabble.
  6. Start a Thanksgiving-themed jigsaw puzzle, or try this version with a romantic twist.
  7. Dance to your favorite music, or watch your favorite music videos on You Tube. Here’s one of our favorites songs: 
  8. Play Flash-Light Tag
  9. Play Blind Spouse Bluff.
  10. Try out this Mall Date that takes an hour.

We hope these ideas will spark some romance in your marriage tonight. However, if you can’t redeem your hour tonight, why not write a note to your spouse with the date and time when you can. The anticipation will make it even better, especially if they don’t know what you have planned. ;-)

Let’s make this time of year an annual tradition of romance in our marriages. Think of it as a way to help us both “Fall Back In Love”.


Posted in Christian Marriage, Creative Dates, Date Night Ideas, Fall Date Ideas, Romance in Marriage, romancing your spouse, romantic date nights | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Romantic Photo Tips

Photo taken by Debi Walter at Navarro Vineyards, CA

Photo taken by Debi Walter at Navarro Vineyards, CA

Since our 6th Blogiversary Photo Contest is in full swing, we thought we’d share some of our favorite romantic photos to inspire you. The captions tell where the photo was taken. As you can see the photos vary–some have people in them, some do not. Some are of us, some are of others. What they all have in common is showcasing a place you could imagine having a romantic date together.

Quebec City, Canada

Quebec City, Canada

Quebec City, Canada

Quebec City, Canada

Blowing Rock, NC

Blowing Rock, NC

Epcot's Annual Flower & Garden Festival, Orlando, FL

Epcot’s Annual Flower & Garden Festival, Orlando, FL

Prince Edward Island lighthouse, Canada

Prince Edward Island lighthouse, Canada

Grandfather Vineyard, NC

Grandfather Vineyard, NC

Hess Collection Winery, Napa, CA

Hess Collection Winery, Napa, CA


Armstrong Redwood State natural Reserve, Guerneville, CA

Armstrong Redwood State Natural Reserve, Guerneville, CA

Posted in Capturing Romance Photo Contest, Contests | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The Romantic Vineyard’s 6th Anniversary Photo Contest

Photo taken by Debi Walter at Navarro Vineyards, CA

Photo taken by Debi Walter at Navarro Vineyards, CA

November 12th is our 6th Anniversary here at The Romantic Vineyard, and on our 2nd anniversary we held our first photo contest. We’ve decided it’s time to bring another photo contest back to help us celebrate all God has done and is doing in our marriages?  Since I love taking pictures, I would love to see what you can do with a camera.  So here are the contest rules:

1.  The Theme for the contest is “Capturing Romance” and is open to anyone who is married or engaged.

2.  Only one entry per person.  This means each couple can submit two photos, provided they each took their own picture.   No professional photographers, please.  Amateurs only.

3.  Each photo must be your original and not something found elsewhere.  Only basic editing is permitted, such as cropping, red-eye, etc.

4.  Photos will be judged on Theme, Clarity, Unique Perspective, and Overall Beauty.  In other words, we should all want to be in the photo, if we could.  Oh, and please, photos should be “G” rated.  Anything deemed inappropriate will be omitted at our discretion.

5.  Photos must say where the shot was “captured”.  It can be a recent photo, or one you took a long time ago, as long as the first 4 rules are observed.

6.  Submit your entries by uploading them on our Facebook Fan Page, or if you prefer, you can e-mail it to us: theromanticvineyard(at)gmail(dot)com.  Be sure to tell us your name, and where the photo was taken in the caption portion of the picture. (See Photo at top of post for example)  Any photos not marked as such, will not be judged.

6.  Contest will end on November 11th at midnight.

7.  We will announce the winners on November 12th.  And here’s the fun part – we will award a First, Second and Third place winner.

8.  Prizes are as follows:

     First Place -$50 Gift Card for a nice dinner out. (winner’s choice).

     Second Place – $25 Gift Card for a night at the Movies.

     Third Place -$10 Gift Card for a night at Starbucks or Ice Creamery

There you have it!  Get your cameras ready and start capturing some romance!

Tom and I would like to thank you for helping us celebrate SIX YEARS.  God has been very good to us, and we pray your marriage has been helped too.

Marriage is a journey, not a destination, and only God knows where it is He wants us to go.  He will faithfully bring us there – one day at a time.

Posted in Capturing Romance Photo Contest, Celebrations, Contests, Romance in Marriage | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

What Did You Expect?

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This is the last week of the CMBA challenge to post during the month of October on Words of Wisdom. This last week is to include books or blogs that have had an impact on our marriage for good.

Hands down, we both agree that Paul Tripp is the author who has had the most lasting impact on our marriage. He’s written lots of books, we’ve attended lots of his seminars, we’ve listened to countless audio tapes of his teaching, and we’ve even been able to thank him in person for his influence.

His book, What Did You Expect?, takes all the teachings we’ve heard and puts them in one book that is easy to read and oh, so helpful.

He is a Biblical Counselor, so as you’re reading he is able to anticipate your reaction to the Truth he is highlighting. It’s almost like he’s reading your mail. This proves that there is nothing new under the sun, as Solomon so eloquently penned in Ecclesiastes. What has been before will happen again. What you’re currently facing in your relationship has happened to others before you, but the enemy of our souls wants to make us feel isolated and alone, as if we are the only ones who have walked this road.

Biblical Counseling throws an ax to that myth. And this book is like having your own counselor sitting with you in your living room to help you dissect what is off in your marriage.

Watch this book trailer and see how compelling his words are. We pray it will draw you to read the book for yourself. It’s that good!

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Posted in Christian Marriage, CMBA Blog Challenge Word Of Wisdom, Conflict, Contests | 1 Comment