Countdown Sale Day One

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10th Blogiversary Calls For A Countdown Sale

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Where were you 10 years ago? Tom and I embarked on our blogging journey a decade ago thinking it was primarily for our friends and church family to use and enjoy. But God had bigger plans in store. He intended to increase our sphere of friends who would encourage us in our marriage vineyard just as much as He would use us to encourage others. It has been an amazing journey that has given us much for which to be thankful.

In this time we also met many marriage bloggers around the country who also shared our passion to see God encourage and strengthen marriages. Our relationship has grown as a result of their influence in our lives. We are a part of an amazing community called the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association. To them we say, “Thank you!

10 years!

We are grateful for the opportunity we have had to help marriages stay the course for a lifetime. The beginning of this year we published our first book, Cherishing Us, And to celebrate our 10th blogiversary we are hosting a Countdown Sale beginning tomorrow morning at 8a.

How It Works

Our Kindle edition will go on sale for only .99 cents 

8a. Tuesday morning.

If you don’t have a copy of our book yet, this is the deal you’ve been waiting for, but don’t delay. Each day the price will go up a dollar – Wednesday – $1.99 and Thursday – $2.99. Mark your calendar and get ready to grow in the area of cherishing your spouse the way God intended.

Special thanks to Prevail Press, our amazing publishers!

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Posted in Celebrations, Cherishing, Christian Marriage, Purpose | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

2018 Date Night Challenge – The Letter “U”

It’s been a while since we’ve posted about our date challenge. That’s due to the fact that the two letters for October were a “challenge” to plan.

  • I had an unexpected trip to GA to help our youngest daughter who was babysitting for our oldest daughter. One weekend gone.
  • Tom volunteered to help with this year’s election, Get Out The Vote, initiative. This took him away for another weekend.
  • We traveled the northern part of the state distributing Voter Guides to different counties requesting them. Three weekends gone.

And in the off time when we were together, we were too tired to plan anything. We understand when you say you’re too busy to think, much less plan a date. But we must if we are to lean into our relationship during busy seasons. Otherwise we drift!

We decided to make our “U” date – Unplugged.

We spent an entire day not using our Smart Phones, computers or tablets. It was a challenge in the truest definition of the word. It forced us to think and ponder, which is hard to do with the distractions always available to us. As we pondered we talked, and as we talked we grew in our Understanding of what is on our minds and why. There was a moment when Tom made a conclusion about something that I don’t think he would have reached without being Unplugged. It was worth it!

Unplugging is a hard, but necessary choice to make from time to time. It is good for us personally and relationally. If you’ve not tried it, we encourage you to do so. You may discover what is really weighing on your heart. It takes pondering and being Undistracted to hear the whisper.

Posted in 2018 Date Night Challenge, Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Erasing Your Spouse

Have you ever shared something with your spouse and realized they hadn’t heard a word you said? Either they were distracted by their gadgets or the TV, but it was obvious they weren’t listening to you.

If we’re honest we have all done this from time to time. Why? Why is it so easy to ignore, intentionally or not, the one with whom we share the deepest bond?

We tend to let our guard down when we are in our own home. We know that our spouse loves us so what’s the big deal?

It’s a big deal because this little habit can be the start of erasing the priority your spouse has in your heart. If you make them feel invisible, they will believe they no longer matter to you.

Gary Thomas in his excellent book, Cherish, tells how one husband and wife shared a home office together. One day she finished her work before he did, and began clicking on social media updates. She found something interesting about a friend and began sharing it with her husband.

He was in the middle of substantial project and felt his project was much more important than her friend’s current FaceBook status. However, he cared more about his wife than he did his work project, so he stopped for a moment and listened to what she had to say.

Leaning in and listening to your spouse lets them know that they matter to you.

What if we made a conscious effort to keep the lines of communication open at all times? What if our spouse knew without a doubt that they have our ear whenever they need it? This is one mark of a healthy marriage–one with a firm grip on esteeming, not erasing, the other.

Don’t be an eraser!

Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Priorities | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Have You Been Nudged?

This morning as I was getting ready I felt a nudge from the Lord. I was compelled to tell Tom how grateful I am for the way he takes care of our finances. He is faithful in this area and has been our entire marriage. And it is because he is that I sadly often fail to tell him.

I stopped what I was doing and went to his office where he was ironically paying our bills. I shared with him what was on my mind and my gratitude for never having to worry about money. I could tell the encouragement was not only appreciated, but needed.

God knew this; that’s why I was nudged. I’m grateful I took the time to listen.

This begs the question, how often have I missed opportunities like this to encourage my husband in the exact moment when he needs it?

May we all listen in and respond to those little nudges. Our marriages will be the stronger for it!

Posted in Biblical Encouragement, Cherishing, Christian Marriage | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

The title of this post is a famous line from a Disney movie, Cinderella. But it begs the question, what do you dream of? This is the kind of question that makes for a great date.

I’ll never forget sitting with Tom around a fire pit one night when the topic of dreams came up. Tom had to pause because he wasn’t sure what he dreamed of doing. He had seen many of his earlier dreams come true, and hadn’t given much thought to making new ones. We talked a bit more and then it felt as if the sky opened up with possibilities. We talked about everything we could imagine. It was one of those nights when we connected on a deeper level and we’ll never forget it.

Dr. Julie Conner has written an excellent post titled, 7 Reasons Why It’s Crucial To Have A Dream. She says,

“Passion fuels dreams. Commitment fuels action. Get clear about what you want to do and why you want to do it. Allow time to regularly reevaluate and refine your goals. Make adjustments within your schedule to engage in goal-related activities. And, most importantly, commit to the work of pursuing your dream. Take action.

What if we were to apply her steps to creating the marriage of our dreams?

Passion fuels dreams.

Have you lost the passion to grow your marriage that you had at first? Maybe you’ve never thought about growing your marriage once you made the commitment on your wedding day. It is crucial to a healthy marriage to continue to be passionate about it.

Commitment fuels action.

Being committed to make your marriage the best it can be is essential for a healthy marriage. If one spouse is committed and the other is not your marriage will not become all God intended it to be. Make a decision each day as if it were your wedding day. Decide that you want to do your part to be the best spouse you can be so that if your husband/wife had to choose again whom they would marry, it would still be you.

Get Clear on the What’s and Why’s of a Good Marriage

We have spent out lives helping couples realize the what’s and why’s of pursuing a strong marriage that lasts. Our blog is full of posts to inspire and help you develop the areas where you are weak into strength worth emulating.

Regularly Reevaluate and Refine your Goals

This is the one that requires the most crucial aspect of a healthy marriage–communication. Your intentions may be good, but if you fail in communicating it to the point of understanding then you may still miss the mark. If you aren’t good at communicating in a positive way we encourage you to seek help either through books, or through a pastor or friend who excels in this area.

Make Adjustments in your Schedule to Meet Your Goals

Our pastor often said you can tell what your priorities in life are by looking at two things: your calendar and your checkbook. So true! We make time for the things that are important to us. And the Bible says, “Where your treasure is, your heart will follow” Invest time and money in making your goals for a healthy marriage a reality.

Commit to the Work Necessary

This one may seem a given, but commitment in this day in age is waning. It seems no one wants to commit to anything that lasts longer than a minute.

  • You see it in how young people are choosing to wait to get married
  • You see it in couples waiting longer to have children,
  • A hesitancy to join church small groups or church membership,
  • A lack of job loyalty,
  • A hesitance to respond to a party or event.
  • People hesitate to commit because something better may come along, or worse, they may get hurt.
  • Take Action

    Be faithful to do the things you say you’ll do. “A heart deferred makes the heart sick…” the Bible declares. Don’t make your spouse’s heart sick! Be a doer of all the things you say you’ll do. Even the little things matter because they speak volumes to your spouse of your love, care and commitment.

    What is your spouse dreaming will come true? Maybe it’s that your marriage will be all God intended it to be.

    Josh Wilson has a new song out titled, Dream Small. Take some time to listen to it and see if it doesn’t inspire you to continue dreaming together about what could be.

    _________________________

    (Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/@wbayreuther)

    Posted in Christian Marriage, Encouraging Your Spouse, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

    Is Your Marriage Like This?

    It seems more and more couples are sharing with us the current lack of health in their marriage. We can see the pain and disappointment in their eyes. It grieves us because we know this is not how marriage is supposed to be. God intended marriage to be the one relationship we could count on in this life to allow us a safe place to grow and mature.

    Why is marriage so difficult if it’s supposed to be so good?

    The answer is simple–we aren’t perfect, our spouse isn’t either! But our differences are intended to help strengthen us not tear us apart.

    Most couples are opposites on every level. You may share common interests, but most likely the way you go about doing things is completely opposite.

    Tom and I have learned to laugh at how opposite we are. For example, we are getting ready to make deliveries to different counties in our state. As we were discussing the route we would take, it was no surprise that Tom imagined us covering the counties in a North to South pattern. I had envisioned us going East to West! It’s this way with nearly every decision we make or task we complete.

    If we don’t communicate about our differences these lighthearted disagreements can become full-blown irritations. I know because we have been there many times, I’m sorry to say!

    How is your marriage in regard to:

    1. Your finances?
    2. Your communication?
    3. Your parenting?
    4. Your schedules?
    5. Your goals?
    6. Your intimacy?
    7. Your priorities?

    If any of the above caused your eyes to roll or your heart to sink, please seek help! Even if you’re committed to a life-long marriage, don’t settle for mediocrity. Pursue the best marriage God designed for you for the sake of your growth as a couple, for the sake of your children and most of all for the example your marriage is to the watching world.

    If you’re not sure how to begin, please feel free to contact us with your questions. We will do our best to point you in the right direction. This time I’m quite sure Tom and I will be in agreement. It’s one area where we really do think alike! And I thank God for that!

    Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Keeping It Real, Perspective in Marriage, Priorities | Tagged , ,

    2018 Date Night Challenge – The Letter “T”

    We are a bit behind on our monthly date challenge, but that hasn’t deterred us from pressing on.

    Tom, who happens to be my favorite “T” planned a special afternoon TEA for me at a local TEA shop.

    I am currently eating GF and this tea provided a GF option for my portion.

    On our way to TEA we had a little TIF that TEMPTED us to distance ourselves from each other. Do you do this? Rather than lean in and work out the struggle, you look the other way and stew in your anger?

    It takes will power and determination to lean in when the TENSIONS rise.

    Gratefully, we have learned the benefit it is to make ourselves do this, for the good of our marriage and to “Save The Date”, so to speak. 😊 Tom shared how something I said effected him. I realized I was wrong and we were able to TALK it out and reach understanding. That’s what most conflicts are–a misunderstanding in what we heard our spouse say.

    To TOP it off–the tea wasn’t that good. We were glad we got it on Groupon which made it not as expensive.

    Sometimes a date is a hit,and sometimes a date is a TEST.

    I think we passed this one but sadly, the TEA left much to be desired.

    What dates have failed for you and how did you respond? Did you lean in towards understanding or pull away in anger?

    (Funny side note: Our next date is the Letter “U”. I hope we have the understanding part down on this one before we leave the house!)

    Happy Dating!

    Posted in 2018 Date Night Challenge, Alphabet Dates, Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Growing Strong Marriages, Keeping It Real | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

    IT HAPPENS!

    Today we had our septic tank pumped. It wasn’t long before I was running to close all the windows and fast! The fact that “IT” happens doesn’t make it pleasant or inviting, but it’s necessary.

    Our day yesterday was similar, but there wasn’t a pump truck involved. It was our thoughts and words. “IT” happens when we try to communicate through the yuckiness of conflict. “IT” happens when we fail to pause and listen to the burdens our spouse is carrying. Just because we don’t struggle in the same way they do, doesn’t mean their “IT” isn’t just as significant.

    Whether your struggle is finances, career changes, relational conflict, or physical pain, having a spouse who draws close to hear your heart is the best remedy. If your spouse is one who instead requires space to process their thoughts—give them the time and space they need without a cold shoulder. Oftentimes it’s the husband who requires more time.

    Gary Thomas in his book, Loving Him Well, quotes Michael Gurian, “Neurological studies show that men may take up to seven hours longer than women to process complex emotional data. Think of that: seven hours! Why this delay? Many physiological facts help to explain it: men have a smaller hippocampus in the limbic system (which processes emotional experiences); females have more neural pathways to and from the emotive centers of the brain; and the bundle of nerves that connects the left and right portions of the brain—allowing the processing of thoughts and talk with emotions—is about 25 percent smaller in men than in women.”

    Only you know your spouse on this level. Cherishing your spouse requires you to help them process the IT that happens. It may be time to roll up your sleeves and do the necessary work. The health of your marriage depends on it.

    (There are couples who don’t fit this generalization. The truths still apply whether it’s the husband or wife who requires more time to process.)

    Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict, Encouraging Your Spouse, Growing Strong Marriages, Keeping It Real | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

    Have You Ever Asked Your Spouse This?

    Yesterday we had lunch with friends and this question came up…

    When have you been the most afraid?

    It was a good question that led to an hour-long discussion involving lots of emotion. Some had had near-death experiences involving themselves or a child. I shared a couple–one was, like theirs, where I was fearful for my life. The other is the one I’d like to share with you.

    It was the week of our wedding, and I didn’t know how ill prepared I was for our life together. You see no one had taken the time to prepare me for sexual intimacy with my husband. The anticipation of the big day was more than I could bear. My stress showed itself by the acne on my face. I had never struggled with this until my anxiety reached it’s max. I was nervous, afraid and embarrassed at how I looked. But there was nothing I could do, but trust God to lead me through the wedding.

    And He did.

    My husband understood my reluctance and didn’t push me. He cared for me patiently and helped me overcome my inhibitions. I knew after our first night together that my husband was exactly who I had hoped he’d was. Because of his care I felt safe to be myself and share my struggles. He listened and we talked.

    Thankfully, I had no abuse or shame in my history causing my reluctance. My fear was due to the unknown. Once I discovered how our sexual intimacy was an overflow of our emotional intimacy, it seemed natural to express my physical love to him.

    I realize that sexual intimacy can open the door to a lot of past pain. Having a spouse who is willing to listen, understand and lead you through the struggle makes all the difference.

    I’m grateful that the only thing I really had to fear was the fear itself. Once I faced it, the fear dissipated.

    What is the most afraid your spouse has ever been? If you don’t know take time to ask, and then listen to their heart. This is an open door to deeper intimacy.

    Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Intimacy, Newlyweds, Seasons of Life, Sexual Intimacy | Tagged , , ,

    Vintage Post – Clinging Vines

    Originally posted on 8.10.10

    The Clinging Vine

    The image was clear the minute I read the sign, “The Clinging Vine”.  It was one of those signs where a business sponsors a certain section of road in order to keep it clean from trash. It was probably the name of a business who had paid for this particular road sign in an effort to draw people to their store.  It drew me – that’s for sure, but not to them.

    Two memories quickly surfaced in my mind:

    Tom and I just returned from a week in North Carolina.  He was on business; I went for a writing retreat.  As we drove the interstate we noticed a vine that had spread across all the trees on both sides of the road.  It was so dense you couldn’t see the forest because of it, only the outlines letting you know they were still there. At first it seemed beautiful because it was so green, but then I realized I couldn’t see what type of trees they were clinging to.  I didn’t like the fact it was taking over the landscape, hiding from view the native trees.

    Photo credit: Star, Simplified blog

    The Supported Vine

    Contrast this picture with another trip we made several years ago to Napa Valley, California.  It was our first time to see a vineyard, and I wasn’t expecting what I discovered.  There in the field, in neat rows were crosses.  The trunk of the vines revealed their age – they were thick and sturdy.  The vines themselves clung to the wires branching to the right and left making what looked like a cross.  It was magnificent in it’s simplicity and consistency.  Each vine looked the same – beautiful!

    Photo credit: Vineyard and Orchards

    I share these two pictures because they are metaphors of our marriage.  The first picture is a vine that has no strong support of its own; it must latch onto trees to gain height or crawl along on the ground.  It suffocates.   If continually climbed upon by the vine, mature trees will eventually die for lack of air and sun.  We can be this type of vine to our spouse, clinging to them for our support and strength; we can be demanding, overbearing and in essence suffocating.

    In the vineyard the metaphor is one worth emulating.  We have been grafted into the vine of Christ.  He is the one we cling to, and He provides strong support.  He can carry us when life takes us one way and then another.  Regardless of where we go or what season we are facing, this vine has stood the test of thousands of years.  His trunk is strong and secure.  When we step back to admire marriages of this kind, what we see isn’t the vine, but the cross. He is the reason our marriages succeed and bear fruit.

    We are all clinging vines – the question is – to whom are you clinging? 

    • Clinging to our spouse will not produce fruit that will last.  It will suffocate the love God intended us to share and leave us gasping for help in great need.
    • Clinging to Christ will provide rich nourishment and strength in our marriage allowing us to produce fruit that will remain.

    “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5 (ESV)

    Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , ,

    5 Women – 1 Marriage – And Now This!

    Our Engagement Photo circa 1978

    My husband shares often that he has been married to five different women, but only one marriage. People always look baffled and/or shocked when he says this. But it’s true. What he means is that over the course of our marriage I have changed and it has been an adjustment for him to get to know the new me. 

    What Caused The Changes?

    1. I changed when we got married and I moved away from the only town I had ever known including friends and family.
    2. I changed when we had our first baby and had to learn how to juggle being a wife with motherhood.
    3. I changed when I began homeschooling our three children.
    4. I changed when we were dealing with raising teenagers and the intense emotional strain that put on me day in and day out.
    5. I changed when I entered that dreaded season referred to as menopause.

    I admit it hasn’t been easy for Tom because he didn’t usually know the changes were coming. Neither did I for that matter, and it has made our relationship challenging in those transitions.

    Recently Tom was sharing this story with our Marriage Community Group when I had an “Aha” moment. I realized that Tom hasn’t changed nearly as much as I have. All the above transitions affected me on a greater level because I was the one home with our children 24/7. Tom worked outside of the home providing for our family so I could have the privilege to educate our kids. He had kept the same job for the majority of our marriage, which didn’t cause him to transition as much.

    He did change when we bought the company after working there for 16 years. Going from being an employee to an owner of the company brings a whole new set of responsibilities which caused him to change.

    But that was really the extent of it. Until now…

    Tom retired in April and this has changed him in ways I had no way of anticipating. It is good, but it hasn’t been as easy as we thought it would be. I’ve been home and managing our household for our entire marriage. Now Tom, who has been an excellent manager his entire career, is home too, and in the habit of managing people. Except the only “people” around is ME.  Another transition!

    We have had quite a few arguments over silly things like,

    • which knife I’m using and how the bigger knife would work better.
    • How I organize cabinets.
    • When I’m doing the laundry.
    • Why I buy this brand over another brand at the grocery store.
    • Writing vs. talking – I can’t do both at the same time.

    None of these things are crucial. They’re preferences. But it has really rocked my world. We have had to communicate often about why this bothers me, and I’ve learned a lot about myself and Tom in the process. We are learning to laugh at ourselves and not take things so seriously.

    I’ve even embraced some of Tom’s ideas.

    I’m happy to say I’m enjoying using a bigger knife at times, and smile when I choose to use my little one instead . It’s not an important issue, but it has revealed much about our marriage and how we needed to adjust to a new norm. 

    Change happens. The big changes can either help us fall in love with who our spouse has become, or it can cause us to become resentful and pull away. I’m grateful we have purposed to lean in and get to know the new spouse to whom we’re married.

    It’s a fresh beginning for us after nearly 40 years! Maybe we should plan a honeymoon to get to know the new “retired” us and fall in love once again! But first, I need to finish the laundry…

    What transitions have you faced as a couple? Did it draw you closer or pull you apart?

    Posted in Christian Marriage

    Happy Hour

    We haven’t shared some of our favorites in a while. So this week we’re focusing on Fall Date Ideas we’ve come across. Enjoy…

    Les and Leslie Parrot

    CambriaWines.com

    The Romantic Vineyard Vintage Posts

    Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Happy Hour, Romance in Marriage

    Until Death Parts Us

    I am emotional and have often been led astray by them. I’m grateful for the influence my husband has had on me in this area of my life. He has helped me see that my emotions aren’t bad; they are a gift when informed by the truth of God’s Word.

    The Bible is full of emotions–joy, sorrow, jubilation and tumult to name a few. God walks with us through all them and points the way to peace. It is with this confidence in God that I can embrace this day even with tears that are sure to come.

    Many of you have prayed with us for our dear friend, Craig Stafford, who collapsed one morning in August. He passed away on Saturday, 33 days later, and leaves behind his faithful wife of 20+ years and four children ages 23 – 14.

    Today our church will honor him and comfort his family by hosting his celebration of life service. We are expecting over 500 to attend. Craig loved large so his reach of influence is not surprising. He was skilled at rejoicing with those who rejoice and helping those struggling to be encouraged to take the next step. My Facebook feed has exploded with stories of how this man influenced folks everyday. Here are a few quotes…

    “Craig could light up a room like nobody else. His smile infectious, his passion contagious, his heart larger than life.”

    “Craig bled hospitality everywhere he was! He’d welcome you with a warm smile that makes you feel at home, give you a compliment to boost your self esteem, all while cooking a batch of bacon for you in the kitchen if he could!”

    Craig loved to cook. He served and fed us well for many church-wide events. His gift will be sorely missed, but it is his presence we will miss most. Whenever Craig was in the room you knew it. He put a smile on faces seemingly without effort.

    Craig and Rowena had a strong marriage, but not without trials and setbacks. It’s the struggles we go through that wields strength. Although this part of their lives has ended, Craig’s legacy continues beyond death. He has left an indelible mark on future generations through the lives of his four children. He loved well.

    A dear friend and blogger said the following to comfort his wife, Rowena…

    So today I had a moment…

    Initially it was sadness, feeling that I can’t imagine Metro Life Church, can’t imagine life on this earth, without Craig in it. To not see his smile, feel his hugs, hear his laughter…How, Lord?

    But then, I felt the Lord showed me something…we’ll see Craig’s smile every week in the faces of your precious children, we’ll hear his laugh in them, feel his hugs through them…though Craig has left us…together you and he gave us a gift, four of them, and through each of them, their father lives on. He is woven into the fabric of who they are and now I am so grateful that you had so many of them! 😘

    We love you, Rowena Marie Stafford! We love you and admire you and have so much respect for you…because behind these precious children there is You. Your example, your guidance, your teaching, all of the life that you have poured into them this is what makes them the amazing individuals that each one of them is. They have an unbelievable, godly woman for a Mama. I know their Daddy thought so, too!

    I pray his example as a husband and father will help us realize the gift it is to be present in the lives of those we love. May our days be marked with a resolve to love each other well until death parts us.

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

    2018 Date Night Challenge – The Letter ‘S”

    Some letters are easier to plan dates around than others. This one was super easy and always a favorite of ours.

    SUNRISE, SEA, SUN, SAND AND SEAFOOD

    Living near the beach this one is a date we enjoy often, but it doesn’t make it any less special.

    We drove to the beach and couldn’t wait to sit and allow the waves to wash away our busyness. It has the ability to clear my mind like nothing else!

    We were so relaxed I didn’t take many pictures. Maybe these few photos will give you a moment of needed relaxation from your busyness too.

    Happy Dating!

    Posted in 2018 Date Night Challenge, Alphabet Dates, Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Outdoor Dates | Tagged ,

    We Have A Winner!

    The winner of our Cherish Your Spouse, Giveaway is…Helen!

    Congratulations! Please email us your address so we can get these books sent to you right away.

    Thank you to all who took the time to intentionally answer this all-important question, “What does Cherish look like to you and to your spouse?”

    We pray it will be the beginning of Cherishing your spouse more in the years to come.

    Have a blessed weekend, and let’s pray for those facing Hurricane Florence!

    Posted in Christian Marriage

    Have You Entered Our Giveaway?

    We want to give away a Cherish Your Spouse package that includes a copy of Gary Thomas’ book, Cherish, and a copy of our book, Cherishing Us – 365 Healthy Tips from The Romantic Vineyard.

    How to enter:

    1. Comment what being cherished by your spouse would look like to you. (One entry)

    2. Ask your spouse what being cherished by you would look like and share their answer with your comment. (One entry)

    3. Share this post on FB, Twitter or Instagram (One entry) Type “shared” on your comment to let us know.

    That’s it! We will select the winner from a random drawing this Friday!

    God bless you!

    Posted in Cherish Your Spouse Giveaway, Cherishing, Christian Marriage | Tagged , ,

    A Personal Marriage Designer (and a Cherish Your Spouse Giveaway)i

    When Tom and I began The Romantic Vineyard nearly a decade ago (where has the time gone?), we chose the title because we had no better words to describe our passion–romance in marriage. This has been our calling in life for as long as I can remember. And we have done what we can with every opportunity that comes our way.

    However, since Gary Thomas’ excellent book, Cherish, was published we now have a new word that more accurately describes our passion–cherish.

    What exactly is cherish?

    • It is discovering what it means to your spouse to be loved and valued.
    • It is taking romance to a more personal and meaningful level.
    • It is doing and saying things that mean something to your spouse, to make them feel cherished.
  • This is why it is so vital to a healthy marriage. Your answers can be completely different from ours, and that’s the beauty of cherish. It is personal; like having your very own personal marriage designer. And like a qualified designer it takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary.
  • Cherish helps us make the most of the time we’ve been given together. It brings to the forefront that which is of most importance and allows the trivial to fade to the back.

    Remember those standardized tests we had to take in school that had us compare and choose the right answer?

    Cherish is to romance what conviction is to action.

    We can be busy doing all kinds of things, but if we don’t have a conviction about it they are just items on our to-do list. Conviction takes our actions and gives them purpose and meaning. We realize that there is an important reason we are doing what we do and it matters.

    In the same way we can busy taking care of our spouse and doing things that speak of our love for them, but if we don’t have the mindset to cherish them it can become a well-worn path. Cherish takes our love and gives it meaning and purpose for our spouse. It speaks their language.

    A marriage that lacks cherish is a relationship missing out on the best part of being together. Cherish is the realization that your husband/wife is the only Adam/Eve for you. They are yours from the moment you said “I do” and will be until you take your last breath. It is a privilege we shouldn’t take lightly.

    In what ways do you want to be cherished by your spouse?

    In what ways do they want to be cherished by you?

    If you don’t know, we encourage you to spend some time talking about it and read Gary’s book together. It may help you both discover a dimension in your marriage you didn’t realize was missing. Which brings us to our first giveaway in awhile…

    Cherish Your Spouse Giveaway:

    We want to give away a Cherish Your Spouse package that includes a copy of Gary Thomas’ book, Cherish, and a copy of our book, Cherishing Us – 365 Healthy Tips from The Romantic Vineyard.

    How to enter:

    1. Comment what being cherished by your spouse would look like to you. (One entry)

    2. Ask your spouse what being cherished by you would look like and share their answer with your comment. (One entry)

    3. Share this post on FB, Twitter or Instagram (One entry) Type “shared” on your comment to let us know.

    That’s it! We will select the winner from a random drawing after all entries are received.

    Posted in Cherish Your Spouse Giveaway, Cherishing, Christian Marriage, Contests | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

    2018 Date Night Challenge – The Letter “R”

    Tom planned for us to enjoy some R & R on this date, and I must say it was all that and more!

    We went to ROCK Springs for a RIVER tour in a transparent kayak. We RELAXED on the RIVER…at least I did. 😊 Tom did all the rowing while I RESTED. He spoils me like that!

    I’m going to REMEMBER this one for a long time. 😊

    Posted in 2018 Date Night Challenge, Alphabet Dates, Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Outdoor Dates | Tagged , , , , ,

    A Gift to Avoid Drift

    For my birthday this year Tom has committed to work out with me at home. He went so far and quit his gym membership too, so I knew he was serious. I am excited for this new chapter in our marriage. We are starting to do something together we have done apart or sometimes not at all.

    Gary Thomas shares in his book, Cherish, how important it is for us to lean-in to each other in all seasons of marriage. This may sound simple, but it’s not easy. Especially in our activity driven culture. Our schedules keep us from having time to connect with each other.

    A few minutes to connect with your spouse each day is not adequate for cultivating a lasting marriage.

    It may seem harmless to go different directions and have separate priorities. Especially if what you’re doing is for the good of your family. But one day your children will grow up and live lives of their own. It’s easy to think that day will never arrive, because the days move slow, but the years go fast.

    We often spend more time charging our phones than we do our marriage.

    We  have talked to couples who have different interests. It is difficult to find something they enjoy doing together. Don’t let your preferences keep you apart. If you enjoy reading and your spouse enjoys fishing–do both together. If you like to watch one program on TV and your spouse prefers another, compromise. At least do so a couple of times a week and lean-in to what interests your spouse. Such gestures speak more love to your spouse than words ever could.

    Don’t allow your relationship to drift into being comfortably apart. This is a dangerous drift found in many marriages. We must be intentional if we are to avoid it.

    In what ways are you leaning in to each other to avoid the drift?

    Posted in Boredom, Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Keeping It Real, Priorities | Tagged | 2 Comments