Husband Appreciation Day

Husband Appreciation Day for Husbands without children.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

This day is specifically for husbands without children. Since fathers have Father’s Day, someone decided childless husbands needed their very own day too. We love to highlight all kinds of holidays, so this is one we had to share.

Now the question is, “What to do?”

We encourage you to plan a day with all his favorite things–consider food, entertainment and schedule. Next, make a list of all the things you appreciate about him and write it in a letter, note or card. Being the day before Easter, you could make him his own Easter Basket. We have lots more ideas you can find on our Wives Only Romantic Easter Ideas page as well. (Guys, don’t spoil it by peaking either!)

Why all the fuss? What about Wives without children? They too, have their very own day to be celebrated. It’s the third Sunday in September. And guys check out our Husbands Only Romantic Easter Ideas too.

 


This is our 20th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.


 

 

Posted in Celebrations, Christian Marriage, Easter, Holidays, honor, Husbands | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Vintage Post – The Origin Of Your Spouse Date Night

Try celebrating the place where your spouse was born on your next date, Here are some ideas to get you started.

Originally posted on April 4, 2012

We all have one. It defines us from the moment we take our first breath, and it stays with us until we breathe our last.

Yes, we all have a hometown. I was born in Orlando, and I still live here, but this is really quite unusual. Most people move away from the place where they were born. This makes the idea for this date night a real fun challenge.

Your spouse has a hometown. Why not plan a night to celebrate the origin of your spouse? It could be a fun way to get to know your spouse from a different perspective.

Here are some ideas on how to make it work:

  • Call your mother-in-law if possible, and find out all you can about the place where your spouse was born. You might ask what the weather was like when they were born? How long was her labor? What time of day was he/she born? All this information can be used to determine the little touches to your evening. If they were born in the morning, then plan a breakfast menu. If they were born in the middle of the afternoon, then plan a full course of snack foods–you get the idea. Make the evening all about their place of origin.
  • In what city were they born? Plan the menu around local favorites.
  • Is there a movie which takes place in or near their hometown? Then, rent it for the fun of learning more about this special place.
  • Decorate with the colors of the city. Discover the local sports teams and use these as a spring board of ideas as well.

The purpose of this date night is to celebrate the origin of the person God created especially for you. End it by serving their favorite dessert. There really are no limits to the fun a date night like this could provide.

Tom was born in Buffalo, NY. I’m thinking we’re going to enjoy some wings in the near future. He may draw the line when I suggest us riding a mechanical bull though. You can only take a theme so far. But it sure is fun thinking and planning for it.

Where was your spouse born? How could celebrate the origin of your spouse? We’d love to hear about it.


This is my 18th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.


Posted in Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Unique Dates, Vintage Posts | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Getting To Know You

We all come into marriage with expectations. Getting to know each other is the start of dismantling them.

Photo by Juliette F on Unsplash

A famous song is our post title for today. We did a parody of it at our church a few years ago for a ladies retreat that focused on the seasons of life. This song is one of my favorites that I still quote. It is about a new wife’s perspective and what they are learning about their husbands…

Getting to know you. Getting to know all about you.

You must have “boys” eyes, never find anything.

I don’t know how you managed this long without me.

To help you find your keys and your clothes, tho’ they’re under your nose,

Day by day.

Getting to know you. Getting to know all about you.

I never knew how needy a man could be.

When he is sick he acts as if he is dying.

He really milks it for all that it’s worth.

Thank God he can’t give birth!

Day by day.

Of course this is a tongue-in-cheek song that is full of stereotypes to make us laugh. But seriously, getting to know each other can be a daunting task. Especially if you enter the marriage with little or no counsel.

Wives can think their husbands will become like their best girlfriends, talking about any and everything. After all, that is what best friends are for. Right?

Husbands can think their wives are going to embrace their life and routines without question, with the best part being great sex on a regular basis.

Any of you who have been married more than a minute know this is not usually the case. (Of course there are exceptions and if you are one, you should thank God every day for this blessing!)

But if you are struggling to understand your spouse and their POV, know that this is common in most marriages. It can be the starting point of a deeper relationship if you don’t ignore the differences.

Begin by…

  • Seeking to understand each other.
  • Asking questions and listening to the answers before formulating your next question.
  • Not expecting to get it the first time you talk about it.
  • Remembering each person brings a different dynamic to the marriage.
  • Realizing no two marriages are alike. What works for others may not work for you and that’s okay.

Think of it as a marriage adventure. You begin your journey with a car packed with everything you think you’ll need on this trip together. He has his things and she has hers. He enjoys all outdoor activities. She prefers the food and shopping found along the way. They both have high expectations of what it will take to make this adventure fun and memorable. You can be sure there will be disagreements as to where they go and what they do with their time. There is one word offered to the wise that will make all the difference in how to make sure this journey will succeed…compromise.

A compromise is a meeting in the middle, agreeing to consider another option.

We all have expectations, and they can be good. When they aren’t good is when they turn into demands.

Demand is defined: to ask for something forcefully, in a way that shows that you do not expect to be refused. 

If this is where you are in your relationship, there is hope. Realizing the problem is more than half of the battle. A great resource that we have found helpful with this issue is a book by Paul David Tripp titled, What Did You Expect? Redeeming The Realities Of Marriage

“One way God establishes beauty is by putting things that are different next to each other. Isn’t this exactly what God does in marriage? He puts very different people next to each other. This is how he establishes the beauty of a marriage. The moon would not be so striking if it hung in a white sky; in the same way, the striking beauty of a marriage is when two very different people learn to celebrate and benefit from their differences and to be protected from their weaknesses by being sheltered by the other’s strength.”

We pray we can all learn to find such beauty in our marriages: Celebrating the differences and sheltered by each other’s strength.

What are some ways you have found this to be true in your relationship?

Celebrating the differences and making them a strength in marriage.

Photo by Pearse O’Halloran on Unsplash

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This is my 17th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.

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Posted in Cherishing, Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict, Difficulty, Growing Strong Marriages, Perspective in Marriage, resources | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

If Your Sheets Could Talk

Sexual Intimacy in marriage is one of the areas many couples struggle with without resolve. It doesn't have to be this way.

Photo by JOHN TOWNER on Unsplash

Yesterday we talked about the challenges all couples face when it comes to money. If resolve isn’t found, it can be the final death blow to a struggling marriage. There is another challenging area in marriage often cited as the reason for divorce. Can you guess what it is? Here’s a hint–it requires a vulnerability like nothing else in your relationship. Physical Intimacy.

We have said it before and it’s worth repeating. Intimacy in marriage is crucial in all areas–spiritual intimacy, physical intimacy, emotional intimacy, intellectual intimacy. Intimacy is an invitation, “Into Me See”. If you or your spouse are not willing to be this vulnerable with each other the marriage will struggle.

When God made Adam and Eve He said a profound thing about married life before the Fall. “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” – Genesis 2:25 ESV

What’s ironic to me is that before we get married it is often a huge struggle to not become sexually active. Song of Solomon makes it clear, I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” Song of Solomon 8:4 ESV. If you are in a serious relationship the temptation to physical intimacy is strong. Once the marriage vows are taken and all restrictions are lifted, the struggle often begins in regards to sexual intimacy, many times on the honeymoon. Why? One would think sex would be great after marriage, no more restraints–just pleasure.

Tom and I have counseled countless couples who struggle in this area. It is heartbreaking in a way other difficulties aren’t. I believe it is because this is the only area that requires complete exposure without shame. You can’t hide from your spouse in marriage. They see and know you more than anyone else. But there is another huge reason and that is we have a enemy who wants to destroy us. Before marriage he is after our reputation. After marriage he is working to break it apart. We must realize we are a team fighting a common enemy. Realizing this one fact goes a long way in coming to a place of health in your sex life.

Pointing fingers never works. It only adds shame where there should be none.

What I love about sexual intimacy is that it is unique to every couple. What you find enjoyable and intimate may or may not be what others find enjoyable. Communication is the key to discovering what “Into me see” looks like in your marriage.

And another thing, your sex life is private. Guard it. Don’t talk about it with others, unless it’s agreed  upon mutually for help in a current struggle. Be your spouse’s best friend and keep their heart safe by your loyalty, even if you are hurting by the current conflict.

I remember a time early on in our marriage when I was really struggling with somethings regarding our physical intimacy. When I mentioned it to Tom he purposed to listen to me, ask good questions and help me understand where and why I was struggling. It was such a gift to have not only his ear, but his heart. I felt loved and cared for, not belittled for the struggle.

This is what a healthy marriage looks like, not one without struggles–there are no perfect marriages. A healthy marriage is one where you can discuss anything and find resolve. It may not happen easily or as quick as you’d like, but you are resolved to keep pushing through until you get there.

A healthy marriage doesn’t quit because the situation is too tense or too heated.

If you find yourself in this place is there hope? Absolutely. As long as you are both breathing there is still hope.

Our encouragement to you would be pray together or separately about the issue. Be specific in your requests. God doesn’t blush the way we often do about sex. He created it and it brings Him glory when we get it right. Pour out your heart to Him. Give Him the burden you have been carrying. Learn to lament.

Mark Vroegop with Desiring God Ministries wrote an excellent article titled, How to Lament Well.

“But lament is different than crying because lament is a form of prayer. It is more than just the expression of sorrow or the venting of emotion. Lament talks to God about pain. And it has a unique purpose: trust. It is a divinely-given invitation to pour out our fears, frustrations, and sorrows for the purpose of helping us to renew our confidence in God.”

Did you catch that? We have been invited by God to pour out all our fears, frustrations and sorrows on Him. He is ready and willing to help. Don’t ignore the struggle or you may wake up one day and realize there is nothing left to save.

A book we have found to be helpful is, Sheet Music–Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage, by Dr. Kevin Leman.

We also recommend Cherish –The One Word That Changes Everything, by Gary Thomas.

Both books have become rich resources to us as we counsel couples in all aspects of marriage.

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This is our 16th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.

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Posted in Biblical Encouragement, Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict, Sexual Intimacy | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Do You Struggle With This In Your Marriage?

Today is Tax Day in American. Money problems in marriage cause much conflict. How to overcome this tension is not as difficult as you may think.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Today is Tax Day in America. It is the day we all must pay our dues to the government whether we like it or not. If they have taken too much from us during the year, it is a time when a refund check is due. While raising small children, those refunds were an unexpected blessing.

Now that we are retired we are facing a new challenge–taxes due. It’s always difficult to pay the government taxes because it seems we don’t get anything out of it. Of course, that isn’t true. We benefit much from what the government does for us. Infrastructures that make our lives easier, protection from our enemies, healthcare for seniors, National Parks to enjoy and interstates to help us get there.

Jesus, when asked about paying taxes to Caesar, startled those questioning him…

“Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.b 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin for the tax.”And they brought him a denarius.c 20And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”21They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.” Matthew 22:16-22 ESV (emphasis mine)

It is right to pay taxes and not complain about it. It is good to be faithful in our finances. It matters because Jesus spoke a lot about money including this verse, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

Money is one of the leading causes of arguments often leading to divorce in marriage. Either the fight is over how it is spent or how it is saved. Both can be tense conversations.

Dave Ramsey, with Financial Peace University says,

“There’s no denying that men and women look at money differently. Typically, one spouse is a nerd and the other is a free spirit when it comes to the budget…Nerds enjoy putting together the monthly budget and calculating the numbers. They like that it gives them a sense of security, and they feel like they’re taking care of their loved ones. Free spirits don’t want to have anything to do with the numbers and tend to “forget” about a budget. They may feel controlled or not cared for, and appear irresponsible to the nerd. This can be a dangerous combination that leads to problems in your money and your marriage.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. Communication is the key to gaining understanding in this conflict. Don’t give up! Work through the misunderstandings and come to a place of resolve together. The goal isn’t winning the argument…

“The challenge in marriage is to work through the different identities, ideals and values you each bring to the relationship. You win at marriage by losing your need to get your way in every battle. You get a happy marriage by giving up selfish desires in order to win together—you create shared visions and goals out of your own individual goals!”

We love Dave Ramsey and how he has helped countless couples overcome this tension in marriage. If you have never attended a Financial Peace Class we highly recommend it. We led a group through our church and it was one of the most beneficial weekends we have attended. The lessons learned and applied have helped us navigate the financial strains all couples face. Our son even works for Ramsey Solutions Group in Tennessee. He just celebrated his 5th anniversary with the company.

Yeah, Dave Ramsey has been a blessing to our family in many ways. We pray he will also be a blessing to you, if this is an area of struggle. The important thing is to not ignore it! Find a resolve whatever it takes. Just like Tax Day comes around every year, you can be sure this conflict will roll around often until it is resolved.

For more information about Dave Ramsey and his resources click here

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This is my 15th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.

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Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict, Growing Strong Marriages, Money and Finances, Priorities, Troubled Marriage | 16 Comments

If My Spouse Would Just…

How would you fill in the blank...If only my spouse would...?

Photo by Priscilla Du Perez on Unsplash

How would you finish this title? “If my spouse would just…” If you have an immediate answer that involves something they need to do to change, it’s likely you have some unresolved conflict lingering in the air.

We all have our own plans for how things should go. When our spouse goes in a direction different than what we would have chosen it often causes conflict. Knowing this happens goes a long way to help resolve this common problem.

When it happens we have a choice to make. We can…

  1. Do it their way without complaint.
  2. Do it their way and grumble under your breath.
  3. Ignore their request and do nothing.
  4. Ignore their request and do it my way.
  5. Refuse their request telling them loudly why my way is better.
  6. Ask if we can talk about the situation.

Which way we choose speaks volumes of our commitment to the marriage. Some of us choose to ignore the hot spots in marriage all together. Ken Sande in his book, Peacemaker, calls this “peace faking”. Peace fakers avoid conflict at all costs, even to the detriment of the marriage. “Peace breakers” are those who let their way be known loud and clear, usually with an attitude or anger.

Of the six choices above #6 is the starting point. #1 can be good if you aren’t avoiding the conversation because of fear. The four in the middle are all sinful responses and should be resisted.

Maybe the best thing to do is to consider how your spouse would answer the title. What is something they have been wanting you to do/change/or stop doing?

Why not take it to the Lord and ask His help in changing you? After all, we can’t change our spouse. The only one we can work on changing is ourselves. It may be that as you focus on yourself you’ll no longer notice what your spouse is or isn’t doing. And the hope is that God will nudge them to make needed changes. After all He is the only One who can change hearts.


This is my 14th post in the Ultimate Blogging Challenge to post everyday in April.


 

 

Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict, Difficulty, Troubled Marriage | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Do You Know Alfred Mosher Butts?

scrabble1

I didn’t until now. But you most certainly know what he created 71 years ago. My favorite board game of all time–Scrabble. That’s right, Mr. Butts was an out-of-work architect who decided to combine his love of crossword puzzles with his love of anagrams. He added in the numbers for scoring purposes and America’s best-loved word game was formed.

Today in National Scrabble Day because on this day in 1899, Alfred Mother Butts was born.

Scrabble has always been my favorite game to play, but Tom doesn’t love it as much as I do. This led me to figure out a way to remove the parts Tom doesn’t like about it: e.g. the limited number of letter tiles, the rule not allowing proper nouns, and time limits. Once I adjusted the rules we landed on our romantic version of this family classic. Romantic Scrabble.

We first shared this with our readers back in July 0f 2011 and it is still one of most popular posts. It was worth repeating with you 8 years later.

Romantic Scrabble Rules:

  • Take all the Scrabble letters and place them face up on the table.
  • Light a couple of candles for ambiance.  🙂
  • Place the letters of your last name on the center of the board – however you choose as long as the center X is covered.
  • Give each player the points scored with your last name.  Remember the center X doubles the value of the word.  Since you are one – it simply makes sense you both get the points scored by using your last name.
  • Whoever is the oldest goes first.  Make a word using whatever letters you want providing they represent a romantic memory you both share AND it ties into your name.
  • The next player goes using whatever letters he/she wants as long as it is a romantic memory you both share.
  • Keep score of the points as you go.
  • The goal is to see if you can use all the letters – filling up the Scrabble board with lots of romantic memories.

We think Mr. Butts would be proud of our version of his game. He and his wife, Nina, enjoyed playing the game with their friends. It was recorded in his obituary, “Mrs. Butts was better at the game than her inventor spouse. Once she scored 234 for “quixotic.” He admitted that she “beat me at my own game,” literally. No buts about that!

An interesting fact; the word butt is worth 10 points in Scrabble. A perfect 10. 🙂


This is my 13th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April. 


 

Posted in April 2019, Christian Marriage, Creative Dates, Date Night Ideas, Romantic Ideas, Ultimate Blog Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Five Friday Favorites – Marriage Memes

Five Friday Favorites - Marriage Memes

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. But a picture with words speaks volumes. We have an entire Pinterest Board devoted to some of our favorite marriage memes.

In case you don’t know, memes are pronounced “meems” and are defined as captioned photos that are intended to be funny, often as a way to publicly ridicule human behavior. However, memes have grown to become so much more over time. They are a great way to share encouraging quotes that build good relationships. Thus the creation of our Pinterest board.

Today, as part of my Five Friday Favorites series, I would like to share with you five of our favorite marriage memes.

Print them if you like and use them in your home to remind you of the gift it is to be married. Sometimes we need to be reminded because we forget. I’d love for you to share any memes you’ve found that have encouraged you in your marriage.

 Five Friday Favorites - Marriage Memes

Five Friday Favorites - Marriage Memes

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This is our 12th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.

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Posted in Biblical Encouragement, Christian Marriage, Encouraging Your Spouse, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Vintage Post – 8 Cheap Dates On A Tight Budget

8 Valuable Dates to use on a budget.

Originally posted August 2012

There was a time in my life when I would have taken offense at being called a “cheap date.” But once you’re married with small children, teenagers or without a job, a cheap date is a grateful option and becomes quite valuable. Many couples think if they are limited on money then the date night is the first thing that needs to go.

I would disagree.

When you’re forced to live on a limited budget date nights are even more important. When stress is high, the need to connect increases. And connecting is difficult if there isn’t time set aside to actually connect!

So now that you see the need, let’s talk about the how!

This is my favorite thing to do–brainstorm fun ideas when it seems there isn’t anything fun to do that’s also cheap.

8 Valuable Cheap Date Ideas:

  1. Wherever you go hold hands. It is an easy way to connect and communicate the importance of being together.
  2. Plan a dessert rendezvous under the stars. Set up two comfy chairs, get candles, a firepit or tiki torches – whatever you already have, and set the chairs around the fire. Get a small table using one from your house, and serve your dessert while enjoying the music provided by the crickets. See if you can spot a shooting star.
  3. Set up a jigsaw puzzle on a table somewhere in your home where it won’t be in the way. Work on it together when you have some time. You’ll be surprised at how much casual conversation takes place while doing this.
  4. Go to your local bookstore or library. Each of you split up for 15 minutes and find a non-fiction book you find interesting. For the next 15 minutes read until you discover something you did’t know before. Then spend the rest of the evening talking about what you’ve learned.
  5. What was a favorite movie of yours before you and your spouse met? Plan an evening to watch it together. Don’t forget to include your favorite movie snacks too.
  6. Have a spa night where you give each other massages. Afterward draw a warm bubble bath surrounded with candles and soft music.
  7. If your spouse enjoys sports, plan an evening to watch a video of some the most memorable moments in sports history. If they’ve already seen all of them, then make your own trivia contest and see if you can stump them. If they win, they get to choose the prize. If you stump them, you get to choose. With this game no matter who loses still wins!
  8. If you need more ideas, we have them under our D.R.A.B. date night category, which stands for “Does Not Require A Babysitter.”

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This is our 11th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.

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Posted in Cheap Dates, Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Free Dates | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Tale of Two Conversations – The Choice Is Yours

Why do we hesitate to bring our struggles into the light? I believe there is one huge reason.

Conversation #1 –

Something was weighing on my mind. It was concerning something in our marriage, and I had been dwelling on it long enough to make me discouraged. It grew larger in my thoughts as each day passed. I prayed about it. I complained in my heart about it. I talked to myself about my disappointment. But I didn’t think to talk to Tom about it. Instead, I allowed this thought to fester. What it produced was a lack of intimacy bringing with it distance.

Conversation #2 –

Something was weighing on my mind. It was concerning something in our marriage, and I decided I couldn’t keep this to myself. I took and deep breath and asked Tom if we could talk. I told him something was bothering me, but I was afraid I couldn’t say it in a way that wouldn’t hurt him. He took my hand and sat us both down together. I had his full attention and there was no turning back. I shared my struggle, not in a self-righteous, “what’s wrong with you”, tone. But in a sincere concern for him tone. He got it. We talked about how we could tackle this together, and this produced intimacy that brought me to tears. I felt heard, loved and cared for. And I think he did as well.

Why do we hesitate to bring our struggles into the light? I believe there is one huge reason. We are listening to the wrong voice in our head. Anytime we hear the voice of a critical spirit we can be sure that this is the voice to silence. God never treats us in a condescending way. Only the enemy of our soul stoops to such measures because sadly, it works!

The next time something is weighing on your mind. Make the time necessary to talk about it face-to-face. Don’t come with a pointed finger casting blame. Instead, come with a hand to help and a heart to understand. Finish the conversation by praying together about the issue. When you are the one who needs to work on an area, it helps to hear your spouse pray for you. It is a window allowing you to see how your neglect or sin in an area affects them.

Intimacy doesn’t just happen. It happens by making hard choices to lean in together instead of pulling away. It’s purposing to do hard things for the long-range good of your marriage. Which conversation will you choose? The choice is yours.


This is our 10th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.


Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict, Keeping It Real, Troubled Marriage | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

2018 Date Night Challenge – The Letter “Z”

The Letter “Z” our final date in the 2018 Date Night Challenge.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

You read that title right.

Our daughter got married in January 2018. She was the last one to leave the nest, so we knew this would be an adjustment for us. Instead of giving in to the sadness of the change, we decided to turn our focus to a Date Night Challenge. Thus, the alphabet dates began. We each took turns planning a date based on a letter in the alphabet. We had so much fun, and it helped us not give in to the temptation to be sad over our empty-nest.

By December we had nearly finished. We had two letters left, but no time to plan them. So we postponed them. Our “Y” date took place last month. And finally it’s time for our “Z” date.

Honestly? We have no creativity or energy left, except to take a nap. And then we realized what a perfect way to celebrate the letter “Z”, by taking nap together! It is Sunday and for years we would come home after church and put our kids down for a nap. This is where our Sunday afternoon naps were born.

This was one of our favorite parts of being married, being able to cuddle in bed and fall asleep in each other’s arms. Such a peace and security in this simple act, knowing the other is there breathing and resting within arms reach.

We encourage you to take the challenge and plan a date night around every letter in the alphabet. We sure enjoyed our time doing it. If you’d like to read what we did for each of our Alphabet Dates, click here.

What did you do on your last date night together? We’d love to hear about it.


This is our 9th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.


Posted in 2018 Date Night Challenge, Alphabet Dates, Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Monday Tradition

We celebrated our 40th anniversary in February. And for most of those years we have kept a tradition--a favorite tradition.
Every Monday is our weekly date night. You may ask,

Photo by Crew on Unsplash

We celebrated our 40th anniversary in February. And for most of those years we have kept a tradition–a favorite tradition.

Every Monday is our weekly date night. You may ask, “Why Monday?” We had a very practical reason. Monday was always our pastors’ day off so no church activities were ever planned. This made Monday’s most likely to not have any interruptions, and it worked!

Even now, being empty-nesters, we hold Monday with a special reserve, like a fine wine.

An added bonus of Monday date nights? Most babysitters are available and the restaurants aren’t crowded. It’s a win-win.

On a typical date night we enjoy going to restaurant where we know we can talk and take our time. No hurried servers trying to get us to check out soon. It’s on these nights when we enjoy asking each other questions like:

  • How is your soul? (This one always takes time to consider.)
  • What are you most excited about in this season?
  • What are you asking God to help you accomplish?
  • How can I pray for you this week?

You’ll notice, none of these questions involve work, parenting, or ministry. They are personal and show concern for the heart. This is the privilege of a spouse–to ask these questions in an effort to learn, grow and understand your spouse on a deeper level. Check out these questions to select from on your next date. It will help your conversation go to a deeper level.

What nights do you set aside to connect? What is your favorite date night idea?


This is our 8th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.


Posted in Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Dating Your Spouse, Priorities | Tagged , | 10 Comments

It’s The Little Things

What little things makes your spouse feel loved and cherished? If you don’t know, do all you can to find out. It’s often the little things that mean the most.

Photo by David Mao on Unsplash

If I wake up before Tom, one of the ways I enjoy showing him my love and care is to get his coffee ready to brew. If I hear him stirring in the bedroom I’ll even press the brew button so that his coffee is ready for him when he appears.

This doesn’t take much effort on my part, but it speaks volumes to him.

  • First, it lets him know I was thinking of him.
  • Second, He sees that I was willing to put aside my routine to do something special for him.
  • Third, He realizes how well I know him–listening for him to wake up, and taking the steps to make his favorite morning beverage.

Little things don’t take much effort, but it requires an intentionality to see the opportunity when it arises.

There are lots of other little ways to show my love for him. And what works for my husband may not work for yours. Gary Thomas in his excellent book, Cherish, calls this “cherishing your unique spouse.”

Cherishing each other requires dealing with a real, particular spouse and is fueled by the spouse’s uniqueness. If two-carat diamonds were as common as sand on a seashore, none of them would be cherished. But the fact that something is different makes it precious. That’s why we cherish it—it’s one of a kind. Your spouse is unique, special—and for them to feel cherished, they need to be treated as such.

We each have a unique spouse with likes and preferences unlike anyone else. The wise and loving spouse will spend time getting to know them in an effort to love and bless their uniqueness.

What is one thing you know your spouse enjoys? Do all you can to make this happen for them today. It may not seem like much, but it’s the little things that speak volumes of our love and commitment to make their lives better.


This is our 7th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.


Posted in Cherishing, Christian Marriage, Encouraging Your Spouse | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Defining Disappointments in Marriage

Marriage is hard. It takes a life-long commitment to pursue each other regardless of the circumstances we face. We tend to romance our marriage vows because they sound so poetic. But think about it -- I am promising to make my spouse my priority in the worse, the poorer and the sickness of life. It sounds so noble--until it's not.

Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

“If we have a misunderstanding of God we will most certainly have a wrong understanding of our circumstances.” – Lysa Terkeurst

Marriage is hard. It takes a life-long commitment to pursue each other regardless of the circumstances we face. We tend to romance our marriage vows because they sound so poetic. But think about it — I am promising to make my spouse my priority in the worse, the poorer and the sickness of life. It sounds so noble–until it’s not.

Life is messy, and marriage multiplies the trouble.

  • Children add strain to our wedded bliss–either through physical health challenges, behavior struggles or refusing to sleep through the night. Maybe you and your spouse don’t agree on how to deal with these types of challenges; that makes it even harder to bear.
  • Work life brings its own problems. You weren’t given the promotion for which you had worked months to achieve. Your spouse faces depression as a result and you feel helpless and alone. Or an office relationship your spouse has turns into something more, and you are left with a decision you never thought you’d have to make-to stay or to leave.
  • Sickness hits your spouse requiring you to give and serve on levels you’ve never imagined. A future that once looked bright is now dotted with doctor appointments and treatments with no guarantee of the outcome.

These are just a few examples of how life as we planned it may not happen. Does that mean the marriage is doomed? Only if you succumb to the temptations to flee.

It is vital that as Christians we remember there is nothing we go through that hasn’t first passed through God’s all-knowing, all-loving hand. He takes us through difficulty to help us know Him more.

When we are disappointed and angry in our circumstances it may be we are dissing His appointments chosen just for us.

Let me repeat that. When we are disappointed and angry in our circumstances it may be we are dissing His appointments chosen just for us.

To “dis” someone is to disrespect or dismiss them altogether. I imagine many of you may be asking, how can this be? How can God be allowing such hardship in my marriage. Isn’t He supposed to be good?

We must remember what the Bible says. God’s ways are not our ways. But He IS Good. This truth must be embraced to walk through the dark valleys together. Sometimes there are no answers that satisfy our broken hearts. But God has promised to never leave us in the mess. He will faithfully walk us through it to the other side where we may find answers or maybe we won’t. But one thing is certain, we will know and love Him more if we endure.

A marriage that has stood the test of time is a beautiful thing.

It isn’t because “they just got a good one” as we have heard many times. No, it’s how they chose to stay committed even through the disappointments of life. Trusting God when you don’t know what tomorrow will bring is faith in its purest form. It’s daring to believe in the goodness and kindness of God when it feels the exact opposite.

Next time you are faced with disappointment in your marriage, pause and ask God to help you embrace His appointment chosen just for you. Ask Him to give you eyes to see and faith to trust His choice for you in this season. These are prayers that please Him and indicate your sincere faith in what you cannot see.

NOTE: If you are not a Christian, having trusted in Christ alone for your salvation, this post will most likely not make sense. We encourage you, if interested, to read your Bible and discover Jesus for yourself. Start with the Gospel of John. This December will mark my 50th year as a believer. I can say He has been faithful to keep His promises, and He is good!


This is my 6th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.


Posted in Biblical Encouragement, Christian Marriage, Difficulty, Growing Strong Marriages, Troubled Marriage | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Five Friday Favorites – Worship Songs

The five things that are on my mind this week are worship songs. Worship plays a huge part in our marriage. It is here where we can join together worshiping our Savior using the words and melodies of heart-searching songs to lift our eyes to the only One who knows us best.

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

The five things that are on my mind this week are worship songs.

Worship plays a huge part in our marriage. It is here where we can join together worshiping our Savior using the words and melodies of heart-searching songs to lift our eyes to the only One who knows us best.

It has been an emotional week for us. Maybe we’ll delve into that in future posts, but not yet. Right now worship is what is helping us most. These are five of our favorite songs. We hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen and let these songs minister to you as they have to us.

Here Again, by Elevation Worship

Do It Again, by Elevation Worship

The Stand, by Hillsong United

All Because of Christ, Austin Stone Worship

So Will I, Hillsong United

I am grateful for the gift God has given us through worship. It is in this place where His Spirit meets us in our point of need. What a gift I never want to take for granted.

What worship songs are your favorites?


This is our 5th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.


Posted in Christian Marriage, Difficulty, Encouraging Your Spouse, Music, Ultimate Blog Challenge, Worship | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Vintage Posts – Savoring The Old

Vintage Posts like a fine wine get better with age. Check out today’s vintage selection. No Electricity Date.

With ten years of posts written and published, from time to time we enjoy sharing some of our favorites with you. We call these “Vintage Posts”, because like a vintage wine they are worth savoring and enjoying. They may even become more valuable with age, but that is for you to determine.

We have on our right sidebar a search box titled, Category. It is here where you can access all of our previous posts. Spend some time browsing when you have the time. For now, here is a Vintage Post for you from the category DRAB Dates. DRAB is an acrostic for “Doesn’t Require A Babysitter”. In other words, you can do this date at home. 🙂

No Electricity Night

(Originally posted on April 13, 2013)

We are in North Carolina this week and had the opportunity to be on the Blue Ridge Parkway late one night. We stopped at an overlook point and turned off the car so we could gaze at the stars. It takes my breath away every time I’m able to do this. It got me to thinking about how life was for hundreds of thousands of years. The night sky would speak volumes to every person because they could actually see the stars.

When electricity was made available for home use back in the 1890’s, light became available 24 hours a day. Bright light too, not candle or oil lights. This set the stage for what is now called light pollution.

This gave us the idea for our next date night challenge:

Plan an evening where you use no electricity. That’s right–none!

For your meal you can use a gas or charcoal grill. Of course, you’ll have to use the refrigerator, but this is the only exception.  

Set the table with kerosene lanterns or candle light. No television or background music. Pick a favorite book and read aloud together or select a book of poems if you like poetry. If you can, spend some time star-gazing and talking about how big the sky is. We’ve found that doing this helps to put your trouble in perspective.

Be creative. Choose things both you and your spouse will enjoy. But make this a night where the only electricity used is found in the bedroom! 


This is our 4th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.


Posted in Christian Marriage, D.R.A.B., Date Night Ideas, Free Dates, Vintage Posts | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Are You an Eraser or a Highlighter?

Are you an eraser or a highlighter in your marriage? Both are useful tools provided we are using them in the best way for our spouse.

Photo by David Pennington on Unsplash

Erasers are used to take away errors giving an opportunity to do it right. Highlighters are used to emphasize something you don’t want to forget. In marriage we can use both to help or hurt our relationship.

How are we to use erasers in a way that will benefit our marriage most?

Proverbs 19:11 says, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

Do you find it difficult in the heat of the moment to choose to not make a big deal out of something your spouse did that you don’t like?

Let’s look at the positive ways we can be an eraser:

  • Choosing to overlook when our spouse irritates us.
  • Thinking the best of them when something happens we don’t understand.
  • Focusing on the good we love about them, rather than the areas that still need attention.
  • Not venting to others about their struggles and/or sins.

Being an eraser requires a commitment beforehand to do this. Otherwise we are caught up in the emotions of the moment and will most often react.

How often Christ has modeled this for us in our own lives. He doesn’t nit-pick every mistake or sin. He gently chides us in the areas where change is needed. And He patiently forebears with us as we struggle. He remembers what we are made of. We would do well to aspire to treat our spouse with such kindness.

Highlighters are the exact opposite. They emphasize something to make it more visible.

How can we use a highlighter in a way that will benefit our marriage most? Jesus tells us this analogy that will point us to part of the answer.

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew‬ ‭7:3-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Realizing our sin and how it impacts our spouse will help keep us from being quick to judge our spouse–highlighting our own failures and sins, rather than theirs.

I learned this the hard way, and the lesson will never be forgotten. God didn’t make me the standard-bearer for how my spouse should live. That is God’s job alone, and He is jealous to do His work.

Highlighters are also used to remember something we love in a book. How important to make much of those things we love about our spouse. Quips we can easily recite to ourselves when we are tempted to highlight the negative.

Positive ways we can be a highlighter:

  • Be quick to confess your sin to your spouse when necessary, and ask forgiveness. (This is highlighting your own need to change, a healthy habit in marriage).
  • Think often on those things you love most about your spouse. (Highlighting their strengths).
  • Communicate to them those things. Be specific.
  • Commend your spouse and their positive character to your friends and family. Especially your children. Let them hear your accolades of affection.
  • Remind yourself daily of the Gospel and how Christ’s finished work has informed your life and impacted your marriage to live this way.

We are all a work in progress. Our highest priority is to come alongside each other and help us each be the best version of ourselves we can be, for the glory of God.

Erasers and highlighters are common tools found in every marriage. Let’s not allow our marriage to be one that highlights the bad and erases the good. If this is an area in need of change, plan a night together to talk about it.


This is my 3rd post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.


  • Posted in April 2019, Christian Marriage, communication, Encouraging Your Spouse, Growing Strong Marriages, Perspective in Marriage, The Gospel & Marriage, Ultimate Blog Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

    Are You Up For The Challenge?

    We are taking part in a monthly blogging challenge. Many of you may be visiting here for the first time, and to you we say, “Welcome!”

    A little about us.

    We are Tom and Debi Walter and we live in Orlando, FL. We have been married for 40 years and have three married children. Our son and his wife live in Tennessee with their four children and two cats. Our daughter and her husband live in Georgia with their four children and a puppy. Our youngest daughter and her husband live in Arkansas where they are building their life together after one year of marriage. We are involved in the building up and equipping of marriages in our local church, which has been a lifelong passion for us. What we know and share we were taught by those who faithfully invested in our marriage when we were young and just starting out. We are grateful for their willingness to speak wisdom and truth to us during some very difficult years. This is why we do what we do, because of what others have faithfully done for us. It’s a giving back of sorts.

    The goal of our blog since its inception in 2008, is to see marriages not only last, but thrive for a lifetime. This is a benefit not only for us, but also for our children. Our culture is waning in its commitment to helping marriages stay the course. Easy, “no-fault” divorces are the norm and even encouraged. Sadly, this is true even in the church. All under the pursuit of “being happy”.

    Our cultural mindset has shifted from lifelong commitment to lifelong happiness.

    If the marriage is no longer making me happy, then the marriage is at fault and must be terminated. This breaks our heart because it isn’t true. Oftentimes, when we aren’t happy in our marriage it is because God is after something that needs to change in our heart. Once we see it, confess it, and repent of it, we discover a sweetness in our marriage that wasn’t there prior to the conflict. So many couples endure through the worse parts and quit before finding the sweetness. It is tragic!

    We have been involved in some sort of marriage ministry for our entire marriage. We love seeing relationships grow and change. And when a couple begins to value their marriage above all other earthly relationships it brings God great glory. He loves when our marriage reflect His love for the church. It is intended to be a living testament to a watching world.

    Thank you for visiting. We will be posting everyday this month. If you are married, engaged or hope to be one day, we invite you to sign up for our posts via email located in the right sidebar. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It is there where have a growing community on of likeminded couples who want the very best for their relationship. It starts with the husband and wife making it a priority in their daily schedule to pursue each other. They must choose to be intentional about loving and cherishing each other in ways that are meaningful to their spouse.

    Are you up for the challenge?


    This is our 2nd post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in April.


    Posted in April 2019, Christian Marriage, Perspective in Marriage, Purpose, Ultimate Blog Challenge | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

    Confessions of a Marriage Blogger

    I have a confession to make. As a marriage blogger for the past decade, my husband and I have heard countless ways our blog has been an encouragement to couples. Some we know and some we have yet to meet. We love knowing that The Romantic Vineyard has made a small impact on marriages around the globe.
However, I have to say my motivation is waning. Not for marriage, mind you, but to know what to write about that hasn't already been said.

    I have a confession to make. As a marriage blogger for the past decade, my husband and I have heard countless ways our blog has been an encouragement to couples. Some we know and some we have yet to meet.

    We love knowing that The Romantic Vineyard has made a small impact on marriages around the globe.

    However, I have to say my motivation is waning. Not for marriage, mind you, but to know what to write about that hasn’t already been said. I value my time because it is fleeting. I know you value your time as well. It is a gift that must be stewarded. If I’m posting constantly, am I helping marriages, or just beating the same old drum because I enjoy the rhythm of writing?

    This may sound discouraging. I don’t mean it to. These are the thoughts that race through my mind on a regular basis. When God speaks and gives me an idea for a post, I’m right there, ready to pound the keys with passion. But when He is silent, and I’m left to come up with ideas on my own, it can seem redundant.

    I remember in 2011 when I entered my first blog challenge. I was encouraged to post everyday for 30 days. I was excited because there was so much to say. I had no idea how much the people I met during that challenge would mean to me in the years to come. It was a wonderful and enriching experience. And I am so glad I committed to do it.

    I have been invited to participate in another Ultimate Blog challenge. This time for the month of April. Again, I hesitate because I don’t want to do this just because it is a good idea. I want to do it because God desires to use me to encourage marriages for His glory, not my own.

    Our life has changed drastically since we began blogging in November of 2008.

    1. We added 6 more adorable grandchildren to the two we already had.

    2. We bought a cabin in the mountains of NC.

    3. I began hosting Ladies Retreats each summer.

    4. We sold our business.

    5. I published my first book in 2012, Through The Eyes Of Grace.

    6. Tom retired.

    7. Both my Mom and Mother-in-law passed away.

    8. Our two older adult, married kids moved to other states with all of our grandchildren.

    9. Our last daughter got married and moved out of state.

    10. We helped establish the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association in an effort to give our blogs some credibility, standards and safe guards for our readers.

    11. We began a Marriage ministry in our local church to help couples continue to pursue each other and grow their marriage.

    12. We published our first book together titled, Cherishing Us – 365 Tips to Help Your Marriage Grow.

    It has been quite a transitioning decade, and our marriage has grown considerably amidst all the challenges such changes bring.

    I believe I have just finished my first post for the Ultimate Blog Challenge – April 2019. I hope you’ll follow along with me as I discover 29 more posts worth sharing. The goal is to help us think about and be intentional in our marriage. Time passes so quickly. We must make the most of those relationships that are dearest to us. And who knows us better than our spouse? Let’s lean in and discover more together.

    I hope you’ll join me.

    Blessings to you, your spouse and your marriage.


    This is my 1st post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday during the month of April.


    Posted in April 2019, Christian Marriage, Keeping It Real, Ultimate Blog Challenge | Tagged , | 27 Comments

    2018 Date Night Challenge – The Letter “Y”

    Our Alphabet Date Challenge continues with the Letter “Y”.

    I know it’s 2019, but life got really busy around the holidays and we had to put our last two letters on hold. That’s the thing with challenges, you can pick up where you left off. The important thing is – Don’t give up!

    Our “Y” date was a visit to a small town outside of Orlando called Yalaha. They are known for a small German bakery located there called, Yalaha Bakery. Every weekend they have live music on their outside terrace. You feel as if you are in Germany with all the baked goods, lunch options and beer selections. It is quite the experience.

    We had a great time relaxing and having no other plans than to just be together. We drove around the countryside afterwards and dreamed of the days to come. These are usually our best dates–not so much what we do, but the conversation that takes place in the process.

    I have a new camera so Tom said “YES” each time I wanted to stop the car for a great shot. Saying Yes is a great idea for a “Y” date, don’t you think? Tom likes it when I say Yes. 🙂 Here are some of the shots I took.

    My Reuben sandwich on a pretzel roll

    Tom had the liverwurst and onion sandwich.

    Posted in 2018 Date Night Challenge, Alphabet Dates, Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Daytime Dates | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment