Debi Walter, Author at Engaged Marriage

All Posts by Debi Walter

About the Author

Tom and Debi Walter have been cultivating their romantic vineyard for most of their 36 years of marriage. It has been their conviction from the start. Now they are passionate about helping other couples discover the rich harvest of romance available to them no matter the current season. Through their marriage blog, The Romantic Vineyard established in 2008, they provide regular posts about growing your marriage for God's glory.

5 Romantic Ideas For Each Of The 5 Love Languages

By Debi Walter | Romance

5 Romantic Ideas for the Five Love LanguagesIf you’re married and are a Christian, you’ve most likely heard of Gary Chapman’s bestselling book, The Five Love Languages.

This is what gave me the idea to offer five romantic ideas for each of the five love languages. Determining the way you express and receive love can help your spouse in knowing how to best romance you and also help you know how to romance them.

If you haven’t done so already, you can find out your love language by taking this short free test. Then come back and choose something from the following list to romance your spouse this week.

See if what you plan isn’t more meaningful to your spouse. And see if what they do for you is something that stands out in your heart and mind a special.

WORDS OF AFFIRMATION

  1. Write your spouse a love letter. If you’re not sure how to do this–check out this awesome resource.
  2. Make a list of 10 things you appreciate about your spouse. Write each one on a separate post-it note and hide them around the house so they’ll find them over time. Hiding place ideas: underwear drawer, inside the coffee filters, around their toothbrush, on the shower wall, on their car dash, inside their briefcase, in-between slices of bread in the wrapper, on the washing machine control panel, in the mailbox.
  3. Commend something your spouse has done recently on your Facebook page. Be sure to tag them in the post.
  4. Search You Tube and find a song that says what you want to say to encourage your spouse. E-mail them the link telling them, “This song says it all – I love you!”
  5. Talk to them softly while making love, communicating what you love most about how they love you.

ACTS OF SERVICE

  1. Tell your spouse you’re going to take over one of their dreaded chores because you love them. You can do this for a certain period of time, or forever. Either way is sure to speak volumes to your spouse.
  2. Be quick to do whatever your spouse asks you to do for them. If it’s take a package to the post office for them, put that task at the top of your to-do list for the day.
  3. Ask your spouse, “What is the most meaningful thing I do for you?”, and then be faithful to always do it, as much as it’s in your ability to do so. If it’s being punctual to appointments, work on being on time. If it’s having the car cleaned inside and out, do all you can to keep it clean and shiny. If it’s having the laundry done on a certain day, work hard to stay on top of it. You may be surprised at what it is, or you may already know without asking.
  4. Keep a short list of repairs needed around the house. If you don’t know how to do something, ask someone who does to teach you how.
  5. If your spouse normally makes the bed, make it for them. Or cook them their favorite meal. Find something unexpected you can do that will make them smile. 🙂

RECEIVING GIFTS

  1. Make the most of unusual holidays and buy a small gift for your spouse. Have it wrapped and placed where they’ll find it on their own. Here is a list of such holidays according to the months of the year. You may be surprised to see how many there are.
  2. Make a mental note of little things your spouse mentions that they like. It might be daisies are their favorite flower, or they love a certain perfume or scarf. It could be a favorite candy bar, to a movie they want to see. Whatever it is, if it’s within your budget, surprise them by getting it for them. They will be blessed not only that you bought them the gift, but that you paid attention to what they said.
  3. Subscribe them to a favorite magazine or one that represents something they love, like gardening, cooking, golf or car-racing.
  4. Make a certain day of the week their special day. It could be that every Monday you give them a small token of your love. The anticipation of the gift will be as special as actually getting it. They don’t have to be expensive things either, just thoughtful. This is usually what those with the “receiving gifts” love language actually want…is to know that you thought enough of them to pick something out just for them, just because.
  5. Whenever you give a small gift, take the time to wrap it nicely. Often times the presentation is as important as the gift itself. And remember, just because this doesn’t mean much to you (it receiving gifts isn’t your love language), it is probably very important to your spouse.

QUALITY TIME

  1. Make Date Nights a weekly event. Even if you can’t afford a babysitter, plan a night at home that is yours alone.
  2. When your spouse asks to talk to you about something, put your smart phone or iPad down and make eye-contact with them while they speak.
  3. Use the questions from Connect Like You Did When Your First Met on a regular basis to enrich your conversation about things you might not think to discuss.
  4. Go to bed at the same time, even if at times you have to get up after they’ve fallen asleep. It’s meaningful for them to know that you’ve purposed to spend that time right before sleep together.
  5. Go for walks together after dinner. Even if the kids join you, the time spent will mean a lot.

PHYSICAL TOUCH

  1. Hold your spouse’s hand whenever you’re out together walking, whether in the mall, at the beach, or around the block.
  2. Kiss your spouse often. Make it a point to greet them at the door with a hug and a kiss.  Do the same when they’re leaving for the day.
  3. Sometimes holding your spouse without saying a word means the most to those with this love language.
  4. Cuddle together in bed.
  5. Give them regular neck, back, foot or full body massages. Buy various lotions and oils to make this even more of a treat.

These ideas are simply to get you started on your journey of expressing your love in a way that will be the most meaningful to your spouse.

If your spouse is like me, they may have more than one love language, which only broadens the possibilities. The most important thing is to have fun!

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7 Romantic Ideas For Struggling Couples

By Debi Walter | Romance

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Romance doesn’t come as naturally in marriage as one would think.

It’s similar to one in a canoe on the river.

Do nothing, and your relationship will drift.

It takes effort to go against the stream of life and romance your spouse.

Add to this struggles that are common in all marriages, and drift is nearly inevitable.

What can you do to forego it?

The answer is do something–any effort, no matter how small is going to help you keep from drifting apart even during the most difficult seasons.

I’ve compiled a list of struggles that we may or may not face at some point in our marriage. Along with each I’m providing a romantic idea you might consider to get romance in your relationship back on track.

I pray it will be a helpful tool.

  1. Financial Debt>>Plan an at-home date night that doesn’t require money. All you need is the time set aside without distractions.
  2. Illness>>Do something extra special to let your spouse know how much you care for them e.g. make them a hot toddy, diffuse an essential oil to counter their symptoms, fluff their pillow, buy them a special treat you know they’ll enjoy, give them the freedom and space to recover, watch something together on TV you know they’ll enjoy.
  3. Conflict>>Be the first to apologize. Make it sincere and thoughtful. Then, plan an evening of all their favorite things.
  4. Homesickness>>Plan an evening to celebrate all things from back home. e.g. Cook a special dish, watch a movie from their home town, reminisce together asking questions to help your spouse relive special memories, let your spouse know that you understand and care about how they’re feeling. Cheer them up in whatever way you know will make them smile. Plan a special dinner party to help relieve the sadness and build some new friendships.
  5. Parenting Problems>>Sometimes when our kids are causing a lot of tension in the marriage, it’s good to give each other a break. Give them a night out with friends or alone, whichever would mean the most to them. Not all romantic gestures include doing things together. It’s being thoughtful in a way that is special to your spouse.
  6. Job Stress>>Make a big deal of the weekend when it comes! Make a sign and put it in the garage saying “Welcome To Your Weekend!” Have their favorite celebration drinks and snacks available when they walk in the door. Plan some recreational activities over the weekend to help them feel as far away from their normal routine as possible.
  7. Boredom>>Plan a surprise and don’t tell them it’s coming; let discovering it be a part of the fun. Or you could tease them that something is coming, just to help them get out of the rut of boredom. Many times all it takes to get someone out of the doldrums is to blow a little surprising wind into their sails. When I’ve done this, I’ve enjoyed the surprise as much as Tom did discovering it.

The biggest part of romance is knowing your spouse well enough to anticipate their needs.

What is your spouse’s biggest challenge right now?

How could you help carry that burden for them? Once you answer that, then do it!

Your spouse will feel loved, and you can rest assured that your canoe will be heading in the right direction.

Viva la Romance!

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Babies and Toddlers and Children, Oh My! (RE)Creation Date Ideas

By Debi Walter | Romance

Untitled design (1)We have had the privilege of having our daughter along with her four children (ages 18 months to 8 years) stay with us this past week.

It has been fun, loud and wonderful, but when it comes to romance it has pretty much taken a back seat.

Especially since our 3 year old granddaughter sleeps on the little sofa in our bedroom while she’s here.

It made me rethink what it’s like to romance your spouse when you’re in the throes of raising small children.

Everyone is different when it comes to what romancing your spouse looks like in the various seasons of life.

Tom and I are planning to go out for a nice dinner tonight, since it’s our first night without lots of little people calling us “Papa” and “Nana”.

If your kids are like most, you or your wife most likely hear “Mommy!” more times than she can count, and that’s just before lunch! Kids can wear you down and drain you of any and all creative energy.

But. You Must.Reset…

…for the sake of your marriage and sanity!

Here’s a date idea you may enjoy so much that you plan these types of dates on a regular basis, and I pray that’s the case. Your marriage is that important!

(RE)Creation Date Ideas

Take time to reconnect on a regular basis by revisiting the place in your heart where the two of you fell in love. Remember that the choices you made then are what paved the way for your crazy, wonderful life today. It’s true what they say, “It all started when two people fell in love.”

To begin with make a list of the things you used to do before you had children.

Choose those things that are like snapshots in your mind of that season of life. Maybe you played a lot of tennis, or met together at a favorite coffee shop; maybe you enjoyed meeting at a favorite restaurant for a drink after work; or maybe you took long walks together. Whatever those moments are that you cherish–“recreate” some of those same dates again and see if it doesn’t (RE)ignite some fresh passion.

The only rule is–No talking about children, work, ministry or church activities. This is your time to recreate some romance–and no one else is allowed. I encourage you to leave your cell phone on silent as well. If you haven’t been this intentional lately, you may feel awkward, but don’t give up. It won’t be long until you’re both remembering what you love most about your spouse.

May this be the beginning of something not-so-new, but oh-so-good!

Until next month…

 

 

Make Your Own Fall Bucket List For Two

By Debi Walter | Romance

Photo credit: smokeyrow.com

We’ve all heard of and may even have a bucket list. The idea stems from the movie of the same name and provides encouragement to be intentional in making the things you hope will happen in your lifetime a reality.

It’s no surprise that we need to be intentional in romancing our spouse as well. This is by far my favorite topic when it comes to writing about marriage.

Living in Florida we look forward to Fall more than any other season of the year. I think it’s because we get so tired of the heat and humidity that we’re ready for a change.

Maybe your marriage has been enduring some heat and humidity of its own. Maybe you need to look forward to some fresh Fall romance amid the cool Autumn breezes? Well, look no further…

How To Make A Fall Bucket List For Two

The checklist in the photo can be an easy way to start, but read below to find out how you can personalize your own romantic fall themed bucket list!

What you’ll need:

One sheet of card stock

Markers of different fall colors (orange, black, brown, green, red and yellow)

Fall stickers, if you like to embellish

A Computer (for reference purposes) or to create your bucket list as pictured above.

How to make it:

Start by researching the events happening in and around your area for September, October and November. Highlight any that interest you. You can do this alone as a surprise for your spouse, or you could turn the making of your list into a date night in itself. Either way, it’s sure to be a fun project.

Write the events on your sheet of card stock, using a different color for each event.

Add stickers to make your list more colorful.

Display your project in a place where you’ll both see if often.

The fun part:

Each week, or however often you decide, pick an item off of your list to do. See if you can get through the list before you celebrate Thanksgiving. You could even plan something big as a reward for finishing the list.

Need ideas? I’ve provided a list below to get your romantic ideas flowing. Of course, you’ll discover lots of great ideas on the internet that  you can add to the list.

The most important part is to make the most of every season in your marriage. What a blessing to have a best friend with which to celebrate all the changing seasons of life.

As a friend often says…Let’s Get To…

  1. Visit an apple orchard.
  2. Drink hot apple cider.
  3. Do a corn maze challenge.
  4. Go for a scavenger hunt in the country looking for: an orange leaf, an acorn, a pine-cone, a red leaf, a feather, etc…
  5. Listen to a live concert under the stars.
  6. Watch a movie under the stars.
  7. Go to a costume party or plan your own.
  8. Make s’mores over an open fire.
  9. Enjoy a night around a fire pit outdoors.
  10. Go to a football game.
  11. Carve a pumpkin together or compete making prizes worth it for the winner.
  12. Go horseback-riding or go on a hayride.
  13. Go square dancing, or any other types of dancing you enjoy.
  14. Go watch people dance if you don’t enjoy doing it yourself.
  15. Go antique window shopping or to garage sales.
  16. Have breakfast at your local farmer’s market.
  17. Go to an art festival or craft show.
  18. Eat candied apples.
  19. Enjoy a fondue for two.

Whatever you do, make sure you plan some romance this fall. We’ve waited a while to have nice weather outdoors again–let’s make the most of it!

A Fall Bucket List may end up being an annual tradition.

Happy Fall Y’all!

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Back To School–It’s Not Just For Kids Anymore

By Debi Walter | Romance

Back to school…three little words that can be a relief to hear or a dreaded reminder that your kids are growing and need new clothes yet again!

Back to school shopping can be a stretch on any budget and the first ones to take a back seat during this budget crunch are usually the parents.

Urgent seasons tend to take our focus off of what’s most important–your marriage–and if you haven’t taken time to plan ahead for the crunch your marriage may go hungry.

Well, not to worry.

I’ve come up with a variety of ways to celebrate the back to school frenzy that won’t hurt your budget or cause your marriage to be neglected.

Take one idea a day and use to communicate in little ways how important your spouse is to you. Even if you don’t have time or money to go out on the town, you can still make the most of each season in meaningful ways.

I’ve broken them down into themes using the subjects of school as my inspiration. Who knows? Your spouse may look forward to school starting again after all. Why not shoot for straight A’s in all subjects?!

Reading

  • Using Post-it notes, write words of encouragement to your spouse. Leave them in places where they’ll find them and pray that it’s at a time when they need it most.
  • Buy a card and mail it to them to receive on the first day of school.
  • Give them a book they’ve been wanting to read and sign the inside as to why you chose it.
  • Read aloud to each other. Here’s a great book for teens and pre-teens with short stories that are enjoyable to hear.

Writing

  • Make a list of all your favorite firsts you’ve enjoyed together and give it to them on the first day of school.
  • Write them a love letter using Dustin’s guide for making it special.
  • Write adjectives that describe your spouse on the bathroom mirror or shower walls.

Arithmetic

  • Come up with a Top Ten List of places you want to go or things you want to do when the kids are grown.
  • Add up all the things you appreciate about your spouse and tell them the sum of your thoughts.
  • Work a Sudoku puzzle together, or have a race and see who can do one fastest.

Recess

  • Most kids love this subject best, next to lunch. Plan a game night choosing from our list of romantic board games.
  • Watch a back-to-school movie from this list from Parent’s Magazine.
  • Pick a Fantasy Football team together and make plans to follow your team throughout the NFL season.

Don’t forget those 9 week report cards where you reward your spouse for all the ways they’ve achieved success in your eyes.

Back-to-School–It’s not just for kids anymore!

Until next time…

Keep Romancing!

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