Debi Walter, Author at Engaged Marriage | Page 6 of 6

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.

A Romantic Reference Guide: 36 Easy Ideas to Romance Your Spouse Today

By Debi Walter | Romance

The Romantic Vineyard

Romance is often misunderstood.

We can either think it’s more than it really is, or that it is not worth doing–after all, we’re married right? What’s the point?

The point is, romance is what makes marriage fun and what helps keep your friendship alive and well, even during the most difficult seasons. But it requires intentionality.

There are so many ways to romance our spouse in little ways throughout the day. This is why I’ve come up with a Romantic Reference Guide to help you find the perfect way to romance your spouse today, with little or no planning. Which one could you do today?

Romantic Reference Guide

  1. Put toothpaste on your spouse’s toothbrush before they wake up. This lets them know you were thinking of them while they were still sleeping.
  2. On cold mornings when they have to leave, start their car and get the inside warmed up for them.
  3. On cold winter nights use the blow dryer to warm the sheets on your spouse’s side of the bed. Do this while they’re washing up so they’ll be surprised at what you’ve done.
  4. Do one of their chores for them without saying a word, like unload the dishwasher, make the bed, mow the yard or rake the leaves.
  5. Buy them their favorite candy and place it where you know they’ll find it. You could include a note that says, “just because you’re sweet.”
  6. Post something on their Facebook page complimenting one thing you love most about them.
  7. Rent a movie you know they’ll enjoy watching, and when they ask the question, “So what do you want to do tonight?” you’ll already have an answer.
  8. Prepare their favorite birthday dinner when it’s not their birthday. Let them discover the surprise on their own.
  9. Plan a year of celebrating the date of their birthday–Tom’s birthday is on the 18th, so I would plan a surprise each month on the 18th.
  10. Learn the meaning of different flowers. Go to a local florist and buy one flower. Give it to your spouse and have them look on the internet to see what message you’re giving them.
  11. Make an appointment for your spouse to have a massage, manicure, pedicure or any other spa service. Have them get in the car and take them to their appointment.
  12. If your spouse loves to shop, give them a little cash and a couple of hours all to themselves to buy something just for them.
  13. If your spouse enjoys fishing, kayaking, playing golf or tennis or any other outdoor activity, set up a time for them to have the day to do this with a friend or two.
  14. Text your spouse your Top Ten List for what you love most about them. Do it one at a time throughout the day counting down to #1.
  15. Make arrangements for someone to take your kids for the night. Have a relaxing night at home to pretend it’s back when you were first dating.
  16. Make a list of all the places you’d like to make love. As long as you’re dreaming there is no limit–enjoy!
  17. Make a playlist of all the songs that have meaning to you and your spouse. Turn it on one night after the kids are in bed and light candles all over the house.
  18. Draw your spouse a rose petal bath with their favorite music and a glass of wine or sparkling juice. Afterwards rub body oil or lotion all over their clean skin.
  19. Ask your spouse what is one thing you could do that they’ve been wanting you to do for a long time? Then purpose to do it right away with no excuses or interruptions.
  20. Open the door for your wife wherever you go. Wives–let him.
  21. When your spouse is talking to you, stop what you’re doing and look at them.
  22. Limit social media when you’re together. The best conversation happens when you have no distractions.
  23. Commit to spend 15 minutes everyday talking specifically about what’s on your heart.
  24. Play with their hair, rub or scratch their back, whatever non-sexual touch you know your spouse enjoys. Do it without them asking.
  25. Go to your spouse’s place of employment and set up a card table in the parking lot for lunch. Make it nice with romantic music playing in the car. Use a table cloth and real dishes and silverware. When you arrive to take your spouse to lunch let them be surprised at the thought you put into setting up such a thoughtful lunch.
  26. Be in the habit of always planning a surprise for your spouse using something from this list or any other ideas. Check out our Only Husbands and Only Wives section on The Romantic Vineyard for current ideas.
  27. Place one chocolate or favorite candy on their pillow. Or try an ounce of brandy.
  28. Roast marshmallows on an outdoor fire.
  29. If possible, go to a drive-in movie and don’t watch it. Make your own storyline inside the steamy windows!
  30. Finger paint together with your hands overlapping. Make it more fun by using chocolate pudding.
  31. See how long you can kiss. Set a timer for 7 minutes and see if you can make out that long. Practice makes perfect
  32. Eat an entire meal using only your hands. Better yet, feed your spouse and let them feed you.
  33. Give your spouse a real foot massage. Invest in some foot salts and lotion.
  34. When your spouse is troubled and you don’t know what to do to help–hold them close and pray earnestly for them, lifting their burden before the Lord for them.
  35. Read a book you know your spouse has read and enjoyed so you can discuss it with them.
  36. Have a growing list of great questions to facilitate good conversation. Check out our iPhone app that features over a hundred questions to use on the go.

What ideas could you add to this Reference Guide? Let’s purpose to do all we can to express our love in romantic ways in order to continue building our love and friendship as the years pass. What a privilege God has given us!

Posted by Debi Walter–The Romantic Vineyard.

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Romance In Marriage Is Easier Than You Think

By Debi Walter | Communication , Romance

Photo courtesy of Stock Images by freedigitalphotos.net

Photo courtesy of Stock Images by freedigitalphotos.net

You can always spot those couples who enjoy a romantic relationship. They’re the ones who sit close together in restaurants as they talk quietly with their eyes intently focused on each other. They’re the ones who have a sparkle in their voice when they speak of their spouse. And they are the ones you know enjoy being together just by the way they look when you see them.

How do they do it? What makes their marriage so attractive, while other couples seem to be bored?

The answer is easier than you might expect. They are intentional about romancing their spouse. What do you think of when you think of the word romance? If you think it’s only a feeling you would be missing a large part of what it means to be romantic. Romance is simply this–being intentional in expressing your love for your spouse in a variety of ways.

Here is a short list of those ways:

  • How you think of your spouse
  • How you talk about your spouse
  • How you speak with them
  • How you treat them in public and in private
  • How you honor and respect them for who they are
  • Remembering the things you love most about them, rather than focusing on their weaknesses.

Being intentional in these ways will communicate your love to your spouse on a regular basis. And they don’t even have to know you’re being intentional. Let them be the beneficiary of this kind of attention without you pointing it out. Guaranteed your marriage will grow more romantic as a result.

On The Romantic Vineyard we did a post defining Romance by making the following acrostic:

R emembering your wedding vows!  Talk often about what you promised from the beginning and evaluate how you are doing.

O utdoing one another in showing acts of kindness.  This is our Biblical motivation!

M aintaining a clear conscience.  Confessing sin and offering forgiveness quickly mends those broken fences.

A ttuning to each others wants, needs, desires and dreams (this makes for the best date nights).

N ever using “never” and/or “always” in communicating grievances

C ommunicating regularly about your life together.  This means talking and listening.

E xpectations must be held lightly.  Life interrupts the best made plans, and we must give and take when this happens.

As you can see, romance is so much more than a feeling you get when you’re together.

Feelings are fickle and they can’t be trusted. A marriage built only on how we feel will not succeed. Romance and love are decisions we make. It’s how we choose to relate as husband and wife. And why should we be intentionally romantic? Why is romance so important? We believe it fills a marriage with joy. It reflects the enjoyment Christ has in the Father and the Father has in the Son. When we romance our spouse we are placing them in the place of honor where we cherish them with all of our heart, mind and soul.

Next month, we’ll share some ideas on what romance looks like practically in a busy marriage. For now just work on being intentional in expressing love and honor to your husband or wife. You have 30 days to see what this one change will do to improve your relationship. And please, let us know. We all need the encouragement to grow in this area, and nothing helps more than hearing the successes of others.

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Sizzle Your Space Challenge

By Debi Walter | Household Management , Romance

Photo Credit: bien living blog

Photo Credit: bien living blog

I have a pet peeve when it comes to cultivating romance at home, and it’s something you may or may not have thought about before. It has to do with the state of your space–namely the master bedroom.

I encourage you to stop reading for a minute and go to your bedroom and take a quick look around. Don’t touch anything, just take a look at what your room looks like right now. Then return to the computer. Now, answer these questions, honestly:

  1. Is your bed made?
  2. Are there more children’s toys in your room than anything else?
  3. Are there piles of clutter in any (or all) of the corners?
  4. Is dirty or clean laundry visible at a glance?
  5. Does your room look like a grown-up place that’s warm and inviting or more like a college dorm room?
  6. Are there unfinished projects lying around the room i.e. scrapbooking, bills, crafts, broken things needing to be fixed?

These are hard questions to answer when you’ve been caught off-guard. But they’re very important in determining the romantic element of your marriage.

Who wants to push toys out of the way in order to be romantic? And who wants to have pictures of your family and friends staring at you from framed photos on the shelf?

A few years ago we had a series on The Romantic Vineyard called S.I.Z.Z.L.E. Your Space. It was very popular and many couples admitted that their bedroom was more like a storage room than a place of quiet retreat. I want to encourage you before the summer is over to reclaim your bedroom for the sake of your marriage. It’s not that difficult and once you get started I have a feeling you’re going to like what you see. Are you ready?

First, you need to set aside time everyday to do the following assignments. It shouldn’t take you more than a week to do it well. Maybe less if you’re truly motivated. Next, set a reward for finishing the goal. It could be a date night to your favorite restaurant, or a romantic rendezvous in your “new place”. You choose, or let your spouse choose. There are so many options you can do to make this more like a game than work. After all, you are the one who will directly benefit from the results of this project.

Here are the daily assignments that spell out the word SIZZLE.

Day One: S = Sexy or Sloppy?

Walk into your room and look at it as if you had never seen it before.  What does your room say about the importance of romance to you?  Does it look cluttered and thrown together?  Does it speak of all the other things in your life – work, children, and/or unfinished projects?  If so, take one hour today and remove all these things.  Your room should be your haven – the one place you can go to retreat together as husband and wife.  Retreating is hard to do when you’ve invited the world into your space.

The goal is to keep only those things that help you celebrate your love.  Anything that draws your attention elsewhere should be kept in another part of the house or a closet.

One more thing we are going to challenge you to do every morning this week –make your bed.  It will help your room look better immediately, and it will also motivate you to complete the day’s assignment.

Day Two: I = Inclusive

Is your space Inclusive?  In other words, have you considered what is important to your spouse when it comes to relaxing and retreating?

We have talked to couples who argue quite a bit about how to decorate the home.  One prefers one way and the other prefers something different.  How can two come together and create a space that includes the likes of both?  It may seem like a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be.  Most likely you know what your spouse likes.  Try to incorporate some of their tastes into the space.  If they like modern and you like traditional, look for something special they would find appealing.  Our bedrooms don’t have to look like the cover of a designer’s magazine.  Our bedroom is only for US!  Whatever works for you to help you both relax is fine; in fact it’s perfect!

If you’re on a tight budget it pays to go to garage sales and thrift stores to find that special something.  Often times I don’t even know what I’m looking for, I just have an idea of what I want.  Walking through the aisles of a thrift store usually provides lots of ideas of items at very reasonable prices you may want to consider adding to your space.

Most of all, make this part of your bedroom decorating a surprise.  It would be fun to add this special element to the room as the finishing touch.  Don’t let your spouse know until they see it for themselves on the final day.

Day Three: ZZ = Pair of ZZ’s

The ZZ factor of your bedroom is very important!  How well do you sleep at night?  Today we’ll focus on beds, linens and sounds.

This is the most challenging part of the week because it requires some investment to do well.  The linens, pillows and bedding we have really are the centerpiece of the bedroom.  If the covers are frayed and the sheets are torn it effects our ability to relax.  If you are able to purchase some new items here are some things we’ve found to boost the ZZ factor of a Sizzling Space:

  • 100% cotton sheets with at least 400 thread count.
  • Pillows – be sure to have the type of pillow best suited for your needs and support.
  • Mattress toppers – we have discovered a down mattress topper that lays on top of your mattress that is unbelievable.  It makes you feel as if you’re sleeping on a cloud, but without losing the support of a firm mattress.  They sell these as Target or on-line.
  • A Good Mattress – if you’re in need of replacing your mattress, but don’t have the money to buy a new one, pray and ask the Lord to provide.
  • Comforter Set – If it’s been awhile since you’ve replaced your comforter you might want to consider changing it.
  • Clock Radio CD player with Sound Machine

Day Four: L = Lighting

How is the Lighting in your bedroom?  There was a day when candlelight was the only option, and a good one at that!  It was cheap and very romantic.  Now we have so many choices – flourescent, incandescent (not for long though), lamps, canned lights and candles.  What options to you have in your room?

Tom and I have dimmers on every switch in our bedroom; they are inexpensive and make any light fixture easily romantic.  And we have invested in battery operated pillar candles – a must for any serious romantic! Another fun alternative is to hang clear stringed lights from the ceiling – you may not want to keep these up all the time, but they sure would be fun for an especially romantic date night at home.  The quick peel and stick hooks will make this easy to do in any bedroom. Or hang them from your headboard as an easy alternative.

Day Five: E = Enjoy

It’s time to ENJOY your space.  Today is the day to finish all the work you’ve begun this week.  Once you’ve finished it all – spend an hour vacuuming, dusting and straightening your knick knacks.  Next, buy or make a card for your spouse inviting them to a special Evening to Enjoy your space together one night this next week.  If you have the room why not set up a table and have dinner or dessert by candlelight with soft music in the background?  If space is limited spread a nice tablecloth on your bed and enjoy a picnic of finger foods you both love.  Don’t forget to use your special lighting to create the right mood.

You’ve worked so hard to do this project be sure to make a big deal of the reveal to your spouse.  You may want to wrap your bedroom door with a large bow along with a romantic card. Play it up big!  After all this is the moment you’ve been waiting for!  Enjoy it!  Oh, and don’t forget to have the music playing as they open the door!  This is the best part of taking on a project like this – the results!

For inspiration, check out our Romantic Master Bedroom photos on Pinterest.

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Tom and Debi Walter have been married for 34 years and have been involved in marriage ministry for much of this time. In 2008 they began The Romantic Vineyard in an effort to help build and strengthen marriages. They provide a rich harvest of ideas to help your marriage vineyard grow strong for God’s glory. They offer creative date night ideas, both at home or out on the town. They even offer FREE iPhone app that provides a healthy marriage tip and great date night questions to use when you don’t know what to talk about. You can download it on their blog, follow them on: Facebook, Twitter (@theromanticvine), or Pinterest.

 

 

D.R.A.B. Date Nights – It’s Not What You Think

By Debi Walter | Romance

DRAB Date NightsDating can be a lot of fun.

It’s a time when you spare no expense in having a good time with a special someone.

Many believe once you’re married you no longer have to date. After all, you live together, right? Wrong.

Dating gets better and better with age – like a fine wine.

If you’ve tossed aside the idea of dating your spouse as not necessary in your marriage, then it’s as if you’ve taken the best of wines and poured it down the drain. If you’ve never tasted of it, you won’t know what you’ve missed.

But for those of us who have…we encourage you to take that first sip. You’ll see what we mean.

Tom and I have been married for 34 years. We waited for 3 years to begin our family and had a great time together before our son came along. We had 3 children in 4 short years, so there wasn’t a whole lot of romancing going on.

It was hard. But Tom has always taken the lead in the romance department.

Shortly after our third child was born, we found a 14 year old daughter of a friend who was wanting to start babysitting. We decided to give her a try, and were we ever glad we did!

She ended up being a part of our family. She took as much joy in letting us go out each week as we did in letting her watch our children. And our kids adored her! This made regular Monday night dates a wonderful possibility for us.

However, not everyone has a Michelle like we did. You could easily say there’s no way for us to enjoy dates and allow this to be your excuse. But there is another way!

On our blog, The Romantic Vineyard, we offer what we call D.R.A.B. date night ideas. They’re not what you think.

DRAB stands for Does Not Require A Babysitter.

We love having at-home date nights, and you might be surprised to know it doesn’t include watching a different movie each week. 🙂

This is a no-no for us. Dates are a time to connect on a more intimate level than watching a movie allows. And anyone can plan a movie night!

So here’s a quick list on how to plan a perfect date night IN:

•    Decide what theme you want to use.
•    Decide what food goes with your theme.
•    Decide one thing you can do to go along with your theme.
•    Don’t allow interruptions in your plans to stop you from going through with your date.

We recently had a Downton Abbey Date Night that was incredibly fun.

To begin with, Tom took on the role of Mr. Carsen and helped pick the wine, set the table and set the mood for our dinner. I took on the role of Mrs. Patmore by cooking an authentic British meal from the Edwardian period.

Once everything was ready, we changed clothes into something more formal.

I became the Countess of Grantham and Tom became the Earl. We played the theme station from the show on Pandora, lit the candles and had a great time together. If you don’t enjoy cooking, you could always improvise by picking up a ready-made meal from a favorite restaurant.

How is this date possible with children in the house? Simple. Let them be a part of planning this romantic evening.

Have them draw you place mats and decorate the table with hand-drawn flowers. Once they go to bed, your date can begin.

If you’ve not ever tried an at-home date, you may be tempted to think it’s hokey. May we encourage you to at least give it a try?

Tom used to think this way as well, until he realized how fun it was to just be together. We’ve made some great memories – which is one of the reasons we began blogging about romancing your spouse in the first place – one date at a time.

What DRAB dates have you done in your home and how did it help your marriage? If you’ve never planned one, would you take our challenge and at least try?

You might just discover a new favorite way to connect.

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