All Posts by Debi Walter

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Apr 14

Romantic Foundations That Endure The Struggles Of Life

By Debi Walter | Romance

IMG_0629Tom and I have been through a lot this past month, and it has stretched us in ways we’ve not been stretched in a long time.

On March 20th, our 7th grandchild was born after waiting for two weeks for her to arrive.

This wouldn’t normally be difficult, but we live 7 hours apart. We were called in the beginning of March certain that this was the time. Since this was our daughter’s fourth baby, we felt certain she knew it really was time for her baby to come.We packed up in a couple of hours and drove north.

However, Brielle decided she didn’t want to come just yet. In fact, she waited two weeks, which meant we were at their home waiting for two weeks with them. Tom finally flew home because he had things he had to get done.

You see, at the same time we were waiting for Brielle’s grand entrance into our lives, our son was in the process of moving his family 10 hours away.

He was going from a home 1 mile away from our house in Florida to Tennessee where he was to begin a new job as a copy editor for Dave Ramsey. Our emotions were all over the place, making romance a long lost memory.

We were exhausted, emotional and stretched beyond our ability to think clearly.

Romance. Had. To. Wait.

But I’m happy to say that after 35 years of romancing each other, our relationship is strong enough to wait. We didn’t take the delay personal. Our lives were in a state of transition. We knew we’d both be there for each other when the winds of change settled.

Today, I realized it was time for me to post here for Dustin on the Engaged Marriage blog. Honestly, my stored resources felt distant, but I am compelled by the Lord to share the importance of building romance into the foundation of your marriage.

It sustains us when our feelings wane or when our energy is zapped. We no longer feel the need to express our love in romantic ways for fear of it going away. We know what God has given us.

We know that it is good. And we are confident that when struggles comes our way, we will be ready to handle it, by the grace and kindness of God.

How has difficulty affected your romantic foundation?

Does it feel like your love is built upon a rock or upon sand?

What you choose to do day in and day out will determine the strength of your marriage when times become hard. It matters how you express your love each day. It matters how you communicate when life seems easy. It matters how you defer to one another out of love and respect.

Because hard times will come.

I’m so grateful to God for a husband who knows me well enough to help me through the stressful times without an expectation to be a certain way. I can collapse into his arms knowing I’m safe.

Husbands, I encourage you to be a refuge for your wife. This will do more to promote a healthy, romantic love than anything else.

Wives, I encourage you to listen to your husband when he is sharing his struggles with you. You are a team, and God has given you the privilege of helping him through it.

On the other side of such seasons there is more romance and love waiting that is deeper and sweeter than any you knew of before the struggle occurred. This is the foundation of romantic love and better yet, a lasting love that glorifies God.

I don’t want the month to pass without giving you some ideas for romance this time of year. Check out our Romantic Easter/Spring Ideas For Husbands and For Wives. They are posted separately so you can surprise each other if you would like. 🙂 Happy romancing!

Mar 10

Infuse Your St. Patrick’s Day With Romantic Flavor

By Debi Walter | Romance

Infuse Your St. Patrick's Day With Romantic Flavor

Do you like to cook? I do, and I love trying new recipes. Have you ever injected an ordinary chicken with something to make it stand out from the usual? Doing so takes what’s expected and gives it a completely unexpected flavor.

In the same way I love to take holidays and infuse them with romance. Taking something ordinary like St. Patrick’s Day and infusing it with your own flavor to create a romantic memory is by far the best kind of date. It’s personal. It’s unique. And it’s all yours!

My Top Four Ideas to infuse your St. Patrick’s Day with romantic flavor-Sláinte

  1. Go Green Dinner Date–Prepare a romantic dinner using all locally grown vegetables. Use real plates instead of paper. Go green with your beverage selections too–organic wines, or locally brewed beers, or try making your own sangria. After dinner go for a bike ride or long walk. For more ideas check out this site.
  2. Clover Love–Go to your local party store and buy a pack of shamrocks. With a black magic marker, write one word on each that your love about your spouse. Hide them all over the house on St. Patrick’s Day. Be creative–put one on the dash of the car, mail one to the office, have a co-worker place it on their chair to find when they get to work, put it inside their bath towel, you get the idea. Place them in unexpected places to bless them. But tell them there’s a pot of gold to be discovered at the end of their clover search. Place a cut out of a pot of gold on your bed for them to find that night. They’ll know they’re really lucky by the end of the day.
  3. Rainbow’s End Date–This post on The Romantic Vineyard has had more hits than any other date night idea. Check it out and see what you think. 🙂
  4. Irish Pub Date–Going to an Irish Pub can be fun, but not so romantic on St. Paddy’s Day. We know because we’ve tried it. It’s way too crowded, but what if you were to bring the Pub home for a cozy date for two? Pubs are known for their dim lighting, great food, and lively entertainment. Light every candle you own in the house. Serve Irish Stew and Soda Bread. Drink green beer, if you like it, and then watch a good Irish movie or concert like Far and Away or Celtic Women.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure your spouse knows how much you love them and how lucky you feel to have them to share your life with.

(Photo Source)

Feb 10

Finding Romance In The Most Unusual Places

By Debi Walter | Romance

What do you think of when you hear the word “romance”?

Finding Romance In The Most Unusual Places

This time of year we’re bombarded with images of romance as cute little chubby angels flying around with a bow and arrows, which is hardly appealing to most men. In fact, it seems more for our children than for us. But romance isn’t one day on the calendar each year. It’s a feeling reserved for our spouse alone.

Think about it. There is no one else who is privileged to know you in such an intimate way as your spouse. They know what you consider romantic and are the only ones who can do something to satisfy that need. That being said, there are many places a healthy marriage will practice romance, and it’s not where you’d think.

#1 – In sick times – When your spouse is sick, romance isn’t a lovey, dovey feeling, it’s taking care of your spouse’s need to be cared for in their infirmity. It’s fluffing their pillow. It’s preparing whatever food or beverage they can swallow. It’s giving them medications to ease their pain. It’s making phone calls and taking care of their chores while they are unable to. This is romance in action.

#2 – In poor times – When money is tight and bills are piling up, it’s easy to forget all about romance. But romance looks different in this season. It’s encouraging your spouse that you’ll make it through this hard time together. It’s reminding your spouse of the many ways you are rich in love and family. It’s taking the time to do little things for each other. It’s going for a walk or sitting outside marveling at God’s creation. It’s pausing to pray to God together asking for His provision. It’s continuing to keep your dreams alive even when it seems there will never be enough money to pay for it. This is romance in compassion.

#3 – In worse times – A worse time can be defined as a time that isn’t as good as it once was, and it can be for many different reasons. It could be due to sin–either yours or your spouse’s. It could be due to the actions of extended family members who have caused your own relationship to be strained. It could be due to family crisis with one or more children, or their health issues. Romancing your spouse in times like these can be the most challenging because you most likely won’t feel like doing it. But for those who are willing to go against the flow and do it, they’ll discover a new found freedom in their love for each other. Romance in this season is intentional or it won’t happen. It’s specific or it won’t be noticed. It’s putting the desires of your spouse above your own and choosing to bless them even if you think they don’t deserve it. It’s trusting God to help you express your love the way Christ has demonstrated His love for us. It’s nearly impossible for us to romance our spouse this way, but with God all things are possible. This is romance in sacrifice.

You may recognize by now that these are part of traditional wedding vows. Most couples don’t give much thought to this aspect of what they promised. And if they did at the time, many forget when the marriage faces difficult seasons. It’s good to remember what a privilege it is to care for and love our spouse in this way.

Meaningful romance is active, compassionate and sacrificial.

May there be no regrets when our days together in this life have ended and death parts us. Let’s make the most of each day we’ve been given and celebrate romance daily, not just when Hallmark says we should.

(photo source)

Jan 13

How to Make it a Valentine’s Day He Won’t Forget

By Debi Walter | Romance

How to Make it a Valentine's Day He Won't Forget

Valentine’s Day – Do you have plans? Or do you plan NOT to plan?

Sadly, I’ve heard many couples who have chosen to ignore this day because they don’t like the commercialism behind it all – Hallmark, 1800Flowers, Ghiradelli Chocolate, etc.

Honestly? I don’t like that part either. But ignoring this date on the calendar is like ignoring Christmas because you don’t like how others have commercialized or paganized (I made that word up) it.

But there’s a better way!

Tom and I were married 10 days after Valentine’s Day on February 24th. This year marks our 35th wedding anniversary AND we’ve celebrated both days in February from the very beginning.

The deal has always been – I romance him on V.D., and he romances me on our anniversary. It’s been a fun tradition and gives us both something to look forward to in surprising the other.

Some Valentine’s Day guidelines to consider:

  • We never go out to dinner. There is nothing less romantic than sharing a nice cozy restaurant with hundreds of other couples.
  • I go all out to bless Tom in unexpected ways.
  • He is not allowed to come home until the time I set. He must take his change of clothes to work with him and shower and change at the gym or at a friend’s house.
  • I would fix a nice dinner sometimes picking a theme for the evening. Other times fixing his favorites.

For some reason, I’ve heard many wives say they expect their husbands to do all the work on this day. I believe that’s because they’ve bought the commercialized version of the holiday.

What’s wrong with women taking this day to love on their man? It takes the pressure off of him and let’s him enjoy being romanced by me for a change. AND, I get to do something to make the holiday a memorable one.

I don’t enjoy the day any less because I’m the one doing the planning. In fact, I think I’ve enjoyed Valentines Day all the more because of the anticipation of blessing Tom.

Don’t let these excuses hold you back:

  • Excuse #1 – We can’t afford a babysitter.

Well, neither could we. I remember years when we had no extra money for a babysitter, so I planned to have the kids spend the night with my parents OR I got them ready for bed early and let them watch a movie OR I put them to bed and planned the evening to start a little later.

One year our older children served our dinner to us. They grew up watching us celebrate this day, and they came to expect it.

  • Excuse #2 – I don’t know what to do.

I realize there are many women who lack ideas when it comes to romance at home. This is one of the reasons we started The Romantic Vineyard 5 years ago – to provide ideas for you to try.

We have an Only Wives page and an Only Husbands page where we provide romantic ideas for all the holidays to help you surprise and bless your spouse.

  • Excuse #3 – I’m too tired.

I understand this one all too well. Especially if you have a house full of little people.

But may I encourage you to give this a try? Pray and ask God to give you the energy you need to romance your husband this year. And don’t let him know what you’re doing until you mail or e-mail him an invitation to “your place” for dinner on February 14th.

The excitement and anticipation will most likely boost your energy, at least it has for me. You never know what it’s like until you try it. Hey, it sounds like I’m trying to convince you to eat your vegetables, doesn’t it? 🙂

Romance is more like the icing on the cake, than it is like brussel sprouts, aren’t you glad?

  • Excuse #4 – My husband will think it’s silly.

I understand, if romance hasn’t been practiced in your marriage for years, how this could be a temptation. But you never know until you try.

If you’ve studied your spouse well, you know what would bless him for Valentines Day. Make this an evening where you highlight all his favorites. Additional reading: Valentine’s Day–Hype Or Help?

I’m not one to encourage you to do something, and leave you on your own to figure out how. I’ve provided lots of ideas on our blog, The Romantic Vineyard. Simply scroll down to our search box and type in Valentine’s Day.

May this year be one where your marriage grows stronger and your love more intimate, one romantic act of love at a time.

(photo source)

Dec 18

A Gift You’ll BOTH Enjoy All Year

By Debi Walter | General , Romance

fire

Christmas is unbelievably busy, especially if you have children at home. Yet all of us hope this year will be different. That we’ll have moments to stop and reflect on the blessing it is to know Christ, to remember that He is the real gift at Christmas. We all would love to have extended time to snuggle up with our spouse in front of a blazing fire, sipping on hot  cocoa with nothing on our minds except how to bless them this year.

Well, I have an idea. 

What if this year you gave your spouse the gift of one date night a month for an entire year? What if you planned out each date ahead of time, wrote about it in a letter and sealed it to be opened on the first of each month. You could take all twelve envelopes and place them in a pretty box with a lid. Wrap it and give it to them either Christmas morning or on New Year’s Day. Either way would be an unexpected surprise.

Now to decide what to do each month. There are several options: (The links take you to posts with specific details.)

  • For The Foodie – Celebrate a different country each month by either cooking, if you enjoy it, or going to restaurant that cooks food from that country e.g. Italy, Japan, Germany, Africa, Canada, Mexico, etc. You could make them a passport to stamp each month along with a photo of the night you enjoyed together. You could even take a cooking class.
  • Sports Enthusiast – Visit a different sports bar to watch a game. Or you could plan to go to a game or two throughout the year. You could watch a movie about that sport, or make a list of sports you want to try to play yourself – golf, kickball, tennis, soccer, frisbee golf, putt-putt, bowling, surfing, darts, billiards, whatever your spouse would enjoy.
  • Tourist in Your Own Backyard – what if you were to pretend you were a tourist and visit some places you may not have tried in your own town – museums, art galleries, theme parks, special restaurants, etc.
  • At Home Game Night – Pick twelve different games to try playing at home. We have several classic board games that we’ve come up with a romantic twist you might want to try. Scrabble, Clue are a couple that have become quite popular.
  • For the Music Lover – Plan to watch a live concert DVD or if possible to go to a couple of concerts in your area. You could go to a karaoke bar and have fun laughing together as you listen to the music.
  • Or you could pick a couple from each category to fill twelve memorable dates.

These are a few ideas to get your mind thinking. What other dates/themes can you come up with? Wouldn’t it be fun to have twelve great dates to look forward to in 2014? How would this help your marriage become more intentional in the romance department?

Nov 20

Table For Two Date Ideas

By Debi Walter | Romance

img_1265

We think nothing of saying this when a restaurant host asks us how many in our party, “table for two, please.”

It’s expected.

But what if we were to plan a romantic date with our spouse setting up our own table for two, please!

Tom and I love to do this in unexpected places:

  • Dinner in our bedroom – set up a table for two, use lots of candles and soft music.
  • Dinner in our backyard – set up a dining tent with market lights and a fire-pit nearby, or just use lots of candles and dine under the stars.
  • Dinner in the parking lot at work – Tom met me at work one day for lunch and set up a table in the parking lot, played music from the car and it was wonderful! We turned a lot of heads that day, but they knew I was being romanced well! 🙂
  • Dinner on the beach, lakefront or river.
  • Dinner in a city park – set up a table complete with center piece and nice dishes.

We’ve discovered we love having dinner together in all kinds of out-of-the-ordinary places. Sure we still go out to dinner, but those dates are easily forgotten. I’ll never forget the times we’ve taken a little more effort to create a table for two that’s romantic and best of all–memorable! For more ideas, check out our Romantic Dining board on Pinterest.

How about you? Have you ever set up a table for two in an unusual place?

 

Oct 16

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.

Sep 18

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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Aug 21

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.

 

 

Jul 24

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.