Category Archives for "Romance"

Aug 06

Practice Makes Passion Possible: 3 Essentials to Build Your Dream Marriage

By Dustin | Romance

Practice Makes Passion Possible

When you first fall in love, happiness comes easy and it seems so effortless to be a good partner.

Your jokes are funny, your thoughts and actions are romantic, and your time together is pretty much all rainbows and butterflies.

It turns out that there’s a good reason for this—a scientific one at that. Your first few months or even years together are shrouded in a chemical cloud of infatuation.

You’re literally high on each other and the lovin’ comes easy.

So what happens a few years down the road after you’ve decided to get married and settle down together?

Well, the chemical boost fades and you’re left with the choice to love your spouse.

This is the part of marriage that sometimes freaks a couple out.

You may start to have doubts about whether you’re still “in love” with your husband or wife. You may look at him or her and wonder when things got so… soft. You may ask yourself where the passion has gone. Trust me, the love is still there, but you can’t rely on
chemistry to make it work on autopilot.

It’s time for you to step up and practice having the marriage you desire. 

Like learning to play the guitar or run a marathon, an awesome marriage is the result of practice. You can have a mediocre relationship without a lot of effort, but the dream marriage you envisioned during your engagement is going to require some good old fashioned hard work.

So, what sort of things do you need to learn and refine to enjoy a thriving marriage?

Based on our own experience and the wisdom gained from working with dozens of other couples, here are three simple steps I’d recommend practicing to keep the passion alive.

1. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.

As your relationship matures, and especially when children enter the picture, it’s frighteningly easy to lose your connection as a couple. Your roles as a parent, caregiver, breadwinner, housekeeper, etc. can be so overwhelming that you never give the time or energy needed to be a great spouse.

I recommend every couple spend at least 15 minutes each day simply being a couple. This is sacred time to enjoy each other and put aside those other roles for a while.

Sit, talk, laugh and be together—simple as that.

2. NEVER STOP DATING.

Do you remember when you were dating? When you’re dating, you don’t need “date nights” because every time you get together it’s all about getting to know each other better and building your relationship.

That’s not the case when you’ve been married for a while. You’re together all the time, which makes it exceedingly easy to get complacent and fail to feed the romantic side of your relationship.

Be sure to schedule a date night every week or two to spend some special time together and rekindle the intimacy between you.

While it’s great to get out of the house for a big night out, this can be as simple as a lunch date or an evening at home together after the kids are in bed.

3. TREAT MARRIAGE LIKE AN INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO.

It’s funny how easy is it to justify spending money on new gadgets, improvements to your home or even lessons to learn a new skill. Yet, when it comes to the most important relationship in your life, many of us shy away from trying to better ourselves.

I can’t recommend enough that you spend some time and money making yourself a better husband or wife. Pick up a course on communication, read a good book and don’t be too proud to sign up for a marriage retreat where you can get away and focus on each other deeply.

When you consider that you’ve devoted the rest of your life to your spouse and you spend everyday together, it’s easy to see that there’s no better return on your investment than in learning the skills you need to be as happy as possible together.

Do yourself a favor and make a commitment today to make your marriage your highest priority (right after God). Devote quality time each day to your spouse, bless your marriage with regular date nights, and do everything you can to be the best husband or wife you can be.

Building your dream marriage isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Jul 13

Every Day is a Holiday – Who Knew?

By Debi Walter | Romance

I bet you didn’t know that today is Celebrate Your Geekness Day, did you?

Most likely you didn’t because it’s an unusual holiday invented by people who have too much time on their hands.

But, hey! If you’re a geek, you’re probably thrilled to know there’s a day set aside to celebrate your geekness. 🙂

I love holidays. I love parties. I love celebrating and making my husband smile.

Yes, I’m the hopeless romantic, but I don’t prefer that term. It makes it sound like romance is a negative, when in fact it’s the opposite.

Romance is like a breath of fresh mountain air on a hot, steamy Summer day. It refreshes your relationship in a way nothing else can.

In my years of blogging and writing neighborhood newsletters I’ve discovered there are websites focused on helping you celebrate just about any day of the year in fun and unique ways.

When was the last time you planned something unusual and fun for your spouse? If you can’t remember it’s been too long. There’s nothing like a party for two to help re-ignite the romance in your home.

I challenge you to select a date on the list below and go all out in celebrating the day. Be creative. Be thoughtful, but most of all be romantic!

July

17 – Peach Ice Cream Day – Go out for your favorite or make your own.

20 – National Lollipop Day – Surprise your spouse with a lollipop made of their favorite flavor

20 – Moon Day – Go sky watching after dark while eating moon pies

22 – Hammock Day – If you have a hammock for two, plan some time to do some nothing together.

23 – National Hot Dog Day – Make a hot dog bar for dinner with all the best toppings

26 – All or Nothing Day – Let your imagination go wild with this one, make it a Deal or No Deal game for two.

30 – National Cheesecake Day – Serve this treat after dinner with your favorite toppings

August

3 – National Watermelon Day

7 – National Lighthouse Day – If you live near the coast, plan to visit one and climb to the top. If you don’t, try playing flashlight tag in your house with all the lights off.

9 – Book Lovers Day – Plan a date at a local bookstore and see who can find the oldest publication, the funniest title, the prettiest cover, the most interesting topic, etc.

10 – National S’mores Day – Who needs an explanation on this one. Have fun like kids again!

18 – Bad Poetry Day – Have fun making silly rhymes and texting them to each other.

As you can see there are all sorts of crazy holidays you can celebrate together.

The most important reason to do this is to help keep your relationship from getting predictable and boring. Check out this website to discover more holidays for every month of the year.

Until next time…

Keep romancing!

(photo)

 

 

Jul 01

7 “Rules” to Write the Perfect Romantic Love Letter (in about 15 minutes)

By Dustin | Romance

7 Rules for the Perfect Romantic Love LetterWhen it comes to adding some sizzle to your marriage, nothing beats a good old-fashioned love letter.

Sure, you can buy flowers, candy or go out for a nice dinner.

Those kinds of borderline-cliche gifts tend to be less personalized and their effects fade over time.

A love letter, however, is the gift that comes straight from your heart, and is one they will keep and cherish forever.

Why?

Nothing says “I love you forever” to your spouse like taking time out of your day, putting pen to paper, and crafting the words of your very soul.

In terms of romantic rewards, the author of a romantic letter will reap dividends – if you know what I mean. 😉

You may just have to hire a sitter for the evening!

NOTE: To make it super-easy for you to craft an awesome letter, we created a FREE Perfect Love Letter Checklist.
Be sure to click here to grab it now!

When you present your spouse with a romantic love letter, you might be shocked at the overwhelming response and outpouring of love that you receive.

Don’t be surprised if you see a bright smile that could light up the room. You might even end up on the receiving end of the most passionate kiss you’ve had since your wedding day.

By the way, ladies…if you don’t think a love letter will work on your husband as well as it works on wives, then you’ve really got to try it.

Everyone wants to feel appreciated, cherished, and loved. See for yourself!

But I’m Not a Poet or Wordsmith!

You might be excited about the idea of writing a romantic love letter to your spouse, but don’t feel like you’re creative enough to write one.

Don’t get overly concerned about writing a perfect letter just yet. Your only concern right now is to get up the courage to write one, period.

I’ll show you how to craft a perfect letter.

The only thing you need to possess is the willingness to open up and show the love for your spouse that I know you have (or you wouldn’t be reading this). If you have that, and even the most basic writing skills, you can write a romantic love letter that will melt your spouse’s heart.

You may be thinking, “Okay. I’m in love, and I can write, but how can I write a good romantic love letter?

Well, here’s the good news. It’s possible for you to write an awesome romantic love letter by following 7 simple rules.

Rules? Rules?!! Calm down. There’s no need to panic..these rules are easy to master.

Rule #1: Romantic love letters have to be personal

What does this mean? It has to be written by you…not by your friend, your secretary, your boss or someone you hired from the internet.

Your spouse longs to hear the secret words that are etched in your heart. The words that are written in the romantic letter do not have to be perfect, they just have to belong to you.

This is 1,000 times more important than earning style points.

Rule #2: Romantic love letters have to be positive and affirming

During the daily hustle of life, you may not remember to whisper sweet nothings in your lover’s ear or even tell your lover how much you care. This slight neglect may leave your spouse feeling insecure about their relationship.

A romantic letter serves as an affirmation to your spouse that the romantic flames have not been doused. It’s important to only mention positive attributes in the letter, and to show them that you have been noticing and cherishing them this whole time.

Rule #3: Romantic love letters must be specific and meaningful

No cliches! You have to put some real effort into crafting this letter. Like everything else in marriage, what you put into the letter determines what you get out of it.

So, make a list of specific things that you enjoy or appreciate about your lover. Maybe you enjoy your significant other’s hair. Or you might appreciate your lover’s kind and caring nature.

Whatever specifics you include in the letter, make sure the romantic letter gives specific details.

The more you personalize it for your spouse, the more special they will feel. Make it count!

NOTE: To make it super-easy for you to craft an awesome letter, we created a FREE Perfect Love Letter Checklist.
Be sure to click here to grab it now!

Rule #4: Romantic Letters should be neat and attractive

Not only should a heartfelt romantic letter be handwritten, it should be written on stationery or nice writing paper…not printed, and not even on a card (sorry, Hallmark).

Think about the history of love letters…you’re tapping into centuries of tradition. Rituals can be very powerful, so do it the old-fashioned way and it will look like less of an afterthought.

You could also write the romantic letter on attractive paper and include a drawing. Another nice touch would be to spray a nice smelling scent on the romantic letter.

Rule #5: Actually mail your romantic letter to make it extra-special

Mailing the letter to your significant other adds to the element of surprise and fun. It shows your spouse that you put a lot of thought into writing the romantic letter.

Trust me – they want you to be thinking about them, and they want proof!

You spouse will be in for a real treat by getting a surprise like this from you in the mail. Talk about reaping romantic rewards!

Rule #6: Make a commitment to write romantic love letters regularly

Writing romantic love letters is not a one-time shot in the arm to your relationship. Letter-writing is just one tool (albeit a very powerful one) in your romantic toolbox.

So use them from time to time, or on special occasions, as your letters might lose their effectiveness if they are received too often. But don’t wait too long, either!

Make it a priority to surprise your spouse with words from the heart on a regular basis…not just on your anniversary or when you’re in the doghouse. The goal here is to show continuous appreciation.

Rule #7: Remember to proofread your writing

After you have written your romantic letter, proofread your writing to make sure it’s free of errors. You also want to be certain that your letter conveys the message that you think you’re sending.

After your spouse receives the romantic letter, you’ll notice the following positive benefits:

• Deepened intimacy, romance and trust within your relationship,
• Your connection will be strengthened, and help you weather the storms to come,
• You’ll be able to express your feelings more easily when talking with your spouse later on,
• You’ll both re-experience those exciting feelings you had during your dating and honeymoon stages,
• Your spouse will have a keepsake that will serve as a visible reminder of your everlasting love.

I hope that by now you’re convinced of the benefits of writing a romantic love letter, and how much they will help your relationship.

But…some of my readers aren’t convinced they can write a romantic love letter on their own.

The Perfect Love Letter In About 15 Minutes…No Matter How Rusty You Are!

Suppose it’s been a long time since you’ve expressed your feelings in writing (or in general), and you feel like you’re not super-creative and need a little help?

To help you write romantic letters that will keep the flames of your love burning strong, I created a special checklist for you, which I call…

“Our Perfect Love Letter Checklist – 5 Simple Steps to the Perfect Love Letter”

This checklist outlines:

– How to never get stuck on what to write about
– The secret ingredients to crafting the perfect love letter
– The things to say that will make your spouse’s heart melt
– The way to deliver the romantic letter that will WOW your spouse

I am giving away a FREE copy of this checklist. Download your copy now.

You can click here to grab it now:

Then, get ready to give your spouse the surprise of the year with your own, original romantic love letter.

You’ll thank me later. Good luck!

Jun 24

Marriage 101: How to Keep the Passion Alive

By Dustin | Romance

Marriage 101When you were a kid (and maybe now again as a parent), you’ve probably watched a dozen Disney movies featuring wonderful princesses.

In these animated films, having your own happily ever after seems like an easy and simple thing to do.

The characters kiss, head off somewhere romantic, and all their problems will magically go away.

But now that you’re married, you finally realized that love is not as smooth-sailing and easy as it looks. As the years go by, you start feeling that the spark you once had is slowly diminishing.

The kissing, hand-holding, and other things that you were doing 12 years ago suddenly felt so foolish or boring.

All marriages have their rough patches. However, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to love someone for more than a decade.

Here are some effective ways to maintain a healthy relationship that will last for a long time…and keep the passion alive!

1. Have a toast

Have you met your fitness goals during the past few months? Did your husband managed to go beyond his quota at work?

For these special occasions, you can pop open a bottle of Tesco Cristal Champagne and toast to your success. What’s more, you can also have a romantic dinner by candlelight while sipping a glass of light liquor.

Celebrating even the simplest victories will give your relationship a positive vibe.

2. Praise goes a long way

Even the simple act of telling your wife that she is beautiful is a great way to create a healthy relationship. Look for the things that make your partner unique.

Build a habit of pointing out her positive side instead of criticizing her every day.  And wives, don’t forget that your husband would love to hear or read some affirmations, too!

3. Relive happy moments

Do you still remember your first date? Do you have some pictures of your first international trip as a couple?

Take a trip down memory lane and remember all those happy moments together! Remembering all those fun memories is a great way to change your mindset and attract a more positive vibe.

When you and your spouse are going through a rough patch, going over the highlights of your marriage will give your relationship a boost.

4. Show your support

There will come a time when your partner will need a shoulder to cry on. Everyone needs someone to talk to.

The trick here is to be supportive and show them that you’ve got their back. If your husband gets fired from  work, avoid the urge to say something like “You should have put more effort in your work.” If your wife is having an argument with a friend or relative, don’t try to “fix” things and offer solutions just yet.

Right now, your spouse just needs someone to listen. Be there and show your support and affection.

Got any more tips for keeping the love and passion strong in a long-term relationship? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Jun 08

12 Romantic Surprises To Make Your Spouse Smile

By Debi Walter | Romance

All marriages get to a place of routine. It happens because life demands it.

But there is one word that will interrupt this routine and hopefully make your spouse smile.

What is this one word?

SURPRISE!

Think about it. When was the last time you were truly surprised by something your spouse did?

It most likely left a lasting imprint on your heart because it was unexpected making it even more special.

Even if the surprise was little – like your favorite treat – it still meant a lot.

To help you plan a sweet surprise of your own, we’ve come up with a list of Romantic Surprises to Make Your Spouse Smile. Try one or try them all.

The important thing is that you’re creating cherished memories your spouse will hold on to forever.

That makes it worth the effort!

  1. Please your spouse sexually in a way you know they’ll like, but won’t expect because you’ve never done it before.
  2. Arrange for a babysitter and plan a date night out without telling them until the babysitter shows up.
  3. Mail them an invitation to meet you somewhere later that day. When they get there have another envelope leading them on a hunt for you.
  4. Plan a day of all their favorites – food, drinks, activities, movies, friends, etc. Include as many in one day as you can.
  5. Give them a full body massage. Let them listen to romantic music with a headset to increase the relaxation.
  6. Mail them a steamy card at work, or send them one via text or e-mail. Add some lingerie to the card and really wow them.
  7. Play one of these games and don’t tell them the new rules until the game begins:  Clue, Scrabble, Putt-Putt
  8. Set up a tent in your bedroom or on your bed and have fun “camping indoors” together.
  9. Drive to your spouse’s work and put his/her favorite cold drink and snack in their car with a card telling them to drive safely.
  10. Complete a big task on your spouse’s to-do list and don’t tell them you did until they discover it themselves.
  11. Listen to your spouse’s cravings and then do whatever you can to get it for them. For instance, You hear them say, “I want something sweet”.  Get up and start baking them cookies without telling them what you’re doing.
  12. Celebrate an unknown holiday. Check out the list here. (Listed according to month). Today just happens to be “Best Friend’s Day”.

Can you think of more ways to make your spouse smile?

I’d love to hear them! I challenge us all to make the most of the summer by filling it with unexpected pleasures for our love.

Until next time…Keep the romantic fires burning!

(photo)

May 25

Summertime and the Romancin’ Is Easy – 10 Must-Do Summer Dates

By Debi Walter | Romance

Ah! Summertime.

The time when we look forward to enjoying life outdoors and lots of sunshine.

10 Must-Do Summer Date IdeasInstead of letting this summer flash by in a blur of kids activities, trips to the pool and a few family barbeques, set aside some time on the calendar to enjoy with your spouse.

To help you out, I thought it would be fun to share 10 awesome Summertime Dates that are easy and very romantic.

Pick your favorites and make it a point to give them a try before school begins…it will be here before you know it!

TEN MUST-DO SUMMERTIME DATES

1. Bonfire Date

Whether you have an outdoor fire pit in your own backyard, or you know of a place in your town where they have one, I encourage you to plan an evening to sit by the fire after sunset and reminisce.

Talk about your favorite summer vacations growing up, or discuss places you dream of visiting one summer in the future.

You might even want to start your own vacation Bucket List, which is basically places we’d love to see in our lifetime.

2. Picnic Date

Everyone has enjoyed a picnic together at one time or another. But why not take your picnic to another level?

Here are some variations to get you thinking:

  • After dark in your backyard
  • On the roof
  • In the pool
  • Breakfast at the beach
  • Sunset on a boat
  • Make a day of it having breakfast, lunch and dinner in three different places or in a park you both love
  • Outdoor concert picnic (make this one by buying the food from your favorite restaurant and setting up a table complete with candlelight.)

Surprise your spouse by fixing a picnic and meeting them in their parking lot at work. Tom did this last one for me when I worked at a private high school campus. He set up a table behind our car with the lift gate open so I could hear the music playing from his CD player.

It was a day I’ll never forget!

3. Water Date

This could include a trip to a local water park, or spring. You could go kayaking, rafting, canoeing or snorkeling. Whatever is near you.

Another fun date is to buy two really nice water guns and have a showdown in your backyard. If there aren’t any kids around you could make it more fun by wearing white t-shirts and shorts with nothing on underneath. 🙂

The guys are sure to like this one!

4. Ice Cream Date

Plan a trip to your local ice cream parlor and enjoy your favorite. Or you could do this one at home making ice cream sundaes.

If you’re really motivated you could make your own ice cream using an ice cream maker.

Nothing says summer like some delicious ice cream!

5. Bike Ride Date

Take your bikes and hit the trail together. Pack some snacks and drinks with you, and look for a secluded, shady spot along the route.

Stop and enjoy being alone in the woods together. Variation on this would be to go hiking – leave the bikes at home. But don’t forget your bug spray and sun screen!

6. Farmer’s Market Date

Visit your local farmer’s market and buy ingredients for your dinner date at home that night.

Once the kids are in bed, cook up your fresh ingredients while watching movies that highlight farmers’ markets: Sleepless in Seattle (famous Pike Place Market) or You’ve Got Mail (New York City) to name a few.

7. Sandcastle Competition Date

Buy all the right tools to make a fantastic sandcastle. You can either work together to build your mansion, or build separately and have a vote for the best.

You could ask those passing by to cast their vote, or take pictures and put them on Facebook and have your friends vote for the best. Finish this date by knocking the castle down and burying each other in the ruins.

8. Yard Game Tournament Date

There are many games available that would be perfect for a little one-on-one challenge. Yard darts, horseshoes, hillbilly golf, corn hole, croquet, badminton or bocce ball.

Check out Amazon for lots of varieties and find a couple that you know will be great for your tourney.

Make the games more fun by adding your own incentives for the winner…use your imagination here!

9. Outdoor Concerts

Check your local listings to see what concerts are taking place in or around your town.

Summer is usually full of such opportunities and gives you the chance to hear bands you might not hear otherwise.  Whether it’s an orchestra, a local cover band or a national act at the regional amphitheater, a concert under the stars can be fantastic.

10.  One Tank Road Trips

I remember growing up it was popular to take a Sunday drive. There was no destination other than to enjoy the scenery as well as the time together.

Check out one-tank road trips near your home and make plans to spend a day driving and talking.

There is no better way to slow down and enjoy each other.

There you have it! Ten great dates to try at some point before Labor Day.

As you can see, summertime really is the best time for romancin’…and we’ve made it easy as well. 🙂

In closing, enjoy this classic song by Ella Fitzgerald, which is sure to help you slow down and smile…or maybe you’re more into the Sublime version. 🙂

What is your all-time favorite summer date?

May 11

Try These 10 Romantic Snapshots For Fresh Eyes

By Debi Walter | Romance

I love the scene in Toy Story when Mr. Potato Head puts on his angry eyes.

Or when Mrs. Potato Head takes out her ears and says, “I can’t hear you!”

Those are classic scenes that make us laugh. Wouldn’t it be nice at times if we could hand-pick the eyes we want to express the emotion of our choice? We probably do this already, but not consciously.

As the years pass in marriage it’s easy to become lazy and look at our spouse in the same way day after day.

This is why romance is vital to a healthy marriage. It helps us put on different eyes to see our spouse the way we did when our love first began.

Back then My Eyes Adored You, to use the title of a popular love song.

Do you still adore your spouse?

Or have the cares of life and the responsibilities of parenthood and careers robbed your vision?

Below are some ways to help you regain those romantic eyes. Try one or try them all. See if it doesn’t spark some fresh affection.

Ten Romantic Snapshots

1. Watch your wife as she takes a shower. Remember what it was like when you saw her naked for the first time.

2. When your husband reaches for your hand, think of all his hands do to lead, guide, love and protect you. And consider how hard he works to provide for you and your children.

3. When in a crowded room, look for your spouse and make eye-contact. Let the look linger and enjoy it.

4. Try looking in each others eyes for one minute without saying anything. Let your eyes express your affection.

5. Listen while looking at your spouse when they’re talking to someone else. Give thanks for the ways they express themselves and their ability to cultivate friendships at work, church and in the community.

6. Watch your spouse play and interact with your children. Step back and appreciate the sacrifices they’re willing to make in order to raise healthy and happy children.

7. If your spouse is strong in a certain area take time to observe them doing what they do best–whether it’s serving, entertaining, counseling or evangelizing.

8. Watch your spouse as they sleep. Appreciate the blessing it is to share a bed together, to know the rhythms of rest, and the patterns that make them unique.

9. Watch your spouse do something they love to do, whether it’s yard work, playing an instrument, watching or playing their favorite sport, joking with friends, and pay attention to their expressions as they do it.

10. Observe your spouse doing a mundane task like clean the kitchen, shave or make coffee. Notice how they do it and how different they are from you. Rather than let this be an annoyance, be grateful for how your lives have intertwined in such unique ways.

After you’ve spent some time observing your spouse with fresh eyes, plan some time and share with them what you’ve noticed. You can go all out and make it a date night, or talk around your kitchen table after the kids are in bed. The key is to communicate clearly to your spouse how you see them. If you’re uncomfortable talking about it, try writing out your sentiments in a card or love letter.

We all get distracted.

And when we do romance is usually the first thing to get pushed aside.

I hope you won’t let your love wane, but will instead be intentional all the years you have together. Then, when the end of your life comes there will be no regrets, only precious snapshots of a love that lasted a lifetime.

 

(photo credit)

Apr 13

Time For A Romantic Tuning?

By Debi Walter | Romance

Photo Credit: handhmusic.net

I’ve inherited my parent’s player piano, something for which I’m grateful because of the memories it holds for me.

But when I play it something is wrong, very wrong. The notes seem off a bit, and they are.

After moving this heavy piece from my Mom’s home to ours it lost it’s tune. I can put in a roll of one of Dad’s favorite songs and it sounds as if it’s dragging, even the upbeat tunes sound tired and worn out.

The good news is this old piano hasn’t lost it’s music, it just needs a tune-up. Once the keys have been set to their proper pitch the old songs will be like new again.  How do I know? I’ve had it tuned before and the process is fascinating.

This is like marriage as well.

Life has a way of beating us up all day long, then putting us back in our homes as the sun sets, exhausted and weary. We do what we can to connect in the short time between dinner and bedtime, collapse in each other’s arms only to repeat the entire process again tomorrow.

It’s hard to be in tune with each other when we’re being pulled in different directions all day long. This is why being intentional in romancing each other is a must.

Have you lost your ability to express your love in thoughtful ways?

I’m certain you haven’t lost your ability, you simply need a tune-up, so to speak, to get the music of romance sounding lively once again.

We all need this and this is why I write about romance in marriage here each month. It’s sort of like a monthly tune-up.

There are 88 keys on a standard piano, and each one has it’s own note to play.

It can’t be tuned to sound like the note next to it or there would be no harmony. Each note is unique to itself, yet it has a place among all the other notes. So it is with date nights and romantic kindnesses. Each one is unique and provides a new depth to the harmony of our marriage. It is a gift to be able to reach the place in your relationship where you make beautiful music together, to borrow an old adage.

How is the music in your marriage?

Is it tired and weary? Maybe it’s time to do some research and discover what area of your spouse’s life needs attention. It could be encouragement on how they’re doing in the parenting department. It could be they need to lighten up and spend an evening laughing. It may be a night of dancing together would do the trick.

The key is (pun intended) to find out what your spouse needs to remind them of your love and care, and then do all you can to make it happen.

Last year I hosted a ladies retreat and one of the ladies who came did so because her husband insisted. They have 6 children whom they home-school, so she was obviously in need of some alone time with girlfriends and with the Lord. This retreat provided both. Her husband sending her away for a week  in the mountains was more than enough for her to know he loved her, but he didn’t stop there. A couple of days into the retreat she received a delivery from the UPS truck. It was a box of her favorite pumpkin spice coffee creamers because he knew how much she enjoys an afternoon treat. She was overwhelmed at his thoughtfulness, but he didn’t stop there! Yes, two days later the UPS truck pulled up again with another package for her. This time it was a beautiful afghan to wrap herself in as a warm hug from home. All the ladies oohed and aaahed. I’ll never forget the look on her face. This dear wife was the recipient of thoughtful and romantic gifts of love from her adoring husband. The gifts didn’t cost that much, but what they expressed to her was priceless.

When was the last time you purposed to bless your spouse in this way?

Take some time and study where they are struggling right now. Listen and pay attention, like those who tune a piano. See which notes are in need of tweaking, and then do something creative to show your love and care.

This is what a healthy marriage looks like, and when we play together in such perfect harmony, our children will notice and want to join in the song.

While I’ve been writing this post, I keep thinking of the lyrics of an old song by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder titled, “Ebony and Ivory.” Listen to the lyrics and apply it to your marriage. I always say there’s a song for everything…this one is another example. Oh, and guys–don’t forget Mother’s Day is approaching soon. Why not start planning something special now. Check out our ideas here.

(photo credit)

 

 

Mar 27

The Golden Rule of Marriage: You’re Doing it Wrong

By Dustin | Romance

Golden Rule of Marriage (2)My wife recently told me about a friend of hers who decided to give her boyfriend flowers for their anniversary.

She figured that she would love getting flowers, so why not get them for her boyfriend?

He would love them!

He was less than thrilled.

Oh, sure, he thanked her for the gift. But he definitely didn’t love the flowers.

And my wife’s friend an important lesson about relationships.

It’s a mistake we all make at times. What did she learn?

Don’t take the Golden Rule too literally.

Here is the Golden Rule, as taught by Jesus:

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 (NIV)

So, don’t buy your husband flowers because you would like flowers.

Do think about what your husband would like and get that, because you would like him put thought into the perfect gift for you.

But you’ve probably heard or read this advice a million times already.

“Don’t buy your wife golf clubs because you would like getting them.” I’ve probably seen that exact example 100 times.

Gift giving is just one example of taking the Golden Rule too literally. There are many other, more subtle, ways for you to make this mistake.

One of the most critical areas you can get this wrong is in meeting your spouse’s core needs.

Your Spouse’s Core Needs

Have you ever met a couple that is just brimming with love?

And not a new couple, either. A couple that has been married for years but are still obviously in love.

You can see it how they talk to each other, and look at each other, and smile when they are together. They laugh and flirt and lovingly tease each other.

Or have you seen a couple that looks like they can barely stand each other?

They don’t spend much time together, but when they do sparks are flying. And not the good kind of sparks.

They bicker back and forth, treat each other sarcastically, and generally make life unpleasant for each other and anyone else unfortunate enough to witness it.

Both these couples are where they are because of how they’ve handled their core needs.

Let’s take a look at 3 different ways of looking at core needs, according to 3 authors.

Love and Respect

Love and RespectIn his book “Love and Respect”, Emerson Eggerichs explains that a wife’s core need is to feel loved and a husband’s core need is to feel respected.

He also suggests that women see the world through “love colored lenses”, meaning that a well intentioned wife will naturally be able to show love for her husband, but respecting him is more difficult.

And men see the world through “respect colored lenses”, so a man easily knows how to respect his wife, but he struggles to show her love.

The 5 Love Languages

The 5 Love LanguagesGary Chapman describes a similar problem in his book “The 5 Love Languages”.

He says that there are 5 primary ways that people communicate love, and most people have 1 or 2 primary love languages.

Spouses that have different love languages usually try to show love to their spouse in their own love language, leaving the spouse feeling unloved and neglected.

The 5 love languages are:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service
  • Gifts
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch

My wife scores high on Acts of Service, while I score high on Physical Touch. This can lead to conflict because we each want to show love in different ways.

You and your spouse can take the 5 Love Languages Survey when you pick up the book to learn what each other’s needs are so you can be more intentional about meeting them.

The Most Important Emotional Needs

His Needs, Her NeedsIn “His Needs, Her Needs” author William F. Harley Jr. outlines 10 different “most important emotional needs” and explains that husbands and wives usually have opposite scores for these needs.

Five are usually more important for women and the other five are usually more important for men.

But they can be mixed in any way in any specific relationship.

He says that feelings of romantic love are the result of your core emotional needs being met.

The 10 emotional needs are:

  • Affection
  • Sexual Fulfillment
  • Conversation
  • Recreational Companionship
  • Honesty and Openness
  • Physical Attractiveness
  • Financial Support
  • Domestic Support
  • Family Commitment
  • Admiration

You and your spouse can take the Emotional Needs Questionnaire when you pick up the book to learn about each others core emotional needs.

Do Unto Your Spouse What THEY Need to Feel Loved

While these authors have different ways of looking at core needs, they all agree that couples aren’t very good at meeting each other’s needs. It’s instinctual to try to make your spouse happy by doing what would make you happy.

One of the keys to a passionate marriage is to be intentional about learning and fulfilling your spouse’s core needs.

Another concept from Harvey’s “His Needs, Her Needs” is the love bank. When you do things to meet your spouse’s core needs you are depositing units into his or her love bank, which creates feelings of romantic love, intimacy, and trust.

Neglecting core needs and negative interactions withdraw units from the love bank, which can cause resentment, bitterness, and even hate if the balance goes too far into the negative.

So the happy couple from our example above has learned how to keep their love banks full, while the other couple has a negative balance from neglect and poor treatment.

If this couple learns to focus on meeting each other’s core needs, they can fill up their love banks again completely turn their marriage around.

Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle. Maybe your marriage is ok, but not full of passion and intimacy.

If you as a couple learn how to meet each other’s core needs and keep your love banks full by avoiding withdrawals, you can have a more passionate, engaged marriage.

A great way to get started is to check out the books discussed above (Love and RespectThe 5 Love Languages or His Needs, Her Needs) and pick the one that resonates the most with you. 

Read it, discuss it and put it into action – you’ll be so glad you did!

Author Bio: Daniel Robertson is a husband and father and writes to improve Christian marriages at God’s Help For Marriage. Download his free report to learn 3 Simple Keys to Create More Passion and Intimacy in Your Marriage.

Mar 09

Squeezing Romance Out of a Busy Life

By Debi Walter | Romance

Squeezing Romance

Face it marriage is hard work. Add to it children, a full-time job with deadlines and demanding bosses/clients, homework, sickness and bills to pay, who has time to think about romance, much less plan something special? In fact you may not want to finish reading this post because you’re afraid I’m going to add one more thing to your growing to-do list.

I get it. It is hard to find the right balance in life. But that doesn’t mean we don’t try. Our pastor says often, “We make time to do the things we really want to do.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Case in point…

A busy mom was complaining about not having enough energy to finish her chores. She kept looking at the clock and couldn’t believe how slow the time was passing. Then, the phone rang. It was her best friend saying she had tickets to see the latest movie and had already secured a babysitter for the two of them, that is, if she wanted to come.

If? Are you kidding?

Suddenly, she had a burst of energy and the chores that had been like a root canal to do minutes before were now actually enjoyable. She had a reason to finish and finish quickly she did! She was going out with a friend. Being tired wasn’t an issue any longer because she was getting to do something she really wanted to do.

Romance is one of those things you enjoy once you do it, but it’s the planning it before hand that seems difficult. This is why Tom and I have devoted our lives to helping other couples keep the romantic fires burning. We have lots of ideas, many of them we’ve enjoyed ourselves and have the memories to prove it. And we know how it has made a lasting impact on the quality of our marriage.

So, how can we help the busy executive, the exhausted mom, the over-extended caregiver to an elderly parent, find time to romance their spouse?

Below is a list of ideas for you to print, cut into strips and place in a jar. Once a week (or more if you’re so inclined) draw a slip of paper out of the jar and purpose to do that one thing for your spouse. You can both do it or alternate weeks. The point is to start squeezing romance out of your busy life. We’ve discovered that the busier it is, the more enjoyable your times are when you’re alone. This list is to help you get started thinking more about romance in the midst of the chaos.

Why does it matter? Because one day your life will slow down, your children will grow up and move away, and your spouse will be the only one looking at you across the dinner table. My husband insisted all those years ago that we would still be as much or more in love with each other then as we were when we first started. And you know what? We are! We just celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary last month, and I am grateful for the romance he managed to squeeze out of life for the good of us.

  • Compliment your spouse in a specific way, while looking in their eyes.
  • Buy them a special treat the next time you’re in the store, and tell them you were thinking of them.
  • Find a link on You Tube to a favorite love song from your past and e-mail it to them during the day.
  • Hide a love note and say something to make them remember a special time you’ve shared.
  • Do one of their chores for a week.
  • Make dinner reservations and arrange a babysitter. Then, tell your spouse after it’s all set.
  • Plan a whole evening doing something you know your spouse enjoys–jigsaw puzzle, video game, board game, cook together.
  • Start a weekly or monthly alphabet date–where you pick a letter and center all you do and eat around that letter.
  • Go for an extended walk together holding hands. Check out 10 Ways To Hold Hands.
  • Go out for a banana split to share.
  • Play a game of Blind Man’s Bluff, with this sexy twist: Blindfold your spouse and feed them different foods.  Let them guess what it is by TASTE.  Then let them smell different things and try to guess what they are by SMELL.  Next play different sounds for them to guess by HEARING and finally let them guess what they’re touching – yeah, this one can be a lot of FUN!  You may feel cold when you begin, but we guarantee things will be warming up mighty nice by the time you make it to the touching phase.
  • Make a playlist of romantic music on your iPod or iPhone. Hook up headphones and put them on your spouse and have them lie in bed. Tell them to close their eyes while you give them a massage.
  • Your turn: _______________________________________________.

As you can see romance isn’t all about sex, but some of it can be. 🙂 Romance is about the daily choices we make to think of and pray for our spouse. It’s our way of putting their needs and wants at the top of our list of importance. It’s communicating to your spouse that no other person matters to you as much as they do, and your actions prove your words.

In what ways can you squeeze out romance this week? this month? this year? Won’t you try? 

Check out our Romantic St. Patrick’s Day ideas too: For Husbands-click here. For Wives-click here.