Tag Archives: romance in marriage

5 Kisses You Need to Master

I don’t think couples kiss enough in marriage. I’ve written about this before: You’re Not Kissing Enough. But today I want to make sure your repertoire is sufficient to have a great kissing experience with your spouse.

Since it’s High Five Saturday, let’s talk about five different kisses you need to master for your marriage.

Blog post title + illustration of lips

1. The Peck

Chaste, quick, friendly — I’m not sure how you’d describe this one. But all couples need to be able to share a quick peck as a reminder of their connection. It’s the perfect choice for when you’re in a hurry to get to work, when you’re in a family friendly setting, or when you just ate fish and you know your husband hates the smell of fish so you’re trying to spare him. (Okay, that last scenario is autobiographical.)

Make sure your peck is just that: a nice pucker delivered without too much fanfare, but different from what you’d give your mother. Soften your lips a little at the meeting of your mouths and linger for a moment. Add a smile as you pull away to show that you like kissing your spouse — even with pecks.

2. The Soft Kiss

Closed, pliant lips touching and lingering … that’s the good stuff of a nice soft kiss. This is my personal favorite, because it’s a tender and teasing experience. A soft kiss can lead to more fun things, or simply remain a beautiful kiss in and of itself. It’s like the start of a series or a stand-alone — good either way.

Most important tip? Keep your lips flexible. Allow your mouths to mold together by making sure you’re not puckering or flattening your lips too much. Linger longer, a few seconds. You can also do a series of soft kisses to lead up to more passionate kissing.

3. The French Kiss

Ooh La La! Many consider the French kiss to be the pinnacle of puckering. You’re basically giving your mouths over to one another, open and interacting. Lips mashed up together, tongues tangling, hearts pounding. Yeah, this kiss is pretty passionate.

Let your tongue tease and explore, but remember it’s not on a digging mission. Don’t shove your tongue in so far that your spouse feels like a victim in Invasion of the Mouth Snatcher. You can take the lead, but share the experience, working your mouths together like a delicate dance.

4. That Favorite Spot

Some of the best kisses involve the mouth of one spouse and a place other than the mouth on their mate. What is your spouse’s favorite spot to be kissed? Where do your lips drive them wild?

For some, it’s the neck. For others, behind the ear. It could be along the shoulder, down the torso, or moving up the inner thigh. Somewhere on your beloved’s body is a place they would love to be kissed. Ask where that is, and go to it. Use the soft kiss and your tongue to tease and delight that special, sensitive spot.

5. The Text Kiss

Since I don’t want to leave you in an uptight frenzy (in case your spouse isn’t near enough to kiss), I figured I’d close with the text kiss.

When you’re away from each other, you can still send the sentiment of a kiss through a text message! In fact, you have several options:

  • Go with the old standby of XXX or XOXO (kisses or kisses & hugs).
  • Send an emoji with a kissing face. Like this: Kissing Face With Closed Eyes on Samsung Experience 8.5 (Galaxy Note 8)
  • Use a word that means kissing, such as mwah!
  • Take a picture of yourself puckered up and send it through text.
  • Download Bitmoji, make your avatar, and then use one of the kissing images. Here’s one of mine!

Avatar of me, with word "KISSES" and a lipsticked mouth underneath

That’s it! Five kisses you should become your spouse’s personal expert on.

Five kisses you should become your spouse's personal expert on. Click To Tweet

Also, I have a whole chapter on kissing with many more tips in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, on sale only through Valentine’s Day. Make sure you get your copy!

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CLICK TO LEARN MORE OR BUY

August Is Romance Awareness Month

Reading that title, I’m sure you’re wondering why I would point this out on August 31. First of all, I didn’t know it was romance awareness month until we were at least halfway through August. Second, I’ve had kind of a crazy month so I didn’t get to this post as early as I intended. And third, does it really matter which day you become aware of the importance of romance if you then act on it in your marriage? The benefits of being romantic will still pay off in September, October, and beyond.August Is Romance Awareness MonthI have a section in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, about being romantic in the marital bedroom, giving specific tips on how to increase the Romance Factor in your sexual intimacy. I love throwing out practical ideas that couples can use right away and get an immediate payoff. That often fuels our desire to invest more in our spouse and our lovemaking.

But when I was recently asked about the romance between me and my husband, I realized something important: Romance is not one-size-fits-all. You have to decide what that looks like in your marriage.

Romance is not one-size-fits-all. You have to decide what that looks like in your marriage. Click To Tweet

If my husband brought me flowers on holidays, I’d wonder what had possessed him. Not merely because it would be uncharacteristic for him, but because getting flowers isn’t a longing of mine. It’s nice, but I’d far rather have other things.

It’s important to find out what makes your beloved feel desired, wooed, cherished. Here are a few ideas:

Undivided Attention.

Do you remember when you were dating, and you basked in one another’s attention? He wanted to be with you, you wanted to be with him, and if a world outside of the two of you existed, you didn’t know it. (Well, unless it was a particular sports season or the like.) You soaked up those moments, likely believing they would last forever. After all, this was true love (or twoo wuv”), and you’d always want to spend every moment you could with him.

And then you got married and life intruded. Or maybe life intruded before the wedding vows. Regardless, that early limerance didn’t last forever. Those feelings of infatuation and adoration can feel like a drug high, and eventually you sobered up. It’s a good thing, of course, that you’re not ignoring everything and everyone around you to be with your mate. While it’s often part of falling in love, it’s not practical for our long lives.

However, we can pendulum swing so far into ho-hum habits that we forget all those feelings. Those romantic feelings that came with clearing your calendar for your him, doing things together, looking your beloved in the eye, eagerly showing affection. If we want romance in our lives, and a long-lasting marriage, we have to make time for undivided attention. We have to remind ourselves and our spouse that the two of us are we. This is one reason I believe sex in marriage is so important. You can’t really engage in other things (at least not physically) while having sex. It’s an activity that requires focus on the two of you, as one flesh.

Thoughtful Gifts.

I first typed Gifts, then changed it to Thoughtful Gifts. Because, as I pointed out, I’m not a flower bouquet girl, so my hubby bringing me flowers wouldn’t thrill me nearly so much as if he brought me some office supplies. (Yeah, many writers get super-excited visiting places like Staples or Office Depot.)

Gifts that make an impression are ones that show you really considered the recipient. You know what she likes, what he enjoys doing, what will thrill the love of your life. And you make an effort to secure and present it.

Now I’ve written a bunch of posts here with sexy gift ideas for your spouse (for example, 8 Sweet Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spicy Wife and 8 Cool Valentine’s Gifts for Your Hot Hubby). You can peruse my blog, but you can also go to great sites like Gifts.com. (Seriously, you can get lost on that site finding all sorts of ideas.) I’m partial to the personalized items. Recently, I received a monogrammed picnic backpack from Gifts.com which combines my desire for undivided attention, my husband’s desire for practicality, and our need for romance. Giving this to my husband would say, Let’s go have some fun together! You know, in a park, or tailgating, or just spreading it out on our bedroom floor.

Happy Couple Picnic Backpack

This says, “Come, my love, let us go out to the fields and spend the night among the wildflowers.” Song of Songs 7:11

Happy Couple Picnic Backpack - inside

It has a cheese board, y’all! An insulated wine bottle holder and a cheese board! And all that other stuff you see — 30 pieces total. Click on the picture for more info about this particular product.

Anyway, be prepared to take some time, think through what your spouse would enjoy, and then shop for the right gift. That extra thought can make the difference between a what were you thinking?! reaction and you know me so well! kiss. Make your offering sweet or make it sexy, but find a thoughtful gift.

Loving Words.

One of the aha moments I had when reading through the Song of Songs is how much those two lovebirds talk to each other about each other. It’s all ooh, my man is the sexiest and my woman is hotter than Helen of Troy. (That’s a loose translation.) They go on and on with verbal expression of love.

Now ask yourself when you last really told your husband how much you love him, with specifics. When you last complimented your wife’s appearance, skills, heart. Do your words regularly demonstrate romance and passion?

Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Given their power, you’d think we’d use them more often to express love to our mate. For many, romantic words have real weight. Telling your spouse what you adore about him, how she makes you feel, what you want to do later in the bedroom…these are all ways to keep the spirit of romance alive and kicking.

If you’re uncomfortable saying the words, write them down! Or text your honey-bunny. Who doesn’t appreciate a good love note? It can be anything from a long love letter (for which I give tips in Hot, Holy, and Humorous), to a post-it note on the bathroom mirror, to ♥XOXOXOXO♥ texted to their phone. Just find some words to stoke the romance in your marriage.

So now you’re aware: You should be romantic in marriage.

Not that you didn’t know that, but we forget sometimes to make the effort. But don’t you think we should commit to show romance to the one we love?

What are your ideas for romance? What counts as romantic to you?

7 Things You Should Say to Your Spouse on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is three days away! If gifts mean a lot to your mate, you’d better have a plan or be working on one right now. In case you need help, I have several past posts you can peruse for ideas:

What to Get Your Husband for V-Day
13 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts from Your Grocery Store
7 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts You Can Make
“Go Big” Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spouse
8 Cool Valentine’s Gifts for Your Hot Hubby
8 Sweet Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spicy Wife
Valentine’s Day for the Rest of Us

But whether your marriage involves exchanging gifts or blowing off the whole holiday, I’ve got seven romantic things you should say to your husband (or wife) on Valentine’s Day. Or some day soon. Here they are.

7 Things You Should Say to Your Spouse on Valentine's Day

1. You are attractive to me. It’s uncommon that one spouse has no attraction whatsoever to the person they married. So I’d guess that 99% of you can say this one without reserve. (And if you can’t, read this post.) Tell your sweetheart that you find him handsome, sexy, desirable, and overall your brand of catnip, so to speak. If there’s something you especially appreciate, name that feature. Make sure your honey knows he’s still your hot honey.

2. I like you being my friend. Some of you will happily insert the word best in there: “You are my best friend.” I don’t tend to think of my husband that way, and I’m not alone, but I do think it’s important to let your guy know that he’s not just your provider, garbage-dumper, father to your children, spider-killer, roommate, and lover — he’s your genuine friend. He’s the guy you love to hang out with, laugh with, share stories with, do life with.

3. I’m sorry. You know there’s something you should apologize for. Even if it’s not understanding how important something is to your husband. You might be waiting for him to fess up to all of his wrongs and beg for mercy. But one of the most loving things you can do in your marriage is to humbly take responsibility for your own sins and ask for forgiveness. We’re just not perfect people, and we let each other down. Say I’m sorry.

4. I admire the person you are. Romans 12:10 says, “Outdo one another in showing honor” (ESV). Do you let your husband know that you respect, honor, and admire him? Men in particular respond to these expressions, although many of us ladies cherish such encouragement too. Go ahead and tell your husband outright that he is admiration-worthy in your eyes. If you can, tell him exactly why — that you admire the way he handles your kids, works his job, leads Bible classes, etc. Let your hubster know he’s got someone in his corner.

5. I’d choose you again. No matter how easy-breezy or rough your marriage has been, you picked this guy out of all the others and said I do in front of God and witnesses. For some reason, you thought you couldn’t live without him. Confirm that commitment by saying you’d do it again. You were willing to go through the hardships to have the happy marriage you have now, or you are willing to keep swimming through difficult waters to reach a better destination. Either way, you’re happy with the person you picked, and you’d choose him again.

6. I want to make love to you. For those with lower-drive hubbies, be sure to emphasize that it’s about lovemaking with him. It’s not meeting some physical need, but bonding together in intimacy. Offer to pleasure your husband in a way that he particularly enjoys. Show affection and honor in how you initiate. But make it clear that you long to be one flesh, in your lives and in your marriage bed. If you’re the lower-drive spouse, your hubby will be thrilled to have you express interest and desire for him.

7. I love you _______. Likely you’ve said those three words to each other many times over, but say them again . . . with something extra added on. How you fill in the blank is up to you! It could be: “I love you more than ever.” “I love you and all that you do for our family.” “I love you so much my heart feels like it’s bursting.” “I love you to infinity and beyond!” In my marriage, we have a phrase that’s meaningful to the two of us that I’d add to the words I love you. (No, I’m not sharing them here. Just between me and “Spock.”) Maybe you have a pet phrase too. But get extra close to your husband, linger in his arms, and express your love in a memorable way.

Of course, you can change the wording of any of these seven items to fit your marriage. But these are areas in which we should speak directly and lovingly to our husbands. (And wives. Yes, I know I have faithful male readers. Thanks, guys!)

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to tell your hubby how much he means to you.

What other phrases would you add to my list? What would you like to say to your husband or wife? And what would you like to hear?

Romance Infused with the Gospel

Well, color me happy! One of my favorite marriage bloggers is here today, talking to us about a subject I’d probably get a C- in — at best. Thankfully, Debi Walter of The Romantic Vineyard, is here to talk about romance — romance infused with the Gospel.

Take it, Debi!

♥    ♥    ♥    ♥    ♥

My cousin’s daughter just moved in with us for the summer. I could say she’s my 1st cousin twice removed, but then I’d have to explain what that means. So. I. won’t. 😉

tea & fruit steepingBut what I do want to share with you is this — she brought with her a tea infuser that holds loose tea and frozen fruit. She was putting the whole thing together last night to place in the refrigerator for a healthy drink in the morning. I was fascinated the next day when I saw how rich the color of the water was after steeping for hours. The fruit had dissolved its juices into the clear water making what I imagine was a very refreshing drink.

It made me think about how the Gospel infuses every aspect of our marriage with a richness that is fascinating and life-giving as well. It makes all the difference in how our marriage looks to others and most importantly how it tastes to us.

Romance is one of the best ways to enjoy the fruit of the Gospel in our marriage. You might not have considered this before, but it’s true. Without the Gospel — which is the finished work of Christ on the Cross that enables us to live our lives in sacrifice for the benefit of others as well as the glory of God — our romance would be for temporary pleasure alone. It would have no lasting value other than the enjoyment it brings in the moment. But when we romance our spouse because of the love Christ has shown us, preferring them in all we do, it produces a fresh aroma that others can’t help but notice.

I would define romance as the outward expression of an inward feeling. It could be shown through love letters written, date nights planned, passionate lovemaking, dinner out or a favorite meal cooked at home. Romance could be a look or a smile, a kiss or a warm embrace. But most importantly when infused with the Gospel, underneath it all is what motivates our acts of romance. It’s not just for the pleasure of our spouse — although that is a valid one. It’s for the glory of God. It’s our way of allowing His love to shine through us as we treat our spouse in a way we treat no one else on the earth.

This kind of romantic love is attractive. It makes others stop and ask if you’re newlyweds, which Tom and I have had people ask us before. We love watching their reaction when they hear we’ve been doing this for decades!  And immediately our gratefulness goes to God, for apart from Him we wouldn’t love each other the way we do. His love infuses everything we do — from our feelings, to our thoughts, to our prayers and to all our relationships, but mostly in how we treat each other.

I realize some reading this post might be in the midst of a very difficult time in your marriage. It may seem that what’s infused in your relationship is bitterness and discontent. I know how hard it can be to endure difficult seasons in your marriage. Tom and I have certainly had our share. But what you need to hear right now while steeping in this cold, dark place, is that God is faithful. He is at work and promises to bring about good to those who truly love Him and are seeking to live according to His purposes.

If you are lacking faith that your marriage will ever change, I encourage you to take your concerns to God. Cry out to Him for help in your time of need. Ask Him to infuse your marriage with the sweet fruit of the Gospel, not the bitter pill of what’s gone before.

We recently shared a daily marriage tip on Facebook that I think is the perfect way to end this post. It says:

My spouse should be the safest place where I can be myself and know I will be loved, accepted and encouraged to be the best I can be. Our past may inform our present, but it shouldn’t define our future.” 

Did you catch that? We can’t ignore our past, even what has already happened in our marriage that we’d like to forget. But with the Gospel Truth at work in our lives, our past shouldn’t define our future. God loves to take impossible situations and make them into something beautiful. 

May The Lord help you discover how to allow His Gospel truth to infuse the way you love and romance your spouse. As you do, be certain others will notice, and your marriage will grow all the stronger day by day, year by year, decade by decade.

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV).

About Debi Walter

Debi WalterTom and Debi Walter have been cultivating their romantic vineyard for most of their 35 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.

Common Myths of Romance Novels

Jane Eyre book cover

I like romance novels. At least some of them. Hey, one of my favorite novels ever is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Lately, romance novels have taken a beating from some Christian writers and speakers and, in many cases, rightly so. It’s a very bad idea to base expectations about relationships and marriage on happily-ever-after fiction. You see, falling in love isn’t the same as staying in love or making a commitment or fostering a long-term marriage. And romance novels are mostly about that falling-in-love stuff.

I think we can read romance novels (of the PG/PG-13 kind; I’m not talking 50 Shades here), as long as we filter through them and don’t pull comparisons to real life. Don’t expect your husband to be as lovey-dovey as the heroine of the romance novel or your sex scenes to be quite so seamless as they are on the page.

The real danger, though, is the underlying themes that we may accept hook, line, and sinker without even realizing. Think of theme as the lesson or moral of the story. For instance, the theme of Red Riding Hood? Be careful with strangers. The theme of The Wizard of Oz? “There’s no place like home.”

But some themes are myths, especially in romance novels. Let’s take a look at a few:

The Time Traveler's Wife book cover

Love conquers all. So what if the guy you love is a time traveler and bounces in and out of your life at various ages? So what if your love interest is a vampire who desperately wants to suck your blood dry? These are minor challenges in the face of Invincible Love! So say most romance novels. Sure, there may be 200-300 pages of figuring out how to make it work, but they always do. Somehow or other, their love makes all of the obstacles surmountable.

The thing is, I believe this one to an extent — in that active love, practiced by both spouses as described in Scripture — can indeed conquer obstacles. But romance and “chemistry” can’t. In the real world, you need someone who shares godly values with you and who will put elbow-grease effort into your relationship.

Real love happens at first sight. One of the hackneyed exchanges in romance novels is a single person asking an attached person: “How do you know when you’re in love?” And the wiser, more experienced person answers, “When you meet that right person, you just know.”

Balderdash! Real chemistry happens at first sight. Real love takes time and care to develop. Sure, you want to have chemistry with your spouse, but if you no longer feel your tongue hanging and your toes curling at the sight of your beloved, no worries. In a long, successful marriage, you will likely have at least once that you wonder, Why did I marry this person? Did I mistake stomach butterflies for true love? Those rushing feelings of being in love can energize you to work on a relationship with someone, but nobody knows for sure that someone is perfect for them on first sight. You have to work for perfect … or at least amazing.

Wuthering Heights book cover

(Romantic) Love makes bad people good. You know this one: Good girl meets bad boy. Because of her overwhelming love, bad boy leaves his bad life and embraces a new life — full of light and love and laughter. *cue music* Romance novels often assert that people can change, practically overnight, for the sake of romantic love. They will happily leave behind their wayward ways and fulfill all of their potential because of the love of a good woman.

Now let’s poll all of the women who married men with severe addictions. Did those scenarios all work out … easily? As much as we love a good conversion story (yay, Apostle Paul!), changing your character takes a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of commitment. Few people overcome their inner demons in the time it takes to court a mate. I’m not saying that people don’t change; they do. But don’t count on your romantic love to suddenly yank someone out of a nasty mess. What really changes people is their own determination to turn over a new leaf, the support of others around, and God’s working in their life. Romantic love can inspire, but it’s not enough.

Great sex is key to falling in love. It’s practically a given these days that a fictional couple will have sex, and then decide that they are truly meant to be. Perhaps they suspected, but the way their bodies melded together was so perfect in their lovemaking that it sealed their destiny. *swoon*

Blah, blah, blah. Give me a couple who’s willing to work on their marital intimacy, and I’ll give you a couple with a successful sex life. I don’t care if their first time functioned like a Rube Goldberg machine. I’ve known plenty of couples who had fabulous sex with someone, and the marriage didn’t work. But a working marriage — with two committed, understanding, desiring-to-honor-God spouses — will eventually produce fabulous sex. Romance novels, and our society as a whole frankly, has the cart before the horse.

The Mountain Between Us book cover

Romance novel from a Christian author

So can you read romance novels?

As I said, I read romance novels — although I tend toward romantic comedies where things don’t always go right and that’s funny — but I don’t swallow these themes. I’m careful about what I read and how I read. I make sure that my Christian world view informs the way I see novels, not the other way around.

After all, we’re generally okay with our daughters seeing Disney princess movies, but at some point, we expect them to grow up and realize that their future hubby won’t be riding up on a horse or on a magic carpet singing love songs. We know that fiction is a pretend world. It may be entertaining, delightful, and perhaps realistic about some aspects of life, but it isn’t a manual for how to get or be married.

If someone wrote my marriage as a novel, you would fall asleep by page 12. Because much of making my marriage work is the small, seemingly mundane stuff of basic courtesy, carrying out household tasks together, honoring each other in how we spend time and money, hugs and pecks, and tickling and giggling with our children. Who wants to read that? (Although our sex scenes might be steamy … 😉 )

So my marriage isn’t like a romance novel. I’m fine with that. After all, things didn’t end so well for Romeo and Juliet.

Do you read romance novels? What are your standards for what you read? What other themes have you seen in romance novels (or TV or movies) that you believe are myths?