Marriage · memories · Refreshment in marriage

Family Friday – Invest in Time Away

This week during our Valentine’s dinner, I pulled out a dating journal that my husband and I kept for quite a few years.  We recorded lunch dates, overnighter’s, and weeks away that we were blessed to share during the years our girls were home.  Wow!  It was filled with special memories we had forgotten.  But one thing rang true – we missed our girls while we were away, but those times alone helped shape our relationship.  It made us better parents, and it made our marriage stronger.

We literally had to scrape together every dime  to go on these outings, but it was so well worth it!  I’m thankful we have that journal to remind us of the joy those times away were for us.  Some dates were simply a shared ice cream cone, or a picnic lunch at a nearby park.  As a matter of fact, most outings were minimized in extravagance, but maximized in enjoyment AND effectiveness!   It was always profitable for our relationship.

For any married couple to spend time away together so they might invest in their relationship, will require an investment.  That simply means it is costly.

  • It could require a financial investment.  There are lots of things to do that don’t cost, but most overnighters aren’t free.
  • It will require time – time away from family, away from work and away from all other distractions.
  • It will require a willingness to get honest with one another so you both can make changes that are necessary.
  • The sacrifice of your pride is crucial so you can listen to your spouse without thinking about what you want to say.

After 36+ years of marriage, I would have to say that time away from pressures and demands – even for an hour – is time that helped build our marriage.  It’s so easy to get on two separate tracks when things are so busy.

May I ask you – are you making a true effort to spend time with your spouse – just the two of you so you might talk in depth, pray together, have times of rest, laugh, strengthen one another in the daily grind, and pour into your marriage so you can both be ready to move forward?

Let me encourage you, if you’re wanting to share these times but your husband is reluctant, plan a short outing.  Do something you know HE would love.  Keep it lighthearted and encouraging.  Pour into him.  Bless him with what he needs.  Pray about it, asking the Lord to make your time special.  Keep doing these little outings and work your way into a weekend away.  Allow the Lord to move in his heart.

God has a plan for your marriage and you can trust Him to make it what it needs to be.  But again, time with just the two of your is one important ingredient.  Even though there are no longer children in our home, my husband and I have to get away to really have time to talk and share uninterrupted.  We still need it.  We still love it!

Let me end by sharing some photos of the weekend Sweetheart Retreat my husband spoke at last weekend at The Wilds.  It was a wonderful blessing to our hearts to gather with 80 couples and pour into their lives for two days!  If you’ve never experienced a couples’ retreat at The Wilds, you don’t know what you’re missing!  These pictures will give you an idea of the fun we shared!


My favorite speaker!
Fun Time is always full of the good medicine of laughter!!


This baking skit…oh my!
Old friends surprised us!


Does this look like CAMP FOOD?!
More old friends that blessed our time there!
Love the bookstore!

Valentine’s day is behind us, but you live in your marriage every single day.  Make the most of it by making investments that will benefit your relationship for years to come!

Refresh your marriage – Why not start planning now for an outing?

Who attends couples’ retreats?  Where do you go?

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communication · Marriage

Family Friday – How To Keep Your Marriage Plugged-In

Plug in a

It happens often – a guest walks into our house and then says,

“Your house always smells so good!”

It always makes me happy to hear that because I want my house to smell good!  There are some routines I do to help accomplish this, but I think the thing that contributes most to the pleasant aroma is that I have these Yankee Plug-in’s all over the house.

Plug in

I love them!  Some have lights and are a little fancier than others that have just the fragrance refill behind a decorative plug, but they all smell really good!

I have a sweet friend who works for Yankee Candle Company who keeps me stocked up in my favorite scents. She also keeps me from using fragrances that won’t mix well together.  Combining Vanilla with a Lilac might not be the best! The candle company calls this, Fragrance layering.  It’s adding just the right combinations to create a pleasant aroma.  I am blessed to have a friend who does the “mixing” perfectly!  I keep a check on the fragrance bottles so I know when the aroma is getting ready to disappear.  I want that fragrance to continue!

Last week when another guest mentioned how good our house smelled, the Lord brought to my mind that a happy marriage also has a wonderful aroma!  It’s noticeable to others, and it happens in the same way that my house smells good – we must stay plugged-in!  Oh, not to the wall outlet, but plugged-into one another, which just means, closely connected; in touch with what is going on; informed; involved.  Easier said than done with today’s “crazy-busy” schedules, right?  It may seem difficult, but let me give you a few ways that you and your spouse can stay plugged in!

  1. At the beginning of the day, share with your spouse what your days holds and ask about his day.
    1. Are there burdens on your heart that he could pray for while you’re apart?
    2. Where will you be going?
    3. How long will you be gone?
    4. With whom will you spend your day (or appointment?)
    5. Is there a decision that needs to be discussed before you leave – perhaps about finances or what an upcoming event?
    6. Never part without saying, “I love you” and giving a kiss.
  2. During the day, let him know if anything changes in your plans.  Call or text to keep him informed.
    1. Will you be late?
    2. Are you going somewhere else?
    3. Did something unexpected come up?
    4. Don’t just text about obligatory things!  You can flirt with him in your text – he’s your husband!
      One day last week when I was in the store I saw a Valentine that was perfect for him, but I already had one to give him.  I took a picture of the front of it and sent it via a text!
  3. At the end of the day, ask questions about his day – the demands he had on him, the appointment, the problem, the blessings that occurred. Be ready to share your day, if he asks.  If he doesn’t, realize that it’s all about timing.  Be patient.
  4. Routinely, add other means of care and communication. You might call this the fragrance “layering.”  It’s when you add more than one action or response to demonstrate your interest in his  life.
    1. Drop a card in the mail and send it to his work, if possible.  If not, leave it for him – in his dresser, closet, Bible, or by his coffee cup.  Let him know in the card that you care deeply about the things that touch his life.
    2. Keep your calendars in sync.  Whether you do it electronically or on a paper calendar, have a place where both of you know what is coming up in the future.  for example, vacation schedules, work trips, medical appointments, etc.
    3. Communicate all financial decisions.  You are a team.  Never make a purchase and hide it until later.  Be up-front and transparent.
    4. Praying together daily helps to share what’s really on your hearts.  If he doesn’t initiate it, sweetly ask if you could pray together.  If he says, no, just pray the Lord will move in his heart in the days ahead.  For the time being, regularly ask how you might pray for him.
    5. Be affectionate and loving.
    6. Look him in the eyes when he’s speaking.
    7. Touch him – hold hands, rub his back, put your arm through his when you’re walking. Touch communicates!
    8. Share with him the things you are learning in God’s Word and how it is changing you.
    9. When you are able to accompany your husband on an outing, an extra activity he has to do, or a fun venture he’s excited about, like a ballgame or hike (did I just say that?!) go!

I’m pretty sure we all want our marriages to “smell wonderful” because we’re plugged-in to our spouse!  Maybe today is a good day to check the bottle to see if you need to add a refill!

In what way do you purposefully stay plugged-in to your spouse?

My husband and I are headed to The Wilds today where he will be the speaker for the Sweetheart Overnight Retreat.  Pray for us, would you?  Thank you in advance!

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Dates · Marriage

Family Friday – Make the Effort for Marriage Get-Away’s

homestead 9

Work.  Hardly anything in this life comes without it, including a good marriage.  It takes both spouses giving, caring, respecting, sharing, planning and moving to action.

One important attribute to a healthy, growing marriage is time together without other distractions – children, work, pressures, responsibilities or cell phones buzzing.  Some would shake their head and say, “There’s no way that could happen!”  It will take work, but you can make it happen.

I’m so appreciative that over the 36 years of our marriage, my husband has always carved out time for us to share alone time.  When our girls were home, it might only be an hour out for coffee, but it was time away that we needed.  As they grew older, we went away for an overnight reprieve a couple times a year.  Then we even began every other year going away for a week at the time of our anniversary.    There was always lots of work on both our parts to make these times happen, but when we came home refreshed, more in love, and also ready to jump back into parenting and ministry obligations and pressures, we knew it was well worth it.

Now that we’re empty nesters, we continue to make time to go away.  Oh, we have the house all to ourselves, and we’re alone, but the pressures and responsibilities are still around us at home.  It takes leaving town to be able to focus and spend quality time together.

I’d love to encourage those of you who are married to work hard at planning get-away’s so you can talk uninterrupted, have fun, go places you’ve dreamed about, and strengthen your marriage in the process!  Here are some suggestions, starting with short times away, leading to longer excursions.

Short times away:

  • Drive-In to a place like Sonic.  Order then sit in the car and enjoy some alone time.
  • Take a game like Farkle  or Tenzi  (just learned about this game – lots of fun!) to Starbucks.  Have coffee and play the game together.
  • Go to the bookstore or library and look at books about a place you’d like to travel together.
  • If you’re coffee lovers, try to hit all the coffee shops in your area over a period of six months, visiting a different one each time you date.  Try different coffee drinks.  If you’re not a coffee-lover, try out ice cream places!!
  • Pack a picnic lunch and drive to a pretty spot and enjoy it in the car. Talk.  Listen to music.  Be still.

Little ones at home:

  • Reserve a hotel at a town near you. Get a babysitter for the night.  Spend overnight and grab breakfast before heading home. You’ll be close enough if you’re needed at a moment’s notice.
  • Attend a family camp at a place like The Wilds.  They have weekend retreats or week-long camps.  Childcare is provided during preaching sessions.  You can be refreshed and so will your children, in a safe environment that will build your marriage and your family!

Longer times away:

  • Plan for a week away for a significant anniversary.  The anticipation of that planned trip is half the fun!  Make plans in advance so you can get things arranged at home, but also so you can look forward to that time away!
  • Look during the off-season for places to stay that would normally be out of your price range.  Booking time to stay there then not only reduces the cost, it also reduces the noise and distractions!

Last week was my husband’s birthday and we went away for a two-night excursion.  My parents had told us for years about The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA.  We had looked into it before, but felt it was out of our price range.  Around Christmastime my husband saw on the Internet that they were running some great deals in the wintertime.  So, we decided then to book a room for his January birthday.  Oh, my!  The time there was so refreshing and wonderful!  I’ll give you a little peek into our stay:

The historic inn is stunning from the first view!

Homestead 5

The entrance of the hotel is breathtaking!  Every day from 3:00 – 4:00 they serve Tea in this gorgeous lobby!

Homestead 2

The first afternoon Cranberry Scones were served with each cup of tea. Yum!!

HOmestead 3

A second-floor view of the lobby.

HOmestead 4

The spa pool with mineral springs – This is an additional fee, so we opted out!

Homestead 6

However, the outdoor pool and hot tub had water that was 85° and 105°.  Spite the fact that is was 48° outside, we decided to go for it, and we had a lovely soak in the hot water! We also made a special memory swimming outside on such a cool day!!

Homestead 7

God is so good to allow us time away at such a lovely place at such a great reduced price!

Keep your eyes open for great deals on special places during their slow season. Then make plans and look forward to a special get-away!

Whether it’s a Coke at Sonic or a night at a resort, the best part is spending time with your spouse!  Every marriage needs it!

What will you plan in the near future?

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Cooking · Dinner · Husband · Marriage · Uncategorized

Friday Favorites

This has been another busy week, full of helping with a move, entertaining our daughter, son-in-law and grandsons for two nights (who were the ones moving), church, cooking, cleaning, and lots of baby snuggles.  Those are some of my favorite things from this week, but there’s more, and they’re on my camera, so let’s let the pictures roll…

Liza jane
Sweet Liza Jane…she’s just irresistible! And yes, she’s spoiled!!


chalkboard art
This new chalkboard drawing sums up our mornings!
Katie brown chikcen collage
This week on a busy day, I popped a roasting hen in the oven to have for dinner.  This Katie Brown Chicken recipe is so savory and delicious!  It makes the BEST gravy, too!  

Whenever my husband has to be away, he tucks notes around the house for me to find.  It absolutely melts my heart to think he goes to so much trouble to show his love!  I found these and other notes this week while he had to be gone.

Dale collage

I am honestly the most blessed woman to be married to someone so thoughtful and loving.  He is my favorite of all favorites!!! I don’t take him for granted – he’s a gift from God that I am more grateful for him with each passing day!!

I trust you had a some highlights in your week, even if you’re going through some hard things, and I know so many people are right now!  Sometimes we have to choose to look for the little blessings God allows and focus on those in the midst of the difficulties.

What is a highlight from your week?  Have you tried the Katie Brown Chicken?  

Refresh yourself this weekend,

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Christian love · Family life · home · Husband · Love · Refreshment in marriage · Wife's Role

Help Your Husband Live Joyfully With You!

I’m posting later in the day, but we just returned from an evening away. Read on and you’ll see what we did and what a special time it was!

Dale on porch a.jpg

It was early evening and we had just finished a simple supper of BLT’s, a summer favorite. My husband pulled his Bible out of his book bag and told me he had something he wanted to read to me that he had read earlier that morning. We were spending an afternoon and night away at a lake cottage, just to have some quiet time to study, pray and be together on his day off. A boat or two rumbled past on the not-so-far-away lake as he opened to Ecclesiastes 9 and read about 6 verses, concluding with this verse:

Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity, but that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

When he finished reading, he closed his Bible, nodded and smiled at me. As I looked at him I thought about how well he does that. He lives joyfully with me every day!

  • I saw it earlier when we were preparing to travel to the lake. He was coming to pick me up from my dentist appointment and sent a text to tell me he would be late.
  • When we stopped to pick up a salad for lunch, he brought the beverages to the car – a water for himself and diet Lemonade for me (my favorite).
  • As we made our way to the lake, he chatted, telling me the reason he was late – the opportunity to share Christ with a man. I love it when he shares his day, his burdens and his life.
  • He reached over and took my hand and said, “I sure love you!”
  • Later in the afternoon as we sat overlooking the lake, he said how thankful he was we could spend an afternoon together. Tears welled up in his eyes as he said, “Sometimes I just miss you so much.”
  • Even after our simple BLT supper, no fuss, no special recipe, he said, “That was so good; thank you, Sweetheart.”

Live joyfully with your wife – that’s what he does every single day. I am so blessed.

Why am I sharing this with you today? To boast? No. Even as I write out this list of only some of what he did in just ONE day, it is a stern reminder that I could make it so much easier for him to obey that Scripture if I was also living joyfully every day. There are days I just feel cantankerous! I’m often Fussy, griping, and complaining instead of joy-filled.

If I would laugh at his spontaneity, smile at disruptions, appreciate kindnesses, and live as though there was no tomorrow, I’ll bet it would help him to live even more joyfully with his wife. And maybe I couldn’t even believe there could be so much joy, and wouldn’t that be awesome?!

  • What do you need to change to help your husband live joyfully with you?
    Take the drive he suggests, even though you know you’ll be motion-sick on those curves.
    If he initiates a kiss in public don’t push him away.
    Leave the children with a sitter for an hour or two so you can sneak away for a date.
    Hold hands, rub his back, smile at him, send him a loving text message, ask him questions about his day, and really listen when he talks to you,
    Be understanding of his need for physical love.
    Tell him thank you for the ways he provides for your family.
    Pray with him before he leaves home.
    Be waiting at the door for him when he returns home in the evening.
    Get up and spend time with him before he leaves for work, if possible.
    Surprise him with a night away for just the two of you.
    Decide with God’s help not to fall apart when the next disaster strikes.

Let’s help our husbands obey the admonition to live joyfully with his wife by being joyful, too! Now, put a smile on your face and in your heart, and go share that joy with HIM!

Refresh your husband,

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Christian love · Family life · home · Husband · joy · Love · Marriage · Motherhood · Women's roles

Ten Choices That Will Help Get Your Marriage to the Finish Line

0427170702aHappy Friday y’all!  I’m here today with a brand new post as we finish out this week talking about marriage.  So far this week we’ve discussed roller coaster days, making more deposits in your relationship than withdrawals, and the high cost of foolish choices. Today I want to talk about wise choices and how they will effect your home.

Many women were so very grieved this week to hear of a well-loved Bible teacher announcing her divorce to her husband.  Serious infidelity and substance abuse got a grip in her husband’s life, bringing their marriage to an end.  I don’t know all the details, of course, but it has impacted the world with its sad ending.  I’m afraid that some women will hear that, and then feel helpless themselves.

“If her marriage is falling apart, and she’s a famous Bible teacher, how can I ever hope to have a happy marriage?

When you consider the trials, the disagreements, the financial woes, the verbal misunderstandings, the pride, the emotions, the daily pressures, and the parenting conflicts, it’s a miracle that any marriage survives, but it can!  

But how?  I believe with all my heart it’s  through the presence of the Lord and His guidance, His example of love, and the counsel of His Word that allows a Christian couple to remain together for a lifetime.

Satan wants to destroy our homes, but God is greater, friends!  I’d like to share with you some choices we have to make to see our marriage to the Finish Line.

  1. Stay on your knees in prayer for your mate and your marriage.  Think about it – if you’re not praying for your husband, who is? Pray for ~
    • His heart for God
    • His purity
    • His protection from Satan’s attacks
    • A tender heart to sin
    • A fear of God
    • A desire for God’s house
    • His leadership in your home – Note:  Talk to the Lord about this – not him!
  2. Keep the fun in your relationship.  Don’t stop laughing, flirting, dancing in the grocery store aisle, or any of the things that made you smile when you were dating!
  3. As your children grow up, release more and more of that attention they were getting and lavish it on your husband!  A wife who makes her children the center of her attention even after they’re able to care for themselves is pushing her husband out of her life, and that is a dangerous action.
    • Send the child back to their bed.
    • Put them on a schedule and spend time with your husband.
    • Leave them with a caregiver and go on dates.
    • Be excited about your empty nest rather than crying on Facebook about how you miss your little boys! I know I’m stepping out on a limb on that one, but I love you, ladies, and someone needs to tell you to build a bridge and get over it.
    • Don’t make your children the center of your world – make your husband the center.  Doing so will give your children the security of parents who love each other and are going to stay together forever.
  4. Keep the tenderness in your relationship.
    • Use tender words, rather than angry, cross ones.
      • Make sure your conversation is more than about who’s picking up the gallon of milk.
    • Use tender touches.  Hold hands.  Kiss goodbye and hello.  You never know when that might be your last kiss.  We’re not promised tomorrow!
  5. Be first.  To forgive.  To serve.  To love.
  6. Be thoughtful.  Pick up his favorite treat.  Make a nourishing breakfast before he leaves.  Ask what he would like for supper.  Ask if there’s an errand you can do for him, or a way to lighten his load.
  7. Do what he enjoys doing on his day off.  I”m not much of a hiker, but I think my husband’s favorite date in recent years was a January birthday hike I planned, complete with a picnic lunch of homemade soup in Mason jars..  It was freezing cold and snowy., but we had so much fun!
  8. Make plans for the days ahead.  Doing so says, “I’m planning on spending all my life with you, and it’s going to be wonderful!  What do you want to be like as you age?  What trips could you dream about?  What goals could you write down and look forward to as your lives change in the years ahead?
  9. Don’t allow yourself to make excuses as to why you prefer to be slouchy at home.  It is possible to be comfortable and look great for your husband.   I’ve seen one too many videos of wives saying, “Yeah, my hair looks awful; I haven’t washed it in a week.”  Really?  Shampoo is cheap, and it doesn’t really take that long to get your hair cleaned.  Men are visual – give him something great to look at!
  10. Make a play list of all the love songs you listened to while dating.  Let your hearts spin along with the music and remember where it all started between you both!

Because there is a God in heaven, there is hope for our marriages.  Don’t let yourself feel in despair or like there is no chance that your marriage can be awesome!  Which of these suggestions do you need to start on?  Ask God to help you and see what a difference it can make in your home!

Refresh your marriage!

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Christian love · Family life · friends · home · Husband · joy · Love · Marriage · obedience · Refreshment in marriage · Women's roles

Foolish Choices that Could Destroy Your Marriage

Someone told me recently that they had enjoyed reading my blog until they began reading my posts about The Foolish Woman! They were teasing, but the implication was that it’s not always easy to read things that hit home and bring conviction. I trust that you will read on anyway, and consider the description of the foolish woman from Proverbs 7.

Proverbs 7:6-10 reads, “For at the window of my house I looked through my casement. And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, passing through the street near her (the foolish woman’s) corner, and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot and subtil of heart.”

I see here that another foolish characteristic of this woman is the choices she makes. She’s going out in the evening when it is dark outside. This is a romantic setting and she is setting herself and this foolish man up for a huge fall by being out at this time of night. She has no concern how this might look to others who might see her standing on the street alone with this man.

What a warning this must be to us! We have to let our mind run ahead to look out for situations that could put our testimony at jeopardy. Some potential danger zones would be:

  • Having a man in your home when you are there alone.
  • Listening to a man tell you about his marriage problems or you talking to him about yours.
  • Sending private emails to men (Why not send a carbon copy to his wife?).
  • Having chats with men on the Internet.
  • Riding alone in the car with a man.

Some may say, “My goodness! Are you suspicious of everyone?” No, but we need to make good, wise choices before we are in a situation that destroys our testimony and possibly our marriage.   What seems harmless could lead to other things.

If we guard our hearts and are also thoughtful enough to protect the men around us, we will know that our choices will label us as wise instead of foolish.

Were any of these surprising to you?

Make wise choices and guard your marriage.

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