--The Art of Loving Your Spouse
         --By Rick Bundschuh & Dave Gilbert

         I love you--mystical words, enchanted words, longed for, hoped for, dreamed about. I love you--words that motivate us, energise us, & make us feel confident because we know that we are loved by our beloved. Romantic love conquers our fears, calms our anxieties, & helps us feel good about ourselves. That kind of love allows us to function at a higher level. Romantic love is good for us.
         Romance is essentially enchantment, excitement, passion, & love of one person for another. It is the element which gives poets many of their lines & is the common thread of many a book & film. Romance touches almost everyone of us in some form. It is a very pleasant touch. People who say they are "romantics" usually mean that they enjoy having some kind of adventure with the one they love. They usually put great value on things that have little or no value to anyone but themselves & their beloved. Because of this, many see romantic people as silly, starry-eyed optimists living naively in an imaginary world.
         But one can have both feet firmly planted on the ground & still know the joys of romance. Those who humbug this aspect of life are missing out on some wonderful benefits.
         Romance offers security & validation to the one who is being "romanced." It says: "You are special." "You are loved." "Your thoughts & ideas are important to me."
         In preparing for our previous book, "Dating Your Mate," we often gathered groups of people together (oftentimes complete strangers recruited from airport lobbies or parties) & reviewed some of the dating ideas on which we wanted input. The excitement over the ideas suggested quite surprised us. It seemed that just the idea of something romantic (& different than dinner & the movies) sounded all of the bells in many people.
         Romance is exciting & fun. It gives your mind something to look forward to & things to remember. It breaks the monotony that many relationships find themselves in & adds dimension & zest.
         Romance gives a tangible expression to a love that we may already have. In many cases, we fail to express to the ones we love the most just how special they are. Romance offers this in the form of a quiet walk along the shore, a meal shared in soft candlelight, or a written expression of our feelings.
         Some men have been known to answer their wife's question, "Do you love me?" with "Well, I married you, didn't I?" People need
more from their spouse. They need frequent affirmation. They need to see love demonstrated in a visible way over & over again.
         For the person initiating romantic encounters, there is another payoff: The excitement of doing something special (& possibly secret) for your beloved & the burst of creativeness that often comes when we get caught up in doing wonderful things for another person.
         Romance also gives us "pegs" to hang memories on. It gives us milestones that we can look back on with warmth & joy. In some ways a richly romantic relationship creates a beautiful history that allows the foundation of love to increase in capacity.
         We believe that God created people to be multidimensional. We are physical, social, intellectual, emotional, & spiritual beings. So one good way to draw closer to each other is to develop our spiritual lives. The closer two people draw to God, the closer they are able to draw to each other.
         Romance very often leads to a physical display of love. It invites intimacy because it is investing in the life of another person. Not only does romance lead to physical love, but it makes that love more enjoyable, sweeter, & better.
         Why then are so many people not experiencing romantic love in their marriages? It is our conclusion that most have fallen into this state of boredom unknowingly & unintentionally. Most couples began their romance with a torrent of emotion. To define it in a word, they were infatuated. The person was always on their mind--all they wanted to do was please this individual.
         Over time, the intensity of their initial romantic feelings faded, but unfortunately in many cases the quieter but still-romantic love did not always fill the void. Other things began to fill their minds. The time, creativity, & energy that once was given to their beloved is now spent on pressures at work, money concerns, kids, & things.
         Women seem to be more sensitive to this fading of romantic love. Dr. James Dobson says:

         Women yearn to be special sweethearts of their men, being respected & appreciated & loved with tenderness. This is why a housewife often thinks about her husband during the day & eagerly awaits his arrival home; it explains why their wedding anniversary is more important to her, & why he gets clobbered when he forgets it. It explains why she is constantly reaching for him when he is at home, trying to pull him out of the newspaper or television set; it explains why "Absence of Romantic Love in My Marriage" ranked so high as a source of depression among women, whereas men would have rated it somewhere in the vicinity of last place.

         Regardless of whether you are a woman or a man, lack of romantic love in your marriage will affect you. It is our belief that God created the marriage union so that a couple could experience an all-encompassing spiritual, emotional, & physical attraction for each other that would last the rest of their lives. We were meant to live as husband & wife, as one flesh, not as brother & sister.
         Maybe you have felt hopeless concerning the possibility of romantic love in your marriage. For one reason or another you have thought, "My spouse is just not that type." DON'T BELIEVE IT! We are all emotional beings who desperately need the intimacy that comes from romantic love for our spouse.
         It is our hope that this will challenge you to work on your love. Love can come to you at any age in any stage of your marriage if you are willing to do what is necessary to let it happen. No matter how bad your marriage is right now, you can fall in love with your mate all over again.
         Walter Trobisch says about love:

         Love is a feeling to be learned.
         It is tension & fulfilment.
         It is deep longing & hostility.
         It is gladness & it is pain.
         There is not one without the other.
         Happiness is only part of love.
         This is what has to be learned.
         Sufferings belongs to love also.
         This is the mystery of love,
         Its beauty & its burden.
         Love is a feeling to be learned.

         True romantic love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect being. Romantic love is more than a warm, tingly feeling; it is a
choice that we make. We've found that people who have made the choice to be romantically in love with their mate are happy people who enjoy their lives. The words "I love you" have signaled an end to their search--they've found their life's mate & can be assured they are loved. Our hope is that you've found the security, the peace, & the fun it is to be hopelessly in love with your spouse!

Learn the use of affirmation. People respond much better to rewards than they do to stinging barbs. By noticing any act of love & commenting about it, we increase the odds of it happening again! Comments like, "I bet you didn't know that I always feel so loved by you when you open the door for me" are ways of verbalising the positive things we feel & possibly continuing & expanding loving behaviour.
         Put things in writing. As corny as it may sound, a red-hot love note can prepare a mind for romance. It also can be read & reread any time an extra jolt is needed. Love notes make great keepsakes as well.

Develop an eye for intimate details. These are the little quirks, likes, dislikes, seldom-mentioned desires, & customs that almost every person has. It really comes down to knowing your beloved & paying attention to what he or she does & thinks.
         For example, a romantic lover usually will know things like the kind of perfume his wife wears, her shoe size, colour preference, musical tastes, the hobbies or crafts that interest her & some of the details about these, the books she enjoys, the kind of films she prefers to see. These little details allow the spouse to know what interests his mate & to be able to share in the little intimacies that make that person special.
         Following is a chart that you can complete & keep as a reference to take with you when shopping for your spouse:

         Clothes or dress size:
         Waist size:
         Shoe size:
         Bra size:
         Neck size:
         Colour preference:
         Brand preference:
         Perfume or cologne preference:
         Favourite gemstone:
         Favourite music:
         Favourite performer:
         Special song:
         Hobbies, crafts, or sports information:
         Favourite books or authors:
         Favourite foods:
         Favourite restaurants:
         Favourite flavour ice cream:
         Favourite kinds of sweets:
         Favourite place to visit:
         Favourite film or director:
         Favourite thing to say:
         Anniversary date:
         Other important dates to remember:

         You only have to spend a few minutes in Disneyland to understand the importance of setting the mood for romance to begin. That magic kingdom is built largely around an environment especially designed to shift you from the World outside the park (with its parking lots, traffic, & competing architecture of every fast-food joint) to a World that Disney created. Every section of the theme park shifts your mood, from the homeyness of Main Street to the slick look of Tomorrowland. All of the workers appear in costume & act in character to contribute toward a very enjoyable experience in a World that has been created for you.
         Romance works in somewhat the same way. It is greatly helped by the right kind of environment. Rare are the spontaneous times when the right conditions (atmosphere, mood, desire, etc.) all come together. If we sit around waiting for the right conditions to fall together magically, we may be waiting a long time!
         Most of the time an atmosphere where romance can bloom takes planning & thought.
         A good setup is important for several reasons. It tells your mate, "I care enough to take time for you" or "I notice the little details that you like....which means I'm thinking especially about you."
         Setting the mood also prepares us to enjoy, open up, relax, & refocus on the beloved. Particularly for a woman, the mood strikes a warm chord deep inside. It prepares a couple for closeness, dialogue, & even physical intimacy.
         For the most part, a mood must be
created. It doesn't just sprout up from nowhere (only weeds in the garden & fleas on the dog do this). It must be planned & executed. This takes work...but the rewards are delightful!
         Moods are often set early in the day. A tone can be set in how we wake up our spouse, how breakfast progresses, & the way a couple parts company in the morning. As hard as a cheerful beginning is to produce some mornings, often it will contribute toward a cheerful ending of the day.
         One important area of the setup is the actual physical environment in which your beloved & you will spend your time. A key idea is to change the location from what you are used to. For example, if you live in the country you may want to go to the city. If you live in the city, the country may offer a new & romantic setting. Anything that changes from the usual can stimulate romance.
         Proper use of lighting adds dimension to romance. Candles are far more mood-setting than fluorescent lights, dim lights are far more sensual than carnival lighting.
         You can add a dimming switch to your house & control the environment of your own home by dimming the lights to a golden dusk whenever you would like to set a gentle, romantic mood. (For real fun, put a dimmer switch in without your spouse's knowledge & turn down the lights one night for an evening of home romance.)
         Music is a natural part of any romantic environment. Select the kind of music that you think would be of interest to your spouse & play it softly in the background. Music has a way of bringing back memories, so you may wish to select something that is a special song between the two of you or an altogether new & unpredictable piece that will, each time it is played again, remind your beloved of the warm & delightful evening that you are enjoying right now.
         Whether inside or out, a lightly dancing fire is wildly romantic to many people. Spread out blankets on the living room floor & enjoy each other's companionship in the warm glow of the fireplace.
         For romantic evenings at home, simple things like a clean & vacuumed house add a great deal to any kind of romance taking place. The same is true of an unplugged phone. Farming the kids out or occupying them with videos & popcorn may help limit interference.
         On your next stay at a hotel, collect a few DO NOT DISTURB signs & put them on the doorknobs at home to gently let the neighbours know that this is not the best time to borrow a cup of sugar.
         Keep an eye out for details that will help build the atmosphere of love. Use a cloth table cover, cloth napkins & napkin holders. The nicest dishes & silverware you have are little marks that say, "You mean the world to me."
         A room full of flowers adds an aura of enchantment that few other things can. Make a stop at the flower market & load up on the kinds of flowers that will help produce a visual & scented message of love. (Or go out & pick wild flowers together.)
         If a meal is part of the romantic evening, try & postpone cleanup until later (like the next day).
         If your romantic time together is outdoors, make sure to make it comfortable for your spouse. If it may be hot, bring shade, If cold, make sure to pack extra blankets or jackets.
         If you are going out on the town, try & select places where the environment is designed for romance. The corner family pizza joint may not provide the kind of ambience you are looking for.
         Small details are like pluses or minuses that can tip the scale for creating a mood of romance that works or that fizzles. For example, making sure that the car you are going out in is clean & vacuumed. You may even want to get a special tape to play for the evening & slip it into the tape deck beforehand. (Make sure to tell your spouse why you brought it.) On your way to your destination, take a different or scenic route: Drive around the harbour or along the back roads. Take your time--make the trip there part of the experience & atmosphere!
         To really set a mood, make sure that you are dressed for the occasion. Fresh smelling, sharply outfitted &, if you expect the evening to end with a delightful time in the bedroom, you may want to be wearing something new & daring to bed.
         For a gentle scent throughout the whole house, put a little bit of cologne on your light bulbs when they are cold. As they warm, the scent will be wafting gradually through the house.
         The right kind of environment takes time to prepare. It takes thought. Nothing can squash a well-intentioned evening more than having to rush around doing last-minute details. If you have children, try getting a babysitter well in advance so that you can concentrate on your own preparation & then on giving attention to your spouse. If you go out, rather than rush through dinner to try & make the movie, try limiting what you do that evening to one particular thing...& give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the activity & each other more intimately. Unwind at home rather than coming home to collapse.
         Along with the mood-setters suggested, the following ideas are those that can help you set a mood or environment that will be excitingly romantic:
The Bubble Bath. Without your wife knowing, prepare a luxurious bubble bath for her to relax & soak in. You may want to visit your local bath shop & select a fragrant bubble bath. Set up the bathroom with a portable tape deck playing relaxing music, fresh towels, a liberal variety of reading material (stop by the store & pick up a magazine or two your spouse enjoys), & some beverage to sip on. Pull this one during a time when your wife needs to take a few minutes to completely relax.
         Time your surprise so that the bath water is nice & warm by having your wife call you just before she leaves for home from the office or the store. Use soft lighting or candlelight to add to the effect.
Fireside Chats. Create a mood in your own living room by starting a fire, turning the music on & the lights off. Prepare a tray of goodies to eat & drink. Then cuddle & talk with your spouse next to the fire (or relax in each other's arms & be hypnotised by the flames.)
Borrow a Mood. Borrow the use of a friend's house that has an unusual view or location. Bring your food with you, spread a blanket on the floor, & enjoy the view over an indoor picnic.
Thunder Thrill. The next time there's a radical lightning storm or thunderstorm, turn off all the lights in your house, open one of the windows, & cuddle together watching the hostile weather. For extra fun, kiss each other when you see a flash of lightning or don't part until you hear the thunder.
Moon Walk. Take your spouse on a leisurely walk during a full moon. You do not have to go far--just around the neighbourhood. Spend your time checking out the moonglow.
Portable Mood. Sometimes it may not be possible to create a mood in your home. In these cases, take a drive to some beautiful spot such a bluff, the seashore, or the woods. Bring a meal with you, flatten the rear seats, & spread the fixings out on a tablecloth. Slip in a tape of romantic music & enjoy a meal in the privacy of your own car.
The Campfire. Go to the beach, woods, or a park & build a campfire. (Make sure to bring dry wood, matches, & kindling.) Grab a couple of folding chairs & sit together staring at the flames & making small talk. You may want to pack some hot chocolate in a thermos for something to sip on as you spend the night (put the tent & sleeping bags in the trunk).
A View in Advance. Go to a nice spot in advance & set up a tent or tarp. Drive home & load up your car with anything you will need for a nice, quiet meal together. Make sure to include things to enhance the atmosphere such as a portable tape deck, candles, etc.
         Try to have the meal prepared in advance & bring a card table, chairs, & tablecloth or simply a blanket to sit on.
         Surprise your spouse by picking him or her up at home or work. Take a slow, scenic drive to the place you have already staked out. Note: You may want to throw a couple of sleeping bags in the trunk in case this turns into an all-nighter.
Springtime Flower Hunt. There is something wonderful & romantic about springtime. Try taking your beloved on a walk through a field of wild flowers. Collect a bunch for your home & save a few to press in your memory book.
Magic Housecleaning. Take off work early & super clean the house for your wife (or hire someone to do it). There is nothing quite as mood-lifting as thinking you are coming home to a disaster & finding that the house had magically cleaned itself.
Nature Trot. Take a relaxing ride together on horseback through the woods or meadows.
Stargazers. Get a map of the constellations & see how many stars you can locate. (If you live in the city, take a drive to the country for the purpose of stargazing.) Pick several stars that you can easily find again & rename them yourselves.
Fiesta House. Set a fun-filled mood by decorating your house with the theme of a special dinner you have prepared. For example, if you are cooking a Mexican dish you could decorate the house to look like a fiesta had just hit town. Play mariachi music in the background.
Walkin' in the Rain. The next time it really comes down in buckets, put on your galoshes & sweater & take a hike in the rain & share the umbrella. When you come home, fix a big mug of a warm beverage.

         Touch each other when you talk. A message has three parts. Seven percent is the content of the message, 38% is the tone of voice the message is spoken in, 50% is non-verbal, the body language that accompanies the message. Saying "I love you" in a gruff voice while turning away is simply not believable.
         The most effective body language is a touch. In a recent study at UCLA, it was found that just to maintain emotional & physical health, men & women need eight to ten meaningful touches each day. This study estimated that if some "type A driven" men would hug their wives several times each day, it would increase their life span by almost two years! (Besides that, think how it would improve their marriages!)
         Even the smallest act of touch can help you communicate love & acceptance. Next time you sit down with your spouse to talk, touch them. We think you (and they) will enjoy it!
Conversation Starters. A large part of a romantic relationship is the ability to talk about what you feel & think. But how do you get a conversation going or keep it going? Here is a list of a few questions that might "prime the pump" & help you begin talking from the heart.
         Naturally these conversation starters are best used for no other motive than trying to hear & understand the one you love. Keep in mind to set the mood & make conversation a joy, not a job.

Conversation Starters
         --What problem would you gladly pay 1/3 of all you make this year to see disappear?
         --How much would you honestly want to make a year?
         --Would too much ruin us?
         --What problems would go away if we had as much money as we wanted?
         --Who are your five closest friends? Why?
         --What do you want your gravestone to read? Why?
         --What have you accomplished so far in your life that you are most proud of?
         --What do you need to accomplish before you die?
         --What is the single biggest need the World has now?
         --What would make you cry or become very angry if you saw it happen right now?
         --If you had all the money that you could use, what would you do with your time?
         --What one tradition did you have in your home that you would like to continue in ours?
         --What one thing you own best represents your life right now?
         --What is the funniest thing that you have ever seen happen?
         --Who have been the 3 most important men/women in your life?
         --What is the best news you've received?
         --When you were a child, what one thing did you want to do when you grew up?
         --When you were in high school, what did you like the most about your body? The least?
         --What 3 qualities do you most value in a friend?
         --If you had to put a tattoo on your body, where would you put it & what would it say or look like?
         --What would you like to pass on to your children after you die?
         --What is your favourite holiday?
         --If you could change one thing in our relationship in the past, what would it be?
         --Who is the most difficult person in your life right now?
         --If there were a fire & you could grab one thing from the house, what would it be?
         --Which year of your life would you say has been the best so far?
         --What has been the greatest adventure of your life so far? What adventure would you still want to go on?
         --What is your favourite room in the house?
         --Where did you have the most fun on vacation?
         --What would constitute a "perfect" evening for you?
         --Whom do you admire most? In what way does that person inspire you?
         --How much are you affected by a person's physical appearance? How would it change your life if something happened to make you much less attractive than you are now?
         --In love, is intensity or permanence more important to you?
         --How much do you expect from someone who loves you?
         --Do you prefer being around men or women? Do your closest friends tend to be men or women?
         --What was your best experience with drugs or alcohol? Your worst experience?
         --If you went to a dinner party & were offered a dish you had never tried, would you want to taste it even if it sounded strange & not very appealing?
         --What do you seek in a friend yet neither expect nor want in a lover? Are you attracted to people who are healthy for you to be around?
         --Do your comments & suggestions influence other people much? How could you present your ideas so that they would have more impact?
         --One hot summer afternoon, while walking through a parking lot at a large shopping center, you notice a dog suffering badly from the heat inside a locked car. What would you do?
         --An eccentric millionaire offers to donate a large sum to charity if you will step--completely naked--from a car unto a busy downtown street, walk four blocks, & climb back into the car. Knowing that there would be no danger of physical abuse, but you would be arrested, would you do it? What if there were no danger of either?
         --In terms of their relative unpleasantness, how would you rank the following: A nude stroll in public; being spat upon by a crowd of people; being arrested for shoplifting; begging for money at an airport? What is the most embarrassing thing you can imagine? What bothers you about looking bad in front of strangers?
         --Do you feel that children should be sheltered from unhappiness? What from your childhood has proved most valuable? Most difficult to overcome?
         --Does the fact that you have never done something before increase or decrease its appeal to you?
         --When you do something ridiculous, how much does it bother you to have other people notice it & laugh at you?
         --If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be? In what ways will you treat, or have you treated, your children differently from the way you were treated? If you've already raised children & could do it again knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
         --You are at a lake with some friends; the sun is warm & the water is cold. Going into the water would temporarily chill you but you know that later the warm sun would be even more enjoyable & you would be glad you had gone in. Would you take the plunge?
         --Do you have a favourite sexual fantasy? Would you like to have it fulfilled?
         --Do you judge others by higher or lower standards than you use to judge yourself?
         --What sorts of things would you do if you could be as outgoing & uninhibited as you wished? Do you usually initiate friendships or wait to be approached?
         --What has been your biggest disappointment in life? Your biggest failure?
         --If you could script the basic plot for the dream you will have tonight, what would the story be?
         --If you were guaranteed honest responses to any three questions, who would you question & what would you ask?
         --Did you ever think of inventing something?
         --What was your best Christmas?

Getting Started
         Many dates that couples go on don't do much to help them listen & communicate what is on their heart. The following are some date ideas specifically designed to help a couple get started in this crucial area.
Parking. That's right, just like when you were in high school! Find a romantic view in your car & neck! Some great communicating can go on in a setting like this.
Classical Tunes. Put on your favourite classical music. Sit quietly & listen for awhile. Later, explain to your spouse what you were thinking about during that time. Spread pillows on the floor & share your impressions of the music & the imagery it brought to your mind.
Three Wishes. Create a game out of the old idea of being granted 3 wishes. Put limitations on the wishes or make them for specific areas such as: Three places I wish I could visit, three things under $50 I wish I could get, three people I would like to go & visit. Listen carefully to the wishes of your spouse. Who knows--maybe you can make wishes come true!

         One of the lost arts in our high-tech, fast-paced culture has been the skill of putting in writing what we really feel & think about our beloved--the love letter.
         The big difference between an expression of love given in person (or over the phone) as compared to one in writing is that a written expression "goes on giving." Words on paper can be read, cherished, reread, framed, or hidden away with the pressed flowers, locks of hair, & other mementos. A phone call or conversation loses its passion & voice as soon as the communication is over. A letter can be savoured, studied, even held. Love letters can be footprints of our love for our spouse. They can track our passion through the years.
         You do not have to be a poet or a skilled writer to create a love note to your spouse. The one you love probably knows you well enough not to be bothered with misspellings or poor punctuation. You need not write pages of manuscript to express your love in a meaningful way. One simple sentence can do it!
         For the highest kind of romance, always write or print in your own hand. A love letter done on a word processor has about as much appeal as a Christmas newsletter. For an even more romantic effect, purchase high-quality paper & a bottle of coloured ink (available at most art stores) & use a fountain pen or a hand-dip lettering pen to write your message. To go all the way, hold the edge of your letter next to a flame to brown or "antique" the edges & seal the envelope with sealing wax.
         Writing a good love letter takes time because you must think of the right words to say. People who have a problem with this can find a great deal of help by using a thesaurus, or by looking through the ideas for love poems & letters at the end of this section.
         A love letter is delightful because it says "commitment." It is put down on paper forever. The courage to make those commitments & affirm them is what being married lovers is all about.
         Love letters do not have to be all words. With even the most rudimentary skill at doodling, you can create simple little pictures of love with any caption you can design. Love letters can be all-out efforts as well as mini-notes. Check out how the Apostle Paul describes love in chapter 13 of 1Corinthians...This is a word picture of love that cannot be topped!
         Imagine the surprise of any spouse who unexpectedly receives a five-page letter telling them how much they are loved & how special they are. For many, this kind of gift would outweigh anything that money could buy! Gifts of written expression have all of the elements that are so important in a World starved for the personal touch: They take time, thought, intimacy, commitment, effort, & they are tangible...they can be handled!
         This beautiful love letter from William Penn, the Quaker founder of Pennsylvania, was written as he left England for America, leaving his wife & children behind him.

         4th of the 6th month, 1682

         My dear wife & children,
         My love, which neither sea, nor land, nor death can extinguish towards you, most endearedly visits you with eternal embraces, & will abide with you for ever. My dear wife, remember thou wast the love of my youth & the joy of my life, the most beloved, as well as most worthy of all my earthy comforts. God knows & thou knowest it, it was a match of Providence's own making. Now I am to leave thee, & that without knowing whether I shall ever see thee more in this life.
         Take my counsel to thy bosom:
Firstly. Let the fear of God dwell in you richly.
Secondly. Be diligent in meetings & worship & business, & let meetings be kept once a day in the family, &, my dearest, divide thy time & be regular. In the morning, view the business of the house. Grieve not thyself with careless servants, they will disorder thee, rather pay them & let them go. It is best to avoid many words, which I know wound the soul.
Thirdly. Cast up thy income & see what it daily amounts to, & I beseech thee live low & sparingly until my debts are paid. I wrote not as doubtful of thee, but to quicken thee.
Fourthly. My dearest, let me recommend to thy care the dear children abundantly beloved of me. Breed them up in the love of virtue. I had rather they were homely than finely bred. Religion in the heart leads into true civility, teaching men & women to be mild & courteous.
Fifthly. Breed them up in a love one of another. Tell them it is the charge I left behind me. Tell them it was my counsel, they should be tender & affectionate to one another. For their learning be liberal, spare no cost. Rather keep an ingenuous (noble or honourable) person in the house to teach them, than send them to schools, too many evil impressions being commonly received there. And now, dear children, be obedient to your dear mother, whose virtue & good name is an honour to you, for she hath been exceeded by none in integrity, industry, & virtue, & good understanding, qualities not usual among women of her worldly condition & quality. Be temperate in all things, watch against anger, & avoid flatteries, who are thieves in disguise. Be plain in your apparel, let your virtue be your ornament. Be not busybodies, meddle not with other folks' manners, & for you who are likely to be concerned in the Government of Pennsylvania, especially my first born, be lowly, diligent & tender. Keep upon the square, for God sees you. Use no tricks, but let your heart be upright before the Lord. So may my God, Who hath blessed me with abundant mercies, guide you by His counsel, bless you & bring you to His eternal glory. So farewell to my thrice beloved wife & children.
         Yours as God pleaseth, which no waters can quench, no time forget, nor distance wear away, but remains for ever,
         William Penn

         I want to tell you just how proud of you I am, proud of what you are & what you do. Proud to be a part of all your plans & all your dreams, proud just to be sharing days with you. I want to tell you just how proud of you I am, & I want to tell you that I'll always be needing you & loving you & wanting very much to always make you very proud of me.

         How good my life has been loving you! You make the good times great times & the not so good times so much better. How good my life will always be loving you.

         Love is the feeling of beautiful warmth
         One person can bring to your heart
         And a feeling of loneliness deep down inside
         Whenever you must be apart.
         Love is a feeling of gladness that comes
         From the sight of that one happy smile,
         A feeling of comfort you have when you know There's somebody there all the while.
         Love is the feeling of such special caring, A feeling of magic & fun,
         A feeling of wonderful oneness you share
         With only that one certain one.

         I love loving you.

         For the one I love! There are lots of happy wishes & a great big kiss in this card! The wishes are for you to keep, but please return the kiss.

         No one else in all the World
         Could ever even start
         To fill the special place you fill
         So deep within my heart.
         So I hope somehow you know
         What words can never say,
         That you mean even more to me
         With every passing day.

         I'm thinking of you today remembering happy times we've shared, quiet talks we've had, funny things we've laughed about, moments spent in simply sharing friendship. I'm thinking of you today & wishing you all the joy your friendship has brought to me.

         Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, love never ends. May the Lord bless you for sharing His Love in such a special way. Have a wonderful day (or birthday, Valentine's Day or whatever).

         We're miles apart, yet in a way we're just as close as ever because so many special thoughts still keep us close together.

         A poet once this sentenced penned:
         "The one is rich who has a friend."
         I read it & I thought, "How true,
         He must've had a friend like you."
         --Edgar Guest

         Some friends are the kind we remember whether they are near or they're far.--Friends who are never forgotten!--And that's just the kind that you are.

         We've been friends from the day we met but I seldom say enough how I appreciate the joy your friendship's brought my way. So this comes to tell you that I hope I'll always be the wonderful kind of friend to you that you have been to me.

         Friendship has become a very precious word to me because I've found its meaning knowing you.

         You're the kind of friend I'd always hoped to find,
         So very good at listening, so giving, warm & kind.
         I'm the kind of friend who needs someone like you
         To share my happy moments & to cheer me when I'm blue.
         We're the kind of friends who will never drift apart
         Because our friendship is the kind that always warms the heart.

         Whatever will bring a smile to you, whatever is most worthwhile to you, that's what you're wished with love.

         You're a stand-out, you're super, a fantastic find, you're the nicest, the greatest, you're one of a kind. You're very special!

         Funny how a thought of you can brighten up my day!

         You do so many thoughtful things that show what a caring person you are. You have a wonderful way of making others feel really good about themselves. Whenever help or encouragement is needed, you're right there. Your enthusiasm makes it a joy to be around you. Thanks for being so wonderful & for making my life so much richer.

         We've shared a lot of happiness,
         We've seen some dreams come true,
         And every now & then we've had
         Our share of worries too.

         But every day our love has grown
         Still deeper than before
         And with each passing year
         I know I'll love you even more.

         You've always been so dear to me! It's not just how wonderful you are to talk to & to go places with. It's not just the thoughtful things you always do. There's no one special thing that makes you so dear, it's all the special things that make you, you.

         Love is a special word rich with meaning, overflowing in thought. Your love makes my World more beautiful, puts more joy in my living.

         We'll always be happy together, for it's true that everything means more because I'm sharing life with you.

         Let's always go on sharing our songs & our secrets, our feelings & our fantasies. Let's keep on carrying on like a pair of eternal romantics & getting along like a couple of very best friends.

         To find love is to find new happiness in today, new promise in tomorrow. Because of you my life is filled with the joy of living & the beauty of love. I'm happier today than ever before & I know that tomorrow I'll be even happier because of you, because we're together.

         Thank you for filling my life with wonder & excitement & laughter & love & warm tender moments.--For bringing your special kind of love to every single day.

         It's no secret that I love you, it's no secret that I care
         Or that I want you with me all the time & everywhere.
         It's no secret that you mean so much to me & always will
         For there's a place within my heart that you alone can fill.

         Love is soft & love is gentle.
         Love is tender, sentimental,
         A lasting bond that holds two hearts together.
         Love is thoughtful, love is knowing,
         Love is strong & ever-growing,
         A rich deep joy that fills two hearts forever.

         I love to be the one you think of, the one it helps to talk to, the one you want to share with. I'll always love to be the one you love.

         I know that time can never change the love I have for you
         Except to make it deeper still with everything we do.
         In all my dreams of coming years you play a major part
         For I know that time will never change the love within my heart.

         Your love keeps lifting me higher.

         For all the warmth & joy you share in ways that show how much you care.
         For all the times you seem to know just when I really need you so.
         For all the special things you do, for all the dreams you make come true,
         I give you my deep thanks & my eternal love.

         Van Goethe said, "Love is something eternal: The aspect may change, but not the essence."

         Someone like you happens once in a lifetime. I'm so glad you happened in mine.

         I'm glad that there are secrets only you & I can share
         And special moments only meant for two.
         I'm glad that there are memories we can call our very own.
         But most of all I'm glad that I have you.

         I don't know what I'd do without you.
         I need you more & more each day.
         I wish I knew just how to tell you
         Why I always feel this way.
         It isn't just the things you say
         Or all the thoughtful things you do.
         I guess I need you & I love you
         Mostly just because you're you.

         Thank you for the precious moments we've shared. Thank You Jesus for fulfilling our hopes & making our dreams come true. I'm looking ahead to more beautiful moments together, dreaming new dreams & renewing our promises of love to each other & to the Lord.

         Darling, you're the man I'll always love. I've grown to know you very well, to know & love each thing you do. And everything that's a part of you seems like a part of me now too!

         To love someone who loves you in return, this is the happiness everyone searches for. How glad I am we've found that happiness in each other.

         I love who you are & what you are & that you are my love.

         You'll always be close to my heart.

         Close to my heart are the hours we have shared
         And the hopes that together we've known.
         Close to my heart are the plans we have made
         And the dreams we have called all our own.
         Dearer to me than words ever could say
         Are the things in which you have a part,
         And all through the future whatever life holds, you'll always be close to my heart.

         I want you to know how dear to my heart you always have been & always will be.

         Like flowers need the sunlight & care to make them grow,
         I need you, my love, more than you'll ever know.
         I need your faith & courage, the sunshine of your smile.
         Your thoughtful reassurance that makes my life worthwhile.
         I need the warmth & shelter your loving arms provide.
         But most of all I need to know you're always by my side.

         I always love to be with you to hear the things you say.
         I love the things we share together in our special way;
         The small things, the important things, whatever we may do.
         Honey, everything seems right whenever I'm with you.

         William Shakespeare said, "My bounty is as boundless as the sea. My love as deep. The more I give to thee the more I have, for both are infinite."

         Some like to "neck", some like to "spoon",
         Some like to "spark" beneath a full moon.
         Some like to "smooch", some "bill & coo."
         But whatever you call it, I like it with you!

         I can't think of any other way to tell you how I feel today. I can only tell you what I hope you know: I love you so!

         Whenever something makes me glad I know how glad you'll be.
         Whenever I succeed I know that you'll be proud of me.
         Whenever I have special dreams, I know you'll share them too.
         No wonder then I know I'll always be in love with you.

         I love you because we enjoy so many things together, because you make me so happy in so very many ways. I love you because one of the greatest joys in life is the joy of having you.

         A husband is so many things, but most of all a friend.

         The most wonderful thing about marriage is having a husband like you, someone to care & to share with, someone to tell my dreams to. So today I just want to say "thank you" for all of the things you have done to make our life together such a happy & wonderful one.

         Here's to the memories we cherish, the joys we share, the dreams we dream & most of all here's to you.

         You're a very special man. I may not tell you that as often as I should but it's a feeling I carry in my heart constantly. When things get difficult you lighten the load with your help, understanding & support. I know that you want me to succeed, & your unselfishness & encouragement inspire me to do my best. Not many men would give so much of themselves in such a caring way. I love you very much & I want you to know.

         On this special day I'm thinking of all we've been through together as partners sharing so many rich meaningful times as best friends, always being there to help each other. On this special day I'm thinking of how very grateful I am for you & your love.

         Your love is such a beautiful thing.
         It brightens all my days & brings me so much happiness.
         In countless special ways your love is such a beautiful thing;
         It's gentle yet it's strong,
         It's a special joy in happy times,
         A help when things go wrong.
         Your love is such a beautiful thing,
         The treasure of my life.
         How glad I am your love is mine
         And that you are my wife.

         To know that there is someone who sees all the best in you, someone who is always there for you when you need warmth, company & understanding. To know that there is someone who shares your dreams is to know life at its best. Life made beautiful by love.

         Thank you for the yesterdays, the dreams you made come true.
         Thank you for the "wonderful" you put in all you do.
         Thank you for the promise of love my whole life through.

         I've picked out boring movies & cruddy TV shows.
         I've picked out simply ugly ties & really funny clothes.
         I've picked out awful restaurants & tasteless wines for dinner.
         But when it comes to choosing wives I sure picked out a winner!

         To my better half. Half of us is nicer than the other half, it's true.
         And half of it is sweeter & that half of course is you.
         But though you are the better half, as everyone can see,
         There isn't any doubt at all the lucky half is me!

         Time brings many changes but the things that really count are the things I can rely on, come what may. Things like the understanding & the thoughtfulness you show & the way our love grows deeper every day.

         It doesn't matter what we do, go out or watch TV.
         It doesn't matter if we talk or just sit quietly
         My days are spent in warm content when you are close to me.

         I love you not because you're perfect but because you're so perfect for me.

         Like waves returning to the shore I fall in love with you again & again & again.

         To my wonderful husband: With love for the joys you make deeper, the dreams you make dearer, the moments you make lovelier with your love.

         In our quiet moments together, in our busy days apart so often I think of how happy I am to be sharing my life with such a thoughtful caring man. You're my friend, my husband, my love.

         Every woman dreams about the perfect husband, someone warm & caring, thoughtful & affectionate, funny & sensitive, but she often ends up with less. Except me. When I married you I ended up with a lot more.

         Love is called a miracle
         And I believe it's true
         For my life is filled with happiness
         Since the miracle of you.

         I just can't get enough of you. Everything about you is something I love. You're so sexy, so exciting, so desirable, not to mention as cute as the dickens. When we're apart I miss your kisses & when you're near I'm in hug Heaven. In fact, there's no place I'd rather be than close to you!--The closer the better!

         I don't really mind our days being filled with hustle-bustle as long as there's a little time for hanky-panky. And speaking of time, you know that one of my favourite times of day is when the lights are low & it's high time for romance. You definitely make my heart race, you take my breath away. You're better for me than aerobics. You satisfy my deep desires, my strong cravings. With a husband like you who needs chocolate? To put it simply, I just can't get enough of you.

         To the most wonderful Husband of all!
         Dear Jesus, I treasure nothing in my life above being together with You for ever in love. All I am & all I've been & all I'm dreaming of are wrapped up in the wonder & the magic of Your love. All You are & all You've been to me & all that You will be to me, fulfill my life & bring the gift of happiness to me.

         To Jesus: You're the Someone that I care for more & more each day.
         You're the Someone that I think of in such a loving way.
         You're the Someone that I plan for in everything I do.
         You're my Happiness, my Everything, my dearest Dream come true!

         An often-overlooked but potentially exciting area of relationships comes with establishing & maintaining traditions or personal rituals by a couple.
         The seasonal, monthly, or even weekly repetition of an event gives a sense of security & coherency to a relationship. It can become an extremely important point of reference to which all of life's other demands must stop & submit.
         Traditions become the material that memories are built from. They give the warm glow of familiarity & remembrance each time they are celebrated.
         Many traditions are passed down through families & find their way into the lives of a new couple. Often these traditions or rituals act as cement to weld two different backgrounds into one harmonious family. For this reason alone, they are a healthy addition to the lives of a couple.
         Traditions & rituals are best started early in a relationship, but can be effectively instituted at any time in the life of a marriage. For example, one couple purchased their first Christmas tree six months after they were married. Both of them agreed that it would be more fun to decorate the tree with homemade ornaments than it would be to go & buy them at the store. This was the beginning of a long tradition. The tree was decorated a bit thin the first year, but as Christmases rolled by, the tree filled up with various homemade ornaments. When children came, they too joined in the tradition started the first year of marriage by their parents.
         Some traditions that start out as a romantic idea between spouses can keep that spirit & still absorb children as they come along.
         Traditions do not have to be elaborate, only predictable. Most of the traditions couples celebrate together are hinged on a particular time of year or holiday. But any excuse is good enough to begin a tradition with.
         Some traditions start from our desire to grow spiritually. A daily Scripture reading & prayer time together will strengthen your walk with God & deepen your love for each other.
         Traditions & rituals can be a symbol...something that means "I love you" between two particular people. It can be a kind of flower, colour, word, or code name.
Halloween Pumpkin Carving. Whether you have kids or not, it is still great fun to carve pumpkins together. If you live near a pumpkin patch, go out & select the gourd that best fits your personality, then each of you carve up a pumpkin. You may want to dry & save the seeds for snacks or buy a few more pumpkins & make a pie together. If you have children, you can even have a contest & give prizes for the most creative, the funniest, & the most realistic. Each pumpkin gets an award.
Tradition & Ritual Ideas for All Occasions.
Italian night. One night a month go out for Italian food or pizza together. This could be set up as the second Tuesday in the month--or whatever you decide. This kind of tradition can include anyone who happens to be hanging out with you on the night you eat pizza. (If you hate Italian food or pizza, substitute any other food of your choice.)
A Special Flower. Select a flower that is representative of your love for each other & try to give the flower as often as possible. Look for pictures that show it or stationery that has the flower on it. Pick the items up for your spouse or send messages using the symbol.
A Special Character. Select a special character that is a secret symbol of your love or of an event in your relationship. Try sticking this character in places where your beloved will get the message (kind of like the mark of Zorro). Put it in his lunch, on her pillow, or in an envelope sent to work or home (with nothing else in it).
The Special Show. Tune in one special radio show to which you both enjoy listening. Make it a custom to snuggle next to each other & enjoy the programme. (Don't forget to unplug the phone so you won't be disturbed.)
Porch Swingers. Purchase a porch swing & as a couple sit out on the warm evenings of the year & watch the sun go down. Make it a habit for one night of the week.
Big-Deal Birthdays. Make a big deal about the birthday of your beloved. For example, you can make an agreement that he get to do whatever he wants on his birthday & you will go along. You must watch & eat what he wants & listen to him tell you about anything he wants to talk about for the whole day. Of course, this works best if he plays by the same rules on your birthday.
Family Devotions. Pick a time each day to spend thinking about the Lord. Learn to pray together & share at least one thing that you are thankful for.
Saturday Morning Out. Start a tradition of breakfast together every Saturday morning. Let the kids fix their own cereal while you take a few hours at the beginning of the weekend together.
         Use your imagination! There are thousands more things you can do, many of which take little or no money & little time.

         Every Boy Scout knows that a good fire is not started by dragging in huge logs of wood & trying to ignite them. The end result is a little smoke, lots of used matches, & frustration. The way to build a fire is to start small. Use dry kindling, bits of paper...things that are sure to take the applied flame. Gradually, larger pieces of wood can be added to the fire & they will catch because they have enough coals & heat to create combustion.
         Igniting romance is very similar to building a great fire. Start small with the match of love.
         Naturally, the degree of "small" or little gestures of love required may have a great deal to do with how cold the fire of our romantic love has grown. In some cases, it may take a great deal of "kindling" (or, in other words, layer after layer of consistently loving actions).
         The small things that can help love to grow first start in our attitude. Being tender, good-humoured, sympathetic, attentive, considerate, thoughtful, & helpful are good places to start.
         Learning to tell our beloved how important he or she is to us is another vital piece of romance-building fuel. This can be done verbally or on paper, but it is essential that it be done. Look to God for wisdom, creativity, & imagination in how to love your spouse. He will be more than pleased to "direct your steps."
         Just for a moment, think about your spouse. What are the qualities that you admire, respect, or are grateful for? What does he do well? What part of his or her physical body do you think is particularly attractive? If she were to die tomorrow, what would you miss most about her? What are the strengths of character he manifests? Make a mental note of those things or write them down.
         It is surprising the amount of things that we can find to love in our spouse if we stop & look for them. A good place to start building flames is to communicate in some fashion the attributes that you find delightful in your mate. Perhaps a love note or a whisper in the ear during a tender moment. Possibly a bouquet of flowers with a card that lists all the reasons you love her. (You could use a flower for each reason listed on the card.)
         Another addition to stoke up the flames is overt thoughtfulness or doing something loving without the expectation of anything in return. It is the exercise of figuring out what would please our beloved & then doing those things. These do not have to be glamourous events, but they should be things that are above & beyond the various duties that we normally provide for each other. For example, most men come home from work each day empty-handed (except for a lunch pail or briefcase). To come home from work with a bundle of cut flowers or a small gift would be unique & special.
         Take a few moments & think about special things that you could do for your spouse that would surprise, enhance, or please him or her. Write your ideas down someplace so that you don't forget.
         Make a point of doing as many of the things you have thought of as possible sometime within the next few weeks. Pick some to do this week. Pick one to do today!
         Perhaps it has been months or even years since the two of you have done something special together without kids, friends, or relatives. Possibly there is someplace that your spouse is always saying he would like to visit someday or perhaps some restaurant that she has always indicated she would like to try sometime. Now could be the time for that special getaway date for just the two of you! This could turn out to be not just a time to build up the fire but to set off some fireworks as well.
         Think of places that you know your spouse would like to go (not where both of you would settle for, but specifically places your
mate would enjoy). Jot down those ideas & figure out how realistic it is from the standpoint of budget, vacation time, etc.
         Special times away have to be created--they usually don't happen automatically with most couples.
         The excitement of two people who work to keep romance alive is very contagious. It can spread like a benevolent flame to other couples who need to be "fired up."
         Don't neglect to share with your friends any ideas that have worked to bring you & your spouse closer together & cause romance to rekindle. Every couple has to keep vigilant over the romance in their life & contribute their part to keep love blazing!
         The dream of every couple who walks down the aisle on their wedding day is a future of love, appreciation, & romance. We hope that you will choose to keep that dream alive & that your life together can be one of laughter, gentle adventure, growth, & constant discovery of the person with whom you share a name, a bed, & the years. With a bit of effort & creativity from both of you, there is a good chance that your romance will never cool to ashes but will blaze brighter, deeper, & hotter with the kind of intensity that comes from a lifetime of being in love!