I believe in romance.
I believe in the love between a man and a woman.
I believe that love can be sustained for a lifetime.
I believe in falling back in love over and over.
I believe in making up.
I believe that good marriages are wed of soft hearts and hard heads: a tenderness to love and be loved and a tenacity too bone-headed to quit.
I believe that laughter lasts longer than sex.
I believe that many people marry people they do not love.
I believe that desperation gets confused with affection.
I believe that many couples divorce that could have made it.
I believe that God can resurrect hearts that are stone-cold dead and create love between a couple ex nihilo.
I believe that couples can put in their fifty years like a prison sentence with souls that have been divorced for decades. And that Jesus sees right through it.
I believe some fights are worth having.
I believe that laziness is the leading narcotic of romance.
I believe that neglect is a form of infidelity.
I believe in the power of repentance to jump start a dead heart.
I believe the most important synonym of the word love in a marriage is forgiveness. I believe in working it through, crying it through, even fighting it through, then I believe in putting it behind you. For keeps. Love resists the inundating urge to bring back up the old with every new offense.
I believe that getting godly counseling is an act of courage.
I believe in the immeasurable power of mutual respect.
I believe that cynicism about romance is as unhealthy as believing in fairy tales.
But I do not believe in teaching our little girls that their worth will be measured by the love of a man. Unless that man is Jesus.
I do not believe in staying silent in a culture that says girls are as valuable as they are desirable.
I do not believe it is helpful that our constant go-to compliment to a little girl is how pretty she is.
She is also smart. And strong. And thoughtful. And artistic. And creative. And well able.
I do not believe in perpetuating the myth of happily-ever-after in marriage. I believe in teaching our adolescents that we can have love-ever-after, devotion-ever-after, hope-ever-after, and faith-ever-after but only if we don’t faint-ever-after. We prepare soldiers for real war but leave young couples ill-prepared for real marriage. I don’t believe that realism has to remotely equal pessimism.
I do not believe in teaching our girls that men are gods or devils.
I do not believe in marrying a man who won’t date you.
I don’t believe in making love to a man who won’t kiss you.
For what any of this is worth.
One last thing in case you’re still reading.
I believe that great marriages are great but that a good marriage can also be good. Amid the blur of magazine headlines and blog articles about how to have a great romance, a great marriage, great sex, great kids, great families, great jobs, great relationships, and fabulously great futures with great impact, save a little room in your heart to believe that good can also be good.
Because life’s just not always great.
But, man, it can be good.