A Valentine’s Post: I Believe and I Don’t

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.










209 Responses to “A Valentine’s Post: I Believe and I Don’t”

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  1. 51
    Samantha R says:

    Thank you for this , Beth ! I have an 11 MONTH old daughter and am a first time mom and will forever remember to compliment other things besides how pretty she is( she is so beautiful) ! But I will remember to not just tell her that but to also tell her how smart and sweet and godly and thoughtful and funny she is. Thank you!!!!
    Also, I really would love to read a book from you and your husband on marriage!! I love seeing how in love yall are after all these years and would love to know your secret!
    One more thing… Thank you for being a world changer and a life changer! And even though we’ve never met… Thank you for being my dear friend !!!

  2. 52
    Linda says:

    I love it!! I have to ask what ex nihilo means??

  3. 53
    Linda says:


  4. 54
    Karen Glisson says:


  5. 55
    Alice Swearingen says:

    Thank you! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your man!

  6. 56
  7. 57
    Amy says:

    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……..oh my sister in Christ. This one really hit home…….struggling with this for quite sometime now and the Spirit spoke deeply to me in these words but more importantly in the encouraging words that followed. Thank you, thank you for this poignant and perfect reminder that this statement does NOT have to be. That the love of Gpd and the power of the Holy Spirit can and will bring this hard headed, love based marriage back to a place of sweet freedom. That divorced souls need not be the final word!!

  8. 58
  9. 59
    Deborah says:

    Agree. Thank you. Happy LOVE DAY! Like Christmas lets celebrate every day! God is Love! I AM loves me! I love Him! HE is mine, I am His! Amazing Love how can it be!

  10. 60
    Michelle Wade says:

    Love this!!! Can’t wait to share it with my 3 teen age daughters! Thank you!

  11. 61
    Mary Witt says:

    Good post. No, GREAT post. 🙂

    But I really do believe that for many things in life — parenting, cleaning, etc:


  12. 62
    jean says:

    Thank you, just what we need to hear over and over. celebrated 31 years with my husband this year!!!

  13. 63
    Deanna Thomason says:

    I am copying the text I sent to our youth pastor just yesterday. What a timely message for the body.

    The world has tainted what people think about love, sex and relationships. Even without us knowing. As the church we can not shy away from the truth. There isn’t one person, you make the one you marry the person. There is no perfect person. Sex is not just an physical attraction. It is a commitment. EVERY TIME. Do not shy away from what God has called you to. Love is giving when you don’t want to. Giving of yourself at great personal sacrifice. They need to know this truth not what the world says. Even the most sheltered kids have a warped view of love. They think there is a knight in shining armor. There isn’t. He drives a cavalier and works at Burger King, fights with you and would die for you.

    I will add. You are not a princess nor do you need to be. Remember there is not a knight in shining armor coming to rescue you. Jesus already saved you.

    A message we all need to hear young and old.

  14. 64
    Robin in New Jersey says:

    Thank you, Beth. You are a very wise woman. I will be sharing this with my daughters and posting it on my FB page. May the Lord continue to bless you and your ministry.

  15. 65
    Stacey says:

    My thoughts put into words. Thanks.

  16. 66
    Vanessa says:

    One of my favorite posts!!

  17. 67
    Kathy says:

    AMEN ! ! ! ! !! !

  18. 68
    noreen kyle says:

    Thanks for the beautiful Valentine’s day marriage! Wise words….Love you dear on Valentine’s Day and always!!!!

  19. 69
    Deb Muhlenkamp says:

    Wow – Beth – that was really good! Thanks!! So much truth there!

  20. 70
    Sandy Jeffreys says:

    WONDERFUL POST! So meaningful & true! It blessed my heart. So nice to hear especially in our current culture.

  21. 71
    Laura says:

    Amen! Beautifully worded!!!

  22. 72
    Dianne Wade says:

    I don’t know if anyone will read this but I want to thank and praise my Lord Jesus Christ for giving my husband a miracle over 10 years ago when the dr sent him home from the hospital to hospice care. God give us not just one miracle but many when it came to John, my husband. Our family is so blessed. God thanks.. just isn’t enough!

  23. 73
    Lynda says:

    So. Well. Said!!

  24. 74
    Monica J. says:

    Amen and Amen.

  25. 75
    Melissa says:

    Amen! Happy Valentine’s Day! Thank you for continuing to share your heart. I will continue to work towards the good.

  26. 76
    Linda says:

    That was great and good and inspired! Happy Valentine’s Day sweet Beth!

  27. 77
    Julia says:

    Thank you for your thoughts, happy Love Day! I love your musings on marriage. No one gets it perfect, but we can approach our relationships with intention, a sense of humor and also
    A desire to have a healthy, loving relationship. Mom told me once that marriage is cyclical, like most things. First phase, love (and sex) and then less and then less and then just friendship until the dark days, no love, not friends much. But it cycles around eventually to the love (and sex)…Some couples cycle once a day or once a week or once every few years. The wise ones wait it out to get to the other side, past the dark days. It’s a cycle. Loving. Liking. Not Liking. Liking and then back full cycle to Loving. And when you’ve gotten back to loving, you’ve earned it and it’s that much sweeter.

  28. 78
    Audrey says:

    Yes! Accepting the grace gifts we’re given each day helps us not clamor for more, but be thankful for what is and press in to the Giver all the more. Whether our choices or someone else’s have us in our circumstances, God can use all of them to grow us and bring Him glory. Seeing all as grace helps us see more clearly and call out the real, good qualities in our girls and boys, not just the superficial. Thanks for posting, Beth!

  29. 79
    Lore says:

    Beautifully said.

  30. 80
    Shelley says:

    Yes and amen!!!

  31. 81
    Mema Jeanne says:

    As I am finishing up reading the book of Exodus today, the 14th, in the chronological Bible with “Reading Through the Word,” I wanted to have a verse to memorize from Exodus. I think the one that I have chosen pretty well sums it up: Exodus 13:21 NLT
    ” The LORD went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and He provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night.”

  32. 82
    NoRegret says:

    I believe that we’ve made a false god out of counseling of all kinds, including marriage counseling. It doesn’t work for upwards of 70% of people- and that includes Christian counseling. It occurs to me that is just like our Lord. If counseling always worked we would worship it over God. I can also now see that if my husband had been all I needed I would not have continued searching and would not have found Jesus. I’m grateful for the many ways The Lord has blessed me – especially my relationship with Jesus- even though my 25 yr marriage has been primarily one of suffering. My prayer is that our three boys not suffer in the same kind of marriages. I am so happy for those of you that have love in your marriage. That is much too rare in this day and age. You are truly blessed!

  33. 83
    Hannah H. says:

    Amen, Ms. Beth! Love this!

  34. 84
    Shannon says:

    AMAZING….definitely a keeper!

  35. 85
    ak says:

    Interesting…I refused to marry one I didn’t love. Hummm…bone-headness would probably have helped….

  36. 86
    Laurie O says:

    Well done!

    Well said. Well thought.

    Thank you.

  37. 87
    Glenda Self says:

    Glenda Self
    Nederland, Tx
    But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭3-4‬ NLT)

  38. 88
    Carole Hardin-Oliver says:

    Carole Hardin-Oliver Kingwood Tx Psalm 118:24New King James Version (NKJV)24 This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

  39. 89
    Jody Bowhay says:

    Jody in Huntsville, AL
    2 Cor. 10:3-4 NIV
    “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

  40. 90
    Kiri says:

    Kiri, Doncaster, UK

    You used to be dead because of your sins and acts of disobedience. You walked in the ways of the world and obeyed the ruler of the powers of the airwho is still at work among the disobedient – Ephesians 2: 1-2 CJB

  41. 91
    Susan says:

    Susan Stefens, Emmaus, PA

    another passage to accompany our study in James:

    Jer. 9:23,24:

    Thus says the LORD: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom; let not the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the LORD.

  42. 92

    Amen! That’ll preach 😉 Very powerful!

  43. 93
    Pat Handley says:

    Pat Handley Ventura, CA
    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift from God-not by works, so that no one can boast Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

  44. 94
    Barbara Fenn says:

    Barb, Medina, Oh
    For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
    Rom 12:3 ESV

  45. 95
    Hillary Dickey says:

    Hillary Dickey, D’iberville, MS. ” For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God”? Ephesians 2:8 NAS

  46. 96
    Leslie Benson says:

    Leslie, Kansas City, Missouri

    The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (‭Zephaniah‬ ‭3‬:‭17‬ NIV)

  47. 97
    Chrystal says:

    Thank you for being real about love, marriage and relationships when the world is not. 🙂

  48. 98
    Kathy says:

    Very thought provoking regarding the go – to compliment of telling little girls they are pretty. Of course they are but there are so many other things we can encourage them with. I hope I remember to change my words – starting with my smart, clever, fun, loving (adorable) granddaughter.

  49. 99
    Krista Ranson says:

    Krista Ripley WV
    James 1:19-20
    Wherefore my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, Slow to speak, slow to wrath; For the wrath of man workers not the righteousness of God.

  50. 100
    Kathleen says:

    If you were one of my personal friends and had posted this on FB, I would have replied, “Love you, honey.” So, I’ll just post it here instead.

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