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. 101
    Mary Ruth Franklin says:

    Mary Ruth Franklin
    Lanexa, VA
    I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
    Galatians 2:20 NASB

  2. 102
    Linda Johnson says:

    Linda Johnson, High Point, N.C. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven”. Ecclesiastes 3:1. NIV

  3. 103
    Susan Innes says:

    Dear Beth,

    I’ve shared this on Facebook, especially with my daughters. Beautifully put – amen!

  4. 104
    Harlene says:

    Coshocton, Ohio. Galations 2:20(NASB) I have been crucified with Christ;and it is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me;and the life I live which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the SON of GOD who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

  5. 105
    Tina Pitts says:

    Tina Pitts, North Richland Hills, Texas “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 ESV

  6. 106
    Sara Meredith says:

    “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” –Rev 21:4

  7. 107
    Brenda Rowland says:

    Isaiah 43:18. Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. NASB.
    Brenda Rowland, Mint Hill, NC

  8. 108
    Sheri Taylor says:

    Sheri Taylor, Hurricane, WV
    18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭18‬ NIV)

  9. 109
    sarah w. from Nixa, MO says:

    5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6 NIV

  10. 110
    Diane Rogers says:

    Diane, Golinda, TX
    February 15. 2015
    So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, (‭Colossians‬ ‭2‬:‭6‬ NIV)

  11. 111
    anon says:

    I agree entirely worth what you’ve written. Thank you for including that neglect is infidelity and that women should never have sex with a man who won’t kids them.

    Some things I would add (because it took me 10 terrifying years to realize it,) abuse is also a form of neglect. “Abuse” doesn’t require being struck with a hand or fist. Abuse can mean biting (literally), humiliating, constant insults in private and in public, refusal to be affectionate for months at a time but insisting on sexual relations nightly. A man can rape his wife; this too is infidelity. Even Christian men can be abusers (mine was a PK.)

    A marriage like that doesn’t have to end in divorce even though mine did. But I don’t recommend that a woman in a situation like that marriage of mine stay under the same roof as her abusive husband. Move to a safe place. Get counseling. Insist he get counseling too. Don’t make a life altering decision without getting wise Biblical counseling from as many trusted, mature, Christian men and women as you can find. Good will lead you to the right decision for *your* life and *His* glory.

    A note to churches and Christian individuals. Don’t judge a person’s divorce based on your own understanding of Matthew 19 and your own circumstances. I never wanted a divorce. I have never felt more like a miserable failure than when I think about my divorce. But that was the decision God led me to. That was how God chose to protect me. My new husband (of more than 11 years!) is how God has taught me that some men *can* be trusted to love me as Christ loved the church. I never saw that exemplified in any man: not my father, not my older brother, not any of my boyfriends.

    • 111.1
      carla says:

      anon, you are so loved and accepted. Our daughter went through a similar situation and her husband was a P, or so says he. Anyway, She was raised in a Christian home and by her Pastor father and bible teacher mother. she was so embarrassed and ashamed when she finally made the decision to leave after 17 years. she worked so heard to get them help but he would have no part of it. I could go on but it would serve not purpose so I will only say that her and the children are so happy and peaceful now. she too prayed until she got a word from God that freed her because she was in it for life. It will be a year in April so it still fresh but God is doing amazing things in all their lives. Pray for her as I will be remembering you a well.

  12. 112
    Lyn Fountain says:

    Lyn Fountain, Forest, MS; “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21, NIV

  13. 113
    Ruth, Sarnia, Ontario, Canada says:

    And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain! So God granted him what he requested.’

    ([1Chronicles 4:10 NKJ)

  14. 114
    Jill says:

    Right on Beth! For those of us that have been married awhile (31 for me) I think that this was so timely. I loved every word.

  15. 115
    Wendy Bashor says:

    Wow…just awesome! I concur, LOL.

  16. 116
    Sandra Ruder says:

    Sandra Ruder, Hillsboro, KS

    Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.

    James 4:9 NLT

  17. 117
    Jill Moss says:

    Jill Moss, North Scituate, Rhode Island “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for the pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:4-5 NKJV

  18. 118
    Terry Karlson says:

    Terry Karlson
    Winchester, VA

    “Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise; fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense.”

    Proverbs 15:2

  19. 119
    Erika says:

    Erika Dotto
    West Palm Beach, FL

    Beautiful post!!!!!

  20. 120
    Lisa says:

    James 2:20 ESV Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?

  21. 121
    Misti Robinson says:

    Misti from Houston, TX

    “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” Philippians 2:14 NIV

  22. 122
    Cindy from Michigan says:

    Psalm 27:1 “The LORD is my Light and my Salvation – whom shall I fear or dread? The LORD is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” Amp

  23. 123
    Heather Floros says:

    Heather, Bel Air, MD
    1 John 3:18 HCSB
    Little children, we must not love with word or speech but with truth and action.

  24. 124
    Judy says:

    Judy Madison, Beaumont, California

    But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.

    Psalm 71:14

  25. 125
    Robin from Colorado Springs says:

    Psalm 119: 33-34 MSG
    God, teach me lessons for living so that I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me – my whole life one long, obedient response.

  26. 126
    Tracy Fahs says:

    Lake St. Louis, Missouri

    No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you more forsake you.

    Joshua 1:5 NIV

  27. 127
    Jill Denise says:

    You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love for all who call to you.
    Psalm 86:5 TNIV

  28. 128
    Iris Stinson says:

    February 15, 2015

    Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your Word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

    Acts 4: 29-30 NIV

  29. 129
    Keely says:

    Keely Hagan, Sturgis, KY
    “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)

  30. 130
    Catherine Lesley says:

    Catherine Lesley – Waterdown,Ontario

    Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 NIV

  31. 131
    Megan Fralich says:

    Megan Grants Pass,OR
    This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
    James 1:19 (NASB)

  32. 132
    Dawnn says:

    Thank you.

  33. 133
    Lynn Nickoley says:

    Dyersburg, TN…. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be of sober Spirit, be on the alert. your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” I must remember to guard and be ready to contend with evil….God made me a warrior too.

  34. 134
    Shannon says:

    Shannon, Columbia, SC

    “The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”

    – I Thessalonians 5:24 (NIV)

  35. 135
    Karen - High Point, NC says:

    OMGOODNESS… this is soooooo good! Thank you so much for these precious reminders!

  36. 136
    lori bordas says:

    Lori, Louisville, Ky

    1 Samuel 12:24
    But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart;
    consider what great things he has done for you.

  37. 137
    Tammy (mof2coolkds) says:

    My heart so Loves You Beth.

    Every word of every bible study, post or snip it from your taped sessions have spoken to my heart, mind and soul. Every word, every tear, every laughter, every depth of definition you dig into…every single time!!!

    You speak his word with such tenacity and fierce love and longing that has fired up such a Love of his word in me. I am so blessed to be a part of His kingdom that has found their way to hear a voice stand out amongst the chaos of this world to hear only Him speak through you.

    I feel so blessed to be so passionate about the difference He has made in my life through you, I want to share with every woman (and man) I know. This post is so spectacular, it dribbles, drips and dives off the page with authentic vulnerability and truth.

    May God continue to Bless You and Bless the World with You for each and every soul who has yet to be or again needs to be touched by His Healing Love.

  38. 138
    Lisa Simmons says:

    The verse that saved my marriage was Psalm 139:23-24…search my heart, O God and see if there is any wicked (decietful, selfish, etc) way in me. It’s not that I thought I was always in the wrong or took some martyr approach to my marriage, but I knew that what I had been doing, which is blaming my husband for all of our problems and then maybe, maybe if there were any blame left over I might concede…yeah…I tried that for 10 years at least. Then the Lord shook my heart with a little book called “LOrd Change Me” by Evelyn Christensen. When I began to let the Lord have charge of my heart, my attitude, it was amazing how much my husband’s attitude and heart changed right along with mine. Perfectly? No…immediately? No But just as my heart had to heal and let go of past hurts, attitudes and habits, so did his. I am grateful to God for turning my heart toward himself and then my husband. 35 years March 15!

  39. 139
    dianne says:

    Dianne, Andover MN

    2 Corinthians 12:9(AMP)

    But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

  40. 140
    Alice Honorato says:

    Psalm 73 24~25
    Yet I am always with you, you take me by my right hand you will lead me by telling me what I should do and after this you will bring me into shinning greatness.

  41. 141
    Nona says:

    Nona Marshall. Sandy OR
    Psalms 15:4-5 (didn’t get the whole thing memorized last time. Moving on)
    who despises a vile person
    but honors those who fear the LORD
    who keeps an oath even when it hurts
    and does not change their mind;
    Who lends money to the poor without interest,
    who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
    whoever does these things will never be shaken.

  42. 142
    Becky Bell says:

    Absolutely love this! Even as I praise God for my husband one day I may be crying out to God the next day to help me forgive him one more time! It came to me recently what I would be like if I didn’t have to live with someone who has a variety of flaws (as if I don’t…) “Lord, would I be a smug, spoiled, shallow person if I were not forced to rely on Your Spirit to become the wife I need to be?”
    The answer was pretty plain!
    Thanks again Beth for your godly word..
    Love you all –

  43. 143
    Beth Schwartz says:

    Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
    Hebrews 3:13

    Beth Schwartz Lititz Pa

  44. 144
    Sabrina says:

    The Lord gives strength to His people;
    the Lord blessed His people with peace.

    Psalm 29:11 NIV

  45. 145
    Renda Barr says:

    Thank you for standing for marriage, for being transparent, and for being courageous enough to share the convictions of the Holy Spirit in your life. They are the same convictions for many, but the many cannot always translate them into speech.

  46. 146
    Mariposa says:

    Amen!!!! Sure needed this today. May The Lord continue his work through you.

  47. 147
    Kate says:

    I’ve never experienced love, and doubtful that I ever will; however, I appreciate this post because I love the idea of love through those who have been in love, and the truth that it isn’t all gooey. 😉

  48. 148
    Nikki James says:

    Nikki James; Maumelle, Arkansas

    Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30 NIV

  49. 149
    Antoinette Krietemeijer says:

    Antoinette, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands(Europe)
    Maar Jezus zei: ‘Ik ben de opstanding en het leven. Wie in Mij gelooft zal leven, ook wanneer hij sterft, en ieder die leeft en in mij gelooft zal nooit sterven. Geloof je dat?’ Joannes 11: 25,26 (NBV)

  50. 150
    Claudia Wadzinski says:

    Claudia, Franklin, TN. “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops” Matthew 10:27 KJV

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