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. 151
    Katie says:

    Trussville, Alabama

    1 Samuel 12:24 (ESV)

    “Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.”

  2. 152
    Joy says:

    beautiful! Very well said

  3. 153

    Jennifer Frisbie, Jefferson City, MO

    He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NIV)

  4. 154
    Tiffany Myers says:

    Tiffany Myers Mount Joy, PA

    Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-4

  5. 155
    Shauna Knott says:

    Shauna Knott, River Falls, WI.

    Proverbs 3: 11-12 (NIV) – ” My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. “

  6. 156
    elisabeth says:

    Thank you from the bottom of this single girl’s heart for reminding me that life can be darn GOOD. I appreciate and needed that! Love it. Love you!

  7. 157
    Terri Fullerton says:

    Terri Fullerton, Abilene, TX

    “By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will NOT shout in triumph over me.” Ps 41:11, ESV

    (I posted Sun pm btwn 8:30-8:45 but cant find it. I know you are very busy with this so I just thought I would post it again.)

  8. 158
    MK says:

    I know I am a little late, catching up on the blog posts; but this is so good and reminds me of a similar thing you said many years ago that encouraged me so at a marriage conference simulcast. (I can’t remember who all taught, I think Gary Thomas and a few others) Sometimes good is good enough. We forget all those little things that are more special because we are still together. Thank you for the fresh reminder.

  9. 159
    Denise says:

    Denise, Jetmore, Kansas “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NIV)

  10. 160
    Michelle Williams says:

    Michelle,Juilian WV
    1 Peter 3:15 KJV
    But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready to give an answer to every man that a sketch you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

  11. 161
    Sandee T says:

    Sandee Tseng, Santa Monica CA

    “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” – James 1:17-18 (NIV)

  12. 162
    Jody Kramer says:

    Jody – Pittsburgh, PA

    Psalm 34:15New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

    15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
    and his ears are open to their cry.

  13. 163
    Michele Modglin says:

    Michele- Zionsville, Indiana
    Philippians 4:8 (NIV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble,whatever is right,whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.

  14. 164
    Melissa H. says:

    I love this. Thanks for sharing!

  15. 165
    Huong Kelly says:

    “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” I Jiohn 3:18 (NASB)

  16. 166
    Donna Stetzer says:

    Donna Stetzer Hendersonville, TN
    Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. Psalm 39:4 NIV

  17. 167
    Darlene Johnson says:

    Darlene J.
    New Carlisle, OH

    Matthew 5:44 ESV

    But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

  18. 168
    Cathy says:

    Cathy, Rhinebeck,NY.
    Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

  19. 169
    Becky Parrish says:

    Becky Parrish, Lynchburg, VA
    But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit;
    Guard and keep yourselves in the love of God… Jude 20-21 Amp.

  20. 170
    Kara Collins says:

    Kara Collins, Hot Springs, AR
    And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. KJV

    Above all things, I need to remember God’s peace and be thankful!!! Daily remember this!!!!

  21. 171
    Hannah says:

    Just love this post so much!

  22. 172
    Laurie says:

    Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God
    1 John 4:7 KJV

  23. 173
    Brigette Brock says:

    If there ever was perfection in a Valentine post this may be it, it stirred in me a couple of other 35+ years of marriage beliefs:
    I believe that if you love passionately you will be prone to fight passionately & it would profit you to learn to fight properly.
    I believe that love is a verb not a feeling & there are days you choose to love when you don’t feel like it.
    *on a side note I actually got on the blog today to post my Feb 15th verse & because I’ve posted all of them late, I feel a need to explain(although I’m sure you don’t need for me to)
    I made my 6 yr old granddaughter a spiral & she is memorizing scripture & I like to post when she can be here to post with me.

  24. 174
    Heather G says:

    Wow. Amen and amen. What poetry and depth. So many I could share this with…to my sister for encouragment and to my husband for insight.

  25. 175
    Heather G says:

    PS- let me get the log out of my own eye and also mention that I was sure the most blessed to have read this and the most in need of perspective.ha!

  26. 176
    Diana Rice says:

    Diana Rice, Wooster, OH
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
    All who follow His precepts have good understanding.
    To Him belongs eternal praise.
    Psalm 111:10 NIV

  27. 177
    Jane Lakey says:

    Jane Lakey,Panama City Beach
    Psalm 103:9-10, NIV

    He will not always accuse, nor harbor anger forever;
    He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

  28. 178
    Sandie Powell says:

    Albuquerque, NM
    Psalm 139:5
    “Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.” KJV

  29. 179
    Beth Schreiner says:

    Beth Schreiner, Alvaton, KY:

    “Nations rage, kingdoms topple; the earth melts when He lifts His voice. The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.”

    Psalm 46:6-7, HCSB

  30. 180
    Frederika E Myles says:

    Frederika E Myles, Spring Hill,TN ,Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

    For I know the plans that I have for declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

  31. 181
    harlene says:

    Romans8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.

  32. 182
    harlene says:

    version used for Romans 8:28 is NLT

  33. 183
    Shannon Smith says:

    Shannon Smith, Dawsonville, GA: Philippians 4:8 (NIV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble,whatever is right,whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.

  34. 184
    Nancy Clark says:

    Nancy from Tyler ” if God is silent, what’s it to you? If he turns his face away, what can u do about it? But whether silent or hidden, he is there ruling.” Job 2:29 Msg

  35. 185
    Bonny Hansen says:

    Bonny Hansen, Mitchell SD
    “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29: 11 NIV

  36. 186
    linda says:

    Thank you. I needed this. It gives me hope and such an impact of what love is and how it fits in my search for the partner god wants for me. Very encouraging and beautiful. God is so good.

  37. 187
    Kim Wattt says:


    This is so beautifully written. I loved reading this today!!

    Much Love,

  38. 188
    Angela Leeke says:

    Amen Sister Beth. My husband and I have been through some horrific hard times and I have learned from our pastor, our christian counselor and others that forgiveness has to happen or there is no marriage. We have gone through all of the stages now and we have a stronger marriage than before the ‘offense’. He knows how to love now and it brought him back to a God he had turned his back on. I never lost the faith and the Holy Spirit kept me sane through it all. Never once did I ask God why me? I said ‘why not me’.
    We are falling back in love and at our age we pray that it lasts until the Lord calls us home. Thank you for the Valentine’s Day write up.

  39. 189
    Karen mceathron says:

    Karen Mceathron(Oconomowoc,Wi
    Train up a child in the way he is to go,and when he is old he will not depart from it.
    Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)

  40. 190
    Tangila K Webb says:

    I absolutely love this post. It spoke to my heart and I’m sharing it with all of my married and “wanna be” married friends.

  41. 191
    Jessica says:

    Jessica, Cumming, GA

    Verse 4

    I Corinthians 16:13 NIV
    “Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

  42. 192

    Beth, I really needed this. I haven’t been on here in a while. I’ve missed you, Siesta Mama.

  43. 193
    Lisa Cleary says:

    Lisa Corbin,KY
    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NASB
    Rejoice always
    Pray without ceasing
    In everything give thanks;
    For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

  44. 194
    Karen mceathron says:

    Karen Mceathron (Oconomowoc,Wi)
    For I know the plans for you “declares the Lord”plans to prosper you and not to harm you,plans to give you a hope and a future. ( Jeremiah 29:11NIV)

  45. 195
    jayn says:

    This is sn awesome poem! Thank you. I am organizing some photos today and this will be a page in that album. This may even end up in my childs keepsake that i give to them when they go out and face the world.

  46. 196
    Lisa says:

    yes!, please 🙂

  47. 197
    Tapanga Bois says:

    Tapanga Bois, Bradenton Florida. The elders of the community are to lay their hands on the bull’s head before the LORD, and the bull shall be slaughtered be-fore the LORD. Leviticus 4:15 (NIV)

  48. 198
    Tapanga Bois says:

    Tapanga Bois, Bradenton Florida. When someone has a boil on their skin and it heals. Leviticus 13:18 (NIV)

  49. 199
    Sandra says:

    Sandra Hagy – determined to catch up!!! I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. (‭John‬ ‭10‬:‭9-11‬ NKJV)

  50. 200
    Terese Kay says:

    Terese Kay Black Earth, Wi.
    Colossians 3:13 NIVstudy bible
    Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have
    against one another.Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

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