10 years with My Valentine

I will never forget Valentine's Day 2006.

It was my first Valentine's date with my future husband. The last man that would ever get to call me his "Valentine." And the first man that I ever really wanted to. :)

Josh and I were in college and had only been dating for a couple months, things were still "fresh" and "new." We went out to dinner together and then to see a movie. 

I wrote him a poem. With pictures included. Ok, basically, I made him a scrapbook. 

He gave me... well, actually, this is where my memory fails me. I have absolutely NO idea what he gave me for our first Valentine's Day! I'm 99% sure it was candy of some kind. Chocolate, probably. But beyond that - no clue. (Sorry my love! Just proof that you mean more to me than any gift!) 

But I do remember that I was in love. Before I ever said the words and before I let myself admit it, I really was

I will also never forget Valentine's Day 2008. 

It was the day Josh asked me to be his wife and I gave the easiest "yes!" I could have ever said. 

Prayer and patience make you certain of some things and saying "yes" to marrying my husband was one of those. 

I love that as soon as Josh picked me up for our date that Valentine's Day, he took me straight to the beach to propose! He didn't wait until after dinner, or sunset or when the "moon" or "mood" was just right. He proposed around 5pm and we enjoyed the rest of the evening basking in the anticipation of our future together. 

There are some things not worth putting off, and we were married only four months later.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day 2016.

And in honor of this special day and ONE DECADE spent with the man I love, I thought I would jot down just a few things that I don't want to forget about my husband.

This may sound obvious, but I never want to forget just how much love I have for him. A love that transcends feelings, although the feelings are strong and bring me to tears. A love that speaks 10 years of memories, good and bad, exciting and painful - memories that we can't remember and the ones that we will never forget

I want to remember the way my hand fits perfectly in his (and has from day one). And weirdly enough, this has always made me feel safe and at home with him.

I want to remember how he still makes me laugh at the same old jokes. And how I'm mostly laughing because he never stops telling them. 

I want to remember how beautiful it is to look at our children and see both of us in them. How gracious God has been to entrust us with two incredible lives to nurture and raise. How we almost thought we may never experience biological children, and how okay we would have been with that. But God. 

And most importantly, I never want to forget how God's grace is woven into every aspect of our marriage. We are two imperfect people who have surrendered ourselves to the need of a perfect Savior. I could never imagine marriage without Jesus, just as I could never imagine a life without Josh. And until death do us part, I'm so glad I don't have to.

Happy Valentine's Day, my love.
Here's to decades more!

5 Reasons Marriage Takes Work (a response)

Yesterday, I read a blog post that went viral on my Facebook newsfeed this week. "5 reasons marriage just doesn't work anymore." The title made me roll my eyes as I wondered, "Oh great... what now?" But as I started to read, I realized the author wasn't too far-fetched with his points. 

He started by talking about how successful marriages have been around for decades.

"It's a pretty simple concept - fall in love and share your life together. Our great-grandparents did it, our grandparents followed suit, and for many of us, our parents did it as well."

Then he asked the million-dollar question... why can't we?

Below are five reasons he gave for why marriage just doesn't work anymore. All valid points. And some definite truth to the way relationships function today in the light of the culture.

But I want to look at it in a different light. I want to look at these five reasons and explain why marriage takes work

Because as valid as these points may be on why people are giving up on marriage in our society today - they aren't good enough reasons for not getting married. And especially, not for divorce

Successful marriages have been around for decades, because people have been successful at working at them. Our generation is becoming lazy. Sitting around reading articles that are only good for one reason - shedding light on the problems. But they don't offer any solutions. And without any solutions, marriages will continue to fail. 

I want to help encourage other married couples in the following areas, because my husband and I have experienced each of these issues and by the grace of God have made it work despite them. 

(Sidenote: I am not an expert on marriage. Josh and I have been married seven years this June, so we're pretty much newlyweds still. ;) But I have been married long enough to know that it does take work. And every day I choose to love my husband (his good looks and charm help a little too, ha). )

5 Reasons Marriage Takes Work

1. Sex is almost non-existent. 

The number one reason he listed for why marriage doesn't work anymore, is unashamedly (and not surprisingly) sex. Of course, because he's a male.

He mentioned that many couples, even younger ones, are not having sex regularly. 

Wives, take note - you have to understand this is a physical need for men. Like eating and sleeping. Would you starve your husband? Would you never let him sleep? Would you tell him that he has to work for it? Or hold it over his head like it is an honor that he has to earn? Then don't do this with sex. I know it's not always easy. And we should deserve some part in the enjoyment of this too. But here's a little secret ladies - you meet this need and it's almost like the rest of this list becomes exempt. No. Kidding. Who's the real winner here? ;) 

On the other hand, as the article stated, sex is basically shoved in our faces 24/7 by society. It is everywhere.

To the husbands - know that this makes wives feel like we are competing with the world. Victoria Secret and her whole airbrushed posse. It can be discouraging. Remind us that we are the only one worth your attention, by turning the channel or looking away when something tempting catches your eye. 

It's hard. It's work. But it's entirely possible to have a sexually-fulfilling marriage.

2. Finances cripple us.

Another point he mentions is that financial burden and debt is crippling our marriages. Easy solution? Get out of debt. Is this hard? Will it take work? You bet! But work at it together. It's not like we don't have the resources - Dave Ramsey is helping families all around the country to be debt-free. It's a choice we have to make for the well-being of our families. And singles, start now. Live within your means and save money, so that one day you won't enter a marriage with a ton of debt and a huge burden already working against you. 

3. We're more connected than ever before, but completely disconnected at the same time. 

I have to admit, of all the reasons listed as to why marriage doesn't work in our society anymore - this one was the most discouraging to me. Because you can work all day and hard at your marriage and, in an instant, get on social media and feel like a complete failure. 

And I know for Josh and I, because of our career and ministry platforms, we have to be connected online. There is no removing it from our lives. So this area is where we truly have to work and place boundaries up. 

Just a couple decisions we have made to help:
- We put away our phones when on dates.
- We make sure to give eye-contact when having conversations.
- We are open and communicate all of our online interactions with the opposite-sex.

My favorite statement in the article (and a good lesson we could all learn) was this:

You want to know why your grandmother and grandfather just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary? Because they weren't scrolling through Instagram worrying about what John ate for dinner. They weren't on Facebook criticizing others. They weren't on vacation sending Snapchats to their friends.


They were too preoccupied loving and respecting one another. They were talking to each other at dinner, walking with each other holding hands instead of their phones. They weren't distracted by everything around them. They had dreams and chased them together.

4. Our desire for attention, outweighs our desire to be loved.

This was another stinger. Because it's so true. We are a society addicted to attention. And it can be so easy to start comparing the attention we are getting from others to the attention we are getting from our spouse. Hear me out... your spouse's attention should be the ONLY attention you care about. When you start feeling like you are desiring more from someone else... you are on the brink of committing adultery in your heart. 

Step aside. Take a break. Refocus.

"If you want to love someone, stop seeking attention from everyone because you'll never be satisfied with the attention from one person."


5. Social media just invited a few thousand people into bed with you. 

If there was a key point to this article, I think it could be summed up with this: social media is 60% to blame for ruining marriages. 

Three out of five of the points have been related to the internet and it's woes.

I think this means we have a modern-day plague on our hands and we have to be proactive in protecting our marriages from the demise it can cause. It does not mean you have to give it up completely (take it from two very active internet-users) but it does mean there NEEDS to be boundaries in place (see above). 

Josh and I don't take a lot of "date selfies" because I know he doesn't like them. Would I like more pictures of just the two of us? Sure. But I love my husband more than I care about any of that. Some things need to stay private and just between the two of you. If you wonder why your relationship is suffering, it may be because you are having a relationship with not just your spouse - but your spouse and the hundreds of people you are sharing your intimate moments with. 


I hope that you leave this post encouraged to fight for your marriage. To work hard at protecting it from a world that is quick to encourage you to give up. And believe that it is entirely possible to be that couple celebrating their 60th anniversary, walking hand-in-hand down the beach. And maybe even stopping for a quick selfie to document the moment. :)