Intentional in Marriage

It was Valentine’s Day…our first Valentine’s Day together.

We had been on dozens of dates by then, but this was Valentine’s Day. I agonized over the right outfit, mourned the fact that my hair didn’t do exactly the right thing, and tortured myself over whether to wear heels or flats.

He showed up on my doorstep in freshly-ironed dress pants and a crisp shirt and tie. Behind him, his SUV glistened, the result of hours spent washing, waxing, and Armor-Alling. He opened my door, and whisked me off to a magical night of Italian food, soft candlelight, and sparkling conversation. This was the stuff dreams…and jewelry commercials…were made of.

At the end of the evening, he handed me the most beautiful card. I soaked in every word, vowing to remember them all. Then I noticed a simple, hand-written note at bottom of the card: “Happy Valentine’s Day! I love you, Steve.” Every other word tumbled right out of my head as my eyes lingered on those three little words, “I love you.” I read them again, “I love you.”

I looked at up at his face, waiting with anticipation. He opened his mouth and out popped those same words, “I love you.” That was the first time he’d said them to me; I floated all the way home and didn’t touch ground for days.

Intentional Marriage: an effort to loving intentionally in marriage |

Fifteen years, two children, and a cancer battle later, our dates look a little different. Now Valentine’s Day is just as likely to include a trip to the grocery store or a couple of basketball games as it is an evening out on the town. We are living the dream in a vivid state of reality, complete with sick children and temper tantrums.

These days our love is not all about butterflies in my tummy and stars in my eyes. It’s not about dress pants and shiny tires. Because when the stars fade and the butterflies give way to sleepless children, job stresses, medical crises, and lost love ones, your marriage needs to be built on more.

After 15 years, his “I love you” can still make my heart soar, but now I hear it just as much in the things he does as in the words he says. I hear it when he tells the kids to kiss me goodnight and sends my bone-weary body off to bed, even though he’s had a long and stressful day himself. I hear it when takes my van and brings it home with a full gas tank, freshly washed and vacuumed. I hear it when makes a special trip to the store for my favorite chips…just because.

The truth is, my husband does a much better job of being intentional about me than I do about him. Too often I let life get in the way. I get too easily distracted by taking care of the kids, the house, my health, and many other details of life that I forget to #BeIntentional about the one who means the most to me. So I am going to #BeIntentional about changing that.

I just need a little nudge every once in awhile to not take for granted the most important earthly relationship I have. You too? I thought so. So I just happen to have a couple of great resources that will do exactly that…and I’m giving them away for Valentine’s Day!

Intentional-Marriage-Cover-3D-200-pxIntentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband is a 31 day devotional by my friend Crystal Brothers. In this simple devotional, Crystal gives you 31 practical ideas for focusing on your husband in a day-by-day format plus date night ideas and conversation starters. (Read more here.)


For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men by FWOShaunti Feldhahn will open women’s eyes to what the men in their life – boyfriends, brothers, husbands, and sons – are really thinking and feeling. Men want to be understood, but they’re afraid to “freak out” the women they love by confessing what is happening inside their heads.

Enter to win both books below! (Contest ends Friday, Feb 13 at midnight!)

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. ~Mignon McLaughlin

a Rafflecopter giveaway


What do you do to #BeIntentional in your marriage? What additional resources do you recommend to someone wanting to #BeIntentional in marriage? Share your thoughts in the comments, or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.


More Great Reads to Help you #BeIntentional in Your Marriage: (Follow the #BeIntentional Pinterest board for these and other resources.)
What Love Is…Really
For Better or Worse
How to Fall in Love Better Than All the Love Songs
[Love Looks Like] 2:07a.m.
The Time I Got an Electric Griddle for Mother’s Day
Building a “Real Marriage” {a review}
Trouble With Focusing on Your Marriage
10 Secrets to a Successful Marriage
Making Marriage a Priority
58 Tips from Marriage Coaches


5 thoughts on “Intentional in Marriage

  1. I don’t think I have ever read a marriage book. I have read lots of things people have written but not a book on marriage. There is always room for improvement. My husband does a lot to help in the house that shows his love. He a;ways helped when our 2 boys were small. He tells me many times he loves me and appreciates me. After 2 sons, 3 grandsons, and finally 2 little great granddaughters he still shows his love. We will celebrate our 48th anniversary in April. Hard to believe so many years have passed.

    1. Congratulations on 48 years of marriage, Charlotte! That’s is a HUGE accomplishment! And congratulations on winning the giveaway. I hope you enjoy the books! ~Nancy

  2. We’re a military family, so my husband has deployed a couple of times. One of the most enduring things that we say/write/message/email/skype on a daily basis (during deployments and not…) is “I love you today”. It’s the ‘today’ that gives me chills. Every. Single. Time. We really value the time we have to spend with each other – one of the things I’m thankful about having learned. Your post reminds me about these intentional details – the things we say, the things we do, that show our love and our commitment to each other. Visiting from Thought Provoking Thursday. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Janet

    1. Janet, I’m so glad you stopped by! I love the “today” you and your husband add…what a great way to #BeIntentional about your marriage. Thank you so much for sharing! ~Nancy

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