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Love is a Decision.

I have always looked forward to my 30th birthday. Everyone seems to dread it (maybe I will in a few months when it is closer), but for me, it marks a really neat milestone–it means I will have spent half of my life with my husband. We met when we were 15. We’ve been exclusive ever since. & as much as we ride the marital roller coaster, I thank my lucky stars every day for him. Neither of us are easy people to live with, but somehow, we make it work.

I’ve been thinking about marriage a lot lately. It seems like so many of them are falling apart around me–& it just makes me think. My MOPS meeting this week featured a speaker that had a few things to say about husbands. He rubbed me the wrong way–a few times–but the first was when he opened the floor for what he jokingly called “male bashing.” Joke or not, I just don’t partake in that activity. & it reminded me of part of a book I read that talked about “public respect” of our husband, and how damaging it can feel to a man when his wife openly teases or puts him down. Call me old fashioned, but my partner & I are a united front–no one, especially me, talks negatively of him when I am around. I will have it no other way.

So many of my thoughts keep coming back to that book, my marital “epiphany” book, that I read a couple of years ago on the subject of men & marriage. If you are looking for a good self-help read, a quick, easy read, then I highly recommend the book For Women Only, by Shaunti Feldhahn. (You can also find her website here.) There are little bits of wisdom scattered throughout it that pop into my head daily. This book has significantly impacted the way I understand my husband, the way I treat him & the way I think about our relationship. All very positively. Here is one of my favorite excerpts:

When a man is affirmed, he can conquer the world. When he’s not, he is sapped of his confidence and even his feeling of manhood. And believe me, he will, consciously or unconsciously, seek out places where he receives affirmation. Home is the most important place for a man to be affirmed…It’s not about being the supportive “little woman.” It’s about realizing that despite their veneer of confidence, our husbands really do “carry their treasures in fragile containers,” and they crave our affirmation.

My favorite class in college was called Love, Marriage and Sexuality from a Catholic Perspective and one of my professor’s quotes changed my marriage: Love is a Decision. We choose our behaviors, that enrich or destroy, our relationship, she said. It made so much sense to me. It seems to be more & more true every day. Especially now that there is a little girl watching our every move & she is picking up on how we interact and choose to love, and show that we love, each other.


“Mommy happy. Daddy happy. Me happy.” Every single time we’re all together, I hear these words. & they make me all teary. :) What I am teaching her is so much more than ABCs.

Gosh, this feels like forever ago.

& yes, I was a blonde for 24 years of my life…my roots still are…must be the california in me… ;)

[image credit: YJM Photography 2004]

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  • alison - I had so many lightbulb moments when I read ‘For Women Only’. The paragraph you quoted was one in particular. It changed how I look at my husband and our marriage. Great share Shawna!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - What a surprise of a post this morning. Well said… especially around the holidays when added pressure is sometimes added to the mix!ReplyCancel

  • emily griffith - GREAT post, Shawna. Thanks for the reminder/encouragement :)ReplyCancel

  • Emilee - Thanks for sharing those thoughts. I’ve always been disturbed by husband bashing. My daughter is also a good reminder to me for my husband and I to treat each other kindly. I wouldn’t want her to think it’s okay to be in a relationship without mutual love and respect.ReplyCancel

  • Julie Meier - Shawna – what a a wonderful, and sweet post. It is so wonderful to find other women (even in the cyber world) who love their men, and understand how important our role is in our homes and in our husband’s lives. I haven’t read the book, but its on my list now! Congrats on your willingness to choose LOVE and to choose to do the best you can on loving your husband!ReplyCancel

  • kristyn - This was very sweet and well written. I grew up with parents and grandparents who showed us what it means to love and as an adult, I appreciate it more and more. Since working with kids, it’s obvious who comes from a loving home and who doesn’t. Learned behavior is a powerful thing. Caroline is one lucky little girl. Congratulations to you and your husband.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - This is beautiful! What a lovely reminder to be our husbands’ number one fans. I love the For Men Only and For Women Only books, I think they are very insightful looks into building healthy marriages. And healthy marriages build strong families. I constantly remind myself to be an encourager and support to my husband. I want him to always know that he has my respect.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - I read this book when it was first published and it was a game changer for my marriage. David and I have some agreements in our marriage that have laid the foundation for mutual trust and loads of respect for each other and this book was a part of the decision to do so. We’re entering a new phase of our marriage (the phase that is being done with popping out babies every year and a half — Thank God!) and I think it’s time I read it again.ReplyCancel

  • Whitney - I love this post, thank you for all of your insight. I ordered the book and am looking forward to reading it. How families treat each other, both in the house and out of the house, is incredibly important to the health of our family, and it starts with the relationship between the parents.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - love this post. gotta shout out to the HUBS. especially when they are awesome!!!! love you guys!ReplyCancel

  • Jackie - *like* :)ReplyCancel

  • Tara S. - thank you for this post. i can’t wait to read the book!ReplyCancel

  • Beth - It is so great to hear that others cherish their husbands and want a healthy view of love for their kids! It is so tragic to see marriages failing all around us and I’m grateful for a husband who has committed himself to making our love flourish. So glad you shared!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - You preach it, sista friend. Thank you for sharing. LOVED this book. Very eye opening and convicting. Another good one that ate my lunch was, Love and Respect. Thank you for being bold to blog about loving our men. Honoring and respecting them as leaders. I forget how I stumbled upon your blogitty blog blog, but love it! Your photography, craftiness, and words! All very encouraging.ReplyCancel

  • emily - Thank you. I’ve put it on my reading list. My husband and I met when we were 15, too, but there was a span of a couple years where we were apart. I call it the time we needed to “grow up.”

    I wish there was a book like this for the opposite sex (and that they’d actually read it). And I don’t mean Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. :-)ReplyCancel

  • emily - Well, look at that, there is! Good thing I read the comments!ReplyCancel

  • Erica - I too thought the husband bashing was such a turn off and I was a little shocked by it all. Thanks for the references for those books..maybe some good stocking stuffers!!ReplyCancel

  • Meaghan - Wow, thank you for this great post! What a great reminder. My husband and I actually got “Choose Love” engraved inside our wedding rings for this exact reason. Sounds like the Catholic Church has really got something right! I feel like so many other churches are much more based on feelings…which can be SO fleeting. I loved Shaunti’s book and also learned a ton from this one on marriage:

  • Kirsten - I absolutely love to hear this! I know that this is something I strive to do everyday in my marriage. It breaks my heart every time I hear someone tearing down their husband or even their father. Thank you for encouraging respect for the men in our lives.ReplyCancel

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