In marriage, a groove can quickly become a rut.  What started out as such a nice, sweet relationship can often end up in confusion, frustration, isolation, and ultimately, separation.  Sometimes we don’t even notice it until major damage has been done.

Of course none of us would wish our relationships would die, but by not giving them any attention, they are slowly deteriorating.  So where does Valentine’s Day come into all this?  It provides a great opportunity for new beginnings.

Valentine’s Day forces men to take action.  I’ve written about it before.  It is because of this holiday that some wives hear or read the words, “I love you,” one time each year.  I guess once is better than none.  Barely.


There is a tradition that Steph and I started years ago on our Valentine’s Day dates that I remembered recently.  We actually haven’t done it in a year or two, so I’m excited to bring it back this year.

It’s a simple line we say time and time again while on a date to celebrate Valentine’s day.  The line brings freedom and renewal.  It is simple.  Here it is:

“It doesn’t have to be this way.”

As Steph and I talk about our relationship, we talk about the good, the bad and the ugly.  As we dig into certain areas of our marriage, or of life in general, we end with this line.

For instance, we might be talking about life in our home with all our small children.  I’m sure we’ve talked about how loud it is here or there, or how the hours between 5 & 8pm are really tough.  We’ve talked about how when I get home from work that the kids are absolutely crazy.

Our “groove” we had when we had less kids or their ages weren’t as chaotic was one thing.  But that groove has now become a deep rut.  So we stop and say, “It doesn’t have to be this way.”  It doesn’t HAVE to be out of control.  We can make some changes.  We talk through the changes, and leave with a plan that we think can bring us in a new direction.

Then we start the process again talking about another part of our relationship.  With each part of our relationship that we think might need some changing, we simply say, “It doesn’t have to be this way.”  It is amazing what comes out as we have these conversations.

So let me think.  I think one area that I will tell Steph is that we don’t pray enough together.  We pray here or there together, but most often, we are praying at the same time in two different rooms of our home.  So on our date, we’ll talk about it, and then we’ll both agree, “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

So how about for you?  What doesn’t have to be this way?

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