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by Jenn Murff

This weekend marks the eleventh Valentine’’s day with my special Valentine . . . a.k.a., my main squeeze, my hubby, my love. It has been a CRAZY ride——4 kids, over 10 moves, 4 major career changes, not to mention the small “barista” type jobs along the way. We have had lots of school, lots of travel, lots of hugs, lots of “I am sorrys” and A LOT of laughs over the past decade. But, I would not want to do this crazy life with anyone else. Life without him would surely be empty, and boring.

Along my journey with my Valentine, I have realized that I may have taken some things for granted, made some mistakes, and let my pride get in the way sometimes of a experiencing all that a thriving, fun-filled marriage can offer. So, I want to share some lessons I have leaned along the way so that you do not make the same mistakes:

  1. NEVER turn down a hug from him. I have learned to never turn down the opportunity for a hug. I remember one day when I was frying bacon and Justin came up behind me to put his arms around my waist. Sweet, right? Unfortunately, I decided to shrug him off and scoot him out of my kitchen. In my mind, I was acting in an abundance of caution . . . what if my bacon burned? Seriously, when I am elbow deep in scolding hot grease is hardly the time for romance, right? Sadly, my girls were watching the scene unfold and they interpreted this “caution” as what it really was, a moment that mom dismissed (regardless of intentions) and turned away dad. My husband interpreted it as a moment where he was rejected. I felt horrible afterwards, and it was all over bacon!?! So, next time I am frying bacon and my man wants a little hug, I will remember that burnt bacon is better than a broken heart.
  2. Kiss him every day. Kiss your special someone every day. You know what is crazy; Justin even wants to kiss me first thing in the morning. I will never understand this. I seriously have the worst morning breath, but he honestly does not care . . . at all!! I am more of the “let me have my coffee, shower, and brush my teeth first” kind of girl. Overtime, I have decided that I need to just lay one on him . . . bad breath and ALL when he first wakes up. It makes him feel loved, and it’’s not a bad way to start the day either.
  3. Chores will always be there. Ok, for real . . . I am busy. I am a mom, wife, student, business owner, etc. There is a pile of clean clothes on the couch as tall as me just waiting to be folded. Granted, I am only 4’’11 but it is still a lot. At the end of the day, I can either feel accomplished because I have a clean house or I can feel accomplished because my man feels loved. I think I will go for the latter!
  4. Become interested in him. I am learning to become more interested in his interests. The longing of a person’’s heart is to know another and to be known. In our case, I have learned to be interested in politics, guns, history, and art. I have learned to sit through British comedy and German news. It is not because I understand it (though I have come very far) but because I want to understand my man. I want to not just listen but hear and engage with him. He has so much to offer and I want to learn and grow by engaging in great conversations, and gain insight from a different perspective.
  5. Touch him . . . a lot. Ok, like many if not most men, Justin’’s love language is touch. As a mom of four kids, I am constantly bombarded with touch——ALL the time!!! Not to mention, I nurse the baby, so I literally have someone hugging, tugging, kissing, and touching my body and boobs ALL day long. However, this does not negate the needs of my husband. So, I promised to give him more sweet touches, a foot rub or back rub, holding his hand, something every day just to let him know that I am incredibly in love with him.
  6. Embrace him fully. Have you heard the saying that “the things that you thought were cute while dating, will eventually get annoying? ” Well, that’’s absolutly true. Try as you might, you cannot change your spouse. So, I decided years ago to let my husband be who he is. That includes his loud, fun, and often goofy moments. If there is anything that people know about my husband, it is that he is FUNNY. I have to continue to FULLY embrace all of him——the good, the bad, and the silly.

You see, even after eleven years together, he still needs to know that I adore him, and that I am looking for ways to love him more. Valentine’’s is not only about the hot sex (though it is awesome), but also remembering why you love that special someone and what you can do to love them more. So, here is to the next 50 years of being in love and living this crazy life beside my Valentine . . . a.k.a. my main squeeze!


Dr. Jennifer Murff is the president of Millennials for Marriage. Reposted with permission. This blog originally appeared here.