My husband and I started dating during the summer of 2002. I was freshly graduated from high school, and he was planning a return to college after a year in a Christian rock band.
That first summer we dated was blanketed in sweetness. From the first date, I felt completely myself around him. Our conversations were filled with laughter and stories about growing up in Indiana. We’d sit on the tailgate of his Ford Explorer for hours, drinking Jones sodas and listening to music as we peppered each other with questions.
I’d eagerly await each time I’d see him, paying special attention to how I looked beforehand.
I’ve never been one for excessive makeup, but before dates, I’d take great care in applying some mascara and picking out just the right outfit. I wanted to wow him.
Fast forward almost 16 years later. It’s a Friday night, and I’m in desperate need of a shower. We just got all four boys in bed, and all I wanted to do was get clean and collapse on the couch. Instead I stood paralyzed, just staring at my razor, contemplating whether to shave my legs.
“When did it come to this?” I thought. I wanted to put down the razor and shrug it off, to tell myself that “not trying” was one of the perks of married life. But something stopped me: Why is a little effort such an effort?
Sure, I no longer had to win the love of my husband. I was secure in the fact he’d love me hairy legs and all. But why had I let my efforts to wow him wane?
In my experience, men are the ones who usually get the bad rap about abandoning romance after they say, “I do.” How often we as women wish our husbands would bring home flowers “just because” or do the dishes without being asked—to offer some proof that we are seen, loved, and pursued.
But as I stood there with my razor, I realized that these complaints seemed pretty one-sided.
How quickly married women also abandon the things we once did to win our husbands: selecting the perfect outfit, putting on perfume, or planning a meal of all his favorite foods. We complain that our husbands aren’t putting forth the ol’ effort, while we’re content with the unshaved, sweatpants-wearing, teeth-sometimes-brushed versions of ourselves.
Yes, it’s fantastic to have this level of comfort with one another, to have grown a deeper love that isn’t dependent on eyeliner or waistlines. (After five pregnancies, thank GOODNESS.) But does that mean I should stop trying to wow him? Would he not feel loved if he knew I curled my hair or painted my nails for him?
When I read 1 Corinthians 13, I’m reminded about God’s love— love that is not self-seeking, but always full of hope, always persevering. It’s relentless. It’s not about being comfortable or fair or first. Why should married love be any different? Just like God chases after us, how He loves and then loves and then loves some more, we too should be relentless in our love for our husbands.
In this way, a little lipstick, that black dress, or shaving your legs in the dead of winter becomes more than just surface appeal. It becomes an intentional act—a symbol of the ever-pursuing love you have for your husband in a world that just wants to “stop trying.”
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:7, NLT)