7 Ways to Effectively Pursue Your Valentine

I was struggling, pounding it out about a mile and a half in. Sweat stinging my eyes and concrete blocks for feet. My short snatches of breath weren’t cutting it, and then the worst of the worst happened on a difficult run…a slow song came up on the playlist.  NOOOOOOOO! I love me some “Free” by Zac Brown, but just NOOOOOOOOOO! I had been meaning to edit the playlist but only remembered that tidbit in this very situation. Where was my Jerry Reed with some “East Bound and Down”? Or Ed with “Sing”? Though I hate to expend any energy on music wrangling while running, this was an emergent circumstance. When I looked down to scroll through the playlist, I had received a text from the hubs. And a big ‘ole ginormous smile broke out across my red splotchy face…he sent me flowers WHILE I was running. And, of course, I screenshot it because that was the coolest thing ever. And, of course, I went on to beast the rest of my run…maybe…

The past three years have been the most difficult of our sixteen year marriage; if you’re married long enough the hard years come. I know…I thought we were different too. But we aren’t. We spent most of last year in counseling, and you’ll never find greater advocates for marriage counseling than these two Cawthons right here. It may seem a little late in the game, but we learned how to love each other well. Primarily by loving Jesus more.

During this season, Chris and I have spent a lot of time studying how God loves, how he pursues, how he forgives, how he extends grace, and with his help we’re applying that to our relationship the best two jacked-up people know how to do. So, in the interest of saving you $100, some couch time, and a box of Kleenex, here’s what I’ve learned about how I (and I think it’s safe to generalize to most gals – single or married) want to be pursued.

A girl wants to be pursued…

1) With beauty. Think about how God dazzles by the ocean, with a sunset, in the mountains, through the warmth of sunshine. We are inherently wired to respond to beauty in a positive way, so intentionally add some beauty to the mix.

2) With purity. God never pursues our hearts because he wants anything from us. A woman has a sensitive radar for motives. If we ever feel “buttered up” as part of a goal – sex or any other ambition -your efforts are counterproductive. They make us feel cheap not cherished.

3) By a leader. God is the example of a strong, powerful, selfless “man” who leads with love. And, men, you need to know that a woman’s heart hungers to be led well. As John and Stasi Eldredge correctly assert in Captivating, even strong women don’t fear a man’s strength if she is confident he is a good man. According to little ole’ me, a man desiring to pursue as a leader must be pursuing Jesus at least as much or more than his lady is. I can get under that leadership all day long.

4) Personally. God doesn’t go after your heart in the same way he goes after mine. He knows me perfectly and he knows you perfectly, and he displays that by how he gets our attention. Driving the Jeep, with the top down and doors off, on a summer night, he woos me with a clear sky populated with stars aplenty and a big, bright moon. He may stir your affections for himself in a completely different way. Effective pursuit demonstrates how well you know your person, and we can just make peace with the fact…DETAILS MATTER.

5) Creatively. God employs an endless repertoire of creative pursuit.  He’s not the God of rut and routine, just look at the variety in everything he ever created. We can all feel challenged by his lead to love more creatively.

6) With security. Dudes, you can never overestimate the importance of emotional and physical safety to a woman. Throughout Scripture, God clearly identifies himself as our safe place. A woman looks for security in a relationship and assurance that she can let her guard down and not be intentionally hurt.

7) Extravagantly. God is clearly the master of grand gestures. So when I think of extravagant pursuit, I’m not at all talking about dollars. I’m talking about throwing the tried and trues out the window and going with a risky BIG idea. For instance, a picnic on the beach at sunset is extravagant to me…while costing less than dinner and a movie.

So, with Valentine’s Day about a week out, ladies in the house, agree or disagree? And, fellas, what should we know about how to be “caught” and how to love our guys well? I can’t wait to hear your perspective!

What Makes A Woman Beautiful?
Passing the Baton...


  1. Martha Davis
    Martha DavisReply
    February 7, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    I love this post! While this book has been around a while, I highly recommend that every couple read “Five Love Languages” by Gary Smalley. You absolutely have to know the language of your spouse!

    Rusty and I are also strong proponents of marriage counseling and think every couple should have at least six weeks of premarital counseling and then counseling, as needed, throughout your marruage.

    Most of the time, we can work through things these days but if we struggle over an issue more than a two or three weeks, we simply ask which one of us is going to schedule the appointment. Once a couple (especially a man) reuses seeking help is not a sign of weakness or that your marriage is doomed, they are more than wiling to seek the mediation they need.

  2. Chris
    February 7, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    Guys love to pursue so I really like the mention of being “caught”. That makes it a continuous adventure, stimulates creativity, fun ….

    I too think The Five Love Languages is an incredible book but believe a great deal of conversation needs to take place to find the actions that make a love language so important to a person.

    Quality time is my number 2 love language, but there are specific ways that show love to me in this…like sitting by the fire pit discussing life. But watching a Clemson football game on TV with me would not be that important.

  3. LindZHaselden
    February 7, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    Couldn’t agree more! We all desire to be pursued. But one thing I’ve discovered is that we can often unknowingly encourage our men not to pursue us. I call it the shock collar effect. If the efforts of pursuit by our fellas are continually met with disinterest from us (or even coldness), they will eventually stop trying because of the sting of rejection. Kind of like a dog with a shock collar :), it eventually won’t even go close to the invisible fence line because it anticipates the shock.

  4. Susanne
    February 11, 2015 at 9:42 am

    I. Love. This!!!! My favorites are #s 3, 5, and 7. It’s easy to get into a rut and just “go through the motions” every day. Being pursued creatively and extravagantly is a MUST! And for me? Nothing is sexier than a man who knows where he’s going, and leads me along beside him!

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