One of my favorite movies is a charming love story called You’ve Got Mail starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It’s the story of two business rivals who unintentionally meet each other online. Over time they find themselves in a sweet anonymous Internet romance. Their journey begins with a few simple surface-level emails, which over time evolve to reveal more personal thoughts and feelings. Their love notes lay such a strong foundation that once their identities are revealed, the former rivals can’t deny the love they’ve established through sharing their hearts with one another.

Before my husband and I were married our courtship was filled with all the makings of a great romantic comedy. As newlyweds we spent hours and hours talking to one another about everything but the kitchen sink (actually I think there might have been several “conversations” about his lack of wiping out the kitchen sink). But, as you can guess, most of that changed when our two daughters were added to the mix. I can honestly admit that there were many days when we probably didn’t talk about much at all. We were both exhausted and found that our new roles as young parents didn’t leave much time to sit and have an intentional conversation about anything substantial, not to mention our deepest thoughts and feelings.

Most of us are familiar with the passages of Scripture that talk about how spouses should love one another. Husbands are told specifically to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). Wives are told specifically to respect their husbands as the church does Christ (Ephesians 5:33). But, on a practical level, how in the world do you do this when you can barely find time to shower some days? I started to really think about ways I could show my husband the respect I knew I had in my heart for him. One day, while caring for one of our sick daughters, that movie, You’ve Got Mail, came on TV. It sparked an idea! I decided to start writing my husband little love notes every day. Don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not talking about 8.5″ x 11″ sheets of notebook paper filled with sonnets and poems. Most of them fit on a sticky note that I stuck on the coffee where he was sure to find it every morning.

I purposely wrote words that I knew the Bible said a man needed from his wife. I told him I respected him. I thanked him for providing for our family. I complimented him on how handsome he was. I repeatedly told him I was proud of him. I left Bible verses to encourage him. It was not only great for him to know I felt that way, but it was also extremely beneficial for me to spend intentional time thinking about how much I do respect my husband. Shortly after I started this habit, I was blessed to start finding love notes that HE began leaving me. It was fun because the playful side of my husband came out and he would leave them in all sorts of funny places, from my makeup drawer to the box of laundry soap to the deli drawer in our refrigerator. Every time I found one, my heart would flutter and I would remember all the things that made me fall in love with him in the first place.

When our daughters became old enough to read we started leaving love notes for them too. I’d put one in their lunchboxes every single day of school. Daddy often put one on their pillows before he left for work. And what do you think happened next? You guessed it—both of our girls started leaving us love notes. We have been married for 25 years now and our girls are 22 and 20, and we are still in the practice of doing this, never missing a day to at least text a simple little love note to one another on our family group text.

I believe with all of my heart that this has been an integral reason why our family is so close. Taking the time to show the love of Christ and our love and respect for one another through little love notes has been one of the easiest but greatest habits in our relationships, and it has proven what 1 Corinthians 13:8 says: “Love never fails.”