Love, Love, Love…it really is a many splendored thing. Jesus himself even said it, “The greatest of these is love.” The Greeks had 4 words to describe love, and in Arabic I lost count at 6.
We only get one. We have to make it count.
Love is something wonderful. It is why we paint, it is why we write poems, it is why we write and perform music. It is what makes our hearts beat faster when we meet our spouse for the first time. It is what made me send poems in text messages to my then girlfriend, now wife. (This reminds me…I need to do it again… and soon!)
Let’s admit it, even if you dread the lead up to Valentine’s Day, the actual day is fun. It is fun to be romantic. It is fun to have your spouse be responsive to your romantic efforts. It is fun to be told that you are loved. It is fun to flirt. Eating Chocolate is F-U-N. Why do we only make the extra effort on February 14th and on our Anniversaries?
I suggest that we give the extra effort every week. I suggest that we work on letting the other one know that they are valued and something to be cherished. So let’s move that 2 times a year to being a little more romantic every day.
There are a few things that romantics do that are easily repeatable. These things don’t require grand gestures like holding up a “jam box” outside of your beloved’s window blaring Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes,” but if she likes that kind of thing, sure, why not.
In general, you invest in love every day. You invest by doing the small things well.
You invest by knowing your spouse’s love language, and even if it isn’t how you show love, you learn how to do it for their sake.
Be grateful for all that they do for your family, even the small things, a random thank you for an “everyday” task can go a long way. (My wife is great at this)
You break the routine. It can be a night out. It could be a surprise baby sitter. It could be doing the other person’s chores without them knowing.
FLIRT! Random acts of flirting are key. Random flowers in between the major days.
To quote John Keating from Dead Poets society, “Language was developed for one endeavor, and that is . . . . to woo women”. Leave a love note on a Post It. Write a poem. Give a mention on twitter or facebook. Print off your favorite Psalm and put it in their briefcase. (My wife rocks at this)
You are in charge for setting the romantic tone in the house. Not the other person. You are. (Point to yourself now and say, “I’m responsible for the romance!”) (My wife takes responsibility in this area too, and it makes a world of difference)
Be receptive to your spouse’s efforts. You may not want to be receptive, but I’m pretty sure God and your spouse will be appreciative.
You shouldn’t make a dinner reservation, order flowers, and buy chocolates the day before Valentine’s Day. You should prepare. Likewise, on a non-Valentine’s week, you should set the tone during the week for the coming weekend.
Lastly, I’m sorry but I did lie, there is one grand gesture that is the most important, and that is to ensure that God is at the center of your marriage.
Not to be cliché, but I have always loved 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7. However, I never fully understood the verses until I met my husband. I decided to use this as a checklist for Josh to see if he really does stack up to Paul’s teachings of love. (Paul wrote this letter about 20 years after Jesus’s death, so I feel Jesus is speaking quite eloquently through him.)
“Love is patient”— my husband displays an amazing sense of patience with me. He waits for me to get ready for dates, he waits for me to make up my mind about what I want to eat for dinner, he waits for me to do just about everything, in fact. Just like the Brad Paisley song, he’s definitely “waiting on a woman!” CHECK!
“Love is kind” — Josh’s kindness is truly heart-felt. He is kind to not only myself and our girls, but every single person he meets! “How is your day so far?” I hear him ask every person who he comes across. And he isn’t just being nice…he’s being kind (and there is a difference)! I have never met a kinder man (next to my dad, of course)! CHECK!
“Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude” — While he is definitely not boastful, arrogant or rude, I want to concentrate on the ENVIOUS part here. I have a few favorite people on this planet (next to my husband) and he never gets envious of the time I spend with those people. He is never jealous of the time I spend volunteering at church or the time I spend in work. He gets a CHECK PLUS here!
“It does not insist on its own way” — As a married couple, it is very important for us to always take each other’s ideas and perspectives into account when making major decisions. While there may be times when I really want my way, I always need to put my partner’s needs above my own. We made this vow on our wedding day and still carry it out in our lives today. CHECK!
“it is not irritable or resentful” — Notice this part has no parentheses, no “UNLESS”, etc. Now, there are times where I add my own “unless” to the situation. “It is not irritable or resentful”…UNLESS I am hungry, UNLESS I had a bad day. There are going to be bad days! The important thing is to not take our anger out on each other! Josh’s patience (see part one) helps with this, and I am so blessed to have him “not irritable or resentful” in my times of frustration (or on game nights gone wrong)! CHECK!
“it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth” — Some people tend to give us a hard time because we are in (almost) constant correspondence with one another via email, text message, or phone calls. However, our relationship has been built on trust and love. I want him to know what I am up to 24/7. This especially comes in handy when he travels for business, and we don’t get to see each other for days at a time! CHECK!
“It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” — Being married to Josh has taught me the truth in this statement! We are in this together! We believe God will honor our marriage as long as we keep Him in the center. We hope others see our love radiating in one another. Through thick and thin….we are in this for life! CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, and CHECK!
I do not claim to be perfect. There are times when I am not at my best. There are times when I don’t meet Paul’s guidelines for LOVE for my husband. However, one thing is for sure, and that is, “my beloved is mine and I am his” (Song of Songs 2:16).
Happy Valentine’s Day!