|Posted on October 11, 2018 at 6:05 AM|
Photo by Seth Doyle from Freely Photos.
First published Feburary 2016. This post has been revised for Sweetest Day, October 20. All work is my own.
It’s always interesting to watch men at the store picking out flowers, balloons, and cards for their sweethearts. Women operate a little differently in the card aisle then they make a beeline to the candy or baking aisle to find sweets for their honeys for Sweetest Day. I have to say that quite a bit of the Valentine’s Day fare at the Christian bookstores is a bit hokey. Sorry. There is absolutely nothing there for Sweetest Day, though. The only valuable gift items I’ve seen were devotionals and the cards. Hobby Lobby has some better gifts like coupon books and calendars with love messages of appreciation. I can imagine the $$$ pouring into the accounts of stores that sell "romantic" lingerie and novelties. So, what makes showing our love to our spouses special? Does it only happen on Valentine's Day and Sweetest Day or the whole year long?
Read: Matthew 7:24-29
Focus Passage: John 13:34-35
You are probably wondering, "Char, why don’t you wait until Valentine’s Day? Aren't you a bit early?" Nope. I'm not. First, Sweetest Day is on the 20th. Second, and more importantly, it's not about the stuff we get from our loved ones, but the strong, committed love shown all year long. We are not able to love other people fully until we learn to love God, and then love ourselves. When we love others, we are to love them as Christ showed His love for us. Most "love" is shown through lust or infatuation. Those actions slowly disappear because they are based on feelings. Barbara Streisand sang a "love" song which demonstrates the shallowness of this kind of love called "You Don't Bring Me Flowers". There is a reason the divorce rate is so high, not just in America, but also in the Christian church. The foundation of these marriages was like the house built on the sand. When the storms blow, the house comes crashing down! (Matthew 7:26-27)
If you know me, you will realize that my parents divorced when I was 5, my stepdad and mom divorced when I was a freshman in high school. These marriages were violent, strewn with harsh character-shredding words. I determined I would not live in that type of environment as an adult. Too many children grow up in like that. Their little hearts are torn through divorce. Children are often played as pawns to manipulate the other parent. What kind of example of marriage is that? I can attest to you, not a very good one. Coming out of such an environment takes tremendous determination to set up an environment of Christ-like love in marriage as an adult. It also takes educating one's self about what Christian marriage is. I read a lot of books, watched a lot of healthy Christian couples, and changed the messages that played in my head to ones of hope. I share these with you, not to boast, but as a testimony of what God has done in response to faithfully living out His words in my marriage. Broken hearts must heal to be able to offer a whole heart to another person. We must love each other as Jesus has loved us. That is the only way it truly works.
Love in a marriage is a daily commitment to each other. Love must be shown daily, not with flowers or cards or candy, but through loving actions. My first husband was great about showing his love to me each day. One time, he thought he would do something special for me while I was teaching water classes at our local YMCA. He took my car from the parking lot, got the oil changed, and returned the car to the lot with a love note on the rear view mirror. I wasn't upset at all. In fact, I felt loved! He didn’t bother with Sweetest Day because of its origin. My Second Blessing knows I was struggling with a bit of depression around Valentine’s Day. I noticed on Facebook in the history for the day that I had signed the contract for my first husband's headstone on Valentine's Day 4 years ago. What a very odd day. Valentine's Day is a bittersweet day for me still, but it gets better over time. My Boaz hobbled around with back pain a couple of years ago when he went to the store to pick out a card and flowers. Kroger is a busy place and it is quite a walk from the floral department to the cards to the checkout. He made quite a sacrifice to show his love for me. It wasn't the flowers, although I love flowers. It wasn't the card, although there were beautiful, personal sentiments in it. It was the love he showed to help me know how much he loves me.
My late husband knew I loved him through the things I did for him every day. I knew he loved me every day by his words, actions, and just simply by always coming home to me. He never took his love anywhere else. My hubby now knows I love him every day. Whether I hug him when he comes in the door, by making sure he has what he needs, or by sending him texts at different times through the day. We make sure we tell each other we love each other every day because life is too short. My love doesn't go anywhere else, it never has. He shows his love for me daily through his actions, his words, and always coming home to me. It's not always easy, but it's important for the health and strength of the marriage. Love for God, a healthy personal value, and deliberate love make all the difference in marriage. It has to go both ways. One can make a marriage last longer, but the two with Christ at the center make the marriage go well the entire time. Chris August has this captured beautifully in "Restored". The ink on the marriage certificate and the rings on our fingers are symbols of our commitment. Christian marriages must be firmly built on the Rock-a common faith in Jesus Christ. Although storms may crash upon the rock, the house still stands. (Matthew 7:24-25)
How do you show your Sweetheart you love him or her? What makes the love in your marriage special? We would love to hear how God is working in your marriage. Feel free to comment below.
May God bless you!
Looking for marriage resources? www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage