Whether you are working on your first year of marriage, or your 5oth, true love- contrary to popular belief, does not come easy…at least for most of us.
But even though that is the case, there is no joy on earth that compares to that of a heart overflowing with love.
Love awakens our souls, and stirs something deep within us! It deepens us, pushes us to our limits, sometimes breaks us, and makes us complete.
And this month we are flooded with ideas of romance, and passion, and desire.
We prepare ourselves for the big day of romance: Valentine’s Day. We look forward to it with eager anticipation. And when the big day gets here, we take the temperature of our marriage by how well it all goes.
Sometimes it’s great, sometimes we pretend it’s great, and sometimes we go to bed heartbroken- simply because our marriage couldn’t rise to the occasion.
There is so much pressure to make the day count, to shower your spouse with love and affection (even if it’s the only day you do- a year), and to “rekindle” the romance in your relationship.
And while I don’t think there is anything wrong with taking a date night, doing something romantic for your spouse, or directing your efforts toward working on your marriage, the expectations that we put on our spouses on Valentine’s day can be immobilizing.
But our marriages do need attention, and they do need work- lots of hard, time consuming, teeth-gritting work.
Life is chaotic, and sometimes our marriages suffer as a result!
So taking some time to roll up your sleeves and work diligently at loving your spouse is a wonderful idea!
And this is just what I thought I would do this next month…so what did I do? I got online, of course! And I started looking at “marriage challenges” and “Valentine’s Day tips” on how to do this.
After an hour of searching for that perfect “How to” list, I was frustrated. Frustrated and a little surprised…
This is what I kept coming up with:
Day 1. Tell Your Wife that She is Pretty (But what if I’m not pretty? Is he supposed to lie?)
Day 2. Buy Your Wife a Box of Chocolate (But…I’m on a diet?)
Day 3. Kiss Your Wife First Thing in The Morning (Okay…there is no way that’s helping anybody…Gross)
#’s 4-10 weren’t any better either!
Is this all the internet has to offer?
While this 10 step “guide to love” doesn’t destroy marriages, it doesn’t do much in the way of strengthening them either.
And if a marriage isn’t healthy to begin with, it’s possible that it could do more harm than good.
To be honest, I think Valentine’s day cheapens love.
It’s nice to get flowers and lace-trimmed cards, but I want my marriage to be built on more than that. I want to experience romance and intimacy with my spouse more than once a year! Love should be worth more than a $5 box of chocolates, and it should take should take work. But we let the deceiver pursuade us that love is only about excitement, and intrigue, and nice feelings. We’ve taken a precious, God-given gift, and distorted it to the point that we make it look ugly. At least, I know we’ve done this…
So, my husband and I got to talking and decided to do something a little bit different this year.
We are challenging ourselves to 28 days of re-defining love.
We did not come up with a ”how-to” list, or a 10 step program.
But instead, we came up with a marriage- strengthening exercise, for the purpose of growing as a couple, in love and grace.
It is a study of true love, because it is a study of the Author of love.
So for 28 days, starting January 17th, we are taking our eyes off of ourselves, off of our spouses, and setting them on Christ- our heart’s one, true desire.
We are looking at what love truly is, how scripture defines it, and how to demonstrate it, while also looking athow to pray for your spouse.
And we are inviting you to join us.
Wherever you are in your (love) life this January-
- if you are in the new and exciting stages of passion and romance,
- if you are broken and despairing and feeling like there’s no hope,
- if your going on 15 (or 50!) years with the man of your dreams,
You are built for love, and your marriage is worth all the hard work and effort that you put into it!
Please begin praying for us as we prepare for this challenge, and please pray for the marriages of all those who will participate – that it would bring them into intimate fellowship with one another, as well as with the Lord!