With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, I am reminded of what this day represents to many of us. Red hearts, cards, flowers, chocolates, special food, kid’s valentine boxes, and love. But for some, it means a day of loneliness and a feeling of being unloved. My hope is the day means more than just the “stuff”, and that it is a reminder to all of us how we are called to love others.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Wow! What would our families, communities, and world look like, if we adhered to these actions?! What if we were truly patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, and not proud? What if we honored others, weren’t selfish, controlled our anger, and hated evil, and loved truth? What if we protected those we loved, trusted others more, hoped for a bright future, and persevered daily all these things? Simply put, we would all have stronger, healthier relationships. And, the word “divorce” may not have even existed from the beginning of time.
My husband and I recently celebrated 40 years of marriage (oh, that sounds like a long time). I am so grateful for the years I have spent with this man I love. Has it been easy? No. Have we loved each other like we were instructed to do in these verses? No. Only with God’s help, guidance, and forgiveness can we do this. Have we grown in our love for each other? Absolutely! It’s true, your love grows deeper with time. It breaks my heart when I hear marriages falling apart in their infancy. If only they knew what is waiting ahead for them, a time when they would cherish their love for each other.
One of the books that helped me understand how love is communicated to others, is The Five Love Languages. It is very enlightening and encouraging. If you’re looking to build a stronger relationship with your spouse, start by understanding what love language you and your spouse speak. These five love languages include words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Communicate to each other what needs are unmet and commit to meeting those needs.
Together, let’s seek God’s protection over our marriages and apply these actions of love to our everyday lives.