My husband and I will celebrate our twenty-third anniversary this year. To us this does not seem like a long time. But because of our culture, people are amazed that we have been together for so long. I, on the other hand, look at my grandparents who were married over sixty years before my grandmother died, and I stand in awe at the love they had. Each February as Valentine’s Day rolls around, my eyes start to roll at what our culture sees as love.
The Bible gives us the definition of love. It is the keeping of the law toward another. If I love my husband, I will not commit adultery against him. If I love my neighbor I will not seek to do him harm, steal his stuff, or covet his household. God tells us if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. This seems pretty straight forward to me.
But in our culture, love seems so complicated. Going about day to day (especially on February 14) we are told that love is a feeling. It is the warm fuzzies you get from your significant other. If you do not have those feelings, you must do all these extra things to evoke those feelings.
Our culture created a holiday that puts so much pressure on a couple (men in particular) to show how much they love their loved one. Men are “required” to get flowers, cards, candy, jewelry, wine, a fancy dinner, and the list goes on to show how much they love their special person. That irks my husband to the tenth degree.
Over fifteen years ago, my husband had enough with Valentine’s Day when his gift did not meet my expectation. I was obviously in the wrong, but my mind had been filled with what I thought love looked like (my husband doting on me and showering me with gifts). My husband informed me that evening that he was not going to be forced to show his feelings for me on one particular day. He declared that if he wanted to surprise me at any point throughout the year, he could. He shared how he goes to work every day, provides for his family, spends time with me, buys me things when needed (and sometime wanted), and could send flowers whenever he pleased, etc. But he was not going to be told by anyone that he had to do it on February 14. So, we stopped celebrating Valentine’s Day. Life has been so much better since.
Let me share with you a little bit about the man I love and the love he has for me. In the almost twenty-three years of marriage, my husband and I have moved sixteen times, have had four children, three miscarriages, an insane amount of debt (no longer now). We have had seasons of grief, pain, despair, hope, happiness, and times where we were not sure if we would make it. I have been willing to walk out on my husband two times in our marriage (praising God that didn’t happen) and my husband has taken care of me through four months of straight migraines, twenty-plus years of being obese, depression issues, baggage from my childhood, anxiety, and a whole list of health issues that I am finally starting to get relief from.
Even now we are in the process of moving to Southern Nevada from Western Washington. A major factor is my health. My husband is leaving a job he loves and the best boss he has ever had to move me to a climate that will help my arthritis and give me a chance to get healthier. That is worth so much more that one day set aside with flowers and dinner.
In the last nine years as God has reformed our lives, we continue to learn about true love, Biblical love. I look at my husband today and I can tell you whole heartily that I am more madly in love with my husband (though we be far from perfect) than when we first married, and Lord willing look forward to the day that we celebrate our fiftieth, sixtieth and even seventy-fifth anniversaries.