It's Valentines Day. As I walked into Kroger to get a newspaper after church, there was a line of men at the floral department all with flowers in their hands. At CVS, there was a young man with a large heart shaped box of candy and a card waiting in line. It's Valentines Day.
My husband and I decided long ago that we were not going to celebrate these holidays. It made life a lot more enjoyable and simpler for us. No expectations, no disappointments. My husband is very romantic and does amazing things for me all year long. He brings me chocolate and Starbucks on a regular basis. If I only got them one day a year, I would wonder what he thought the rest of the year.
We are doing a series at our church involving marriage. Between that and Valentine's Day, I gave some more thought to what marriage and love really look like. We have been married 24 1/2 years. We dated for 3 before that, which means that we have been together since we were teenagers in high school. We have seen the best and worst of each other! - repeatedly. We have weathered storms that many a marriage might not have survived. I take no credit for that. When the worst came - God was at the center. It is only because our marriage is focused on God and each of us take our personal relationship with Him very seriously that we are where we are today.
But that aside, my husband shows me love in ways that far exceed anything you can buy in a store. For a man who gets sick the moment he even thinks someone else is getting sick to hold back my hair and hold up my head as I throw up all down the hallway - and then to clean it up - that is love. When my husband greets me at the door with a cup of fresh brewed Starbucks after I get home from work - that is love. Encouraging my frivolous pursuits and passions in life and never, ever complaining about them - that is love. After 24 1/2 years together, still desiring me and telling me so - that is love. Putting up with my snooze alarm going off every 6 minutes every single morning and not complaining -that is love. Telling me he loves me multiple times a day and leaving me love notes all through the house if he is going to be gone - that is love. Praying for me daily - that is love. Praying for our children - that is love. Seeking God and studying His Word so that he can be more like Jesus - that is love. Eating whatever I cook and telling me leftovers are just fine so that we don't have more dirty dishes - that is love. Making the bed every morning, picking up after himself and not complaining if I don't do the same - that is love. Changing the oil in my car, taking out the trash, folding the laundry, mowing the yard, shoveling the never-ending snow, going to work, supporting our family - that is love. Leading a group of men in prayer on Tuesday nights at our house instead of being out running around - that is love. Working through the tough stuff and talking it out - that is love. Sitting on the front porch just enjoying being together because we can - that is love.
Love looks different on any given day. But I never wonder if Kenny loves me. Our love and marriage don't look like anything you would see on a Hollywood screen or in a romance novel. Our love doesn't fit some Hallmark card or country love song. Our love is real and tough and tender and authentic and tried and true. Our love is focused on God and becoming more like Christ and keeping Him at the center of all we do.
So Happy Valentine's Day Kenny - I am madly in love with you!