I hated Valentine’s Day when I was younger. There was a lot of pressure to have someone to love, romantically, which is a terrible to place upon elementary, middle, and even high school young people. In my early twenties the pressure mounted, especially being a Christian, because good Christian men should fine a good Christian woman to help begat good Christian families (at least that is what James Dobson sold a previous generation). When I began dating the woman who would become my wife I admit that Valentine’s Day remained icky, because it reminded me of the feeling of being insufficient in myself, or unwanted by others.
Now, I have married a person who is truly my best friend. My wife (Miranda) has changed my life for the better in all the areas of growth and maturation that are necessary. Though I continue to wrestle with the days leading to Valentine’s Day, because I am a horrible gift-giver if I don’t know exactly what a person wants, there is a marked difference. Now I see Valentine’s Day as a reminder that I am loved for who I am. My wife loves me as me. I see it in how she looks at me. I hear it in her voice. I know it by the small things she does all the time to show me she cares or that she is thinking about me (and she is quite thoughtful, very caring). I do my best to offer as much in return, though it is a challenge because she is a far more loving person than me. Yet she motivates me to develop a loving, caring posture toward another person, something that didn’t come easily for me.
I have an amazing wife. I don’t deserve her, but I am thankful that she doesn’t agree. She is the love of my life. Seriously, I have no idea how I came to be married to such a wonderful person.
Now, back to my previous words about Valentine’s Day: for those who hate this day because it makes you feel insufficient, or unloved, avoid the marketing of the day as much as possible. I know it is hard, but the pressure it creates to “have someone” misses the point. There is nothing that I could have done as a single person to prepare myself to “find” my wife. We met each other, we dated, we got engaged, and now we live day-by-day trying to understand what it means to be married. It is work, and an investment, but a wonderful one. Cupid and flowers, boxed chocolates and expensive dinners won’t teach you a thing about commitment. If you are committed to someone, then these little delights are a treat, but hardly the core to what it means to love someone. If you are single develop in becoming a caring person, a dedicate person, who works hard for others. These are the virtues that you will want to have formed in order to love someone for a lifetime, not fancy words, a thick wallet, a fast car, or attractive apparel. Work to become a person who you can appreciate. If it happens that someone else begins to appreciate you as well, you will have begun your relationship the right way. Anyone can buy a box of chocolates, but not everybody works to become the sort of person who can give themselves to another for a life time.