Valentine's Day and Love

Last week, the world celebrated Valentine's Day. Flowers and chocolates flowed freely everywhere and restaurant reservations got booked solid weeks in advance. Valentine's Day is the man-made celebration of love with an emphasis on the emotional aspect of what love supposedly is. So much hoopla is created and there is so much pressure to do all these things on this one day for your significant other, and I started wondering, but what about the other 364 days of the year?

I have mentored and counseled women as they go through marital problems and so often, as I listen to their stories, the thing that most tend to say is that at the beginning as they were getting to know each other, everything was so intense, the feelings, the romance, and as the years progressed, things started to change and everything waxed cold with none of the emotional intensity that was once present.

As human beings, we have bought into the lie that love is made up of how we feel, that it is all about emotions and passions. The truth is that love is a decision we choose to make. I know, it sounds really factual and unromantic right there, doesn't it? Unfortunately, we have to rid ourselves of some paradigms we have allowed into our thought patterns and start to align our thoughts with God's.

The advertisements and society tell us that we should always go by what we feel and everything we do should be based on how it makes us feel. It sounds really good because who doesn't like feeling good? Yet, the Bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that "the heart is deceitful above all else" which means that we cannot trust our emotions to lead us into decisions. Emotions ebb and flow, changing with circumstances and seasons something which love, in the actual sense of what love is according to God, does not do. Love is steadfast. Why? Because it is based on a decision.

Love is a choice we make. A choice we choose to be faithful to or not. When someone in a marriage says, "I am just not in love anymore" that just means they have made the decision to stop choosing to love the other person because they don't feel the passion. Everything else that is said is just an excuse to skirt around the issue. And for Christian couples, it boils down to the basic question of whether we will choose to love each other as God says to do or choose not to. Will we be faithful in our marriages and choose to love in all sense of the word or will we choose to mistreat our spouses in the various ways that present itself?

The passion in a marriage is not always going to be there. When children arrive, when workloads get busy, when financial problems arise, passion is not going to be burning at those points. However, if we make it a point to decide to love our significant others, we will choose to make it a priority to make time for them despite the busyness, to include them into our worlds no matter how crazy it gets, and those decisions are what will grow each other closer one to another.

Let us imagine that God's love for us is based on His feelings. Every time we behave in a sinful manner, we give Him just cause to zap us and if God's love for us is based on His emotions, not one human will be left alive today. But thankfully, His love is not based on how He feels. God had decided to love us before He created humankind and He has stood faithfully by that decision even though we have torn His heart apart many times over. That love based on a decision is what makes God's word to us dependable, and shows us His integrity.

Yet, how would we know that God loves us if we have not spent time with Him through His Word, through prayer and meditation, through crying out to Him from the depths of our hearts and waiting to hear Him? It takes a conscious effort on our part to make the time. Otherwise, all we will know of God is what others tell us of Him and that is not always reliable. And that is the same with marriage.

Marriage is God's creation to mirror the relationship between Jesus and His bride, the church, and has been given to us to steward and nurture. This means that we need to take the time to cultivate and take care of it. As God has chosen to love us, let us also choose to keep loving our spouses as God intended us to because the beauty of making a decision to love is that when a decision has firmly been made, the emotions and the passion will eventually follow as well.


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