My amazing wife and I are about to experience our 40th Valentine’s Day together. When I was just sixteen years old I gave her my heart, and she’s held it close ever since. The years haven’t always been easy (I am, after all, a recovering idiot), but I’d still choose her, and she’d still choose me! I truly am a very blessed man.
Typically, I refuse to get sucked into the holiday blogosphere mode. Can anyone really write anything that hasn’t already been written about love on Valentine’s Day? Nonetheless, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned along the way.
Four things I’ve learned about love:
1. It ain’t always easy.
Duh. Love isn’t always fun. Romance is but a recurring season (it comes and goes). And sometimes we’re not even sure we like each other let alone love each other.
You’d think after forty years we wouldn’t say stupid things or do hurtful things to each other. We do.
You’d think by now we’d be communication experts. We’re not.
You’d think we would have figured out how to always live selflessly. We haven’t.
Love ain’t easy. Never has been. Probably never will be.
2. It will always cost you to truly love.
Anything and everything of value costs us. It costs us time, energy, and money. Nothing that matters comes cheap. We know this to be true when it comes to material possessions, but it’s absolutely true of our relationships as well.
To love your spouse means sometimes you will sacrifice your agenda and schedule to satisfy his or hers.
To love your spouse means sometimes you will serve him or her even when you’re dead-dog tired, and it’s the last thing you feel like doing.
To love your spouse means sometimes you will invest your hard earned cash to bless him or her rather than spend it (or waste it) only on what you want.
Sacrifice. Service. Investment. All for the sake of another. Yup . . . love will cost you.
3. It takes a sticky attitude to survive.
This is basic marriage math: Hard + Costly + Commitment = Marriage Survival and Success.
If you only have hard and costly without commitment, you’ll never survive the storms that will come. When it’s more convenient to bail out rather than work it out you’ll always take the path of least resistance unless you’re committed to sticking it out over the long haul.
I’ve watched many marriages go through living hell, but they survived because both parties said, “You’re stuck with me, so I guess we better figure out how to play nice and get help.”
Stick-to-it-tiveness is missing in too many marriages today. However, love that is sticky is love that will last.
4. It’s always worth it.
I can’t promise you a pony or a prize for hanging in there. There’s probably no pot of gold at the end of the marriage rainbow.
What I can promise you is joy.
Joy is the result of spending your life with someone who is broken (like you) and weathering the storms with faith in a God who is bigger and better than your spouse.
Joy comes when you can honestly say to your spouse, “No marriage is perfect. No spouse is without faults. And yet there’s no other person on the planet I’d rather grow old and die with than you.”
Joy comes when you look back and think, “Wow. We’ve been through a lot, but God has always been so good to us.”
And joy comes when you can look forward and know in your heart, “Whatever comes and whatever we face, we will face it together by His grace.”
So on this Valentine’s Day, don’t be cupid! Don’t expect love to always be fun and romantic. Don’t make it all about flowers or chocolate (or sex!). Remember that true love takes hard work and a humble heart. And true love is what matters most.
That being said, don’t wait until Friday to buy your Valentine’s card; all the good ones will be gone!