What should I give for Valentine’s Day?
Maybe women struggle with that. I know men do. There are the old stand-by items – flowers and candy. And, some splurge for jewelry. What’s the best choice?
As you might guess, I’m no expert on romance. (Can you hear my wife screaming, “What an understatement!) I have limited experience - just the one wife. But I do have 46 years of marriage experience. Or, maybe I only have one year of experience repeated 45 times.
Either way, experience has taught me a thing or two. For one, I learned that “Don’t buy me flowers” does not mean what it seems those words would mean. It’s actually code for something like, “I want you to be so recklessly, extravagantly in love with me that you feel compelled to buy me flowers even when I tell you not to buy me flowers.”
Fortunately, God helps those who flounder trying to find the right way to say “I love you.” He shares with us his “most excellent way” when he says in 1 Corinthians 13: “Even though you give all the roses in the world, if you don’t act like you love her, it means nothing. If you buy the most expensive jewelry available or lug home the world’s largest box of chocolate, but still act like a jerk, it gets you nowhere.”
OK, so that’s a rather loose translation, but it captures the idea. What matters most is not what we buy, but how we treat each other. Gifts are nice, but what people really want is to be treated as special, even on days that aren’t.
If we don’t understand the details of how to do that, God spells it out for us. Love isn’t so much how you feel as what you do. It’s being patient and kind in the everyday conversations around the house. It’s celebrating others’ success rather than creating rivalry. It’s being humble enough to be selfless, being even-tempered and not easy to anger. Love is being quick to forgive and focusing on what is positive and good.
Most of all, love is being there – being committed for life to your spouse, your friends, your child or parent. “Love never fails,” he tells us (v.8). Flowers fade. Chocolate disappears quickly. Jewelry looses its luster. But real love - measured out in mundane, everyday doses - lasts forever.
Give that today! (And it's OK to add some flowers or chocolates.)