February 11, 2019
Valentine’s day is just a couple of days away and everybody will be talking about love. I suppose Valentine’s day is such a popular day because it is about love, and everybody needs love. In our society we sing about love, write about love, and pursue love. But even though people seem to always be looking for love, they are not necessarily finding it. The world’s definition of love ranges from having a warm fuzzy feeling about someone, to having a steamy sensual experience. Those who have found true love know that neither of these define love at all. The world’s messages about love are written in novels, displayed on movie screens, and endlessly pictured in show after show on the television screen, but they usually come short of the truth.
Katie and I have celebrated many Valentine’s days together and I have learned a few things along the way, or she has trained me well, depending on which perspective you use. As a freshman in college I really had love down pat. I called my girl-friend back home, who had my senior ring, and asked her if it would be all right if I went out (just once) with a girl, who was a college senior, who had asked me out. (Yes, I really did that). My girl-friend hung up on me and mailed my senior ring back to me. When I got back from my freshman year in college I had figured out how to solve all my love problems. I asked that girl, who mailed my senior ring back to me, to marry me. And she said YES!! That was 50 Valentines ago and during that time I can tell you that I know a lot more about love now than then, but I am still learning. Yes, that girl was my beautiful wife Katie, who has somehow tolerated my romantic education for all these years.
Recently Katie and I visited St. Petersburg Beach, where we went on our honeymoon, to see if the hotel we had stayed at back then was still there. To our surprise, we found it, and even took a selfie in front of the hotel sign. Over time we have discussed some of the things we have learned along the way regarding our marriage and our love relationship with each other from the early years until the present. We talked about how we had learned, that there were definitely times in our relationship that we did or said something that hurt each other, but we also learned that there were things we could do to help resolve those situations, and some things not to do as well. In the end we agreed that true love takes a lot of work and commitment.
We have also found that the Bible has some very profound, and yet practical lessons, when it comes to the topic of love. One of the verses of scripture regarding love is found in I Corinthians 13:5, which says, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.” We also learned that last part about “not keeping a record of being wronged” is really difficult, but that it is also the key for a lasting and mature love relationship. It is the lesson of forgiving and forgetting, or of not keeping records of your spouse’s faults. In other words, a true love relationship is when we totally forgive someone and choose not to keep a record of the wrongdoing we are forgiving them for, and not bringing up these past events over and over again.
One of the most important things I have learned about love, is that my bride wants me to spend time with her. I have learned that it takes a special effort to make our time together as special as possible, and it is part of God’s plan for a healthy love relationship. I also can tell you that in learning about love, I have found a friend, my best friend, and my Valentine, and that over the years our relationship that has been built on principles taught in the Word of God, has become stronger and sweeter.
In the Bible the book of Song of Solomon is devoted to teaching that real love, real emotions, and real sexuality are actually gifts from God. The Song of Solomon teaches that true romance is when a man and a woman are committed to an exclusive marriage relationship, in which each individual is spontaneous, complimentary, and imaginative. (Yes, you can read this for yourself in the Bible.) Song of Solomon 2:8-10, “I hear my lover coming! He is leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills. My lover is like a swift gazelle or a young stag. Look, there he is behind the wall, looking through the window, peering into the room. My lover said to me, “Rise up, my darling! Come away with me, my fair one!” Yes, these are actually verses in the Bible. Unfortunately, the word lover in our culture today has the connotation of a sexual relationship outside of marriage, but here in this passage it refers to the exclusive relationship that we have when we find true love in a godly marriage. Song of Solomon 2:16, “My lover is mine, and I am his.” In these verses there is also spontaneity, “come away with me,” and compliments, “my lover is like a swift gazelle.” Yes, I know that such language will probably not find the Hallmark Valentines card rack this year, but you get the picture. Later in chapter 7 the bride talks about her plan to spend time with her lover. Song of Solomon 7:11-12, “Come, my love, let us go out to the field and spend the night among the wildflowers. Let us get up early and go to the vineyards to see if the grapevines have budded, if the blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates have bloomed. There I will give you my love.” The truth is, the biblical formula for true love works and is fully approved by our Creator.
So Happy Valentine’s Day. May God bless your love relationship that is built upon the principles of His Word. If your love relationship lacks commitment, spontaneity, time, or expression, just get out your Bible and read today about how to have a Song of Solomon romance. Like I said before, I’m still learning about love, and I know the importance of displaying a good example about love and romance before my own children. I believe that we must be the example of a godly love relationship before the generations that follow us, or the false messages of the world ruin their opportunity to find true love. May we give God the praise today, for His example of true love to us.