Happy Valentine’s Day!
We’ve all been seeing chocolate, flowers, hearts and red and pink colors everywhere ever since the Christmas decorations were taken down at the beginning of this new year. We all know that this holiday is mostly a money making scheme for card companies, restaurants, flower shops, etc. I have to admit, that in my seven years of marriage, my husband and I never made a big deal about Valentine’s Day. Quite frankly, this is the first year that I’m actually NOT working on Valentine’s Day, and of course, Sergi works every year as well. Most years, the extent of our celebrating includes a card, Sergi gets me flowers and maybe we exchange small gifts, although most years we don’t.
There are usually two ways of looking at Valentine’s Day, either pouring yourself wholeheartedly into this holiday, celebrating love and romance or protesting the marketing and advertising that is all around by completely ignoring it.
Sergi and I go all out on our birthdays, though. I guess that’s our thing. Sergi really makes me feel like a queen and spoils me to the ultimate degree on my birthday and I try my best to make his birthday special too. On our anniversary, we both celebrate our marriage and quite often make it a small getaway weekend somewhere not too far from home. Are birthdays vitally important? Of course not! Your marriage does not have to include extravagant birthday celebrations or extraordinary Valentine’s Day experiences to thrive, just like the price of your engagement ring doesn’t equal the degree of happiness in your marriage.
Love is a gift and something to be valued and cherished. I thank God every day for my wonderful husband, and I treasure him with all my heart. However, If I don’t respect my husband and show him every day in many ways how much I love him, a gushy card and a gourmet dinner once a year will not magically make our marriage great. I’m sure you can all agree with that. If Valentine’s Day is special for you, by all means, pour all your energy into it and make your spouse feel important. Please share your ideas too! I’m always looking for creative date ideas!
When we got married, nobody forced us into it, especially in the 21st century in America. If we had bad expectations going into marriage, we wouldn’t have vowed to love each other and commit to each other for the rest of lives, would we? We enter marriage expecting it to be awesome.
I’m certainly not an expert on marriage, and you can even say that I’m practically a babe in this department. Our marriage isn’t perfect, of course, but my husband and I are very happy together, that is beyond a doubt. We have gone through many things in life that many couples don’t have to deal with in a lifetime together. I think that the hardships that came our way in our young life together made us stronger and brought us even closer to each other. Our faith and trust in God grew along with our love for one another. I really do believe that the closer that each of us is to God, the closer we can be to each other, and share a beautiful marriage built on a solid foundation.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible describing love is found in 1 Corinthians 13, often referred to as “The Love Chapter”. It’s a very short passage, hidden among the rest of the worthy attributes of love – “love does not seek its own”. It may be short but it’s definitely profound. For me, that is the secret to a happy marriage and a loving relationship. When I look for ways to give and serve I am so much more fulfilled than when I try to look for ways to get as much out of marriage and our relationship for myself personally. Rather than thinking “How can my husband make me happy?” or “what can this marriage offer me?”, I am so much happier when I think “What can I do today to make my husband smile?” and “What can I do to make our marriage stronger?”.
My husband often says that marriage is not a a 50-50 deal; it’s a 100-100 deal, each partner going all out and being completely committed, not performing based on what the other person is doing. Sometimes, it may even be 150-50, because we all have our days when we aren’t feeling well, are having a bad day, are crabby or going through a rough time. Sometimes we need to be strong for the other person and that is normal.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9,10
It’s also very important to invest into our marriages.
We can’t expect our marriage to thrive if we never do anything to make it better. Just like growing as a person and becoming a better individual, you will never grow if you stay in one spot. I love the metaphor for growth being more like a downward escalator than stairs – if you’re not climbing higher, you will be on your way down naturally. Read books about marriage, go to marriage conferences, commit to date nights, show romantic gestures on a daily basis to your spouse. Learn more about each other, be creative, be spontaneous and fun. Great books to read – The Five Love Languages, Love and Respect, Personality Plus For Couples.
I want to make sure that I get dressed up and look pretty for my husband, treat him to the best dinners and snacks, go on fun dates, listen to his stories, and make him feel respected and cherished. He is the most important person in the world for me and I want to make sure he feels like it too. I know all about his job and he knows all about mine. He knows all my quirks, habits and hobbies, and so do I about his. Why? Not because I care about fire protection (my husband is an inspector of fire systems) but because I care about HIM. I want to know about his job, his co-workers and his customers. I want to know his challenges and victories. I know I can tell Sergi all about my work and hobbies and he will listen, be understanding and really get me.
Here’s a quote from the movie “Shall We Dance”: “We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”
Spend time together. Go on a picnic, to the beach, park, camping, bike riding, roller blading, gardening, sailing, parachuting, visit an amusement park, coffee shop, book store, take cooking classes together, go to a football/baseball game, museum, travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Keep romance alive and your friendship fun.
Life can throw many things our way, our circumstances may not be the greatest, but we do have the power to make our marriage either fine, good or exceptionally awesome. Of course, I realize that there are exceptions to everything, and maybe you are married to a monster, just make sure that monster isn’t you. “The greatest power that a person possesses is the power to choose.” J. Martin Kohe
Marriage is a beautiful partnership, a safe haven and a place of refuge. “A happy family is an earlier vision of heaven.” Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or you don’t, make sure to make your marriage one of your top priorities and choose EVERY DAY to show your spouse how much you love them.