Have you ever noticed that a man holds a bouquet of flowers up and out from his body, kind of like an Olympic torch? Take a good look at the next man you see who has just purchased some Valentine’s flowers and see if you don’t catch a look of triumph and pride on his face.
That look of victory is there for good reason. After surviving the stress of Christmas, here come the Valentine’s Day ads. These ads are targeted at women but the pressure is on men. The message to men is clear, “Men, if you really love her you will buy her something…and that something will be very expensive.”
In the back of every good-hearted man’s mind there lurks that niggling question,
“Will flowers be enough? What if she is thinking jewelry?” Oh help me Lord!
Men have good reason to worry because, let’s be honest ladies, Valentine’s Day is a big deal for women. It’s a big deal for us because, way back in our minds we have this niggling little worry,
“Does he really love me? Is this love that we have ‘it’?”
We want that sweeping, swooning, love like we see in the movies (that’s why most marriage books are read by women and the chick-flick industry is going strong).
We also like foo foo and candy and sweet little nothings written on cards and carved into chalky tasting candy hearts and (if we’re honest with ourselves) we love the envious looks our friends and relations give us when the man in our life makes some crazy, creative, romantic gesture.
Valentine’s Day is fun. It’s romantic. And it puts a lot of pressure on our men.
As a younger woman, I put a lot of pressure on my husband.
I thought I knew what love looked like and the flowers he picked out of the New Mexico State University Agriculture garden for free did not look like love!
While I was busy getting my feelings hurt, I failed to notice all the ways that he showed real love to me.
He’s always defended me. He’s really good at that.
Over the years he’s worked at jobs he hasn’t particularly liked just to provide for us.
He gets angry and blows it…and apologizes.
He’s put his jeans back on in the middle of the night to go hunt up something at the store to make my pregnant stomach feel better and he’s done this more times than I can count.
He’s rented a carpet shampooer to clean baby vomit off the couches and ended up spending his one free weekend doing the entire house because I insisted.
He once brought home a pregnant nanny goat in the back of our mini-van because I got it into my head that our little acreage was The Little House on the Prairie except I forgot we didn’t have a truck or a trailer to transport the brainless mother-to-be. I’ve never forgotten the look on that poor man’s face as he drove up our driveway with the van full of excited children and a bleating goat. He had that what-has-she-gotten-us-into-now look…
He says those magic words to me, “What would you like me to make you to eat?” and then he makes it…better than a restaurant.
He thanks me, often, for giving him eight children. That really makes my heart go pitter pat.
My husband has also gotten really good at giving special gifts and beautiful cards. Those are fun and wonderful and sweet but they don’t really prove his love like all the other things he does.
We have that swooping, swooning, epic kind of love but it looks and feels different than the movies. It is better. Real love means commitment and forgiveness and sacrifice and being there.
So what if he buys you a new set of dish towels for a gift and doesn’t bring you a soppy card or a box of chocolates? I’ll just bet that the man in your life is doing an awful lot of things right.
“When over the years someone has seen you at your worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits him or herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.”
― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
Give him a big kiss and tell him that out of all the men in the world, he is your hero.
Choose to have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.
The roots of Valentine’s Day seem to be obscured by time and a number of stories are told about why it began. This story is one that has enough historical details to be plausible.
In the days of ancient Rome, the fourteenth day of February was a pagan holiday honoring Juno. Juno was the queen of the Roman gods as well as the goddess of women and marriage.
Fertility rituals were held on this day. On the night before the festival started, it was customary for the names of the Roman girls to be written on slips of paper.These slips were then placed in a container and then each boy drew a name of the girl who he would be coupled with for the entire Lupercalia festival.
Rome was under the authority of Emperor Claudius the Second, and he was a vicious warrior (not to mention the fact that he was insane). His armies lacked the sufficient number of soldiers it needed, and Claudius could not figure out why more young men didn’t want to go to battle. Finally, he determined that the young men didn’t want to leave their wives, families and girlfriends. In order to remedy this, the Emperor instituted a new law and canceled all of the marriages and engagements in Rome.
In the meantime, there lived a priest in Rome by the name of Valentine. He did not believe in the Emperor’s new law, and he refused to abide by it. He continued to perform wedding ceremonies in secret. Valentine lived in constant fear that he would be caught by Emperor Claudius’ soldiers, but he persisted in doing what he knew was right.
Finally, the day did come when Bishop Valentine was caught uniting a man and a woman in the bonds of holy matrimony. The soldiers dragged him to stand before Emperor Claudius’ throne. The Emperor condemned the Bishop to be put to death for his violation of the law.
While the priest was imprisoned, waiting for his execution, many young couples threw notes of thanks along with flowers and other gifts into the window of his cell.
Among these young people who admired the priest for doing the right thing, was the prison guard’s own daughter. Her father allowed her to visit Bishop Valentine in his cell.
They became friends.
Finally, the day arrived when Bishop Valentine was scheduled to die.
While he was waiting for the soldiers to come and drag him away, Bishop Valentine composed a note to the girl telling her that he loved her and would pray for her. He signed it simply, “From Your Valentine.” A short time later, Valentine was executed.
In the year 496 AD, Pope Gelasiu finally did away with the pagan festival of Lupercalia, citing that it was pagan and immoral. He then chose Bishop Valentine as the patron saint of lovers, who would be honored at the new festival on the fourteenth of every February.
Over the years, Valentine’s Day has evolved into a holiday when gifts, cards, flowers and candy are given to the ones we love…all because of a brave, righteous man named Valentine.
It’s a toss-up for me…Valentine’s Day or Thanksgiving Day? Which one is my favorite?
In the grey blah of February, I’ll take lots of pink and red and sugar anytime!
Our family has tea parties this time of year and it’s a good excuse to pretty up the house.
Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to tell your entire family how much you love them. Here are some awesomely creative ways to do that and they don’t cost much at all. Check out this Exploding Love Box.
Or…how about a message in a balloon, complete with confetti?
Here’s one that might be especially meaningful to a child. Simple and special! Fill a jar with lots of reasons why you love them!
Marriage is not a federation of two sovereign states. It is a union–
It is a fusion of two hearts–
the union of two lives–
the coming together of two tributaries,
which, after being joined in marriage, will flow in the same channel in the same direction… carrying the same burdens of responsibility and obligation.
Modern girls argue that they have to earn an income, in order to establish a home, which would be impossible on their husband’s income.
That is sometimes the case, but it must always be viewed as a regrettable necessity, never as the normal or natural thing for a wife to have to do.
The average woman, if she gives her full time to her home
If she tries to understand her husband’s work…
to curb his egotism while, at the same time, building up his self-esteem
to kill his masculine conceit while encouraging all his hopes
to establish around the family a circle of true friends…
If she provides in the home proper atmosphere of culture
of love of music
of beautiful furniture
and of a garden…
If she can do all this, she will be engaged in a life work that will demand every ounce of her strength
every bit of her patience
every talent God has given her
the utmost sacrifice of her love.
It will demand everything she has and more.
And she will find that for which she was created.
She will know that she is carrying out the plan of God.
She will be a partner with the Sovereign Ruler of the universe.
And so, today’s daughters need to think twice before they seek to make a place for themselves
in our world today…
Dr. Peter Marshall (Chaplain of the U.S. Senate in the 1940’s who was a gifted speaker and passionate Scotsman)
ABC's of Love, covenant marriage, Don't Be a Dumb Cluck, Fighting Feminism, Get the most of of the Sermon, Glorious Distraction, God keeps His promises, godly wisdom, raising children, The Chicken or The Egg?, The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller
Here’s a great PDF on how to get the most out of the sermon (mamas of littles, no guilt! Just do the best you can!).
A short post along the same lines about how to keep God foremost in our hearts and minds throughout the day is The Glorious Distraction.
A fun project for Sunday school classes that I plan to do with my kids at home is to make mini-books of Bible knowledge.
If you look up one link this week, watch this video. In a day and age when you people are living together “because their love doesn’t need a piece of paper”, here is a thoughtful and passionate presentation on the purpose and meaning of marriage. Tim Keller (pastor, author speaks to Google employees on the Christian view of marriage.
Deep down inside, most of us suspected the truth of this study; a mother’s love overcomes the effect of poverty and improves immune function in children.
What did you read or learn this week? Share it with the rest of us in the comment section! You don’t want to be a dumb cluck!
a woman discovers her worth, ABC's of Love, advice to a young wife, Cohabitation, covenant marriage, godly wisdom, live-in boyfriends, living together, National Sex Survey, THe Ring Makes All the Difference, trusting God
I said I was motivated to get rid of stuff in that crammed-full garage but…books? (Sigh).
As I perused the books, I rediscovered a great one about living together versus marrying. Since this blog is aimed, primarily, at women who believe in God’s plan for marriage, you may wonder why I am sharing this here.
Modern culture proclaims loudly that it doesn’t matter if we get married as long as we love each other.
Christian women know that scripture teaches commitment and vows before God but sometimes we wonder a little bit…don’t we? We doubt that marriage really makes all that much difference especially when we see “happily committed” live-in couples while our marriage is slogging along.
The facts have long been in, however, and multiple long-term studies find gynormous differences between married couples and live-in couples.
This comes from The Ring Makes All the Difference by Glenn T. Stanton (published by Moody).
First of all, over half of all co-habiting couples do not decide to move in together, they “slide” into it. In other words, co-habiters tend to have a “relational inertia”; they do what comes easily, not what is best! If they marry later on, it is often for the same reason; it’s harder to break up and start over than to just get a marriage license.
This has a profound impact on their relationship. People are more likely to put effort into something they decide to do rather than just fall into (and, ladies, this especially holds true for men. Men are hard-wired to be decisive! When they slide into something they don’t value it). Marriage has to be a deliberate and planned choice.
I’m going to quote directly now because this is important;
“Most couples, married or not, expect sexual faithfulness for themselves and their partner…numerous studies consistently show that cohabiters have much higher levels of sexual infidelity than married couples.
The highly reputable National Sex Survey found…that live-in boyfriends are nearly four times more likely than husbands to cheat in the past year. And, while women are generally more faithful, cohabiting women are eight times more likely than wives to cheat.
It seems that if you want to give someone the experience of sexual opportunism with other partners, cohabitation is what you are looking for, but if a faithful partner is your desire, than cohabitation is not your thing.
Marriage is giving our all to another and stepping up and proclaiming it to the community of people around us. And that commitment makes us different kinds of people, different partners, different parents. It says we are clearly for another, or at least that’s what the others around us-those who witnessed our exchange of vows-expect of us.
Marriage demands something of us. And this expectation makes us act differently.
Marriage is definitive. Marriage is absolute. Marriage leads us into new worlds-and it closes off others.
This is the virtue of marriage…marriage is so much more than we think it is.”
Dear woman, stay married! Pray for strength in the hard times and the vision to see that what you are living out is important! Your marriage profoundly affects and influences, not only the lives of your family, but the community of people who see you every day.
Be blessed today.
Yes, indeedy, we do!
Thanks for entering everyone and, remember, we have another drawing in two days for A Dream so Big!
Back when I was a clueless fiancee’ and knowing that I was on my way to being a clueless newlywed, I read every marriage book I could get my hands on. I also watched (with an eagle eye) the married couples in my church. I would see them grocery shopping together and my mouth would hang open. Wow! I had never seen that before. I would watch couples when they disagreed in public and I would notice when (and how) they dealt with it.
The church was my little marriage “incubator” and God used it, mightily, to mature me and put flesh on the marriage advice I had only read about.
Back in the little hippie town of I grew up in, it wasn’t cool to be a family man or a committed wife and homemaker. No, the really hip thing was to trade the old model of spouse in for a new one and go do drugs with the young girlfriend. Role models I did not have.
So, I’ve spent a lot of time reading good and bad books on the subject of marriage and worrying too much about doing it right. I don’t have a lot of books I recommend to new couples but I recently read two books that gave me new insights into male and female behavior. Yes, I’ve been married for more than thirty-one years and it makes me very happy to understand my husband more deeply.
For Women only by Shaunti Feldhahn and For Men Only by Shaunti and her husband, Jeff Feldhahn, are small, easy- to- read books packed with insight and wisdom based, primarily, on Shaunti’s careful research. Shaunti’s background is impressive; she has a Master’s Degree from Harvard and has worked on Wall Street and Capital Hill. She is also a committed Christian and applies her analytical skills to helping men and women better understand each other.
These books were updated and expanded in March so, if you have read the old version, they’ve been improved!
We’ve all heard that respect is important to men but, according to the men who answered Shaunti’s questions, respect is love! Indeed, it is so important to a man that most would live without love and choose to be respected instead!
Another revelation was that to most men, the burden of providing for their family never goes away even if their wives work and make a good income.
For Men Only really should be read just by men but, because I had to read it to review it, I must say that it is the most user-friendly marriage book for men I’ve ever read. It is short and it is funny. Who knows? Your husband may actually read it!
I am a reviewer for Lorrie Flem and was generously provided with an extra set of these books to give away! I would love to give them to you.
To win a set of these books for men and women, please leave a comment on this post sharing what you R E S P E C T about your husband or the man in your life (your dad or brother or boyfriend). I will draw a winner a week from today (June 25th)!
Not only can you win a complete set from me but, if you visit Lorrie Flem’s website, you can win a bundle with the DVD! Wow! The bundle will include the NEW DVD study that came out June 18th and includes a men’s study, women’s study and couples study along with the leader guide and a copy of For Women Only, and For Men Only books.
Do you want to watch a video of Shaunti to see what she says about the books? Check her out!
Don’t forget that you can sign up for Lorrie’s free quarterly online magazine. It’s full of encouragement and practical advice.
**As a member of the Gabby Moms Review Team, I was given a free copy of the books in exchange for my review.**
11. He appreciates really good food and has taught our children to love a variety of food as well (if it had been up to me, I would have fed our kids out of cans and boxes just to avoid the mess ;-).
12. He still acts like an eight year old boy and takes great joy in simple things (like spitting over a bridge just to watch it fall!).
13. He appreciates and respects really old men who are often overlooked by the rest of us.
14. He likes to buy me presents and he isn’t frugal about it (!).
15. He’s a romantic and gets teary-eyed when he sees old married couples holding hands together.
16. He loves to learn; from new software to songs on the guitar.
17. He loves babies. If you meet some man on the airplane who offers to hold your baby while you go to the bathroom, it’s probably him!
18. He complains about watching chick-flicks with me but, when I pick a good one (which I do 99.9 % of the time) he laughs and cries and likes it better than I do.
19. For a man who loves good food, he unerringly picks the worst greasy spoon small-town restaurants which means we’ve eaten really bad food while seeing some interesting places.
20. He’s a good repenter (repenter isn’t a word but it should be). When he’s sorry, he’s sorry and he lets the family know and he asks forgiveness. That’s a really important attribute in the man of the family!