It’s that time of year when we focus on love. Yes, Valentine’s Day! I heard a husband grouse about the day and say, “I don’t like being pressured to express my love. And I really don’t like being forced to do it one day a year.” Sadly, he’s not understanding the spirit of the holiday. Love expressions should not feel pressured or forced. And yes, expressions of love should happen all year long, but Valentine’s Day provides a day to focus and celebrate love. It’s a good thing!
Now, you don’t have to spend a lot of money or feel compelled to give the typical flowers and go to dinner. If money is an issue, there are many inexpensive ways to express love—homemade cards, a picnic at home with the kids, cooking up treats or putting notes of love on a mirror or in the car. Some couples do love the traditional flowers and dinner, but you can try something novel like visiting a nursing home or children’s hospital to bring love and joy to those who need a love boost. Whatever you do, consider the bigger picture. It’s about expressing love, not spending money.
The best gift is you: A gift is less about just buying something. A gift reflects the giver and is an expression of gratitude and love. There are people in our lives who are important and special to us. Gifts are tangible expressions of love. A gift says, I love and care for you. So, focus less on the gift and more on the giver who wants to show love. Be thankful that someone cares about you and is in your life.
Love is not self-seeking: The fun of gift giving is trying to figure out what the other person would appreciate and enjoy. It feels good when you find that special something that makes the person smile and feel loved. As mentioned, a gift doesn’t have to cost a lot but should be meaningful and personalized. Giving gifts is one of the five love languages.
Quality and quantity matter: Another one of the five love languages is quality time. I would argue that time (quantity and quality) is something all of us need and want in a relationship. It takes time to get to know someone and be attuned to them. I once heard it said that you can’t make good tea by quickly dipping the tea bag in the water. The water won’t change to tea. This is true with relationships. Moments of togetherness will not create a deep relationship. You must do more than dipping. You must soak! So, give the gift of time to the one you love.
Give your heart. All of it, not just parts. When you become fully open to a love relationship, you are ruined (in a good way) by that person. True love is described in 1 Corinthians 13. Love is patient, kind and doesn’t boast or envy. It does not dishonor others and is not self-seeking. People who love are not easily angered nor do they keep records of wrong. Love does not rejoice in evil but rejoices in the truth. And finally, love always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. Love never fails. Use this to measure your love.
This Valentine’s Day, think of your gift of words, time, and you as tangible expressions of how you feel about a person who is in your life. Gifts simply symbolize a greater love that hopefully lives on and grows throughout the year. Every day, it is important to show expressions of love, but join the fun and do it on Valentine’s Day as well.