February 17, 2015

Valentines Day: Love or . . .

A serious decline in the meaning of love is making Valentine’s a day to be forgotten rather than remembered. In concert with the decline in the Christmas message, love has become a hollow shell that cannot withstand the stresses laid upon it. Just as many lonely people wish they could sleep from December the first until the New Year, too may women would gladly skip Valentine’s Day and the memories it evokes.

Time magazine reports that to celebrate Valentine’s Day, a San Francisco zoo is letting people adopt a cockroach or scorpion in the name of their ex. My guess is more women than men will try it. My experience is that, as a general rule, women give more to a marriage than men—thanks to a compelling nurturing nature. Someone has said that there are no frigid women, only inattentive men.

As long as love and marriage is seen as a place to be served instead of a place to serve, where men need to give their lives daily for their wives, true love will be replaced with a veneer that, husbands hope, gives sufficient incentive to get what they want. Valentine’s Day, like Mother’s Day, easily becomes a substitute for three hundred other days of neglect.

Well, now I’ve let the dogs out, how do I really feel about my Valentine? Inadequate is the first word that surfaces. Why did I take so long to understand what a husband’s love really is? That’s as much an upward learning curve for Christians as its decline is for an unbelieving culture. 

For me, even sixty years of marriage is insufficient. Although I sense it, I doubt I’ll ever show my full appreciation for her years of selfless service. Not a lack of desire, but lack of ability and the distraction of other things, however necessary. That has something to do with my fallen nature—not an excuse, any more than a fallen nature is an excuse for sin. 

But I hope recognition of my inadequacy will at least explain my failure. All parents in later years regret those ways they failed their children. Can I ever shake off a similar regret of failing my wife? That leads me to seek forgiveness from my Valentine—a broken expression of my love. 

Come to think of it, perhaps that—forgiveness—is the real meaning of Valentine’s Day.


  1. What humble, loving thoughts, Bryan. I, for one, appreciate the daily helping, loving ways of my husband more than expensive and elaborate gifts on a few occasions during the year. I'm not saying I don't appreciate and enjoy the gifts. I do, but the help my husband gives me on a regular basis and the way he makes life easier for me counts even more.

  2. "love has become a hollow shell that cannot withstand the stresses laid upon it."

    This resonated with me, Bryan. I am hugely blessed to have a marriage that rings true to scripture's description of what it should be.

    Your words convict me, though, to take this further afield. How do I show love to others in my life? Co workers, authorities, neighbours? Some are easy to love. With some, it's easier to walk away. But some remain right there, in my face, pushing my buttons.... Only by seeking Jesus can I summon a love that can withstand the stresses of this world.

  3. I'm sure Ann loved this post as much as the rest of us! Well said!

  4. Your comments could apply to both husband and wife. We both need to serve each other 100%, put the other first, and forgive each other. Your thoughts are truly Valentinian. Is that a word?!

  5. Such a gentle way to remind us that we are always in a process of growing and learning and getting better at life, Bryan!


Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.