Well, another Valentine’s Day has rolled around. It’s a day of romance, emphasize the jewelry stores, florists, chocolatiers, purveyors of greeting cards, and other businesses that stand to gain much from this commercialized holiday. Overall, they’ve been extremely profitable, because one topic that has dominated women’s thoughts, conversations, time, and energy since the beginning of time is romantic relationships. We’re either trying to find a relationship, trying to survive a relationship, or trying to get out of a relationship. Some of our struggle reflects the reality that each woman is one imperfect human being (no matter how saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost she may be) attempting to create a deeply meaningful and loving relationship with another imperfect human being. Often, we’re seeking a romantic relationship to heal some other relationship wounds from our past. Perhaps we were neglected or abandoned by a father, so we subconsciously seek someone who can serve as a father figure and fill the voids of childhood. Or maybe we felt unloved and ignored in general and desire the constant attention and companionship of a man who can finally validate our humanity. When we enter into a prospective relationship with these emotional needs and expectations, we are already creating an insatiable dynamic, one that is impossible to fully sustain.
In our 21st century society as we have become more and more obsessed with the self and how others can meet our needs and wants, a true, loving relationship does not deny the needs of the self, but is very concerned with how to deeply love the other. Love often requires the sacrifice of time, money, energy, and even will. We must be careful, however, to judge whether in the midst of our sacrifices, we are being loved in return, or merely exploited. Some men, possessing their own wounds, are nonetheless skilled in presenting themselves artfully, speaking eloquently and persuasively, and behaving charmingly—for a while. However, if these characteristics are not connected to his essence, he cannot sustain them, and may even blame you when things fall apart. Marriage is designed to be collaborative, and while each couple negotiates among themselves the particulars of their roles and responsibilities, both should share in constructing a strong and positive life together.
On this day of celebration of love, let us keep God’s perspective on what love truly is. While it is fun to be on the receiving end of flowers, chocolates, sparkly jewels, cuddly teddy bears, and a romantic dinner with fine wine, God’s notions of love are much, much deeper and broader. As we like to say in church, God loved us so much that he GAVE. Whether or not you have a valentine, focus on being a vessel of God’s agape, that unconditional love that freely gives. Payday not here yet? No worries! Do you have any extra smiles, hugs, or kisses on hand? Whose day can you make a bit brighter? In the words of Take 6, one of my favorite singing groups, spread love!
Á votre santé (“To your health”),