February 13, 2014

Divine Valentines

Gary Thomas — 
photo: Ashley Campbell Photography, Creative Commons

photo: Ashley Campbell Photography, Creative Commons

If you want to make this Valentines’ Day special, in addition to shopping for the lingerie and chocolate, spend some extra time worshipping God.

It’s not that I have anything against chocolate or lingerie (especially lingerie), but nearly three decades of marriage has taught me that personal worship is an absolute must to sustain a strong marriage. It comes down to this: if I stop receiving from God, I start demanding from others. Instead of appreciating and serving others, I become disappointed in them.

But when my heart is filled with God’s love and acceptance, I’m set free to love instead of worrying about being loved.

I’m motivated to serve instead of becoming obsessed about whether I’m being served. I’m moved to cherish instead of feeling unappreciated.

There’s something about Valentine’s Day that, if the relationship is strong, makes romance feel wonderfully intense. But if the marriage is going through a tough patch, Valentine’s Day, with all the expectations, can make it feel even worse. That’s why we need to be spiritually prepared.

I’ve heard women complain about their husbands not being spiritual leaders, and husbands complain about their wives’ lack of sexual initiation, but the reality is, whenever we place our happiness in the hands of another human being, we virtually guarantee some degree of disappointment.

That’s why worship sets us free; it meets our most basic needs

—to rest in the fact that we are known, loved, have a purpose, and our eternal destiny is secure—so that lesser needs serve the role of an occasional dessert rather than our main meal.

If you expect your marriage to make up for your lack of spiritual intimacy and connectedness with God, you’ll bury it with your expectations and disappointment.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve found a constant formula at work in my life: the less I receive from God, the more I demand from my spouse. The more I receive from God, the more I am set free to give to my wife.

The best thing you can do for your marriage this Valentine’s Day is to fill your soul with God first.  Offer a divine Valentine, revel in God’s love for you, and then watch your earthly relationship take on a new delight.

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