What to not forget about on Valentine’s Day! 1 Thing I want you to remember about February 14!

A week ago, I preached a message about rest.  In that message, I had made a statement about the issues of vacations and sabbaticals.

Would the urgency of vacations and sabbaticals, as well as the length of them, be necessary if we knew how to rest on a consistent, healthy basis?

It doesn’t mean I don’t believe in them (vacations and sabbaticals). I highly recommend them for everyone.  But when you don’t have a consistent intake of rest, you don’t get the most out of the times away because you have to spend to much of the time trying to acclimate yourself to the new surroundings.  I hear it all the time, “I took me 2-3 days just to relax and decompress so that I could enjoy vacations.”

I would give a similar statement on this holiday that comes every February 14…

Would the emphasis, urgency, and stress of Valentines be necessary if we knew how to be romantic to our spouse on a consistent, healthy basis?

It seems we can take our spouse for granted.  We tax our marriages with little time for us as a couple to rest and recreate.  Words of affirmation are few and far between because, “my spouse knows what I feel.” Sex is only reserved for “moods” and is looked as optional.  It’s no wonder why people binge on this one day a year (well twice IF you remember Sweetest Day in October).  Spouses stress out on plans and details.  Because of the holiday, you end of over-spending in such excess with the hopes that your tax return will help take away some of the sting.  Expectations are built up, and if not handled correctly, can be let down. There’s a lot of pressure in Valentine’s Day.  Why? It tends to be one of the few days that couples stop the world around them to focus upon each other.

Thus, the 1 thing I want you to remember about this Valentine’s Day is:

The romantic response of Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be reserved JUST for Valentine’s Day. 

During premarital/marital counseling, I love to ask couples, “What the definition of romance?”  I always make the groom/husband answer first.  That way, if the bride/wife answers first, he can’t say, “What she said.” I hear all sorts of answers. Flowers. Dates. Candy.  Movie.  Sex.  Those are all good answers, but they may not be the right ones.  Why? The answers might not be completely romantic to their spouse.  AND, what does Valentine’s Day get filled with? Flowers. Dates. Candy.  Movie.  Sex.  Again, not against those awesome things, but they may not speak romance to your spouse.

Can I give you a different AND simple definition of romance?  Romance: Serving your spouse’s love languages.  

That’s it.  Even in its simplicity, there’s tremendous complexity.  Why?  Two words:Serve” and “Spouse’s” These two key words help divert your attention off of what you intended to get out of romance and puts complete attention upon someone else.  You don’t give what you would want. You serve what speaks to your spouse.  It’s why flowers and candy might be what you would want, but is it what she wants?  A movie might be what’s on your mind, but is it on his mind?

This is why couples gorge themselves on V-Day.  They’re romantically starved throughout the year and February 14 is the buffet for them.  They will feast on the romance of the evening. Why? “Who knows when my spouse will get romantic again?”

I’m all about celebrating Valentine’s Day. It’s fun to have that day a year where, it seems, the whole world stops to focus upon couples.  But, for the sake of your marriage, would you make a decision to pour romance into your marriage throughout the year instead of the holidays that demand it (V-Day, Anniversary, Sweetest Day). Would you find time to, consistently, pour romance into your spouse by serving their love language?

“But if I meet my spouse’s needs but my needs aren’t met?”

My response: If you have TWO people who openly communicate and serve each other’s love languages, that question will never be asked.

If Valentine’s Day is the one day you pour into romance, then you and your spouse are romantically starving each other.   It’s time to move the romantic pressure off of Valentine’s Day and spread it over 12 months.

I leave you with an amazing verse from Hebrews 13:16

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Did you see that? When you serve, you please God.  When you romance your spouse (serve their love language), you please the heart of our Heavenly Father.

My Valentine’s advice: Go out on a date with your spouse.  Have a conversation and a make a commitment together that February 14 is NOT gonna be the end of the romance.  It’s going to be a fresh start, the launch pad, for your marriage to consistently serving each other’s love languages and having a marriage that pleases the heart of God.

Enjoy.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Marriage blog: “Too busy: The art of abusing with neglect.”

Sobering moments.  There’s no other words for those times or events that send us back to earth to the real world we are living in.  This is what I read in an article that my youth pastor sent me.

Long story short (you can read it in its entirety here), a CEO was known for working insane hours. His alarm clock would go off at 2:45am and he’d be in the office at 4:15am, before returning home around 7pm.  I assume he was a coffee drinker and/or one of the greatest contributors to the rise of the popularity of “5 Hour Energy”.

He states,

About a year ago, I asked my daughter several times to do something – brush her teeth I think it was – with no success. I reminded her that it was not so long ago that she would have immediately responded, and I wouldn’t have had to ask her multiple times; she would have known from my tone of voice that I was serious.

She asked me to wait a minute, went to her room and came back with a piece of paper. It was a list that she had compiled of her important events and activities that I had missed due to work commitments. Talk about a wake-up call.

According to the article, the list she brought him contained 22 items.  These included her first day at school and first soccer match of the season all the way to a parent-teacher meeting at a Halloween parade.

And the school year wasn’t over.

busy

Can our spouses write us a similar list?  Can our kids?

You may not have the job demand of the CEO of Pimco.  You may have already forgiven yourself because you’ve compared yourself to the article saying, “at least I’m not that bad” and decided to do nothing about neglecting your marriage or your children.  But that’s exactly what the Devil would love for you to do.  Rationalize the neglect.  Just understand something: when you rationalize, you tell yourself “rational lies”.  Most couples are not determined to drift.  Drifting happens with neglect.

It doesn’t happen just from jobs.  We used hobbies, home responsibilities, friendships, our favorite TV shows, sports, and yes, even church activities as things to fill our time and steal precious moments away from the people who matter most.  If you look at that list, none of them are bad or even sinful.  But when the priority of them is a higher priority than your spouse or your children, you need to rethink what Jesus has called you to. Everything in our life has demands.  It is in our priorities that those demands are funneled and filtered as to not abuse our loved ones with neglect.

There is nothing that this CEO could have done about the past but repent.  Repentance is necessary.  But repentance is meaningless if it doesn’t change the trajectory of your life.  Your actions must lived out your contrite heart.

Ephesians 5:15-16 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Today is the day to respond.  Today is the day to stop the neglect.  You have seasons to enjoy with your family and the challenge of today from Ephesians 5 is to “make the best use of the time.”  The only way to do that is to approach it “not as unwise but as wise.”  And, outside of your relationship with Christ (which all healthy relationships spring out of), your family is the wisest relationship you can and should pour yourself into.

Got some regrets about the neglect?  Pour into your spouse.  Seek forgiveness with a repentant heart.  Let your life as a spouse and/or parent erase the lists that have accumulated from neglect.  Today, start a new story with them.

Thanks for letting me ramble…