Wendy Warner is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in private practice at Trinity Family Counseling Center. In addition to working with couples, children, and individuals, Wendy also enjoys teaching the premarital classes for all couples planning to marry at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Macomb.
It’s the day after Valentine’s Day, and many are feeling disappointed with their experience. He didn’t sweep her off her feet as she had envisioned, and she wasn’t into being a lingerie runway model as he had fantasized. That is what our culture tells us Valentine’s Day is about… gifts, romance, an expensive dinner and incredible sexual intimacy to top it all off.
Those expectations set most of us up for disappointment since they are based on superficial symbols of love. It’s like we buy into the hype; if we have a good Valentine’s Day, all is well in our relationship. And if it falls short, we must have a problem.
But what about the heart of love? I don’t mean the chocolate kind, I mean the putting each other first, I want to know you deeply kind of love that lasts more than just one day in February. When we define our love as what we receive from the other, we are destined for dissatisfaction because we are using the wrong model. The best model ever given was written two thousand years ago.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
Most of us would trade in a lot of chocolate and roses for a relationship that followed this model:
She forgot to pick up the dry cleaning? He patiently and kindly says he can get it on his way home tomorrow. She receives a bonus at work? He celebrates her big news without a hint of envy or thoughts of himself. He lost weight while she is struggling to do so? He will not rub that in her face or make her feel badly about herself. They get in a fight? They are not too proud to say I’m sorry. Other wives at the party are tearing down their husbands? She affirms what she admires about him in front of others. She asks about his day and listens closely before talking about hers. She chooses to hold her tongue from angry words when he is late for dinner. He does not list all the times she has let him down. She does not look for ways to condemn him; she looks for opportunities to build him up. He will stand up for her to his family. They will not need to check each other’s phones because they trust each other. They don’t threaten divorce; they say we are going to make it. They make mistakes in their relationship and they commit to taking responsibility and growing stronger as a couple.
This is the kind of love that wakes up each day committed to the other in ways large and small. This is the kind of love that recognizes the damage of hurtful words and strives for the self-control not to say them. This love sacrifices her first choice of taking a hot bath to watch a hockey game with her husband when he asks. This love says I find you more attractive than anyone else, and I desire you. This love is strengthened by asking God to guide their relationship and seeks his help in difficult times. This love says if we are struggling, let’s find support through our church, mentor or counselor rather than building a wall between us.
I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. But if you didn’t, there are 364 days left in the year to apply this model that will have a far deeper impact on your relationship.