What comes to your mind when you think of Valentine’s Day? Chocolate, flowers, dinner, cards or candy hearts…remember those? I do. I remember they tasted chalky and read “BE MINE” or “COOL DUDE”. Today’s updated messages say, “BFF” or “TEXT ME” and the chalky texture is a thing of the past. Maybe the word that comes to your mind is friendship, love, commitment or sex. Whatever words you thought of, they came to mind because they are associated, in some way or another, with Valentine’s Day. They may differ depending on your age, gender, marital status, or secular/sacred beliefs but they all connect to this annual observance in February.
The scripture that came to my mind as Valentine’s Day 2021 approached was Ephesians 5:21-33 (NLT), more specifically verse 33. It says, “…each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband”. This is from the letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus about marriage. He began his focus on the marital relationship in verse 21, which says, “…submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” It’s important to note this because it emphasizes the importance of both, man and woman, submitting to each other. Paul’s point is that mutual submission is essential in marriage. Then, in the final verse, he accentuates the importance by using the word “must”. He clearly articulated that love and respect in the marriage relationship is not optional but is required.
It’s like Nike’s slogan says, “Just do it”. Just obey God’s word. Show love and respect in response to the counsel of God. By the way, did you know that the slogan that preceded “Just do it” was “Let’s do it”? Interesting and very fitting because “let’s” is plural while “just” can be singular or plural. My point is, the marriage relationship must to be lived plurally not singularly. Either partner shouldn’t demand that the other “just do it”. They must have the attitude and commitment to “let’s do it”.
A few questions to ponder: Are you demanding your spouse to do something? Or, are you working together on doing something? Put more succinctly, are you husbands loving your wife and you wives respecting your husband?
In 2004 Dr. Emerson Eggerich wrote the book, Love & Respect. The tag line on the cover read, “The Love She Most Desires – The Respect He Desperately Needs”. In the book, he continues to uncover the relational significance between a women’s need for love and man’s need for respect. He addresses how a couple can get on the “crazy cycle” and find themselves withholding the very thing their partner desires and needs. This is not to say that a woman doesn’t need or shouldn’t be respected or that a man doesn’t need or shouldn’t receive love. Both men and women need and deserve love and respect. But when examining Paul’s words, it’s clear that there is something connected to a woman being shown love and a man being shown respect. There are many aspects to the marriage relationship but love and respect must be a priority.
I’ll wrap up by asking one final question. What comes to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day 2021? Maybe you’ve struggled to figure out what you’re going to do. Or, maybe you’re glad that you don’t have to figure out something to do. What came to my mind was “it’s going to be different and that’s okay”. COVID has demanded we do life differently. Our choices have been reduced significantly. But, please hear what I’m saying through my words today, we still have choices and, as they relate to Valentine’s Day, we can choose to do something. So, what will you do this weekend? My hope is that, if married, you will sincerely and intentionally show love and respect to your spouse. If you’re not married, I hope you will show the proper love and respect to the person to whom you are in a relationship. And finally, I hope those of you who are not presently involved in a relationship truly know and understand how valued you are as a single person. God cares about you and wants nothing more than the best for you when it comes to your relationships, as He does all of us. I’m so grateful that God cares equally about all people.
God’s best to you Valentine.’s Day Weekend 2021!