The Worst Valentine’s Presents EVER!

Hey, it’s Valentine’s Day!

love-903178_1920Regardless of who St. Valentine actually was (yes, he was a real person in human history), the day has become a day for Americans to demonstrate romantic affection towards one another.

As is the custom with significant others, I had in mind to buy wife wife a gift to demonstrate my own affection. Our conversation when something like this:

V-Day

That got me thinking, “What do other people think are the best AND worst gift ideas for Valentine’s Day?” So at church we did something a little different and had some breakout groups. Half the room was to come up with the BEST gifts and the other half was to come up with the WORST gifts.

Some of the Best:

  1. Spa Day
  2. Arranged Baby Sitting
  3. Partner’s favorite thing (guitar, car, etc.)
  4. Tickets to a loved event (sports, music, etc.)

And some of the Worst:

  1. Exercise equipment that wasn’t requested (hey, honey, maybe you should work out more…)
  2. Soap
  3. Socks
  4. Waterbed (and when we split up he took the waterbed with him)

Here’s the thing that bugs me about Valentine’s Day: it’s superficial and shallow. It reduces “love” to romantic feelings and affection. Thinking about love in those terms sells short real love. To use the words of the classic rock band Boston, it’s “more than a feelin’.”

So what is love?

John 3:16,arguably one of the best known Bible verses of all time, says:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

The way our language is today I hear people talk about the passage as if God loved the world “SO MUCH.” But that is a poor understanding of the word “so.” The real sense of the word means “in this way.” You could rephrase the verse:

For this is how God loved the world – he gave his only Son….

Love is not a feeling. It’s not about affection and romance. Real love is about concrete action the pursues the well-being of the other. Real love can be costly and is demonstrated by self-sacrifice. Jesus says again in John 15:13:

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

sky-195430_1920Man, that kind of sacrifice is moving. It’s Jesus on the cross, paying a price we could never afford to pay on a debt that wasn’t his own. We also see examples in our lives. It’s the Marine or Soldier who jumps on a grenade in order to save the rest of the squad. It’s the parent that jumps in front of a moving vehicle in order to push her child out of the way.

But it’s easy to act in loving ways towards people on our side and towards our loved ones. Jesus takes it a step further.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. ~ Matthew 5

We are called to ACT in loving ways towards others – even towards those who might loath us. This Valentine’s Day please celebrate your affection towards your significant other. That’s a god thing. But remember that REAL love isn’t dependent on affection and emotion, which can shift from day to day.

Real love is a self-sacrificial pursuit of the well-being of another.

For reflection:

  • How have you seen self-sacrificial love played out in your life?
  • Have you ever been able to “love” someone even when you didn’t feel like it?

8 Things Every Wife Needs to Do

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I believe the Bible calls us to live in mutually submissive and mutually controlling relationships. I am not my own, but I belong to my wife. She belongs to me. I need to submit to my wife’s needs, wants, and desires. She needs to submit to mine. I believe the God calls us to this kind of mutuality.

My wife and I teach a 9 week marriage-enrichment class at our church. In our marriage class we split the men and women into gender breakout groups to discuss questions and issues. Yesterday I shared about asking the women to identify 8 things their husbands do that they greatly appreciate. We also asked the men to identify 8 things their wives do that they greatly appreciate.

**Keep in mind that this is simply a list of things that the men in our class appreciated about their spouses. This is not a “MUST-DO if you want to be a Godly wife” kind of article! Please pack away your guns and your feminism and enjoy what these men appreciate about their spouses.

1. She is organized – Not all men are a mess. Some guys are fastidious. But others of us rely on the organization of our spouses to keep us from being a heaping mess. Wives, if your husband is the kind of guy who needs you to be organized don’t fight it. Embrace it. And know that we really do appreciate the fact that one of us has it together. Men, don’t use this as an excuse to be a slob. She’s not your momma, she’s your wife.

2. Takes good care of the kids – I hate to play into gender stereotypes…but here I go. Obviously it’s not true for all couples, but in my marriage (and for other couples I know) the wife is a better nurturer and caretaker than the husband. For example, let’s talk about puke. When my kids are feeling crummy and start to vomit my wife will be in the thick of it (pun definitely intended). I’ve seen her throw out her hand to catch barf before it can hit other stuff. o_O That is SO not me. Men appreciate the kind of care our wives provide for the kids.

3. Takes care of me when I’m sick – Similar to above, we appreciate it when our wives care for us in our sickness. Honestly, when I’m sick I’m a bigger baby than my kids are. The whole world shuts down when I get the flu. And there she is, bringing me toast, hot tea, medicine, whatever I need.

4. Puts me and the kids first – I’m sure there are plenty of women who are total jerks, but I daily see wives and moms put their families first. It’s an incredible trait that more of us should have. We appreciate it.

5. Gives me space and freedom with my friends – Some of the men in our group felt the need to spend “time with the guys” and appreciated it when their spouses gave them space to do that.

6. Cooks good meals – I’m reminded of the Carl’s Jr./Hardees commercial:



7. Thinks of others before herself
– This is nearly identical to number 4, but someone wanted to reiterate it 😉

8. She’s a great cleaner – Last but not least, one of our guys wanted to share how much he appreciated his wife cleaning the house. While this is an admirable trait, this is not excuse for us to be slobs, men!

Well, there you have it. It’s what our class came up with. You want a healthy and happy marriage? Put in the work to make it that way.

How about you? What else would you add to this list?

If you be so inclined, give me a follow: