Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day Issues

"He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" . . . Wow, are we ready for this? The world throws so much at us in the form of idealized love and the gifts that are to accompany it: one dozen perfect long stemmed red roses, the expressive mushy card, romantic unmentionable gifts, or even expensive jewelry. He better get it right, or the day is ruined . . .

But man's ways are not GOD's ways (Isaiah 55:8). GOD is Love (1 John 4:16). When other people's love fails, GOD's love endures forever (2 Chronicles 5:13). GOD will never takes His love from us (Psalm 89:33). GOD's love is secure and does not disappoint (Psalm 86:15).

As a marriage counselor, I have the privilege of being a part of couple's lives in some difficult times and some happy times. I get to see all types of expressions of love. What I have learned is that we all fall short when it comes to loving. There is not one perfect person at loving. Just a perfect GOD. We must look to Him for examples, encouragement, and strength. Does this mean we do not ask for certain needs to be met in a marriage? No not at all! But we just know that our first need is Him.

I do not intend for this blog to be a quick fix for marriage issues, that is why couples enter counseling. Nor do I ever want to sugar coat the severe pain many couples are currently enduring. I also encourage anyone who is not in a safe situation for herself/himself or her/his children to find help today. But, for those who are wanting some light hearted suggestions, this blog might be for you! One can use these ideas not just for marriage, but for parenting, and even friendships or maybe work relationships.

My number one piece of advice for marriage . . . get ready . . . this comes to you after years of seeing clients, private practice, graduate school, etc, etc. . . . . BE KIND!!! Sometimes we forget to be kind to the one we love the most. I am often amazed at how this can transform couples. Are you saying "please and thank you"? Are you hugging, kissing, being affectionate? Opening doors? Asking "How was your day?" Cooking dinner for each other? Offering to run errands for each other? You know, being KIND?

Also, I encourage couples to try to be the first to apologize (Colossians 3:12). This is a great move of the heart and takes prayer and humility. But, when we remember that even horizontal relationships are first derived from our vertical relationship with our Father, then our heart should be moved in a way that desires to be made right. If you perhaps are in the right, then seek your spouse and offer forgiveness- Hey - Remember? 70x7 (Matthew 18:22)!!!

Be intrigued by your spouse. What captivated you about him/her 50 years ago, 10 years ago, or 3 years ago? [For parents this a great question to ask about your kids, especially teens who are driving you crazy! What do I find great, wonderful, dazzling about my kid?] Get out pictures, letters, call your friends and ask them to remind you of what you used to say about your spouse when you were dating. Then tell your spouse. Remind each other- not in a nagging or hurtful way, in a fun way. Continue by going on and discovering what captivates you now. This is basically your chance to brag on each other face to face. Is this hard? Well, that just means you need to practice it and do it more!

Relationships can be very rewarding. They can bring great joy and great pain. The ultimate relationship is with Christ. He is great love, great faithfulness, and great security. I pray this Valentine's Day you have a heart full of His love for you!

"O Perfect Love, thank You for loving me. Help me to love You more deeply. Help me to love those You have placed in my life as you would have me to love them. Thank You that my hope is in You."


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