"Some pray to marry the man they love,
My prayer will somewhat vary.
I humbly pray to Heaven above
That I love the man I marry."
- Rose Pastor Stokes
I found this quotation in a book of quotations for women and immediately fell in love with it. Everyone thinks of love on their wedding day, but how many think of it every day. When you take your wedding vows you promise to love your spouse in all situations. That is often not easy. Can you fall out of love because your spouse leaves the toilet seat up in the middle of the night? Can you love your spouse when he/she is ranting and raving at you? Can you love your spouse when he/she makes fun of you in front of family and friends? I could go on and on here, but I will move forward because by now you have the idea.
How are the young people to know how to love unless they are taught about it? I shudder to think of the picture that young people, and everyone for that matter, get of love these days. You have only to watch television or listen to the news to find out the sorry state of matrimony. Stars and athletes trade marriage partners as often as they trade clothes. Custody of children is always an issue.
It may not be Sodom and Gomorrah, but believe me it is getting close these days. Some children have two mothers or two fathers. Some have only one resident parent. Children are abused by family members. That's what was going on when the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
The family has taken a major blow these last few years. I look back to the Bible to find what is spelled out there as a family. The Bible is not out of date or irrelevant. The values taught are still pertinent today. The New Testament is as vocal about right and wrong as the Old Testament.
Love is not merely sexual attraction; although that is part of it. There is so much more. The kind of love that couples who have been married for years share, is what God intended when he made Eve as the helpmate to Adam.
I think I really found out about love when my husband was sick. Illness is not pretty. You are confronted with an individual that you hardly know at times. The spouse who is sick is nothing like the one you married, yet in your marriage vows you promised to love in sickness and in health.
When I think of love I do not think of how it is portrayed in the movies. I look at the older couple who wanders into the hospital arm-in-arm sometimes even holding each other up. That is love that has endured for a long time. They have lived with what life sent their way and still survived. They have experienced the highs and lows of love and come out on top.
I look at the couple who support each even when one is physically challenged. The book I am reading was written by Joni Erickson Tada. She was paralyzed in an accident years ago, but her enthusiasm for life is contagious. She writes from the heart.
I think a good assignment for a young couple about to be married is to document others that they think are in love. What characteristics do they notice? How do they know the couple is in love? Do they notice a common characteristic in the couples they find?
Some churches provide couples to mentor those preparing for marriage. If couples are open and honest there is much to learn. The day to day in the life of a married couple is not glamorous. Factor in a couple of children and even more of the glamor is gone. Raising children is hard work. It takes a lot of energy and a lot of sacrifice.
Valentine's Day is all about love. Couples look for just the right card, just the right gift. I was not a gift buyer. Instead of going to town to buy a gift, I cooked. For Valentine's Day I cooked what my husband liked to eat the most. As the children grew older I planned special surprises for them like heart shaped gelatin, cookies, or cupcakes.
On a tight budget it was the best I could do. My meals were not expensive. I went to the pantry or to the freezer and found something to make a delicious meal.
I do remember a Valentine's Day later on when we did go out on a "date". Since it was a unique experience, I remember it. I remember taking my husband to Eats' Caf for a special dinner. Although Eats' had fabulous food it was nothing to look at. I would not have chosen the place if another teacher and I had not visited it before.
You went up a long narrow stairway. The dining area was anything but glamorous. The dcor was simple. We were lucky enough to sit in the raised portion near the front of the building. That night we each ordered different things and took turns tasting them. It was a romantic evening that I will never forget.
If you plan to celebrate Valentine's Day remember that the main feature of the day is love. Love whatever your spouse has planned even if it is just a quiet night at home.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org