The Truth About Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine’s Day. The name comes from two saints in the early church. One St. Valentine was a priest who lived in Rome during the 200’s. He was jailed and later beheaded for aiding persecuted Christians. The other St. Valentine was the bishop of Terni, about 60 miles from Rome. He was beheaded in 273 A.D. for converting a Roman family to Christianity.

If you want to know what Valentine’s Day is all about, it is sharing the good news of Christ, in spite of opposition. It is caring enough to share that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life; that he offers eternal life to all who are willing to accept Him. So, as you give your valentine’s cards, also offer a prayer and seek to plant a seed in the heart of the ones you love.

“What Have You Done With My Husband?”

Next week is when we turn our hearts toward love. Valentine’s Day has been around since 496 A.D.  The most common expression of love is the Valentine card, but candy, and flowers are also common gifts. My friend Chris Fabry has established a tradition that I like. He stretches Valentine’s Day into Valentine’s Week.

He gives his wife a gift each day for a week, ending with Valentine’s Day. Just like the 12 days of Christmas. He celebrates 7 days of love. For all the husbands who are listening, there’s an idea that could spark new life in your marriage. Start today with a candy kiss, tomorrow give her a small snicker’s bar, then a rose. By the middle of the week  she’ll be asking, “What’s going on?” Your answer?  “It’s all about love.”

"What Have You Done With My Husband?"

Next week that we turn our hearts toward love. Valentine’s Day has been around since 496 A.D.  The most common expression of love is the Valentine card, but candy, and flowers are also common gifts. My friend Chris Fabry has established a tradition that I like. He stretches Valentine’s Day into Valentine’s Week.

He gives his wife a gift each day for a week, ending with Valentine’s Day. Just like the 12 days of Christmas. He celebrates 7 days of love. For all the husbands who are listening, there’s an idea that could spark new life in your marriage. Start today with a candy kiss, tomorrow give her a small snicker’s bar, then a rose. By the middle of the week  she’ll be asking, “What’s going on?” Your answer?  “It’s all about love.”

Try Writing

If you find it difficult to share your feelings with your spouse, try writing your thoughts and feelings in a letter to your spouse. Many times it is easier to write than it is to speak. When you become comfortable writing the letters and your spouse responds with comfort and encouragement, you will eventually learn to verbalize your feelings.

Writing can be a big step in the process of learning how to communicate openly about your ‘inner self’. After writing a few letters, you might try reading the letter to your spouse. Step by step you can learn to share your thoughts and feelings. A listening ear on the part of your spouse often provides the encouragement to continue to communicate.

Are Negative Emotions Sinful?

The non-communicating spouse is not always the husband. I remember the husband who said to me, “My wife keeps everything inside.  She simply shuts down, especially when she is hurt or angry.” Later in the counseling office, his wife said, “I wish I didn’t get angry, and depressed. I hate myself when I feel that way.”

I discovered that this wife had been taught as a child that Christians don’t get angry or depressed. When I told her that Jesus experienced both anger and depression she was shocked. Negative emotions are not sinful. The fastest way to process these feelings is to talk about them. When we talk about them, they tend to go away. When we hold them inside, they tend to stay.

Don’t Repeat Childhood Mistakes

Patterns learned in childhood are often hard to break when we become adults. One wife shared with me that her husband had gone silent after she told him that she wanted to go to the beach with some of the ladies who worked with her. We later learned that this was a pattern he had developed as a child. When he went silent, his parents would become concerned and usually give in to his desires.

Now, he was using the same technique to control his wife’s behavior. In my book, Desperate Marriages, I talk about the necessity of discovering these childhood patterns and changing them. It’s not easy. It requires loving confrontation, but the results are well worth the effort. Repeating the mistakes of childhood is not the road to a growing marriage.

Don't Repeat Childhood Mistakes

Patterns learned in childhood are often hard to break when we become adults. One wife shared with me that her husband had gone silent after she told him that she wanted to go to the beach with some of the ladies who worked with her. We later learned that this was a pattern he had developed as a child. When he went silent, his parents would become concerned and usually give in to his desires.

Now, he was using the same technique to control his wife’s behavior. In my book, Desperate Marriages, I talk about the necessity of discovering these childhood patterns and changing them. It’s not easy. It requires loving confrontation, but the results are well worth the effort. Repeating the mistakes of childhood is not the road to a growing marriage.

Why the Silent Treatment?

If you have ever received the ‘silent treatment’ from your spouse, how did you respond? Did you remain silent also? Or, did you lash out in anger and demand that your spouse talk to you? Neither of these extremes is likely to make things better. The answer lies in understanding why your spouse has gone silent.

Sometimes it is an effort to control your behavior. You are doing something that they don’t like and they are trying to make you miserable. On the other hand it may be that they have difficulty sharing negative feelings of hurt or disappointment. If you discover and address the reason behind the behavior, you are likely to have more success in re-establishing conversation.

Making Love Better

Perhaps you have noticed that men and women are extremely different. No where is that difference more pronounced than in our sexuality. Men are attracted by sight; women by touch and kind words. Men focus on intercourse; women on foreplay. Men think that sex will heal the hurts; women want the hurts healed before they can respond sexually.

With all these differences, what is the secret to mutual sexual fulfillment in marriage? In one word—love. Making sex an act of love—that is God’s plan. Our attitude should be, “How can I pleasure you?” We are not to force anything on our spouse. When we force our spouse out of selfish desires, we have ceased to love. Love is tender and kind; never demanding.

Three Purposes of Marriage

What is the purpose of sex in marriage? What was God’s design? I want to suggest three reasons clearly revealed in Scripture.

First, and most obvious is procreation or reproduction. It was God’s design to provide a safe haven in which to rear children.

A second purpose is companionship. Sex is designed to be a bonding experience. The biblical term is: The two become ‘one flesh’. It is deep deep companionship. I believe that is why it is reserved for marriage. It is our unique expression that we are ‘one’.

A third purpose for sex in marriage is for pleasure. If you doubt this, read The Song of Solomon in the Bible. God’s design was mutual sexual pleasure.