‘But the greatest of these is love.’

I’ve never been fully pro- or fully anti-Valentine’s Day. Some people have strong opinions either way, but I’ve simply used the day as an excuse to enjoy myself with friends or a significant other. The core purpose, for me, is that love be exchanged. I don’t beg for a $200 dinner, two dozen roses or a diamond necklace so heavy I can’t lift my head. All I want on Valentine’s Day is to show someone – or someones – my love, and (I hope) receive a gesture of that person’s love as well.

This year marks the third Valentine’s Day Cory and I have shared, and the last we’ll share before becoming husband and wife. But I actually prefer saying that we will “become one,” not two completely separate entities. Yes, we will still be individuals with different opinions, likes, dislikes, wants, needs, etc., but because Cory and I are Christians, we believe that God designed marriage for a man and woman to be joined together as one as a symbol of Jesus Christ and the church, but also joined with God as a symbol of the Trinity (God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit).

I’m going somewhere with this, I promise.

Many of you may be familiar with the oft-quoted Bible verses at weddings, 1 Corinthians 13. You know, the whole “Love is patient, love is kind” stuff. Confession time to you from this Christian gal: I don’t want that Scripture read at our wedding. It’s been used so much that home decor has latched onto it as simply another inspirational saying, and hardly anyone knows the context and what Paul was writing about. He wasn’t talking about marriage (though the principles can certainly apply). He was trying to get the church in Corinth, and thus the rest of us down through the ages, to turn away from divisive behavior among ourselves and love one another.

And that’s what I choose to highlight on Valentine’s Day: love for everyone. Grand or simple gesture. My goodness, even just a Valentine in the mail yesterday from a good friend of mine totally lifted my spirits. (Thanks, Melissa!) I’m not her husband, but she still showed me love.

If I speak in the tongues of men or angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

I can write *thought-provoking* blog posts all day long, but if I’m a jerk to you in person, what difference does a blog make?

…and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I go to church every time the doors are open but I’m not willing to pick up some ice cream for Cory when I know he’s had a bad day, what have I accomplished?

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Who cares if I consistently tithe just so I can feel good about myself and like I’m “doing Christianity” better than someone in the pew next to me?

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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Cory and I just bought a house. That’s a big chunk taken from both our bank accounts. We’ve both been a little stressed, mainly because all this home ownership business is new to us. And I’ll be honest, I’ve snapped at Cory over little things lately. I really didn’t mean to, and after it happened a few times (to him and to my mom), I realized I had to get a hold of myself and start showing some love.

For the past two years, Cory has gotten me jewelry for Valentine’s Day. About a month and a half ago, as we neared the closing date for the house, I suggested we just do dinner at home together for Valentine’s Day. I recognized that Cory has probably had more stress than I have because he’s actually living in the house by himself until I join him in June. He’s had to move, and without my stuff there, the house is half-finished, and I know he feels out-of-sorts.

So, to make Valentine’s Day relaxing and private, I’m making hamburgers, one of Cory’s main food groups. Nothing fancy, pretty simple, but it’s how I want to show him love.

Please don’t take this as me tooting my own horn and directing a spotlight onto my ~humility.~ I just know there can be a lot of pressure surrounding Valentine’s Day – to make it perfect, to make sure that special someone knows how much you care, to prove that money is no object when it comes to love – but there doesn’t need to be.

I don’t care if it’s your husband, your girlfriend, your best friend, your coworker, or the Burger King cashier. Just show someone some love today.

Love never fails.

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