If you’d known me in high school or college, you could have heard my rant about how Valentine’s Day was a ploy used by greeting card companies, florists, and candy makers to guilt people into purchasing things they didn’t need, all to express the love they could have been expressing 364 other days of the year. I gave versions of this same rant my first several years of marriage as well.
And then I became a marriage and sex blogger.
Valentine’s Day is huuuuge in this world. So many couples celebrate this day and want fresh or practical suggestions on how to commemorate their special love. It’s a great time to speak about how to romance and honor your spouse, because people are listening.
Not to mention that sales of marriage and sex books, affiliate-linked products, and more increase this time of year. That’s just a fact. And on that note…hey, look, a great place to buy lingerie! (And they’re offering 25% off on lingerie and boxers through Valentine’s Day with the code LOVE25.)
Anyway, over the years, I’ve dug myself out of my cynicism, written many posts about Valentine’s Day, and learned to appreciate it as a holiday with origins in a lovely tale about a priest who continued to perform wedding ceremonies despite a ban by the king—because he believed in marriage. Here are those (many) past posts:
- “Go Big” Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spouse
- Valentine’s Day for the Rest of Us
- Does He Just Want Sex for Valentine’s Day?
- 7 Things You Should Say to Your Spouse on Valentine’s Day
- 13 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts from Your Grocery Store
- 7 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts You Can Make
- Marriage Not Going Great? Go Ahead and Celebrate Valentine’s.
- 5 FREE Valentine’s Day Gifts for Your Spouse
- How to Make Your Valentine Gift Meaningful
- Do You Have to Celebrate Valentine’s Day?
- Is Valentine’s Day Too Much Pressure?
- 8 Sweet Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spicy Wife
- 8 Cool Valentine’s Gift for Your Hot Hubby
- 5 Holidays to Celebrate with Your Spouse (Besides Valentine’s)
Here’s some simple advice.
But today, just a few days before Valentine’s Day, I want to offer simple advice about how to treat this holiday. Actually, it’s not even my advice. It’s ancient advice, with great wisdom. Here it is:
That’s from the New Living Translation, and here are some other translations of that same verse:
- “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (NIV).
- “Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor” (CSB).
- “Be devoted to each other with mutual affection. Excel at showing respect for each other” (ISV).
What is extravagant love?
People often talk about unconditional love, but I prefer the phrase extravagant love. To me that connotes going above and beyond, the same prescription here translated in words like “take delight” and “outdo” and “above yourselves” and “excel.”
On this holiday that focuses on romantic love, maybe it’s a good time to take stock and ask how we’re doing on this one with our spouse. Are we showing them extravagant love? Love that goes above and beyond what we’ve done before, what we think we’re capable or, what we believe they even deserve.On this holiday that focuses on romantic love, maybe it's a good time to take stock and ask how we're doing on this one with our spouse. Are we showing them extravagant love? via @hotholyhumorous #Valentines #marriage Click To Tweet
But here’s the real core of the matter: You can’t do extravagant love on your own.
You can do extravagant gestures, extravagant gifts, extravagant romance. But day-in, day-out, through-all-life’s-challenges, trying to show extravagant love to your spouse in your power can wear you out.
If you want a really great Valentine’s Day, and marriage, ask yourself what it means to show genuine affection to your spouse and to take delight in honoring them. What would extravagant love look like? And then ask God to pour His love into you so that you can pour it back out to your beloved.
I don’t think I can give better advice than that. Happy Valentine’s to you all!