Thursday, February 11, 2010

Be My Valentine

The variety of traditions surrounding the "Feast of St. Valentine" are intriguing. The only one I'm working with is the one that identifies St. Valentine as a Roman priest in the 4th century who was martyred for performing marriages. The song bird option, the pairing of the turtle doves option and all the rest are fine (and kind of cute) but I believe that human love can meet its fullest expression in the covenant of marriage and, therefore, I like the idea of celebrating the life and death of a person who understood that same principle.
Marriage is under fire in our culture. We live in a time that is so enamored with the intoxicating feeling of "being in love" that the deeper, broader and Biblical understanding of love is lost. That intoxication eventually leads to a hang over. What happens when the feeling of "being in love" goes away or takes a vacation? What happens when it is not "fun" anymore? What happens when I get infatuated with another person while married? In American culture what usually happens is adultery, divorce and disillusionment. What if the problem is not marriage but how we understand love?
The basis of a healthy marriage is not the feeling of love but the choice of love. Love chooses commitment. Isn't this the language of lovers? I'll be yours forever? We'll live "happily ever after?" The commitment in marriage is three fold. I believe a healthy marriage is a commitment to God; a commitment to the spouse; and a commitment to marriage. With those healthy anchors a couple lives through the ups and downs of emotions and they live through the ebb and flow of life's joys and sorrows. And when I don't like my spouse all that much today, I can still love her because I have chosen to do so.
Have a blessed feast of St. Valentine!


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