Today is Valentine’s Day. It is a day known for cards, flowers (especially roses), candy and stuffed animals. Men will take their women out on dates and eat fancy meals and watch sappy movies. Many people will spend the day trying to show that one they love how much they feel about them. Today is a soft day that makes us feel good.
One day I realized that love is not always soft. In fact, building a great life of love often requires hard decisions.
1. Love Says No to Everyone Else
Real love looks at all others who vie for our love and firmly says, “NO!” That is more than just saying no to sex with another person. I believe that means not giving your thoughts to someone else emotionally. True love comes to a couple in exclusivity.
2. Love Says No to Everything That Pulls Us Away
I listened to a fascinating sermon recently, and the minister was talking about the dangers of putting your children into sports over Church. Then in the middle of the sermon he paused and said something like this, “One real danger is that couples who spend all their time at children’s sporting events are destroying their marriage.” He went on to say that most couples who give themselves entirely to their children end up having marriages that fall apart. We love our kids, but sometimes you are required to say that your marriage is more important. Maybe for you, that is something like work or even your own family. True love keeps the relationship a priority.
3. Love Says No to Selfish Desires
All of us want to be happy. We want to do the things that bring us joy. Many times, we have to put our own desires on hold for the desires of the one we love. It may mean we have to give up something we enjoy for a period of time. It may mean that we have to struggle with someone rather than be happy for a season. True love says yes to self-sacrifice.
4. Love Says Yes to Hard Work.
Real love is willing to do whatever it takes to keep the relationship together. That can take a thousand forms from doing the laundry to setting down for a heart to heart conversation. It means cooking dinner and seeking wise counsel when necessary. It means holding my tongue and suppressing my anger even when I feel I have the right to explode. It means doing whatever is necessary to make the other person happy without compromising my beliefs. True love is willing to put on gloves and get to work.
All of us enjoy days like today that are filled with warm, fluffy emotions. They bring out the best in us and make us feel good. Relationships that make it, those who spend a lifetime in love, are those who carry out the hard decisions and do the difficult tasks day after day.
I hope you enjoy today. I know I will. I also hope you are willing to get up tomorrow and the day after that and do whatever it takes to keep your love alive, no matter how hard it might be to do.