Monday, February 15, 2010

The Day After . . .

Well, it's the day after, how was your V-Day? Mine was pretty good. Our house is the den of sickness right now so we were happy to just have a brief reprieve from vomiting (that came back today) but Jobina and I spent some nice time just hanging out together. I have blogged in the past about the unique ways that we react to Valentine's Day, but hopefully you observed the day in one way or another. Maybe a date, a card, flowers, some kind words, or some time spent together. I will assume that if you are married that you probably did something.

Aside from the pressure, commercialization, and general madness that is Valentine's day, I really like the idea of either a special occasion or a reminder to woo that special someone. What is natural in the beginning of a relationship gets tougher as person moves out of the "in-love" stage that is the hallmark of all romantic relationships. This "in-love" experience has been studied and is a chemical/emotional high that accompanies all romantic beginnings. It is the true manifestation of eros love - a love that desires and is captivated by the beauty of another. Studies show that is accompanied by obsessive thinking. Because the person is always on your mind, romantic acts are as natural as breathing. It's a great stage, but it doesn't last forever - research pegs it lasting to a max of about 2 years (slightly more if the romance is a secret -as in an affair).

The thing about eros love (erotic love?) is that is is very centered on . . . oneself. "I love you . . . because of what I get from you." We never say this of course, and we may protest it, but it's true. I'm starting to realize that while this love is not necessarily inferior, it is certainly not it's highest form. It is merely a beginning . . . hot, passionate, and exciting, but only a beginning. Feeling in love is not the same as being loving.

Which brings me to my thought today: What would it be like if we pretended that everyday was Valentine's Day? What if we made a choice to love our spouses in extraordinary ways, every day? One of the Greek's words for love is agape, which is a sacrificial kind of love that is very different from eros. Instead of focusing on what we get out of the other person, it focuses on loving the other person. It says that love is patient, kind, not envying, not boasting, never proud. It is not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered. Amazingly, this kind of love keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Pretty radical stuff.

In 1 Corinthians 13 (the passage I've been contemplating lately and where the above description comes from) it says that nothing matters if it isn't done with this kind of love. I am still trying to wrap my head around it but for me it is deeply humbling because I don't know if I have ever lived even remotely like this. My friend Andrew challenged me to speak on this passage at my youth speak in Teulon and now I'm finding this old, familiar passage is overwhelming me. All of this is simply to say that for Christ-followers, every day is Valentine's Day, a day to show our spouse that they are loved, not because of what they will do for us, but because this kind of love is the only way to live a life worthwhile. It doesn't mean that we can't still enjoy eros (after all, it is a wonderful gift from God), but lavishing agape love on our mate is the greatest thing we can do on this Earth, for God and for each other. I only wish I had realized it earlier.


Elayne said...

Have you ever noticed that by far the majority of cards in the card shops focus on exactly what you just said....what our spouse does/has done for us rather than who they are? This applies to Valentine, birthday, Christmas etc. cards and it's tne reason we usually make our own cards. I got tired of the cards focusing on me when I was trying to honor my husband. Our cards are not fancy. Neither of us can draw anything other than stick figures. It's the message that is important.

Anonymous said...

We celebrated on the 15th, my roses were 50% off...and I was shocked to receive them, because I had HONESTLY told Bob he was off the hook...I had NO expectations this year...and was pleasantly surpirsed.

...I wonder if this is an exmaple of reverse psychology working??...