I snap at my husband in a moment of frustration because the house is in utter chaos: the dog just peed on the carpet and when I let him outside he escaped through the gate that my husband left open, so I had to chase the dog in the cold rain barefoot. When I get back inside my wild children have unfolded all the folded laundry that was in the basket waiting for me to put away, which I would’ve been putting away if it weren’t for the misadventures with the dog and the gate. So, I snap at my husband over the phone for no other reason than he’s not here to help. (Never mind he’s out buying a bargain of a dishwasher which he will shortly install in order to save us money and fix our nagging dishwasher problem.)
Later, when I come to my senses and apologize for my outburst, he shrugs it off with a smile and means it, saying, “I shouldn’t have the left the gate open.” And then he kisses me soundly and helps me clean up the playroom. He could’ve snapped right back at me and I would’ve deserved it. But he doesn’t.
Love is patient, love is kind.
Our daughter is throwing a tantrum about her socks, because heaven-forbid the seam of the socks hit her toes in the wrong spot. He’s sitting at her feet, gently describing the many merits of socks and coaxing them on her feet in a way that doesn’t offend her sensitive skin.
Love isn’t rude, love isn’t irritable.
There are a billion things we should be doing – emails to send, work to catch up on, sermons to write. There are a mountain of decisions we need to discuss about our calendar, our finances, our house projects, many of which I know weigh heavily on his heart. He’s itching to make some progress. But he doesn’t let his stress show. He puts all his plans aside to snuggle up on the couch with me, knowing that the best way he can care for me in this exact moment is to sit with me in peaceful quiet and talk about nothing important.
Love doesn’t seek its own advantage, love doesn’t keep a record of complaints.
I knew he loved me before he proposed. Not because we’d said those three momentous words to each other – in fact, we hadn’t confessed our love to each other yet. At least, not in words. I knew he loved me before he proposed (and finally said “I love you”) because he had proven his love in little ways every single day. Some of these ways were romantic, of course, but it wasn’t the romance that captured my heart. It was the strength of his devotion, the honest giving of himself, the full acceptance of me – love in the truest sense.
Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.
We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in the traditional ways. No candlelight dinners or extravagant gifts for us. (Although, what woman doesn’t love flowers every now and then, amiright?) We celebrate Valentine’s Day by recognizing that the love we have is not meant to be hoarded. It’s not meant for just us. It’s meant to be shared. It’s meant to be given away in our interactions with friends, in our ministry with our church communities, in the ways we parent our children. For us, Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate what love truly is.
Love is more than a romantic feeling, it is a way of life.
Love is an ever-expanding embrace of what’s true, what’s authentic, and what’s admirable in each of us.
Love is a commitment to seeing every person for who they were created to be: a unique reflection of God.
Love isn’t happy with injustice, but is happy with the truth.
When my eldest daughter was two her teacher had to explain Valentine’s Day to her because she just couldn’t get it: “It’s when you show your family how much you love them,” the teacher said. My daughter looked at her with a puzzled look and said, “That’s silly. We do that every day!”
Love never fails.