I’ll go ahead and say it. A male . . . posting about Valentine’s Day . . . on February 15. Typical.
Like the typical male I do fall short when it comes to Valentine’s Day. Not only do I get there late, as with this post, but most of the time I fail to see it coming. On Sunday afternoon my wife and I were walking down the sidewalk and she said something about Valentine’s Day coming up on Tuesday. My reply, “This Tuesday?”
So late Tuesday afternoon I find myself standing in an all male line being served by an all female staff at our local fruity bouquet store. I would like to send a consumer complaint to management if I may, that’s not fair!
The dude coming out of the door as I came in looked beaten down. His eyes met mine and without saying a word I read his mind, “It’s bad in there . . . like Saving Private Ryan bad.”
The poor Hispanic man in front of me pointed sheepishly at a giant helium balloon in the store that read, “I love you” and in broken English asked if he could have one attached to his fruity assortment. The lady behind the counter alerted him that all she had left were balloons in “Ain-glaaaaiiiiis”. “Isssss ttttthhhhaaaaattttt OOOOO.KKKKKK?” I think she was also attempting some form of Spanish sign language as she exaggerated every syllable.
Hey sis, it’s 5:00 on Valentine’s Day, Desperado will take one in German if that’s all you’ve got. You’re holding up the line!
So it was my turn.
“I need . . .”
“Well all we have is a box of 12 chocolate covered strawberries.”
Which was EXACTLY what I wanted!
“Well you’ll have to wait.” Which in femal-ese translates to, “Go rot in the loser husband line Mr. Last Minute.”
Finally she arrived with my box and asked if I needed a card.
Though verbally holiday assaulted I was unfazed. She couldn’t believe it. She had one last shot at me with which she would now take it upon herself to whip me on behalf of my wife. And so; began the verbal tongue lashing as she punched in the total on the cash register. “You men always wait until the last minute . . .”
I cut her off as I took my debit card and box of chocolate love. “Mam, I’m taking my wife on a cruise to Jamaica next week!”
One guy gave me a high five as I headed out the door. I could hear the distant applause of men all over the strip mall. I strutted out of the eat your gift store as a Valentine’s Day hero for every man.
So, whereas this post may come too late for this year, allow me to save your skin next year just in case you don’t have a cruise in your back pocket. Here are 5 things your wife and family really wanted from you on Valentine’s Day.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” One of the prominent themes in Scripture is the power of words. It is with His words that God created the world. In John 1 Jesus is the Word made flesh. Throughout Proverbs we read that words have the power to heal and to destroy. My wife tells me often, “Use your words.”
As excited as my wife is about going on our cruise she also let me know during a conversation on Valentine’s Day that she wants me to cherish her with my words. She doesn’t just want me to tell her I love her. She wants to to expand the thought, elaborate, string together some sentences and come up with some paragraphs.
While men aren’t completely non-verbal, we do tend to be low-verbal. We have to be intentional to speak up and express our love with our words.
Philippians 2:3–4 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
When I came home yesterday my youngest daughter was in the after school position. By after school position I mean recliner, blanket, and TLC. Somewhere along the lines The LEARNING Channel has deviated from educating us about oddly shaped deep sea creatures with no eyes to counting pounds and kids. If you have birthed double digits or you weigh nearly 4 digits, TLC will probably give you a show.
My default move in a time like this is to immediately grab the bike and head outside (and it was an incredible day) or go downstairs and hit the weights. But it was Valentine’s Day, so I stayed and counted kids on TV with my daughter. While it was excruciating in some respects, it wasn’t about the Duggars I assure you, it was about her.
I stayed off my phone. I stayed off the computer. I did my best to remove distraction and focus on my family. We played a game. We sat around the table at dinner. The result was a lot of laughs and some meaningful conversations.
Next year on Valentine’s Day, give them your undivided attention.
I would recommend a timely article by Rob Moll on Christianity Today’s Pastor website entitled The Spiritual Power of Physical Touch. Moll draws attention to not only our physical need for touch, but to the power of touch throughout the Bible. The prodigal son was embraced by his father. The elders of Ephesus weep over Paul as he departs. The beloved apostle leans on Jesus’ chest at the last supper.
Moll speaks to the increasing isolation that is caused by social sterilization in our culture. Because we link all physical contact with sex we have lost the kindness of a simple touch.
“Touch is an essential human need. When we shake hands or put an arm across a friend’s shoulder, the body releases neurological chemicals like oxytocin and serotonin that feel good, while also inhibiting chemicals that cause stress. But touch doesn’t just feel good; it is vital to being human. When babies and children are deprived of touch, their brain development is permanently impaired, which can destroy the growth of social abilities and result in lower intelligence.”
“When we do touch, it is often marked by awkwardness. A loved one is hurting so we give a ‘side hug,’ reassuring ourselves perhaps that she ‘needs her space.’”
While it is true that we do need to buy a few things on Valentine’s Day, you can’t put a price on hugs and kisses for the wife and kids.
A Helping Hand
The Bible talks often about the Christ-likeness of serving others. Hebrews 6:6 calls the Lord “my helper.” Verse 16 in the same passage tells us that doing good to others pleases God.
My wife often reminds me of the pressure she feels on holidays. There’s a great deal of that I can’t remove because she’s mom. No one can do it like she can. She is the heart of our home and her influence on special days is irreplaceable.
However, an incredible gift for any day, not just Valentine’s Day is to make your wife feel less like a slave and more like a queen.
My wife doesn’t mind doing it, but she wants to know I love it.
Acknowledge the effort. Tell her it is special. It is no big deal to her to do it if you will make a big deal about it!
Clean up. Cook something. Contribute - don’t just sit there! And by the way, don’t think you have climbed Everest just because you did the dishes once. They may not throw you a parade, but I promise you a little effort in service is much loved!
A Special Memory
In his epistles Paul often talked about his fond remembrances of the people to which he is writing. There has been no greater special memory given to a human than when Mary is told she is carrying the Son of God. The Bible says, “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
Give your family something for their heart to ponder. One of my staff members said that it is a tradition for her family to get a heart shaped pizza from the same restaurant every Valentine’s Day. In times past ours was to cook steak and have a family candlelight dinner . . . until we went through an unfortunate string of Valentine’s Day stomach viruses. Now we cannot stomach steak in mid-February.
So this year we joined the greasy heart shaped pizza crowd and played a game. I’m not sure it is our new tradition, but it created a great memory.
Memories and family traditions are important. They provide anchors for the heart. They are comforting points of stability for the soul.
It is good to interrupt life, break the cycles of life to create traditions and make memories. Give your family something to remember.
Those are five great gifts, affirming words, undivided attention, meaningful touch, a helping hand, and a special memory. And to the fellows, I know we often use the line, “Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday for card sales. . . yada, yada, yada . . . we ought to show our love everyday, not just Valentine’s Day.” Bingo! Those five gifts never get old. Give them daily
Before you go, what’s your favorite family Valentine’s Day tradition? Leave it in the comments below. I would LOVE to hear from you!