How We’re Getting Valentine’s Day All Wrong

Valentine’s Day – love it or hate it?

Some say it’s a meaningful day to appreciate our loved ones while others claim the day is nothing more than one marketing ploy after the other.

Recently, I learned the surprising story behind our holiday, and how we’re getting Valentine’s Day all wrong. It’s so revolutionary and counter-cultural that I want to share with pretty much everyone I know.

Because, friends, it’s important!

In our commercialized culture, Valentine’s Day has become all about romantic love, and if you don’t have that kind of love in your life (or if your relationship is strained at the moment), then you’re just plain out of luck.

For this reason, Valentine’s Day often leads to depression and loneliness for many people because, let’s be honest, no relationship is perfect and no one wants to be alone on a day that’s all about love.

But the truth is that the origins of Valentine’s Day tell a completely different story – one that reveals how we’re getting Valentine’s Day all wrong!

We’ve been deceived by a world that would take the most precious gift we have to offer, and the most precious gift offered to us, and make it shallow and somewhat meaningless.

Why We’re Getting Valentine’s Day All Wrong

According to church tradition and historical documents, Saint Valentine was a priest who married couples in secret defiance of the Roman Emperor’s ban on marriage. Valentine believed so strongly in his faith that he demonstrated the ultimate form of love – not eros, or romantic love, but agape – the kind of love that sacrifices self for the sake of another. He put his life on the line in order to help couples who wished to follow God’s ways.

When he was discovered, Valentine faced punishment in the form of imprisonment and torture, eventually laying down his very life for a faith he so firmly believed in.

Did you catch that? He gave his life, for the sake of love and faith.

There is a depth of love to agape that is hard for us to even fathom, friends, and this world would ask us to settle for so much less, whether married or not.

When we feel “less than” because we don’t have a “someone special,” we settle for less than God’s best.

When we feel “unloved” because marriage is hard right now, we settle for less than God’s best.

When we make Valentine’s Day about what we get instead of what we give, we settle for less than God’s best.

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Agape is God’s best.

Agape gives even when it hurts.

Agape is unconditional.

Agape never gives up.

And that agape love is already yours in Christ! All you have to do is receive it.

 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13

Saint Valentine simply followed the example of love he found in Christ, who gave his life on the cross out of love for a sinful and hostile world.

You can walk through this Valentine’s Day focused on cards and chocolates and things of this world, or you can walk through the day focused on the supernatural abundance of love that this world can never, ever give you.

My work-in-progress friends, you can spend Valentine’s Day washed in the truth that you are fully loved, unconditionally loved, eternally loved, by a man who gave his very life for you – Jesus Christ.

And as you’re filled with His love, you can spend this day giving agape love away to others, too. It just might change your whole perspective.

Let’s get the day right instead of getting Valentine’s Day all wrong.

Will you join me now in thinking of how you can make agape the focus of your Valentine’s Day?

A Valentine’s Day Gift

In that same spirit, my friend and co-author Rebekah Hallberg and I decided to host a week of daily giveaways for our book, Hope for the Hurting Wife. Our book focuses on the kind of agape love that chooses to stay even when marriage gets tough!

Each day one of us will be giving away a copy of our book (print or ebook depending on where the winner lives) either on our Facebook pages or our Instagram accounts, so be sure to follow us both if you’re not already.

Being Confident of This – Facebook page and Instagram

Rebekah M. Hallberg – Facebook page and Instagram

Stop by Being Confident of This or Rebekah M. Hallberg on Facebook and Instagram for your chance to win a copy! It's our Valentine's Day gift to you! Christian Women | marriage book | Bible study | devotional | Christian Living | Christian marriage | marriage encouragement| spiritual growth| faith

In the mornings, we’ll open up a thread for that day’s entry, and the following day we’ll announce the winner. You can only win once, but unless you’ve already won, you are free to enter every day!

In addition, we have temporarily lowered the price on the print version of Hope for the Hurting Wife on amazon. Even if you’ve already read it, now would be an excellent time to purchase a copy for a friend or loved one in need or maybe for your church library?

And if you love fashion or coffee, then you should definitely head over to the newly opened Hope for Marriage shop hosted on our good friend Alisa’s site. We’ve designed specially themed apparel and mugs just to encourage women like you and I in our faith and our marriages! On Wednesday, I’ll be giving away an item from the shop in addition to the book giveaway!

Click on the pictures below to hop over to the shop. Thanks for helping to support the ministry of our blogs and book. We certainly appreciate you, friends!

Jen :)

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For the Wife Who’s Not in Love Anymore

I’m just not in love anymore.

It’s a phrase we hear often enough, a phrase that’s no longer attached to any one generation in particular. In fact, wives who have been married for decades are just as likely to utter these words as those who’ve only been married a short time.

I’m not in love anymore.

I’m sure the words pain you as much as they pain me because I remember a time when the same thought reverberated through my heartstrings.

Yes, me, a pastor’s wife who once upon a time fell madly in love with an enthusiastic young youth minister, only to quickly learn that marriage wasn’t all happily-ever-after wedded bliss.

We struggled off and on for the better part of a decade before learning how to consistently enjoy being married to each other!

But I’m not in love anymore, and my husband isn’t in love with me either, what else can I possibly do? 

Personally, I have some strong feelings about those words because I have learned that real love, true love is a choice, not a feeling – despite what our me-first culture would have us believe.

However, let’s set aside my personal feelings for now and dive right into what the Word of God has to say on the issue.

6 Essential Scriptures about Love:

1. According to scripture, our hearts are deceitful. We cannot trust the feeling of being not in love anymore.

Feelings come and go, sometimes without rhyme or reason, so we cannot trust our hearts to lead us in God’s ways. Instead, we must rely on what we know to be true, and we find such truth in His Word.

The heart is deceitful above all thing and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)

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2. God’s Word reveals that loving each other isn’t an option, it’s a command!

Whether or not we feel like loving our spouses, God expects us to love them in our choices.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)

3.  According to the Bible, agape love is the kind of love that sacrifices self in favor of another.

Jesus gave us the greatest example of agape love at the cross.

We are to follow Jesus’ example in living out that kind of sacrificial love. Agape love might be as simple as making a meal for your spouse, or ironing his clothes, or as difficult as keeping silent even when a spouse is wrong.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  John 15:12-13 (NIV)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

So how do we know what God expects from us in living out agape love? After all, no one wants to be a doormat!

We must abide in Him and be sensitive to the Spirit, who will guide us when conflicts arise.

The next time the Spirit nudges you to do that kind thing for a loved one, pay attention and choose to obey even if you don’t feel like it!

4. The infamous love chapter (1 Corinthians 13) reminds us that God has high standards for what real love looks like.

According to these verses, we can be obedient in so many other areas, but without love, all of those good works are meaningless!

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.            1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV)

5. God’s Word claims that if we don’t love others, then we don’t really know God – ouch!

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 (NIV)

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6. We are capable of loving others (even when we don’t feel like it) because Christ loved us first!

Sometimes we’re tempted to doubt this truth. We wrongly believe that we cannot love our spouses, when in fact, we have all power to do just that in Christ!

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19 (NIV)

Even when the loving feelings just aren’t there, we can choose to act on the very real love that flows from Jesus.

We choose love out of gratefulness for what Christ has done for us.

After all, I’m not perfect, and neither are you, yet Christ loved us at our very worst when we were unlovable, unworthy, enslaved to sin. We can and should demonstrate that same Christ-like love toward our spouses, even when they’re wrong, even when they are at their worst.

Friends, I know biblical love is not an easy standard to live up to. I fail so often in my own life!

I know the frustration of living in a broken marriage. I know the despair of feeling like things will never change.

I know the sorrow of feeling I’m not in love anymore.

But I also know the joy of seeing the Father change my own heart, as well as my husband’s heart. I know the joy of renewed hope.

I even know the joy of rekindled feelings when we got to the sweet spot of marriage, the “for better” that waited for us on the other side of the “for worse.”

So you’re not in love anymore – that may be true.

Your feelings may have changed, but God’s Word is clear:  love is a command, a choice, and the power to love comes not from our feelings but from Christ alone.

Let me encourage to choose love today, and when you do, may you reap the rewards that are promised!

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 (NIV)

Above all, don’t give up hope that your marriage can change. Let that change begin with you.

As my gift to you to encourage you along those lines, I’m offering the lovely printable below to all subscribers! Just fill in your information and look for your confirmation email (be sure to check the spam folder if you don’t see it right away).

Please remember that you are not alone, my friend. Fellow warrior wives have lived in these same trenches and have won the battle for healthy marriage by God’s design. And the Lord your God is with you in all things!

Jen :)

For further reading: I Didn’t Want My Husband Anymore

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