In case you missed it, last Friday was Valentine’s Day.
I have nothing against this holiday. I think it makes for a nice excuse to go above and beyond to let those you love know that they’re special to you. And I always appreciate a holiday where giving and receiving chocolate is a given. I mean, who doesn’t?
This year, though, I noticed something funny. Thanks to social media and the “everyone is in my business” internet culture we live in (which I love, actually), we were all getting to experience the love together. There were some husbands and boyfriends out there who knew their stuff and got it done, y’all. Their women were appropriately impressed and wooed and posted about their amazing men and all the love, love, love they were feeling.
About halfway through the day… some other posts started appearing.
There was a rather passive-aggressive post about how AMAZING this woman thought another man was for the WONDERFUL thing he’d done for his wife and how ALL men should be as INCREDIBLE as this one.
“Oh, wow,” I told Wes at one point, “I kinda want to send her man a private message telling him that he better get on the ball. Because she’s CLEARLY trying to tell him something with this!”
And it wasn’t just this one woman. Other women began posting about gifts, about romantic gestures, and about love, comparing their men to the other men out there. And their men? Weren’t doing what they were supposed to do. Valentine’s Day, you were making for some very discontent, unhappy women who would otherwise have been perfectly fine with their men not bringing home flowers, composing love sonnets, and making candlelight dinners! Who cares that these same men are faithful, loving, and consistent every other day of the year? If they weren’t bringing the passion on Valentine’s Day, things were BAD! So, so, so BAD! Bad enough that a little passive aggressive posting on Facebook was warranted!
The temptation is there, always, to compare what we have with what others have and with what we think we should rightly have, until we find ourselves discontent with what is actually good, isn’t it? In most situations, I think it ruins our appreciation for what’s truly wonderful. But in marriage? I think it can ruin our relationship.
Lest you think I’m totally unsusceptible to thinking like this (ahem), I have a story for you. When Wes and I got engaged, one of the first things we planned was our honeymoon. Because we married a week before Christmas, we opted to stay close to home. And because there was only one thing we really wanted to do on our honeymoon anyway (true love had waited long enough, y’all), we rented a lake house far out in the sticks, where we could just hide away for a few days. Best. Honeymoon. Ever. We came home thrilled to pieces with one another, and whenever anyone would ask where we’d gone, we’d tell them that we hadn’t gone anywhere. Hallelujah!
I had been perfectly happy with our honeymoon… until people expressed some surprise that Wes hadn’t taken me anywhere special, that he hadn’t booked us a spectacular vacation, and that he hadn’t done what he was supposed to do. Supposed to. I let these ideas embed themselves in my newlywed heart and felt a little slighted. I’d hear about extravagant, incredible places other couples had gone and would end up feeling really discontent with what had been wonderful and amazing. And I concluded that Wes, who was still as besotted with me as he had been on our honeymoon, must not have felt as much as other husbands out there who had done more.
Stupid. So, so, so stupid.
But God is so good. And I have learned and (hopefully) matured enough to know that love shows itself in more ways than fancy gifts and elaborate plans. Love shows itself through a man who is faithful, day in and day out, to one woman. Love shows itself through a man who works hard to take care of his children. Love shows itself through a man who shows his wife every day that he appreciates her, cares about her, and wants her, not just on one day in February. And if he does ALL of this and also remembers to buy some chocolate on Valentine’s Day — great! But if not, comparing what he doesn’t do to what everyone else does only ends up hurting you both in the end. And putting expectations on him rather than simply appreciating him for who he is sets you up for failure.
For those who think Wes must have missed the boat this year and unintentionally prompted this post (lol!), let me assure you that he did a great job. He did something that was very much him and very much us. And as I told him last night, long after the rest of the house was quiet, I appreciate and love who he is. No one else can even compare to him.
Praying that we would all believe that wholeheartedly and remember that when it comes to our husbands…