As I ventured out to a meeting I had on Monday night, I discovered many people in our area behaving in traffic as if it were the last shopping day before Christmas.
Considering it was Valentine’s Day, I began to wonder what makes people make this day, out of all the other 364 other days of the year, so important to reveal our love to one another? And honestly, the answer I got was “guilt.”
Up until the past several months, many times in my marriage, I would feel like I’d have to make up my love to Jack out of guilt – not love.
So when those moments happened, I felt I had to make it up to him over the course of the next few days or so being extra nice, and doing things I typically wouldn’t have done on a regular basis. Then when things simmered down and things smoothed over, and I didn’t feel so guilty anymore, and I’d go right back into my old bad habits.
Seriously – this was a ridiculous cycle. When I write it out and I see it in black and white – I see clearly just how insane this mindset was, and I am ashamed to confess it. Because that didn’t reveal my respect or love for him - it only was looking to find ways to hide from really growing in love and allowing myself to go to hurt places.
However, over the past many months recently – I have allowed myself to embrace the moments that haven’t been the “best” between us.
We have a great marriage, but considering we are both very strong-willed and introverted people, we have our own ways of doing things…and sometimes, things just clash. One thing I have learned about marriage is that it isn’t about always getting along…it’s about working through the tough areas so both come out better on the other side.
There are still moments I am not very kind to Jack…and he will admit he is not very kind to me. However, despite how unloving we may act toward one another at times, love is still always there (in the roots of our lives). There is always a security knowing the other person will still choose to be there when the dust settles.
In learning about this myself, personally, I have refrained from “make-up” days with Jack. Though I might be as frustrated as a hornet with him at times, my love for him is deep; and therefore, everyday is Valentine’s Day to me in my marriage.
Guilt has no place in a relationship – none.
Guilt is nothing more than fear in a defensive clothing. It hides and doesn’t seek growth. It keeps one bound, and relationships frozen to the point they become so fragile that they will break eventually.
Love isn’t about what you can do for others, it is about how you think about others. The doing part is merely a by-product of the thought process. Sometimes, love is shown by leaving the other person alone; whereas at other times, it is shown by embracing, talking with, are spending time with them.
The marriage relationship is truly the one relationship, next to your relationship God Himself, that will reveal how you truly treat [think of] others outside of your marriage. If you embrace love as the following scripture declares what love is, things fall into place much better than we expect – even in the stormy times.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Cor. 13:4-13 (ESV)
Image credit Tracy Stancel