Happy Valentines day?

Valentine’s Day comes around every year.  Our world goes to town celebrating romance: couples fill restaurants and supposedly gaze into one another’s eyes with love and adoration; red roses are given; and the radio will be filled with “love song dedications,” designed to evoke feelings of warmth and connection.

But is that the reality?  Last week, I was chatting with some local neighbours about Valentine’s Day.  One woman’s husband spent years running restaurants in London and Sydney.  His assessment of Valentine’s Day was that tables would be occupied by very sad looking couples who spent more time looking at their phones than each other.

There’s nothing lonelier than sitting at a table with another, avoiding eye contact, with nothing to say. And you can’t wait to leave as the silence sounds louder than a car alarm. 

I still remember a night out, not Valentine’s Day, that I thought might be an evening like that.  With trepidation, I asked Keith to tell me what he liked and appreciated about me. A brave move, as I was pretty sure that he would have nothing to say, as there wasn’t much I liked about myself. Keith responded with such warmth and grace and for the first time in a long time, I felt like I could lift my head and look him in the eye.  It was a pivotal moment that began to reconnect us, enabling healing and restoration to take place.

It was a pivotal moment that began to reconnect us, enabling healing and restoration to take place.

One of the reasons why Keith and I developed the Building a Safe & Strong Marriage course was that 40 years ago, nothing like that existed. We loved each other, we had made promises to one another, fully intending to keep them. We were committed to one another, but we still hurt each other; we struggled to have those conversations that needed to happen. What we share in the course is gleaned from years of trying to figure out how to stay connected and to bring out the best in each other. 

It is full of “I wish I had known this back then.” We both learned the value of those small, almost insignificant actions that connected us. As we began to do them daily, we found we could share more deeply and have those hard conversations in a way that drew us together. Little things every day.  It’s not rocket science.  

This Valentine’s Day, let me encourage you to invest in ‘little things every day’ to help you stay connected. Here are some suggestions: 

  • Think back to your wedding day and engagement. What do you remember about that time? Share your memories with one another, get out your photo album and take a look. Memories can make you smile and laugh and are very powerful. 
  • If you have children, why not share this story with them over dinner one night? Each of you will remember things slightly differently, but it’s a great story and one worth sharing. 
  • Greet each other warmly each morning with a hug and remember to smile at each other. 
  • Over breakfast, or a cup of tea in bed, read a short devotion and commit the day and each other to the Lord in prayer.
  • Each day notice something about the other and express appreciation. 
  • Remember to use those small words, “please” and “thank you”. 
  • Get outside, have a walk together, and if you have children and they are with you, try to sneak a few moments that’s just about the two of you – holding hands while walking; looking at each other and smiling. 
  • Have some fun! Set aside some time to do something you both enjoy – order takeaway and eat together after the children are in bed, read a book, watch a movie, or do a crossword or jigsaw puzzle together. Fun and laughter are good for the soul. 
  • Ask one another what you could do to help them feel restored or refreshed. It might be that they need some time on their own.  Or help with the household chores.
  • Remember that you are an “us”. Not just the two of you – you have a great and good God who is with you in all the mess and craziness of life. 
  • Why not decide to further invest in your marriage. Sign up and do our course online at a time that works for the two of you.  Even if you’ve done it before, like every car, we need regular ‘grease and oil changes’ and this might be an opportunity to do just that!

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