Love is again on the collective mind. In TV ads, magazines, the newspapers, they are all in on the fun! This is the time of year when jewelry sales are up, flower sales are up, card sales resurge from their New Year lull. Heart-shaped candy and chocolates make their appearance. Men and women start to look at one another fondly again, even if their married. We’ve come a long way from the feast of St. Valentinus, second-century Christian martyr. His greatest connection to the modern “holiday” is that he helped poor girls get married by tossing a dowry through their window. His greatest act of love was dying for his faith in Jesus.
Of course, that doesn’t stop the modern world from taking full advantage of yet another Christian memorial. Oh we try and put a good spin on it, turning it into a day to celebrate marriage and real, authentic love between married couples, but we end up making it another Christmas, the one day a year we celebrate a Christian virtue when we ought to practice it every day. Is Valentine’s Day the only day you buy flowers for your wife, or make that special meal for your husband? Can you count on one hand the number of times a year you make your mate feel special?
God thinks a lot of the gift he has given to married couples. In fact, one whole book of the Bible is dedicated to the relationship a husband has with his wife, written by the second wisest person who ever lived. It is also the one book in the Bible some believe is written like a drama, an art form made popular in Greece at the time. It is the Song of Solomon. Even a casual reader will notice that this is not your average holy book. It is at times sexually explicit, but always God-honoring. (Take for example the husbands’ description of his wife in Song of Solomon 4:1-7 and then the wife’s description of her husband Song of Solomon 5:10-16 – try these for romance) God intended for the intimate relationship between men and women to be kept sacred, holy, and honorable. He says in Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled, because God will judge immoral people and adulterers.” It is only in the “marriage bed” where intimacy is permitted, hence God’s judgment on everyone else.
God takes sex seriously, and for God’s holy people, this gets more difficult every day. The media gets it. Sex sells. And they attempt to associate sex with practically everything they can get away with to sell their products. It’s harder for men today because men are attracted much more to images of women. It’s getting more difficult for wives to compete against the retouched photos of supermodels hawking the latest sets of tools, sports cars, or “free” sex online. Because of a man’s visual proclivity, he must work to relate to the real woman in his life, who thrives on communication and relationship. She needs him to talk to her, which he can’t do when his thoughts are enslaved with images.
We live in an age where true, lasting marriage is the exception, rather than the rule, and though thousands of dollars are spent on marriages, marriage itself is harder and harder to afford. Now more than ever we need the “old hands” at the marriage game to mentor the young couples, to teach them how to keep their marriages from falling apart. Our society stands or falls on our ability to keep marriages thriving. Divorces cause irrevocable damage in the hearts of children and families. Even our President is a child of divorce. Would life have been different for him if his parents stayed married? Marriage is easy, but divorce is easier. God hates it (Malachi 2:16) because it destroys his intention for the marriage: godly offspring (Malachi 2:15). If the children of each succeeding generation are less godly than the last, what will happen to a nation as a whole?
We need to restore the biblical definition of love, for our marriages’ sakes, and for our children. We need to restore the place of Love, because it has been usurped by a poor substitute, Lust, or what the Bible calls “envy”. And, with the Scriptures in hand, we will discover those answers.