February 14, 2012

A Different Valentine’s Day Story…

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Valentine’s Day is one of those special days like Christmas…it’s all about showing love to those who are the most special to us.  We know we should love Valentine’s Day and we should look forward to it with great anticipation.  

But many of us don’t.

For men, the pressure can be huge.  How can we measure up to the female expectation out there?  We come to dread the day.

For women, it often feels like a set-up for disappointment when we don’t get anything romantic from that special someone.  Or... worse yet…we don’t even have a special someone who loves us romantically.  We get depressed thinking about it.

Awhile back I heard from a man who experienced a big problem with Valentine’s Day. He wrote asking how he could “fix” this problem and together we figured out how to turn a losing situation into a win-win.  Read on for a different kind of Valentine’s story.

Dear Dr E,
My wife and I were always on the Crazy Cycle and ended up separated for 2 years.  During this time she gave me your book.  I read the whole book in two nights…it really opened my eyes to a great deal of the problems that we were facing.  So I took your advice and began a new chapter in our lives.  I went to my wife, told her I was sorry for all my words and actions that I did that were unloving to her.  I also told her that some of her past words and actions were disrespectful to me but that I should have talked to her about them at the time instead of keeping things bottled up (stonewalling).  I know the road is going to be long and hard, but for the first time in the past 2 years I see real hope for us.
Here is my SERIOUS problem.  I moved out of the house on February 14th…Yep, Valentine’s Day.  On the day I moved out I wasn’t thinking at all about it being Valentine’s Day, and now every February 14th brings back hurt and pain to both of us.  Do you have any recommendation at all as to how we should deal with future Valentine’s Days so that we can reclaim that day as one of love and respect? 
Emerson says: Your words are a powerful testimony.  In answer to your question, here is one thought. The Bible says, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more (Romans 5:20).”  In your case, see the sinful Valentine’s Day as a day also that resulted in God’s grace coming to you in a greater way.

Because that Valentine’s Day was so sinful to you, see that as something which triggered God’s grace.  Your sin, as bad as it was, resulted in you seeking God’s forgiveness and your wife’s.  The irony is this:  because of your sin, you experienced God’s grace.
Let me insert, the critics of Paul, who wrote Romans 5:20, said that he was encouraging people to sin in order to receive God's grace. But Paul countered in Romans 6:1,2, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be!" In other words, when we sin, God's grace can come. But we don't sin in order for God's grace to come.

In your case, you sinned and sought God's forgiveness. As a result, God has given you a greater grace. So, in that sense, thank God for Valentine's Day. Consequently, each time Valentine's Day reminds you of your sin, go one step further and let it remind you that you have God's greater grace.
The cross of Jesus was a cruel and evil means of execution but God turned the cross into the means of redemption. Let God take your sin and turn it into something good.

This husband took this challenge as a man of honor.  He responded:  “I will strive to make every Valentine's Day from here on out my personal day of redemption.  I will strive to show my wife that although I sinned, I have repented and will use each and every Valentine's Day to show her that.  Thank you.”

How about you?  Does Valentine’s Day hold bad memories for you?  Will you vow to turn this day of “love” into a day of redemption?  No matter what your situation, thank God for His forgiveness and grace!  Let this Valentine’s Day be a new beginning for you…whether this means starting anew in your relationship, or releasing bitterness over a past relationship.  Extend forgiveness whether it is towards yourself or towards your loved one.  Our God is a God of redemption…even on Valentine’s Day!

Happy Love & Respect Valentine’s Day to all!


Becky Frame said...

My husband and I have both been plagued by addiction throughout our marriage, and last spring, everything came to light and we almost separated, both of us devastated by betrayal and despair. God swooped in immediately with His grace, and over several months of marriage counseling and support groups, we have begun to heal. Tonight, this Valentine's Day, we are renewing our vows. In the future, this is the wedding anniversary we will celebrate. Praise to the Lord!

Laurie said...

God's grace is powerful, and His love abounds for each of us. What a wonderful testimony this post is to His love and grace!

Melissa W. said...

Thank you. Thank you. That you.

I am "reading" the Love & Respect Audiobook now and I can hardly wait to dive into Cracking the Communication Code once this one is over.

You are an answer to my prayers.

So glad I found you.

365 Acts of Love said...

I've decided to make every day a sort of Valentine's Day for my wife for an entire year (365actsoflove.wordpress.com). It's been tough and rewarding at the same time and I think it'll end up being one of the most important things I've ever done. (My wife and I are even working through your L&R CDs, albeit slowly.)

For Valentine's Day this year, I tried to sweep my wife off her feet. I hope it worked. In the past, I've not made a big deal out of that day and I've even dreaded its coming.

Thanks for this article. Redeeming a day for its original intent is possible--it just takes some work!

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