A holiday for sweethearts


From time to time I find myself reviewing what I have written in times past and wish I could repeat these words. Well, today is a perfect time for that to be accomplished. Valentine’s Day is now history, but, in essence, it is a holiday for sweethearts. And long past all the cards, flowers and chocolates, its impact will not soon be forgotten.

Some years ago in the Saturday Evening Post an article ran which was entitled the “Seven Ages of a Married Cold”. It reveals a sequence of actions where a husband reacts to his wife’s colds during seven years of marriage.

1st year cold: The husband said, “Sugar dumpling! I’m really worried about my baby girl! You’ve got a bad sniffle and there’s no telling about these things with all the strep going around. I’m putting you in the hospital this afternoon for a general check-up and a good rest. I know the food is lousy there, so I’ll be bringing you food from Tosini’s. I’ve already got it all arranged with the floor superintendent.”

2nd year cold: “Listen, darling! I don’t like the sound of that cough. I’ve called Dr. Miller to rush over here. Now you go to bed like a good little girl just for Poppa.”

3rd year cold: “Maybe you better lie down, Honey. Nothing like a little rest when you feel lousy. I’ll bring you something. Do you have any canned soup?”

4th year cold: “Now look dear, be sensible. After you’ve fed the kids, washed the dishes and finished vacuuming, you’d better lie down.”

5th year cold: “Why don’t you take a couple of aspirin?”

6th year cold: “If you’d just gargle or something, instead of sitting around barking like a seal!”

7th year cold: “For Pete’s sake, stop sneezing! Are you trying to give me pneumonia?”

Things do change over the years, don’t they?

In a day when things like love and marriage (which used to “go together like a horse and carriage”) are pretty much passé, to take the time out to think and re-think these concepts is not time wasted.

Known for his roles in action films, actor Nicolas Cage made a film some years ago which happens to be one of my favorites. It is called “Family Man”. In this movie, Cage plays the role of Jack Campbell, the successful president of an investment house in New York City, and he’s happily single. He has everything he ever needed or wanted, or so he thinks, including a sports car and a radiant girlfriend. But on Christmas morning his world turns upside down. He wakes up in a “What if?” scenario, finding himself 12 years into marriage with his college sweetheart and two small children. He desperately tries to rediscover his old life, but in the process begins to find out what he’s really been missing all these years.

In particular, he finds that living life for yourself alone is not as fulfilling as living your life for others. Toward the end of the movie, Jack discusses with his wife a job opportunity that would revive some of his former glory. Taking the job would mean a big move for the family, but Kate says she’s willing to make a sacrifice for the sake of the family. This moment helps Jack see what love and marriage is all about. Kate declares: “Maybe I was being naïve, but I believed that we would grow old together in this house. That we’d spend holidays here and have our grandchildren come visit us here. I had this image of us all gray and wrinkly and me working in the garden and you repainting the deck. Things change. If you need this, Jack, if you really need this, I’ll take these kids from the life they love, and I’ll take myself from the only home we’ve ever known together, and I’ll move wherever you need to go. I’ll do that because I love you. I love you. And that’s more important to me than our address. I choose us.”

One of the main reasons for thinking about these things is to realize that marriage — the “I choosing us” relationship — is not just about the individual participants in the marriage. In fact, there is a vertical as well as horizontal dimension to that endeavor.

Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, in their book “Intimate Allies”, said it this way: “Marriage is not merely a convenience to overcome loneliness or an expedient arrangement to propagate the race. First and foremost, marriage is a mirror of the divine-human relationship. Every marriage is meant to represent God: his perfect relationship with himself — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — as well as his relationship with his people… . We can reveal God by the way we love our spouses.”

Think of it: marriage, despite the faults of its two very human partners, is meant to reflect Christ’s relationship with us. Perhaps that idea should be added to the marriage vows: “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, to reveal Christ to the world and to enhance His presence in each other, till death do us part.”

The Apostle Paul states it very well in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 when he says: “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.”

What a beautiful tapestry the weaving together of our lives would be if we kept this as our pattern. Why not take some time tonight to read those verses from 1 Corinthians 13 to your mate. Only instead of the word love substitute your mate’s name. Happy Valentine’s Day!

God bless…

Chuck Tabor is a religion columnist for The Times-Gazette and a former Hillsboro area pastor who now resides in Florida. He can be reached at [email protected].

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