The Christmas decorations were barely down (and for some people were not down yet) when the pink hearts and cheap candy hit the store shelves. All the marketing and merchandising screamed – St Valentine’s Day is just around the corner with an implied, “Have you bought anything for the one you love?” The choices abound; you can choose chocolates, lingerie, jewelry, perfume or cologne, or select from a myriad of other trinkets on display. “What can you buy to prove to that special someone that he or she is the only one for you?” is the question all the stores want you to ask. Then, of course, they want you to buy that item from them.
It would seem that St Valentine is more the patron saint for cheap gifts than he is for lovers. Actually, St Valentine had no connection with lovers until 1632 when Princess Elizabeth, the daughter of King James the 1st who married Frederick V, Elector Palatine on St Valentine’s Day. A famous poet and clergyman of the day, John Donne, wrote a marriage poem for the two and St Valentine and lovers have been linked ever since (cheap candy followed not too long thereafter). Today we are bombarded with the images of greeting card love. There are the gifts, the candy, and the stupid (and extremely misguided) sayings like “love means never having to say you are sorry.” Just about everyone who is in a relationship will participate in one of more of the seasonal activities. None should hurt your relationship but none will really strengthen it either.
So rather than falling for culture’s cheap view of love (and the cheap candy that goes with it), put into practice the guidance from God’s description of love and all it should be: 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. (1 Corinthians 13:4–8)