By Rev. John Bullock
The color red, countless hearts, Cupid and his bow, candy and
roses all indicate that the day dedicated to those in love has
arrived. The association of lovers with St. Valentine’s Day goes
back at least as far as the Middle Ages in England and France.
February the 14th is around the time of year when birds would find
mates, so this day also seemed appropriate for two people to show
signs of that love.
Yet does Valentine’s Day still have anything to do with love? Is
real love still possible?
Among the many gifts we have the most precious is our capacity
to love. La Boheme, Romeo & Juliet, West Side Story, the poetry
of John Donne and countless other poems, songs and dramas
throughout history have continuously revealed man’s deepest desire:
to love and to be loved.
Perhaps that desire could be summarized with the image of a
young man looking into a young woman’s eyes on a starry night,
promising to be hers ‘forever.’
That promise converted into a life-long commitment has the power
to bring about life: newborn life and a fuller and richer life for
each other as companions on a journey.
Yet, if this life of love is so wonderful and so greatly
desired, why does it seem so difficult to obtain? Many marriages in
America end in divorce. Prenuptial agreements settling the terms
for the eventual separation show resignation to an eminent
Domestic violence affects countless people. Fewer people are
tying the knot and more and more people are simply living alone. It
seems that in our culture with so many broken homes and broken
hearts that we have decided that it is better simply not to risk
it. We may have ‘friendships with privileges,’ ‘hook up’ or resort
to pornography in order to satisfy desires, but we don’t take the
chance of actually loving, of giving ourselves in a life-long love.
The problem is that while these stop-gap measures may bring
momentary pleasure, they will not bring us happiness. Furthermore,
these substitutes for love not only put off commitment to a
life-long love but make it harder for one to commit later in life:
“I’ve been hurt before.”
You must train yourself to love. You can’t give what you don’t
have. So, to give yourself you must possess yourself. That means
self control. If a young man truly loves a young woman, he will say
no to other options now and in the future. On the other hand,
imagine her telling him, “I’ll love you until someone better comes
along.” That wouldn’t be love. Furthermore, if they truly love one
another, they will also want what is best for each other now and in
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