If you've been around this blog for long, you know that I waited a long time for my husband. Twenty-six years to be exact. And these years were not full of other boyfriends and relationships. Nope, that was not the case my friends. Because Rory? He was boyfriend number one. We aren't counting middle school relationships, so he got the top spot and will now hold it forever.
As a child, my dreams of marriage and love and relationships were tied up in what I thought was the perfect picture of romance- flowers (every week at least), long walks, romantic dinners, exquisite trips, big diamonds, the whole enchilada. And while I can now say that I've been on the receiving end of pretty much all those things, sometimes my flesh can rear its ugly head in the form of unspoken and unmet expectations that fester into anger and bitterness.
Our first Valentine's Day was the sweetest. Rory knew I had never had a valentine, so he wanted to be sure he made it special for me. He bought me roses, planned a day trip, and made reservations at a beautiful restaurant. It was bomb, and I was super impressed and touched with his thoughtfulness. So our first married Valentine's Day rolls around, and I'm thinking that it is only going to be exponentially greater because now we're married. Duh!
Since Valentine's Day crowds can be obnoxious, we decided to do most of our celebrating on the Friday before. We went to a lovely dinner, and Rory presented me with tickets to the Fox Theatre to see The Sound of Music. (I DIED.) Poor thing forgot the card at work, though. It's the thought that counts. I was super excited to see The Sound of Music with him, and so touched that he would sacrifice to get us tickets to the show when we were trying to be good with our budget. That Saturday, we got to go to a beautiful pageant and banquet for a local organization called Extra Special People, so we got to get all dressed up, which was so fun. It was a beautiful event, and we enjoyed the "free" fancy date as a perk from Rory's job at St. Mary's Hospital.
You're probably reading this and thinking, "Jessica, that sounds like such a lovely weekend. You are such a blessed woman to have such a kind and thoughtful husband." Well.
Birth-control popping hormonal first year of marriage Jessica didn't think that was quite enough. Where were the flowers? Where were the big gestures? Where was the surprise? The romance?
Valentine's Day fell on a Sunday last year, and I woke up feeling disappointed with the lack of pizzazz. I mean, I deserved this. I had waited so long to finally have a husband and now he wasn't doing what I wanted him to do. So I sulked and pouted until he finally asked me what was wrong. And when I told him, I crushed his spirits. My ungrateful attitude put a huge damper on the day that was hard to recover from. And when I forced the expectations to become requirements, I sucked all the fun out of the holiday.
Why in the world would I share this with you, friends? I believe that God has something to show us when we are confronted with our ugliness and our true selves. When I threw a temper tantrum on Valentine's Day last year, who was I reflecting? It certainly wasn't Christ. Was I giving any glory to the Father in those moments? My guess would be a big no.
When I try to control everything by planning out each part of how I will receive and enjoy each holiday, it takes the joy out of it. When my expectations get in the way, I no longer am present or just enjoying the gift that I have in my husband himself. Because he's a pretty amazing gift just as he is. Yesterday I shared about what love is, and I meant every word. Love is flowers and surprises and diamonds. But it's so much more than that. It's shared memories, heartaches, dreams, struggles, victories, and trials.
Whether you're single or married, your calling is to set your mind on things that are above. The things of this earth are not to be where we find our fulfillment. And marriage? It's a thing of this earth. For we who call ourselves followers of Christ are His bride! There is so much joy, satisfaction, and beauty in that alone when we grasp just how amazing He is and begin to long for Him with everything that we are.
So when we put our hopes and dreams on one person and expect them to fulfill our happiness, we play a very dangerous game. Jesus is our ultimate source of satisfaction, hope, and joy. And when we decide to place our everything in Him and live in gratitude for the amazingly generous gifts that come from our good Father, our lives are so much more enjoyable. Life is to be enjoyed, after all.
Happy Valentine's Day, friends. I pray God gives you so many glimpses of His love for you today that you are overwhelmed and overcome by His greatness. And today, why not see how much you can give instead of thinking about what you want to receive? That's my goal for today. Let's spread kindness and love to each person God puts in our paths today, pointing them to our God who is Love.