Valentine’s Day and Systematic Neglect

It’s that time of year again.  Love is in the air, candy hearts with illegible quotes are on the shelves, and your local bank is taking loan applications so you can afford a dozen roses…make that half a dozen (times are tough).  All kidding aside, if you cut through the accusations of being a Hallmark-created “holiday” and dismiss grotesque images of fat baby archer angels, Valentine’s Day is a great time for husbands to show their love for their wives.  As I write that last statement, most of you probably didn’t blink an eye.  Why is Valentine’s Day all about the man doing something nice for the wife?  It could be that romantic gestures are lost on men, so why not focus on the women? It could be that societal pressures make Valentine’s about flowers and chocolates, again stereotypically enjoyed by women.  I’d like to propose that Valentine’s is about the wives because far too often they are neglected by their husbands the rest of the year.

A dozen roses, a box of chocolates, and a nice dinner is not just a way to say, “See, I didn’t forget” but a way to say, “Sorry I always forget.”  Forget what?  Forget that your wife  is a “good thing” (Prov. 18:22) whom you are to love sacrificially (Eph. 5:25,28).  Forget to shepherd and protect.  Forget to honor her (1 Pet. 3:7) by making her a priority above your kids and below your God.  Forget to pray for, disciple, and lead (Col. 3:18-19).  A few gifts don’t make up for systematic neglect through the months and years, and they definitely don’t make up for disobedience to your God-given roles.

At the same time, women are not off the hook.  I believe we live in a time when gender roles within Christian homes have gone awry in many ways so that the wife inadvertently asks for sympathy rather than honor.  Remember that as difficult as it is to be a homemaker and as much as you think your job is infinitely harder than your husband’s, life is not a chore but a gift and a privilege.  Count your blessings and see them as gifts that you get to enjoy rather than burdens you have to deal with.  Keep in mind, the original Proverbs 31 woman didn’t have a dishwasher let alone electricity.  You are blessed.

Commitment to your husband or wife doesn’t come around just once a year.  It’s a 24/7 lifelong enjoyable process.  Make Valentine’s a special day.  Just make sure it’s not the only one.

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