Valentine’s Day purportedly is named after one of three St. Valentines from the church's early days.
One is said to have been thrown in prison for performing the weddings of young men and women against the Roman Emperor's orders. While there, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. Just before his execution, it is said he wrote her a love letter, and signed it, “From Your Valentine.”
Around the 1400s, people in France and England believed that birds began their mating season on Feb. 14. So, that day became intertwined with St. Valentine’s Day — a day of romantic love.
Romantic love can gladden a couple and lighten their hearts. But it also can be fickle, meaning it feels good one day, but the romance eventually wears off, leaving fear that love has died.
Many long-time married couples likely agree that people marry because they are “in love” (infatuated) with each other. They feel a romantic love and have strong expectations of their marriage. However, years later, they will tell you they stay married because they trust each other.
Everyday occurrences stress romantic love. Expectations are unmet. Differences of opinions are expressed. Arguments erupt.
It sometimes feels as though the marriage is over when disagreements and stresses arise. However, as I say in pre-marital sessions, when couples face challenges and work through them together, trust develops. A relationship's love does not die. Warm, gushy feelings that were there in the beginning of the marriage transform into a deeper, longer-lasting love. And trust is the foundation of a lasting relationship.
God authors that kind of love. We have been created to be in relationship with one another. We are called to love and trust each other. When we put God in the middle of our relationship, he strengthens us and gives us the ability and wisdom to work through any issue.
Most importantly, God gives us the capability to have the last words in any argument — “I’m sorry. I love you.”
Let your Valentine know of your love. And to my Valentine of 37 years: Happy Valentine’s Day! I love you!
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is pastor at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview.