Family and Relationships

Why I Don’t Really Care About Valentine’s Day

  “For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” -Judy Garland

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I know, I know, blasphemy, right?

February 14th is the day loved ones are supposed to exchange gifts and men are supposed to take women out to an expensive dinner and buy them something pretty. I’ve actually heard a woman say, “All I know is I better get jewelry this year.”

Now, before you start questioning my femininity, as a woman I am a mushy, hopeless romantic who loves love. Even more so than a lot of other women I know. I’m pretty much on the extreme end of it.

I still sent my parents a Valentine’s Day card (albeit I waited until the last minute so they won’t actually get it until the holiday is over). I still wrote my boyfriend a sappy note and have a sweet edible surprise waiting for him on the kitchen counter when he gets home from work, by which time I’ll already be off to work for the rest of the night to go serve food to other lovebirds. It’s okay that we don’t get to spend any time together today because we have the other 364 days a year to make up for it. I’m happy to ensure a lovely night for others that do get to be together.

But there is something about Valentine’s Day that always seems strange to me. It’s a day to “tell her how much she means to you,” and “tell her how special she is.” Shouldn’t we be telling each other that everyday? I don’t want my loved ones to rely on a consumer-driven Hallmark holiday to remind them to tell me these things.

I don’t want fancy jewelry, I want his heart. Not just one day a year but every day. It seems if I know I have it every day, then the significance of this one day a year in February fades away.

Today I woke up to red roses on the counter with a sweet handwritten note and I literally cried. I told you, I’m a mushy sap. And it was so beautiful and really touched my heart.

But maybe even more so because I wasn’t expecting anything. My heart is already full so the extra gesture just created overflow and I’m on cloud 9, with the excess finding its relief through my tear ducts. I love my flowers, I love my note, and the message he wrote on my Facebook wall proclaiming his love for the world to see.

But I haven’t forgotten the whole point, the heart of the matter. And that’s his.

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Sink or Swim on the (Friend)Ship?

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship: connection between two people, what components are necessary for survival, what defines it, what keeps it going, thriving, what differentiates a friend from an acquaintance…

There are three categories a person fits into in your life: Confidant, Constituent, and Comrade.

     1.  CONFIDANTS – You have very few of them – these are people who welcome you unconditionally. They are into you whether you are up or down, right or wrong, they are in it for the long haul. You can share anything with them. These are people who you can share your deepest and darkest inner thoughts with, who won’t judge you but will feed you instead of draining you. 

     2.  CONSTITUENTS – They are not into you but are into what you are FOR. They are for what you are for. As long as you are for what they are for they will be with you but never think they are for you. If they meet someone else that will meet their agenda they will hook up with them and leave you. Don’t mistake a constituent for a confidant. By the time you fall in love or are connected with them in a relationship, they will hook up with someone else and break your heart, leaving you wondering, “I thought our relationship was deeper than that.”

     3.  COMRADES – These are not for you nor are they for what you are for. They are just against what you are against. They are strange bedfellows. They are the enemy of your enemy who will team up with you to help you fight a greater enemy. They will only be with you until the victory is accomplished.

-Pastor T.D. Jakes

I truly believe if one gains just a couple true confidants in their lifetime, they should consider themselves very blessed. It’s not hard to see why this is the case. We humans are all so unique and different. We are all raised with differences, we all have unique environmental changes throughout life, different minds, motivations, passions, pet peeves, theories, knowledge, goals. So many options of how a person walks through life and what makes them tick.

Add that all to the fact that we are a fallen human race in a world serving as the Devil’s playround, where we must battle every day for our very hearts and live our lives in a war zone. A spiritual war, but still a war. Just as real as any-the war between good and evil. It’s no wonder we can’t all get along.

The basis of any true relationship is unconditional love. Some would argue only God could love unconditionally. You could argue that this means we each will only have a limited number of real, life-long, long lasting relationships in our lives. Well, I do agree with that second part. And yes I believe we humans are capable of unconditional love, though it is rare, most often seen in a parent/child relationship.

The passage 1 Corinthians 13: 4-13 is often read at weddings as the very essence of love. I agree. Love, real, true love is inherently unconditional. It is selfless. The catch is, it requires two people to survive. Without both people participating actively, it is rendered crippled, and crippling to the person giving it at times. For example, in a marriage, one person may love unconditionally, but if the other commits adultery, lies, cheats, or steals… no matter how much the other loves them, it is very difficult, if not impossible for that alone to sustain a relationship. Which is why I say love is the basis of a relationship. But you need more.

Real relationship requires give and take between two people, but giving without expecting immediate return, or anything in return really. Both give, therefore both receive. It’s when the well-being of the other is your priority, their happiness is your priority, and that in itself, is your return. As Corinthians tells us, it is patient, it is not judgmental or self-seeking… I once heard the most successful relationship is where each person tries to out-serve each other daily.

How many people do you have that you know without a doubt has your back? That you’d willingly go into a foxhole with, back to back, with total trust? My guess is not many. I am lucky, blessed, grateful to have 4 people I can name. My dad, my mom, my best friend Amanda, and my boyfriend Tim.

Being an introvert, I don’t use the term “friend” lightly, and I understand the importance of one real friend versus 10 fair-weather friends. Amanda has shown the epitome of real friendship to me. She loved me when I least deserved it. She refused to abandon me when everyone else told her she should. She fought for me when many thought I was beyond hope. She is the kind of friend that comes along only every 2 or 3 lifetimes. She did this without expecting anything in return, unconditionally, knowing at the time I wasn’t capable of “paying her back,” but that wasn’t why she did it. She wasn’t keeping score.

On the other hand I’ve had “friends” that would intentionally hurt me the minute I screwed something up, that would say nasty things to me that no one should ever have to hear, just because they were angry with me, or that would offer to help me with something, but then throw it in my face if I can’t immediately do something for them in return. They would keep score. I know the difference. I know who I’d want in my foxhole with me.

I can be a bit needy, I enjoy company and companionship, but have very few stable people in my life. I prefer it that way. Sincerity, integrity, truth in love, someone who wants the best for me… these are all things I want in a friendship or any kind of relationship. Without these components, I don’t need them and shouldn’t want them in my life. Period.

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Love and War

We humans can be so different. Take gender, cultural influence, family background, age, environment… and it’s amazing anyone ever agrees on anything. The very existence of friendships, relationships, marriages. The fact that they ever work out at all proves an almighty God.

I haven’t been on here for a while, words have been absent from my mind and heart and typing hand. I’ve had a lot change in my life in these past weeks, bringing in change in emotions and thoughts and the newness of different things have left my mind unable to focus on pouring out in writing.

There’s a book I’ve been reading called “Love and War: Find Your Way to Something Beautiful in Your Marriage” by John and Stasi Eldredge. I’m not married, but the Eldredge’s are my favorite Christian authors and I think principles and lessons that apply to marriages can also be applied to making non-marital relationships more successful as well. I wanted to share an excerpt from this book, not just for my married friends, or friends in committed relationships, but even for my single friends who are learning now in preparation for a significant other in the future. I feel like this following excerpt is something I need to remember in my life right now. Maybe some of you can benefit from it as well.

.…from chapter 4 of “Love and War” …

Of Course You Are Disappointed

The human heart has an infinite capacity for happiness and an unending need for love, because it is created for an infinite God who is unending love. The desperate turn is when we bring the aching abyss of our hearts to one another with the hope, the plea, “Make me happy. Fill this ache.” And often out of love we do try to make one another happy, and then we wonder why it never lasts.

It can’t be done.

You will kill yourself trying.

We are broken people, with a famished craving in our hearts. We are fallen, all of us. It happened so long ago, back in the Garden of Eden, so early in our story that most of us don’t even realize it happened. But the effects of the Fall are something we live with every day, and it would be best for both of you if you understood what it has done to the soul of a man and a woman.

Every woman now has an insatiable need for relationship, one that can never be filled. It is an ache in her soul designed to drive her to God. Men instinctively know that the bottomless well is there, and pull back. I don’t want to be engulfed by that. Besides, no matter how much i offer, it’ll never be enough. This is Eve’s sorrow. This is the break in her cup. She aches for intimacy, to be known, loved, and chosen. And it also explains her deepest fear-abandonment.

Men face a different sort of emptiness. We are forever frustrated in our ability to conquer life. That’s the “sweat of your brow…thorns and thistles” thing. “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you…” (Genesis 3:17-18).

A man aches for affirmation, for validation, to know that he has come through. This also explains his deepest fear-failure. Now take, these fears, brokenness, and this famished craving, throw them together into the same house and lock the door. What ensues is the pain, disappointment, and confusion most people describe as their marriage. But what did you expect? I mean, are you really surprised?

Of course you are disappointed…

…we have famished cravings within us that only God can meet. Of course you are disappointed… go to God.

You have to have some place you can turn. For comfort. For understanding. For the healing of your brokenness. For love. To offer life, you must have life. And you can only get this from God.

We cannot trade empty for empty

We must go to the waterfall

For there’s a break in the cup that holds love…

Inside us all.   

(David Wilcox)

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