Siloam Springs Herald Leader

Valentine’s Day is next week

- GENE LINZEY Reflection­s on Life S. Eugene Linzey is an author, mentor, speaker and president of the Siloam Springs Writers Guild. Send comments and questions to Visit his web site at opinions expressed are t

Did you know that next Tuesday is Valentine’s Day? If you men forgot, you better get on the stick and make a plan.

Next week Carol and I will celebrate our 58th Valentine’s Day. The first two were while attending the university before we were married, and 56 since we’ve been married.

I’ll never forget the day when I called her dorm telephone and asked her to go to lunch with me on campus. I was 18 years old and Carol and I were attending SCC (Southern California College, now Vanguard University of Southern California). I remember thinking, “If Carol accepts my invitation to the Valentine banquet, I’ll know that she is the girl I will marry.” I hadn’t dated much and was nervous — call it scared.

Over the meal I asked if she would attend the school Valentine’s banquet with me. She giggled and asked why I was so nervous. How should I know? I just was. She accepted and we’ve been going together ever since. Oh, yes, we were married in August of 1966, and I’m not nervous any more.

For years I bought her big boxes of special chocolate but, as she and I began gaining weight, I began buying smaller ones. If I remember correctly, we’ve not missed a Valentine’s Day together in these 56 years.

Marrying Carol was the second most important decision I’ve ever made. Accepting Jesus into my life was the most important decision. Our lives are anchored in a relationsh­ip with the Lord, Jesus Christ, and the love of God is the lubricant that keep our gears running smoothly.

There are many stories — call many of them myths, legends, fabricatio­ns, or true — about Valentine’s Day. But regardless of the veracity of the history, it is currently a day that men can enjoy with their wife, girlfriend or daughter. I’m not ignoring you, ladies. You can help your man remember the date, and you can even plan the festivity. It’s legal.

I remember a friend in California telling me, “Valentine’s Day is just a day when the card companies make millions of dollars, and it has nothing to do with loving my wife!” He’s got a point but I think he overstated it. However, I read that 47% of Americans don’t plan to celebrate the day.

But listen to this: according to a survey from the National Retail Federation, Americans are going to spend more than $25 billion this year, which is about $2 billion more than last year. I have to admit, that’s a lot of cash!

Carol and I like to buy a DaySpring card for each other, go out to a good restaurant and spend time together. If we splurge, that might come to around $75, which is a lot less than the average of $300 or more projected to be spent per couple.

But there is one thing that irritates me. The husband buys a beautiful card and a gift. He takes his wife out to an expensive dinner and professes his undying love for her. But the next day, life is back to normal. He reverts to putting himself first, and his attitude puts the lie to what he called “his undying love.”

Not many people know and understand the verse in Ephesians 5:25 that says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” That basically means that we husbands need to put our wives’ best interests above our personal desires.

I know, many books have been written about this, so I’ll keep it short.

I want to encourage all married folks to spend time with each other. I don’t mean just be in the same room or same house. Really express your love for each other.

Prior to marrying Carol, I told her I wanted to agree to a trial period. (Pay attention, folks.) I told her that if we make it through the trial period and were still in love, I would stay with her for life. When she asked how long the trial period would be, I said, “100 years.” We’re doing okay and have only 44 years to go.

Truly loving each other — for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, til death do us part — builds a happier, healthier, and more enjoyable life.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends.

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