“In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable.”
Romans 14:5 NLT
How are we celebrating Valentine’s asked my fiancée, now my wife. This was 32 years ago and we had only recently been engaged. God forbid, I replied as I went into a tirade of the demonic roots of a satanic festival that was eventually embellished with a Christian theme by the Roman Catholic to celebrate a saint. It is worldliness and it will not have a place in our relationship, I continued to the consternation of my teenage young lover. Tears streamed down her face uncontrollably as she realized her childhood dreams of having a Prince Charming sweep her off her feet on their first Val’s day was falling apart like a pack of cards. I was not sympathetic as my puritan posture that I believed pleased the Lord held more value to me than the happiness of my new found lover.
Fast forward to another 15 years or so and I began to challenge my rigidity. Does it really matter how Valentine’s Day began? Was it not the celebration of the love between Jummy and me that mattered? As I made a surprise gift arrangement for Val’s day that year, it couldn’t be appreciated. “Valentine’s Day celebration died inside me that day,” Jummy said, referring to the day of my rejection of the idea of celebrating it. Over the years, I have tried to resurrect it in her to no avail. This last celebration, she loved the gift I secretly arranged with the help of our first daughter. I rejoiced that finally, I broke through. She appreciated the gift and enjoyed the day although I was thousands of miles away on a mission field. As simple and as comical as this story may appear, it held value to me simply because I began to feel bad that I had taken from my wife, something that held much value to her in childhood and youth. I have also changed from the legalistic Christian who held on to things that did not matter in the light of God’s grace. It amazes me that some believers are still like I was, fighting over whether Christmas, birthdays and other things should be celebrated or not. They really do not matter to God. Such things are matters of personal preferences in the New Covenant where types and shadows have given way to reality.
Of more importance to me is the lesson of Redemptive love that God taught me in marriage. Showing me from how He did not wait for Adam to repent before initiating reconciliation, God challenges me as a husband to be a real leader in my home. Being the head does not mean being the “Boss.” True leadership is inspiring the respect and submission of your wife through your selfless, sacrificial and redemptive love for her. Being the Leader means being an example of godly character that inspires her own determination for transformation. It’s a calling to always take the higher moral ground through the grace of Jesus Christ whom we represent in the home such that our wives and children are happy to follow the example of their spiritual hero. Such impact cannot be made by being bossy nor by being physically or verbally abusive. Many husbands are frustrated because they do not feel respected by their wives and I was in their shoes many years ago. Learning the lessons of redemptive love has helped me to turn the corner with my wife and the frustrations of past years are gone. Our marriage is still not perfect because none of us is, but our constant bickering at my not feeling respected and her not feeling loved are gone.
Adam, Adam, where are you? Of course the omniscient God knew where He was but wanted Adam to realise it. It takes realizing our wrongs to correct them. It takes realizing we have fallen for us to repent. God made the first move for reconciliation and patiently took Adam through the process of realising his wrong. The same God provides the animal whose blood would atone for their sins and cover them. Redemptive love initiates reconciliation and does not play the blame game. It assumes responsibility for the woman’s conduct and forgives magnanimously. This kind of love inspires submission from the wife whose character also makes her a Winning Woman. Peter made it clear that the woman can even win a man who does not believe nor obey the Word of God through her godly character (1 Peter 3:1-3). This kind of godly character is only possible for the woman who sees her husband as representative of Christ and offers her submission to her husband in honour of him. He will supply the grace she needs to do so.
After Valentine’s Day last Monday, I am sure many relationships have settled back into previous realities, moulds, challenges and indifference after the Euphoria of Val’s day. However, every couple can make every day a Val’s day for themselves by choosing to make Christ the centre of their home. A couple can choose to make every day beautiful by intentionally making the daily sacrifices needed to invest in the happiness. As for me, I am glad last Val’s day was cherished by Jummy and I am committed to making every day special. The ball is in your court.