The Best Valentine’s Gift of All
Love: The Best Valentine’s Gift of All
Understanding how to have a happy, meaningful marriage first begins with understanding what it is that all human beings need most. We all know what that need is. In order to be happy, what we all want and need more than anything else is love. This is the best Valentine’s gift of all.
We prove that every day with the songs we listen to, the movies we watch, the books we read, and the conversations we have. Love is the theme uniting all these activities, but it’s not just any kind of love we’re looking for.
One of the most commonly used words for love in the Greek language is the word agape. Agape is defined as unconditional, positive regard for the well-being of another, or love-in-action, with no strings attached. Agape love is the the best Valentine’s gift of all.
Each of us has this need for someone to unconditionally love and accept us, a deep need for someone to see us exactly as we are, warts and all, and still want us and care about us.
Agape is the most commonly used Greek word in the New Testament for love. It’s the word used in this passage of Scripture from the book of 1John:
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us… let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth… Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God… God is love. This is how God showed his love among us:
He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 3:16-18, 4:7-10). Jesus offered us the the best Valentine’s gift of all.
God’s loves us with agape- unconditional love. There are no “ifs” attached to God’s kind of love. He doesn’t love us “if” we love Him first. No, His love is not based on our merit or performance, nor on whether or not we’re lovely or lovable. He loves us even though we don’t deserve it. In fact, there’s nothing we can do to make Him stop loving us.
The Bible says in Romans 5:8 “But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful.” That’s real love! It’s unconditional love! And it’s the kind of love most needed in our marriages.
The greatest Valentine gift that Sue has ever given me is her unconditional love. Rather than trying to change me by criticizing me, it amazes me how she mostly chooses to love me by quietly bearing with my faults and forgiving me for my failures. Her unconditional love encourages me. It motivates me and frees me to love her better in return. It’s what every one of us wants and needs, but how can we experience this kind of unconditional love on a day-to-day basis in our marriages?
When we open our hearts to Jesus Christ, the Bible says, “God’s love is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us” (Romans 5:5). His Holy Spirit inside us produces agape love within us, empowering us to love with his kind of love- unconditional love, the kind of love that loves with no-strings-attached, without requiring that we receive something in return.
In other words, you cannot give what you do not have. To be able to love your mate unconditionally, you must be having on an ongoing basis, a personal experience of God’s deep, unconditional love for you, filling you. You experience His love day-to-day, by spending some time with Him in prayer, worshiping Him, and reading His Word, (His love letters to you). As you experience His unconditional love in your heart, His love empowers you to love your spouse unconditionally.
The best gift you can give your mate this Valentine’s Day, and everyday is unconditional love. Unconditional love is the the best Valentine’s gift of all. When you love your mate unconditionally, it frees her/him to change and be more the person God intends her/him to be. Indeed, “Perfect love casts out fear.” 1John 4:18
Maybe you started out your marriage on the right track, but somewhere along the way you’ve gotten side-tracked and stopped loving your mate-unconditionally. Perhaps you’ve found yourself trying to change him or her, focusing on the negatives, the faults, the idiosyncrasies.
When you try to change your mate, you are putting yourself in a wrong position of authority and are actually taking on God’s role, trying to be God. Your mate then becomes defensive and resentful- and less likely to change. If this is your situation, maybe it’s time to confess your wrong to God and remember that only God can change your mate.
Choose today to love your mate unconditionally, and pray for your mate. And remember, a meaningful and lasting marriage is not built by finding a perfect person, but by tapping into God’s perfect love, and allowing it to flow through one imperfect person — you, toward another imperfect person — your mate.
Give the the best Valentine’s gift of all this year!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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