Valentine’s Day (Not) in Black & White

In Saudi Arabia, the virtue and vice squad raids stores on the eve of Valentine’s Day and seizes symbols of love. They ban all things red, heart-shaped and Valentine-related – even teddy bears. Roses can only be found on the black market. The reasoning behind this is the idea that the holiday promotes immoral relationships. While I don’t advocate holiday consumerism, here’s my defense of red, roses, romance, and real love.

1. Expressions of love are the spice of life.

Couples needs romance like food needs spice. And not only romance, but true expressions of love and appreciation. I like a holiday when the words “I love you” are expressed in many ways. Winning the heart of another includes finding out what makes another person come alive. This usually includes loving words and romantic, thoughtful expressions. Keep winning the heart of your husband or wife even after you are married.

2. One who is mature in love will lay down his life, serve, and give.

This is the antithesis to the sexual bondage theme of “Fifty Shades of Grey” that will come out in cinemas on Valentine’s Day. It’s deeply troubling that a novel that glamorizes sexual violence has sold 100 million copies, and now it’s coming to the screen. Subjugation and abuse are never romantic or loving, so don’t entertain it. Men and women are worth so much more.

Here’s a worthy love story. The Roman priest, St. Valentine, served at a time when the emperor, Claudias, persecuted the church and issued an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers. In a highly immoral society, people were drawn to the Christian faith. Valentine secretly married couples because he believed that marriage was very sacred between one man and one woman for life and that it was to be encouraged. He was eventually caught, imprisoned, tortured and executed.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

3. Self-control cannot be imposed by law.    

“Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart. Earn a reputation for living well. In God’s eyes and the eyes of the people. Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” (Prov. 3:3-6 MSG)

4. Beauty should be celebrated.

I cannot think of the purpose of a rose except that it is beautiful and fragrant. I think that says something about its Creator. God is in favor of beauty. The color red makes quite a statement. I can’t imagine a world in black and white, or Valentines’ Day without the dramatic color of red.

5. Just curious, how are people expected to go from friendship to marriage?

There has to be a way to express love to another through words and in other thoughtful ways. A few couples probably get engaged on Valentine’s Day. Not all things romantic are immoral.

6. Platonic love

I always give Valentine’s Day cards and gifts to my daughters and people sometimes give Valentine’s cards to show appreciation to friends and family members. Overall, it is a great day to show love and appreciation.

7. Oh, and last but not least . . .

In favor of chocolate – it’s a great day to have a sweet treat with the ones you care about.

Learn to love deeply and daily.

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