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Valentine's Day is a silly holiday but nice. You might guess it was created by Hallmark but it wasn't. It goes back to the Roman Empire. Then the Catholic Church "Christianized" it. Now, its little red hearts on cards with Cupid's bow and arrow and sweet words. I recall our first-grade teacher had us kids exchange cards. I was kissed by a girl. Yuck!

We men need to do better at telling our wives how much they mean to us. I've learned that women view lack of conversation as rejection. To her, silence hurts. Inside every woman is a tender girl that needs to know it is still safe to open her heart; to give and receive love; to be vulnerable, to play. Or, as the biblical narrative says about Adam and Eve, to be "naked and not ashamed."

I've heard that love is blind. It can also be deaf and dumb and stupid. Love makes you overlook your partner's faults. In the beginnings of love, it can be mind-numbing infatuation. When love for my Lana first gripped my 19-year-old heart, I was convinced there was no other woman on earth as beautiful, sweet, charming or enjoyable to be around. I was smitten!

At some point, love melts down from a towering inferno into a simmering furnace that warms your life. Like a fine wine, it ages well. If I could go back in time and say something to myself as a 21-year-old husband, I'd say this. "You can't imagine how good marriage gets as you grow older." And, "Buy land. God isn't making any more of it."

In the Bible, the Lord wants us to celebrate being married with words like, "the marriage bed is undefiled," and "rejoice with the wife of your youth," and "let your fountain be blessed." This is picturesque language with delightful overtones. It encourages us to enjoy the sexual fulfillment of marriage as often as we can. There is no age limit, either. God isn't a prude. He just wants us to keep our fun inside the covenant of marriage.

God's word warns us about having wandering eyes: lusting after a stranger. The damage from infidelity is painful and often irreversible. That's why I advise married men not to drink at a bar or socialize with the wrong crowd. It isn't that drinking is sinful; it is not -- "moderation in all things." However, getting buzzed with the wrong companions can lead to going home with the wrong woman.

God wants our marriage covenant celebrated and kept strong. You and your spouse are each other's reward on earth. You are blessed. Have fun. Be grateful. Do thoughtful things for one another. Be one another's best friend. Keep confidences. Laugh together.

Sanctify your sexuality so it is intimate, personal and exclusive. Don't allow your imagination to think about other people as partners. Don't let emotional attachments intrude into your relationship with your spouse.

If you have children, create special private times to be with your spouse each week. This is just for the two of you, not the kids. You married her before you had children. Hopefully, you'll be married long after the children have moved on, so always keep your spouse first in your life.

• • •

Ron Wood is a writer and minister. Contact him at wood.stone.ron@gmail.com or visit www.touchedbygrace.org. His latest book is "A Thief in the Storehouse." Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 02/14/2018

Print Headline: Love is in the air

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