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It’s Not in the Cards

I remember looking forward to Valentine’s Day when I was a child. In our school, Valentine’s Day and Christmas were the only two occasions when parties were allowed.

During the week prior to Valentine’s Day, our teacher gave each of us a white paper bag on which to put our name and perhaps some customized art work. Each of the bags was collected and arranged in alphabetical order on the chalk rail below the blackboard.

These bags would serve as mailboxes for us to receive Valentine cards from our classmates. Then, at the Valentine’s party, we would open our cards and read them.

This year, I noticed that Christmas hardly passed before the supermarkets and department stores had promptly packed away their Yuletide decor and quickly displayed the assorted treasures of St. Valentine. Heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, plastic roses and colorful cards begged to be bought.

While nostalgically browsing through the merchandise, I noticed the assortment of Valentine cards. They were much larger and much more expensive than those we exchanged as children. Many were humorous, some were risque and others were super serious. Overall, the cards were more entertaining than substantial.

Since Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love and relationships, perhaps we should also recall some classical wisdom about relationships…the lines you probably won’t find in a Valentine card:

  • “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine.” —Song of Solomon 1:2
  • “Love is a decision….not a feeling.” —Gary Smalley
  • “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled.” —Hebrews 13:4
  • “A relationship is made up of two individuals contributing their unique gifts and strengths. Each of you contributes to the other. If the giving is one-sided, it won’t work.” —H. Norman Wright
  • “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” —Genesis 2:24
  • “People who have an unselfish love for one another can work things out. People who really love each other can make mistakes and start over with one another. People who love each other can survive without getting their own way.” —Ken Chafin
  • “Love covers a multitude of wrongs.” —Proverbs 10:12
  • “Romance is flying; love is safe landing.” —Marjorie Holmes
  • “Submit to one another out of a reverence for Christ.” —Ephesians 5:21
  • “The human aspirations for intimacy, communion, community, and freedom are all part of the very substance of life; when free of their mythical trappings, they are part of the goodness of life God intends for us to enjoy.” —Diogenes Allen
  • “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” —I Corinthians 13:13
  • “They didn’t put that in the ceremony.” —Dagwood to Blondie

Barry Howard is senior minister of First Baptist Church in Corbin, Ky.