As millions of people celebrate love on Valentine's Day today, a law office in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is offering free divorces. How sad! It's time we remember the real meaning behind this love-focused holiday. Larry Tomczak, a good friend of mine and cultural commentator, says that Valentine's Day didn't start out as a secular celebration. It actually has Christian roots that go back to a martyr named St. Valentine.
Valentine lived during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. When the emperor noticed that he was having a hard time getting young men to join his military ranks, he decided it was because they were too preoccupied with love and marriage. So he banned all marriages and engagements to solve his problem.
But Valentine felt this rule was unjust and unbiblical, so he started a secret ministry in which he married young couples. When Claudius II found out Valentine was defying his orders, he had him clubbed to death and his head cut off in A.D. 269. The sacredness of love and marriage cost Valentine his life.
"I say Valentine can inspire us—and he should—as part of that cloud of witness to honor God's design for relationship, for marriage," Tomczak says. "His last words were captured in a note that he wrote to the daughter of his newly converted judge signing it 'From your Valentine.' It was precious."
That's why Tomczak believes it's time for Christians to rise up and defend God's design for marriage, just like Valentine did in his generation. Tomczak lives in Tennessee, so he has watched the law office I mentioned before offer free divorces on Valentine's Day for three years in a row. God's Word specifically says we are to honor marriage. Meanwhile, our culture demeans it.
Because of this, Tomczak encourages Christian couples to prioritize nurturing their marriage relationships.
"We're all dependent on the grace of God with the pressure that we face, and those in ministry especially can be targeted," he says. "My wife and I always try to set aside a date night. Sometimes people say, 'Well, we don't have money to go out to dinner.' My wife and I will just take hours to go on a stroll at the mall or go on walks together. It's important to have a significant time each week.
"Another thing is to set aside time for conversation. When I get home, my wife and I sit down and review the day. You might say, 'What happens if there's nothing major?' Well, it's good just to connect and love one another. Never take a spouse for granted. Looks for ways to honor your spouse."
I love these suggestions. There are so many ways we can show love in our marriages. We can write notes, serve in unexpected ways and give considerate compliments. It doesn't have to take a ton of money to bless your spouse. God loves marriage, and this Valentine's Day, I hope you will look for extra ways to shower your spouse with the love God has given you.
Listen to my full interview with Tomczak for more encouraging and inspiring marriage advice, and as always, share this article with someone who would be blessed by it.
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