Growing up, I associated Valentine’s Day with the carnations we could buy and receive in Middle School – white (just friends), pink (like), red (love) – adding to the pre-teen drama and angst of answering the question: are we “going out” or just “crushing hard.” My current faves are purple tulips, yellow daffodils, and white hydrangeas. My all-time favorite was established in college, as my (Kappa Delta) sorority’s symbol: the white rose – and truly, what is sweeter or more sincere or more pure than that: a lovely white rose? My wedding and reception were dripping with them.
I have since learned that Valentine was a martyr and that “The feast of St. Valentine of February 14 was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among all those ‘… whose names are justly reverenced among men, and whose acts are known only to God.'”
So it’s not just a commercial holiday created by candy and card companies, but this recent campaign by Hallmark Cards is the sweetest I’ve seen in a while.
As I watched many of these “Put Your Heart to Paper” videos (watch them all here), I wanted to quickly do the same to my love, Grant.
If I had to describe us without using the word love…
- When I first met Grant, I thought he was the coolest guy and funniest person I’d ever met. Still do.
- He makes me feel safe and gives me strength in a way that allows me to be soft and courageous.
- Our place feels like a home – and has from our early married days in a great apartment, to our London days in a tiny flat, to making our Shanghai hotel a livable space, to buying our house.
- When we’re apart, even for a small gap of time, I get butterflies in anticipating his return and am giddy when we reunite. One of my favorite things to do is pick him up from the airport; the love spills out all around and my cup runneth over.
- He is my favorite travel companion and knows when to explore and when to rest, when to share things and when to quietly savor the moment, when to clip quickly through busy streets and when to walk through the hushed hallows of museums, when to grab our favorite latte to go and when to linger at dinner, relishing the food and company and wine and atmosphere.
- He makes me laugh – that belly-deep, can’t contain it, unexpected laughter that starts explosively and ends by flicking away happy tears.
- I respect, admire, cherish, adore, esteem, enjoy, honor, appreciate, treasure, like, and yes, love him – truly, deeply, privately, publicly, sincerely, honestly, zealously, purely.
Never forgetting our firm foundation: “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
Ann Voskamp has begun using this hashtag: #ConsciousCovenantCoupling. Matt Chandler’s current speaking tour and book is called: The Mingling of Souls: God’s Design for Sex, Love, and Redemption. There’s a lot of talk about love – true, authentic, covenantal love – in the Christian community and I love it.
What’s your story and how would you describe love without using the word?