Another Valentine's Day has come and gone and I've fallen into the trap once again. The hype surrounding the holy-martyr's-feast-somehow-turned-day-of-ultra-romance has fooled me into putting romantic love on a high pedestal for which it was never destined. Darn you greeting card company conspiracy!
Truth be told, I've been feeling a little blue lately. I don't fully know why. I think partly it's the weather and being cooped up indoors too much. Also, Isaac has been pretty temperamental lately, which really wears on me. Maybe the weather is getting to him too.
Anyway, I've never really thought much about Valentine's Day. Sure it's nice for couples to have an extra reason to show their love, but it's pretty much a made up holiday anyway, right? But as it approached this year I began to look forward to it as a break from recent monotony. I began to think that in some small way maybe it would make me happy. BIG mistake.
Flowers and chocolate certainly cannot make me happy. Neither can the love of my husband, dear though he is. Only God can.
One of the few things that humans can never get enough of is love. We desire to be loved perfectly, completely, forever. Can I love someone like that? Of course not. It is how I strive to love my husband and son everyday but I'm constantly falling short. Romantic love, beautiful and amazing as it is, can never truly fulfill a person. The reason romantic love is so beautiful is that it is a shadow, the faintest whisper, of real love--God's love. The only love so perfect and all-encompassing that it can make a person happy.
When we put the burden of our happiness into someone else's hands we are doing them a great injustice. No human was ever meant to bear that burden. Essentially, we are making them into our god. Expecting your spouse to fulfill you will only lead to frustration and disappointment. Expecting them to be perfect will only make them feel inadequate and unappreciated.
All of this I know, and have known ever since studying Theology of the Body before I was married--in theory. In practice it's very easy to forget. In practice it's very easy to look to the person who is beside you everyday for your happiness. It is very easy to blame him whenever you have a bad day, whenever you're the least bit down. It is much more difficult to look to myself, to what is lacking in my spiritual life, to sincerely put my well-being into God's hands.
There's a song by Jon Foreman about this called A Mirror is Harder to Hold. He says:
I could try and point the finger but the glass points in my direction
Sure you've got your sharp edges but my wounds are from my own reflection
Happy belated St. Valentine's Day everyone! Hug your loved ones and don't forget to remind them that you can't make each other happy!