St Valentine – Martyr for Marriage…Not Just Romance
“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure.” Hebrews 13:4
Wikipedia states Valentine’s Day originated as a Western Christian feast day to honor Valentinus, recognizing a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance. The day first became associated with romantic love in the 14th century. But it was for much more than romance that Valentinus gave his life.
Legend has it that Valentinus was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius II. He was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught marrying Christian couples as Emperor Claudius had outlawed marriage.
Claudius wrongfully thought that men who were “in love” or tied to a spouse would not wholeheartedly serve Rome. He claimed single men better served Rome in battle. Actually history has proven that Valentine’s obedience to God and honoring of marriage made for even stronger men in battle as they were fighting for much more than just king and country or land…they were fighting for the Love of their life…their wife!
How romantic. But it wasn’t just romance that drives men to fight for their wives and families…it’s real love. The kind of love we’ve talked about here at Love and Lordship many times. Men died not because they were romantically moved or excited about their spouse, although I’m sure that many, if not most, were. They fought and died because they were committed to their spouse and family.
God’s Covenant Design and Order
Remember that in God’s Word and design, His principles are always given, and expected to be lived out, first in the individual, and then in relationships. As loving relationships are built on character and agape (Godly love) then we form strong communities that give us relational servant-leaders in every system…education, media, business, finance, government and, yes, military.
Those who love well not only lead well but will give their all for those they love. People don’t die for projects or systems or even for nations. They die for others and in particular their families and loved ones. Our way of living is worth sacrifice because of the freedom that it gives those we love.
Valentine’s Day – Romance and So Much More
Valentine’s Day is certainly not just about romance. It’s about real love or true commitment. Valentinus gave his life for the sake and honor of Marriage! But he was not doing so to simply to defy the Emperor or to help provide better warriors for his army.
Valentinus was honoring marriage because he know it was from God and therefore how could he do otherwise? He was simply following through on God’s Truth even when it went against the government, in this case the Roman Empire.
Where are we when it comes to honoring God’s Truth when it comes to marriage. Are we standing firmly on His Word? Are we standing against those ideologies and now even legislation that goes against His Word?
We would do well to learn from and model Valentinus’s example of upholding God’s Truth regardless of the cost. Valentine’s Day may have become commercially more about romance and sex but its founder was about love, commitment and marriage according to God and His Word.
When we focus on romance only then both romance and any semblance of love will fail. However, focus on marriage and commitment while working at romance, yes, I said working at romance, and both will flourish! Marriage is one of God’s most precious and incredible gifts given to us!
Genesis 1:27 and 2:24-25, along with Jesus, reinforce the high value that God placed and continues to place on marriage, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, andthe two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” Matthew 19:4-6
Hebrews 13:4 in line with the Scriptures above tell us what God designed and desire for marriage! Male and female, husband and wife in a life-long covenant commitment to be honored by all!
Well, enough history… I want to encourage everyone to take advantage of Valentine’s Day to work on the romance that can help keep the commitment strong! Don’t allow the world’s idea of the perfect romance to get in the way of being thankful for the person God has put into your life. Flowers and gifts are very nice and part of the “work” of romance. There’s nothing wrong with giving and receiving heartfelt gifts, emphasis on HEART but be sure it’s all about the commitment.
As for me…I always take the opportunity to wish Ami, my wife of nearly 29 years, a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Thank you for all you put into our marriage and for making me a better man!
That’s it! Gotta hurry home with gifts to show her how much she means to me, now and always! I hope you’ll do the same! And to help you here are a couple of sites (I know, men, looks like we get the short end of the stick but not really)…
Make it a great day and God bless in Christ!
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Romance is the occasional sparks that keep the fire of commitment and love burning brightly. We must work to keep romance alive but we must work even more so to keep the commitment that is love.
Love and Lordship…Action Item – Take the time to buy the card, candy, flowers, jewelry or other item(s) that show you are willing to work at keeping the romance alive and the commitment secure! Doesn’t have to be expensive…but it does have to be thoughtful.