Hi, Ladies! I am writing this little note to you today to encourage you to stop drinking the Kool-Aid that every advertisement screams in February. The month of hearts and flowers and chocolate has twisted a beautiful and holy thing called LOVE into a cheap and often self-centered thing called ROMANCE. Now, before you think I am a non-romantic heartless robot, I assure you- I love an unexpected bouquet of roses or surprise date night as much as any woman. But, can we all just step back from Valentine’s Day and admit- the whole holiday has turned love into something men have to prove to women to avoid being in the doghouse, and ladies- how is that okay?

Love, defined by God himself, is focused on the good of the other person. 1 Corinthians says “…it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered…” But, how often does February 14 find women seeking affirmation and approval, then becoming offended or angry if the efforts of their man do not measure up to the picture in their mind or on their friends Instagram feed?

What if we just stopped expecting our husbands and boyfriends to make us feel loved in a certain way, but instead found ways to honor and celebrate love together? 

What if we woke up every day thanking God for the love He showers us with? The way He has lavished His love on us through our adoption into His family? What if we felt so deeply connected to His love, that we could focus on celebrating those we love, including children and co-workers and single friends and parents, because we did not need a singular romantic moment to fulfill us? Could we overflow to those around us look a lot more like Christ?

So here is my plea to you this year if you are in a relationship: let your man off the hook early. Tell him you want to plan something together that celebrates the love God gives you both and the love between the two of you. Maybe you serve the needy together. Or cook a special dinner for single friends. Or sit down and make a gratitude list of all the ways you appreciate each other. Or cook a fancy breakfast together for your kids and focus on expressing love together as a family. Or pick a new hobby to try together. The possibilities are endless.

And if you are single, remember this: there is nothing wrong with wanting someone to buy you flowers or chocolate or planning a more extravagant date. Just make sure your heart doesn’t become so enamored by a romance that real love gets eclipsed. There are 364 other days in the year. And having people who show up on all those days- the regular days, the hard days, the sick days- well, that is a whole lot more proof of love, and it’s what our hearts really long for.