AHHH – VALENTINE’S DAY!
That magical day when romance is in the air and many women have higher expectations than EVER for their men.
For men – it can be a day filled with consternation, apprehension, anxiety and fear – that what they plan or do will not meet their woman’s standard. This is especially true if things did not go well in the past.
WE HAVE FREEDOM
As believers in Christ – we are free from the carnal expectations and demands of the world. We don’t have to buy into the world’s ways and the world’s system and what the world says we must do or should do. There is freedom in Christ – even on Valentine’s Day in our relationships!
We are free to appreciate our men, enjoy them, respect them, and release them from cultural expectations and our own expectations. We set our hearts on Christ alone. We are content in Him. Anything else we get is icing on the cake. We can appreciate all that our men do if they do something for us. But we are not slaves to expectations any more. We don’t have to react sinfully if we don’t get what we want.
Really – and how I praise God for this!!! – I don’t even have to be a slave to what I want anymore! I have died to self and to the things of this world. I live for Christ through the power of His Spirit. I seek His will, His glory, and heavenly things – not my desires any more!
Let’s talk about our expectations for Valentine’s Day. There is nothing wrong with liking to feel loved, pampered, adored and treasured. We LOVE romance as women, don’t we!?!? But where is it that we go wrong sometimes? And why is it that Valentine’s Day can sometimes be the most miserable day of the year for some couples?
Sometimes our expectations are HUGE:
- I MUST have a boyfriend for Valentine’s Day.
- I MUST feel loved by a man to have worth.
- If I don’t get to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a man who loves me, my life is hopeless and I have no purpose.
- If I have a man, he should “just know” what I want without me telling him
- it’s “not romantic” if I tell him what I want for Valentine’s Day
- he should plan the whole thing all by himself and surprise me
- he should take me to MY favorite restaurant and get me a spa package and get me my favorite flowers
- if he really loved me, he would do X
- he should know what kind of jewelry I like and it needs to cost at least $XXX – or he obviously doesn’t love me
- if my man doesn’t get me X – he doesn’t care about me at all
- he should send me a 2000 word love letter/email gushing with all the romantic reasons he loves to be with me
Let’s notice something here…
Those expectations I just listed – do you see where my emphasis is?
This is where I get into trouble. I am in charge of me. I can control me. I don’t control other people. I don’t even control circumstances a lot of the time. Is it fair or right or reasonable to expect a man to read my mind, or to do things just because I expect them? Is it right to demand that God MUST give me a boyfriend and give one to me RIGHT NOW?
The other dangerous thing in some of those statements – for those in a relationship – is how I am assigning evil motives to my man if he doesn’t do what I want. I don’t know his heart! I cannot accurately make assumptions like that. I will push him away and make us both miserable if I assume he hates me and constantly want reassurance of his love. A woman’s neediness repels her man – it is a sign she has made an idol of him and has made him 100% responsible for her emotions and happiness. I need to find my reassurance that I am loved, accepted, cherished and valued in CHRIST alone.
I can ASK my man for things or tell him what I want with a smile, a pleasant voice, and respect in my heart. But I cannot demand. That is rude! It is unbecoming. It is disrespectful. And men do not respond to demands very well.
A very good definition of happiness is – the closer our expectations are to reality – the happier we will be. Conversely, when our expectations are very high, and reality doesn’t come close to our expectations, we are easily disappointed, resentful, discontent and unhappy. Also, when we tie our contentment and wellbeing to a specific outcome (our expectations), rather than to Christ, we are setting ourselves up for a fall.
The changeable factor here? OUR EXPECTATIONS!
Sometimes our reactions are AWFUL
How do we respond to God if He doesn’t give us what we want for Valentine’s Day – or other days?
How do we respond to our men if we are disappointed with what the did/did not do for us for Valentine’s Day (or other days)?
- yell and scream?
- call him names?
- become hateful and full of contempt?
- ruin the entire day, or maybe a week, with our wrath?
- pitch a fit?
- give him the silent treatment for the rest of the day, or week or month?
- criticize and condemn our men?
- bash our man to other women and tell everyone else what an unthoughtful jerk he is?
- act like we are “entitled” to have him do magnificent things for us – but care very little about his feelings?
What kind of behavior does Jesus expect from us toward Himself and toward our men?
We think a lot about love as women, and we expect men to love us. But how do we treat them? What do they expect of us? What do we expect of ourselves as women?
Whether it is on Valentine’s Day – or any other day of the year, Jesus expects us to:
- respect and honor our men out of reverence for Him (Ephesians 5:22-33)
- cooperate with our men’s leadership out of reverence for Him (I am assuming you are dating a godly man who is a strong believer in Christ and that you are moving toward marriage here – Eph. 5:22-33)
- be kind to our guys (I Corinthians 13:4-7)
- be patient with them (I Cor. 13:4-7)
- not be jealous – of how they spend their time, etc (I Cor. 13:4-7)
- not be arrogant/prideful and think we are better than and more spiritual than they are (I Cor. 13:4-7)
- not be rude to our men – EVEN if they sin against us! (I Cor. 13:4-7 – this doesn’t mean we must trust them or stay with them if they have unrepentant sin in their lives. But we don’t have to sin in return.)
- not be selfish/self-seeking (I Cor. 13:4-7)
- not be easily angered against our men (I Cor. 13:4-7 – there are times when we should have holy anger. But there are other times when anger is totally out of place.)
- keep no record of wrongs (I Cor. 13:4-7)
- not delight when things go wrong for them (I Cor. 13:4-7)
- rejoice when the truth wins out in our relationships (I Cor. 13:4-7)
- always protect our men spiritually, emotionally, financially, physically and seek to do good to them, not harm (I Cor. 13:4-7, Prov. 31) – now if a man is being truly abusive, is acting dangerous, is not in his right mind, is mentally unstable, is cheating, is addicted to drugs/alcohol, or is doing something criminal – don’t stick around and try to protect him in such a situation, get somewhere safe and get appropriate help!
- always trust our men whenever possible (and if it is not possible, we will trust God to work in our men for their good, even if we cannot stay with them at that point. If a man has proven himself to be untrustworthy, please do not trust him until he is willing to rebuild trust.)
- always hope in God (I Cor. 13:4-7)
- not quarrel (I Corinthians 3:3 – quarreling means we are worldly, and not spiritually mature)
- not argue
- not complain (that Jesus might shine brightly in us as we hold out the Word of life! Phil 2:14-16)
- have a servant’s heart and pray for God to show me how I can bless and serve my man and make the day special for him – and not make it be all about me (Luke 22:26)
There are many more things Jesus desires us to do. But I think this gives us a great place to start.
Keep in mind that to Jesus – the way I treat other people – is the way I treat Him.
WE HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE OR BREAK VALENTINE’S DAY, LADIES!!!!!
By our reaction, our gratitude, our response, our patience, our grace, our forgiveness, our mercy… our being full of God’s Spirit and reacting in the power of Christ instead of our sinful nature.
I get to decide if I have a wonderful day alone doing something I enjoy if I don’t have a guy or he is unavailable. Or I get to decide we have a wonderful day together or if it will be miserable torture – if I do have a man. There is so much power in my attitude and my thinking. I can choose to focus on being thankful to God and thinking about good things – Philippians 4:8 style.
Let’s choose to be thankful, pleasant, grateful, calm, gracious, accepting, respectful, admiring and let’s choose to be flexible and roll with whatever happens with a cheerful attitude – with God and with our men. Let’s NOT argue or complain, but be a godly example to those around us.
IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ME
Why is it that we think Valentine’s Day should be all about us getting stuff and being pampered? One of the best gifts we can give our men is to lay all our expectations and all the pressure aside and just accept, love, respect and treasure our men exactly as they are.
Let’s focus on what our men would enjoy and be thankful every day for them being in our lives if we have a guy. And let’s focus even more on Christ and on being thankful and enjoying Him no matter what our relationship status is at the moment! That is the most important thing!
I pray You might help us to keep our eyes on You. Help us to honor and love You and to obey Your Word. Help us to keep our hearts set squarely on Christ, on desiring Your presence, on loving Your Word, on wanting to be more like You and seeking Your will and Your glory.
Help us to stop looking at ourselves and what we will get and help us to have servants’ hearts and focus on serving You primarily and then our men. Make our relationships strong, vibrant, healthy and godly and let Your Name be greatly glorified in our lives!
In the Name and power of Christ,
Godly Femininity – Part 1
Godly Femininity – Part 2