As I scrolled through social media, I saw posts of beautiful bouquets of flowers, words of affirmation, adventurous and romantic dates, huge stuffed animals, delicious candies, jewelry… all things I did not have. All things that honestly would only be momentary and then gather dust, die, or go away. But I wanted them. I wanted them so much that I begin to ask myself… why am I not getting those things? Why are they so loved? Why am I so unloved? What is wrong with me? Why am I not enough? These are all disheartening and toxic thoughts I so vividly remember during my season of singleness, and surprise, surprise also thoughts that carried into dating and marriage. The creeping feeling of discontentment snuck in and resided within me.
This month as my husband and I prepared for another Valentine’s Day, he expressed, “ I hate Valentine’s Day!” I looked at him shocked. Let’s be honest… I was deeply offended. How could he hate a day when he can celebrate loving me?! Prideful of me, right? My thoughts immediately went to the crazy place. The place where I allow my thoughts to expand into a huge, insurmountable mountain of doubt, self-loathing, and bitterness. My sweet husband then explained, “I always feel so stressed out and don’t want to mess up your expectations.”
How had I managed to carry this struggle of comparison into my marriage? I could feel the Lord slowly peeling back the layers to reveal this area of sin. As a fixer, I quickly suggested an alternative plan for our way of celebrating one another. I suggested that we set a budget and each create a date kit that we think the other person would enjoy. Both of us were very excited and secretly began hashing out our plans.
But Valentine’s Day arrived, and my husband and I went to work, knowing I wouldn’t be back until the next day. Instead, we would celebrate during the following weekend.Throughout the day, I saw countless flowers delivered, multiple posts about gifts, quality time, acts of service… and I felt the discontentment creeping up. I felt lonely. I was allowing my thoughts to form of cycle of doubting my husbands goodness, my worth, and then ultimately God’s love for me. On Valentine’s Night, as I laid in my childhood bedroom unable to sleep, the Lord spoke to me so sweetly. His love was everlasting and consistent. The things of this world will fade away, but His love is always true and is better. As these truths sunk in, I began taking my thoughts captive under the obedience of Christ. He began to renew my mind.
You are my beloved. I loved you enough to take your blame and shame and die for you. In your life, you can be fully satisfied in my work and love for you.
I carried this truth into this weekend as my husband and I planned dates for one another, and I was astounded at the freedom and joy that we both felt celebrating one another. There were no unrealistic expectations, as we were looking to Christ to fill us. There were no times of disappointment, as we saw the Lord spurring us on and giving us wisdom for how to best foster joy and excitement into our marriage. There was no comparison, as we stopped and delighted in the marriage that God has provided us to share His love with others.
We are His. Together we are his beloved. We can now love freely and unconditionally because He first loved us in that way.
Below, I would like to step out in freedom to share pictures from our fun date night. We didn’t do anything particularly fancy or romantic, but we took pleasure in one another’s company and worked together. We warred against comparison by taking joy in who God created us to be and what He has already placed in front of us. In the past, I have struggled with looking at other couples’ posts with envy and, at times, anger. I have even refrained from posting about my relationship in fear of stirring discontentment or comparison in others. This year the Lord is revealing to me that there is nothing wrong with displaying love because this ultimately points back to His character. I now understand that I cannot view my relationship in comparison to another couple because He has loved us specific to our individual needs and desires.
Whether you are single, dating, or married — please be encouraged that you are deeply loved, as is each person, by a Father who loves without restraint or condition. He knows how to love us perfectly and give us good gifts. Someone else’s best may not be your best. He knows you better than you know yourself. Let’s fight comparison with a solid trust and satisfaction in His love for us.