Celebrating the Four Loves this Valentine’s Day
I love Valentine’s Day. Anyone else or is it just me? During this time of year, red and pink are everywhere – pink is my favorite color! I love rom-coms and chick flicks – Valentine’s Day gives me a good excuse to start watching a bunch in early February, and I try to watch “Valentine’s Day” the movie (Yes, the one with Taylor and Taylor) each year on the actual date! I love all the cutesy little Valentine’s with animals and Disney princesses on them, and I love flowers and chocolate. All good things, right?
When I was younger, this was THE day to celebrate my relationship with my significant other. I looked forward to getting dressed up, receiving flowers, and going to a fancy meal. Years when I didn’t have a significant other, it was a day that had little significance.
Now that I’m married, my perspective has changed. While it’s true that I still love dressing up and going to dinner with my sweet hubby Quintin to celebrate our relationship (Flowers and chocolate also don’t hurt!), I have come to realize that this is not the one and only love relationship I need in my life to feel complete. If you think of your heart as something that needs to be filled, Quintin, as a boyfriend, then fiancé, then husband, can only partially fill my heart. Over the years, I have come to realize how much I also need the love of family, friends, and most importantly, God, who is love himself, for my heart to be completely full.
The Ancient Greeks realized that romantic love didn’t do the trick in encompassing the wide range of human love experienced, so they coined terms for the various love types. Eros is romantic love between partners; storge is familial love between family members; philia is brotherly love between friends; and agape is unconditional love – as Christians, we know agape to be the love of God.
Understanding these various types of love and the importance of each took me many years to grasp! Previously, I used to be very caught up in my relationship with Quintin. I used to blow off family and friends to hang out with him, and he was my priority above all else; sometimes, even above God. Now, I realize that while Quintin is a big part of how I give and receive love, he is not the only part. I also need storge, philia, and agape love in my life too. I need phone calls with my mom and sisters. I need wine nights with friends. I NEED Jesus!
This Valentine’s Day, I challenge you to celebrate all of your relationships! Valentine’s Day is not just about celebrating love with a significant other; it’s a day to celebrate ALL types of love! I have several plans this year. Quintin and I are going to have an at-home dinner date. I can’t wait to give my 6-month-old son Joseph a llama Valentine’s book I ordered from Amazon. I just had a Galentine’s day with my friend Kat and am sending out cards to girlfriends. (I could not do life without my girlfriends, I swear! Good girlfriends are gold.) Lastly, and most importantly, I am going to carve out prayer time and pray to the very essence of love, God, on Valentine’s Day. Jesus dying for us on the cross to save you and me is the greatest love story of all time. Among all the flowers and fanciness this Sunday, do not forget that. God teaches us what love is and how to love.
1 John 4 7-8: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
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Raquel was born in Indiana and lived in the Midwest for 22 years. She is an alumna of Saint Louis University, and after getting married the summer after undergrad, journeyed out of the Midwest to pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH) at Yale University. She now lives in DC with her husband Quintin, son Joseph, and dalmatian Lilo and works as a Member Insights Associate for a healthcare company.