As I’m thinking about Valentine’s Day today and getting flowers and cards for my wife, mother, and daughter, I have been contemplating what real love is and how the culture in which we live has little understanding of it.
Some years ago I was encouraged to read Dr. Smalley’s book, “The Five Love Languages,” and it was invaluable in giving me an understanding of the fact that each of us receives love in a particular way. It will be no surprise to most of you who are familiar with this book to know that my wife has a different “love language” than do I. So it was important for both of us to learn how the other felt loved.
While I am one of those “words of affirmation” people, my daughter once told me that those words of love that I was giving to her were, well, “just words.” My wife feels loved when I do things for her, and my daughter feels loved when I give her a gift. And so it goes. If we fathers are smart, we will learn how our wife and children receive love best, and we will express love to them in that way.
However, I couldn’t help but think about this issue of love in the last week or so as I read the news story of two different fathers. Josh Powell was a suspect in the 2009 disappearance of his wife and was denied custody of their two sons. On February 5th he killed his sons and himself during a supervised visit and burned his home to the ground. Some defend him saying that he was doing the only thing he could do to “protect” his sons. That is not love. It may be signs of what one family member referred to as his narcissism, but it is not love.
On the same day a Leander, Texas father and his family were enjoying a vacation in Big Bend National Park in far West Texas. Walking from the Chisos Mountain Lodge to a restaurant nearby, a mountain lion attacked the six-year-old son of the family. This brave father grabbed his pocket knife and stabbed the lion which then released the boy. The boy received 17 stitches to his face, but he is alive and safe. That father, my friends, truly loves his son.
Love your wife, husband, and children today in a way that makes clear to them that you love them indeed!