past homepages

"February 21, 2005 - Happy Valentine's Day"

My father loved my mother and, likewise, my mother loved my father very much. There was no question their relationship was a wonderful love story. Of course there were challenges, but it was through the valley-like periods which strengthened the cords of their hearts. My parent's story wasn't a fairytale, nor did it have the happy ending we wished for as we see in Disney movies. It was a real relationship. It was filled with joys, surprises, passion, dreams, challenges, hardships, and losses. But I believe this was the reason many couples sought my parents for guidance and advice on how to keep their marriage alive and healthy. Recently, I heard a story of how my parents took the time to step in and listen to a couple and then offer them much needed godly advice on how they could salvage their marriage. Today, they're together and have a wonderful family.

These days, the family unit is under much attack and the models are few and far between. I believe there is a great need for couples to have those who have weathered marital challenges. I know I want those people in my life. Although I've had great models, I will need couples that I can go to as I work on my marriage. Besides my walk with God, my relationship with my wife will be of high priority, followed by my children. Nothing will be of more importance than they.

In just a few days, Valentine's Day will be upon us. Have you thought about that special loved one in your life? Have you considered their love for you and the impact it has had on you over the course of the past 365 days? Have you set aside time just to reflect and notice that the person in your life is truly a gift? For some, Valentine's Day is basically narrowed down to roses and chocolate? I find this quite sad.

To be honest, there are many relationships today that are on the brink of disaster. Part of the reason for this is because the priority of significant relationships hasn't been high at all. Whatever the reason for this, something needs to change or else the relationship will never last.

After being out of the academic community for 2.5 years now and working in the business sector, it has opened my eyes to see things I wasn't aware of before. Unfortunately, some of these things aren't good. I've met many successful business men over the course of the past year. Some have shared with me the double lives they're living, I'm terribly saddened. Surprisingly, their consciences' aren't even pricked. I just can't imagine living a life like that.

When I come across such individuals and, surprisingly, I've met several (more than I've cared to know), I realize I've had a wonderful model my entire life, something completely different than what I've seen in the media or in real life - my parent's marriage. I can't say that I'm any expert on relationships. I'm far from that. However, I have learned some things. And when I fail, I at least have a plumbline by which I can fall back on.

On this upcoming Valentine's Day, I'm taking someone very special out. I want her to know how much I care for her and treasure her as a person. I've chosen to take some time to think through how I can show my love for her and look forward to sharing our time together.

I love surprising people I care for very much. I believe I got this from my dad. He was always great at catching you off guard and always found creative solutions to problems that seemed impossible to solve. As a result, there is something within me that loves to dream. I enjoy coming up with fresh ideas which might catch a person off guard, something they would never expect. Just seeing a person surprised is a wonderful thing. If anything, I probably get more joy out of this experience than the other person. But I simply love these things solely for the purpose of saying, "I care very much about you. Whether you know it in your heart or not, I truly believe you're quite a special person."

Communicating your love for someone doesn't mean you have to travel the ends of the earth or bend over backwards. Sometimes it's just the simple things in life that can be used to remind someone of their value and the love you have for them. You might not think of yourself as creative. It's ok because you're in good company. Most people don't believe they are. I know I've always felt that way, but I've chosen not to accept that way of thinking. I want to live and experience life fully, especially with someone I can share those moments with. Now, I try to use even the most common things around me as wonderful opportunities to communicate my love for someone. It just takes a willing heart and an openness to see differently.

I challenge you this Valentine's Day to try something totally different. Step-out and step-up the bar when it comes to expressing your love for that significant person. Even if you've been with someone for many years and feel that spark has died out (which it may have), do something different, something the other person would never expect YOU to do. For those who are single and don't have a significant other, this may be quite a sad time for you. You may be feeling lonely and wishing you had someone you could share the evening with. But let me encourage with this thought: Yes, it may not be an easy time for you, but that doesn't limit you from expressing your love for someone, even if it's not someone that may be your future partner. Think of one person who has touched your heart this past year. Ok. Now that they've come to mind, think of a way to express your thanks and love for them.

Bottom line: whether you're in an exclusive relationship or not, Valentine's Day can be a wonderful day to remind someone how special they are. Below are some ideas you may want to try. If not these, come up with you're own unique ideas. You can do it.

Romantic Dating Ideas

  1. Purchase a hallmark card and, then, take the time to write something special about that person. Don't e-mail them; it's too easy. Even if you live with that person, send the card via the post office. If possible, send it to their place of work.
  2. Leave a special note on the windshield of the car, directly under the windshield blades.
  3. Purchase a romantic or funny DVD. Wrap it up and watch it together. Don't forget the popcorn!
  4. Order some specialty ice cream online and have it delivered to your home. They actually FedEx it to you.
  5. If you don't have a cookbook, buy one. Choose a recipe that your friend would like and prepare a special meal for that person. If you think that person might like cooking with you, making it part of the occasion and cook together. You might be surprised how fun it is.
  6. Locate an indoor rock climbing rec center and try doing this together. it's a great lesson on trust.
  7. Purchase two, special coffee cups, and brew a fresh pot of flavored coffee or tea. Then sit down together and share that time alone. If possible, sit in front of fire.
  8. Purchase a bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans at your local store. Have your partner close his/her eyes and try to guess what flavor jelly bean they just ate. The code is behind the box or bag.
  9. Go to the mall together. With a budget of only $5.00, split up for a 1/2 hour and shop for something which reminds you of your partner. Then when you meet up, share with your friend what you purchased and why it reminds you of him/her.
  10. Gather several magazines together and cut out images which remind you of that individual Then, on a piece of cardboard, paste all the images on the cardboard making a wonderful collage of images.
  11. Create a small Valentine's video message and send it to your friend in the mail.
  12. For spouses, purchase a unique wash bowl and wash your loved one's feet as a symbol of your love by serving him/her.

Some of these things may seem strange or silly and might even take some time to do. But isn't that the point? Is that person really worth the time and effort? I hope so. My father demonstrated to me that his love for my mother was unending. He would go out of his way just to show her how deep his love was solely for her. Telling her wasn't enough for him. He lived a life simply loving.

Remember that the joy of giving is really a privileged gift we've been given at our disposal. Each action deposits something very deep into the heart of those we love so dearly. You may never know the immense impact it will have on that person, but it's certainly worth the effort.

Thanks, Dad, for showing me what love is all about.

With love,

- Justin Agoglia