Love Month: Love is Gross

February 2, 2011

Happy Groundhog’s Day.

Well, I’m not writing a Groundhog’s Day post, as much as awareness of the plight of groundhogs needs to be raised.  But I am kicking off a series of posts today.

From time to time I go on a theme for a few weeks.  About a year ago, I started by blogging for a few weeks about doubt.  It was pretty cool.  Last October, I blogged for a few weeks about blogging.

This month, I’ve got lined up what I hope will be one of the most meaningful things I’ve put together on this blog.  In honor of all of us who refuse to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’m doing a month of blogging about love…and all the crap that comes with it.  Isn’t that lovely?  Read on to see what you can expect.  It’s kind of a shotgun spray of previews for the coming weeks.  It’s pretty sweet.

Love is Kind of Gross

It’s not just gross because we dress it up with lots of pink and flowers and mushy stuff.  I was musing with my wife the other night before bed that people could certainly get a lot more done in life…if we weren’t controlled by so many irrational emotions, hungers and urges.  We all used to think love was gross…until those hormones took over.  I think that’s why aliens are always super-smart, but loveless, asexual robot-like humanoids.  They get a lot done because they’re not spending their time on love.  We’re supposed to be the “smart” ones on this planet.  But then we’re controlled by this carnal, illogical urge to pair up.  We make a lot of trouble for ourselves over that.  But we say that someone who doesn’t love is less than “human.”

Love Isn’t Getting Any Less Gross

Have you noticed all the pastors out there who act like armchair marriage counselors?  People have been getting married for thousands of years.  Yet, we still don’t have it right.  So pastors preach whole series of sermons on marriage, or challenge their members to a whole month of marital intimacy.  Of course, divorce is still rampant.  And at the same time, more marriages and churches than ever before are broken up because someone can’t control those gross little urges.  Seems like we know less about love than ever.

What’s Wrong with You?

Some people are serial daters, and others are serially single.  With all the absurdity of our culture’s love life, it makes you wonder why anyone would want to get involved in a serious relationship.  Yet, most of us (and maybe especially Christians) look at singles like there’s something wrong with them.  Don’t worry, love month here at the blog will not be ignoring singles.  I’ve got a special Valentine’s Day post planned just for you.  I’m still young enough that I’ve spent more of my life single than married.

Who Wrote the Rules for Love?

We’ve got our ideals about what love and marriage should be.  Some people think we should kiss dating good-bye.  Others think love conquers all things.  And most of us say our ideals came from a higher authority.  But does the Bible really give a clear picture of what love and marriage should look like?

No One Warned Me

I’ve been married almost five years now.  My wife and I have always got along really well, much better than many other couples.  Yet, there are so many ideas about marriage I absorbed from somewhere that just didn’t meet up with reality, ideas about what it would be like, what was expected of me, what was expected of her.  Maybe I’d be better prepared if I had fed myself a steady diet of Hugh Grant movies, rather than wasting my time watching Fight Club over and over.  Makes you wonder if anyone knows what love is supposed to look like.

All this, and I’ve got lined up the best cavalcade of features, interviews and giveaways I’ve ever had.  I hope you stick around to read it.

So, let’s kick it off easy today.  Tell us what kind of a relationship you’re in, and you’re plans for the big V Day, if any.  (It’s in just a week and a half, so don’t dilly dally.)  Turns out, I did actually get my wife something this year.  I just don’t know what it is, because she hasn’t told me.

52 responses to Love Month: Love is Gross

  1. What gets me is that there is a big push in the church that if you want to be a godly woman, you start by planning to be a godly wife and mother. Why can’t we just be godly? And since we can’t help it — godly women? I think marriage and family are great, but they aren’t pre-requesites for being godly. The church can do a lot more to encourage single women to be single godly women who are growing in godliness, regardless of their relationship status, present or future. (Sorry, you opened the floodgates here 😉 but I would love to see a post on this.)

    Oh, and I’m not in a relationship. I plan to watch the Food Network Chocolate marathon just like I did last year. (Did you know that white chocolate isn’t chocolate at all?) If anyone wants to change my plans, I enjoy candlelit dinners and long walks on the beach.
    Jo_of_TSN recently posted..Funny how some things just sneak up on you

  2. i’m one of those “serially single” ones. the only plans i have for v-day is that on the friday before (11th) i’ll be going to a friend’s band’s gig aptly named “valentines shmalentines”…should be fun!
    tsholo recently posted..Thoughts on singleness revisited

  3. Valentine’s day or Singles Awareness Day ?

    I’ve been married for just over 3 months now and this will be our 1st valentine’s day as a married couple…or so everybody at work is pointing out this rather obvious fact with a “oh you should do this and that because its your first…blah blah” smirk as if the secret to a successful marriage lies in the execution of this particular day. or maybe they are just trying to make conversation by dispensing marriage advice.

    My wife and I choose to love each other every morning as best as we can for the whole day.

    But some years ago we went out for dinner as a bunch of singles and enjoyed each other’s company. no expectations. just building relationships.
    kleinfrans recently posted..dreaming

  4. I’ve been married 6-1/2 years now. I was married before, no children, divorced, and then single for a long, long time. I never thought i’d meet someone as wonderful as my delightful husband. We get along very well. An occasional disagreement here and there, but over all we are so well matched. We have a much better relationship than most folks we know.

    Being similar does have its downside . . . because we are so alike in some ways, we have the same weaknesses (not good with cooking, household chores, etc.) and so it is a struggle to manage those things. The only really negative is that we’ve had 3 miscarriages and almost certainly will not have children, and we both have so desired them.

    We don’t generally do anything for Valentine’s Day. It is a day that irritates my hubby a great deal. He thinks that Hallmark and jewelry stores and candy shops and flower shops do a lot of marketing to try to make folks think that they have to squeeze it all into this one day. It creates unrealistic expectations to “perform.” So we give it a miss. We have other rituals and holidays we celebrate thru the year. And we both remember how painful it was to be single on that day, for so many years.

    I agree with Jo of TN about the way many churches preach about family life. It does a dis-service to everyone. In fact, i have a problem with the way most preach at women in general.
    Kathryn recently posted..Ill be honest –

  5. Years ago, before my husband and I got married, after a string of horrible, failed Valentines Day dates, we decided to quit celebrating any holidays created by card companies. It’s worked much better. I always feel bad for guys on Valentines day. It’s a no win situation for them… most women want the creative, romantic gift and date… all the while expecting the poor guy to read their minds and come up with it on their own. It’s the holiday equivalent of asking them “does this make me look fat?” and then being upset at the answer. :)
    Linda B. recently posted..What I Think About Late at Night…

  6. This June I will be married 38 years to my college sweetheart. i wish I could say it has been all peaches and cream but I can’t. She just had a big birthday this past Sunday and i shot the moon on it-I bought her a dozen roses & took them to work, brought my adult daughters and grandson in, took all of us out to Texas Roadhouse, then Sunday afternoon had a surprise birthday party at a local restaurant with about 50 people from the church I pastor. i spent a lot of money and expelled a lot of energy. V-Day will be simple as I recover. :) She is fairly non-sentimental about things so I will be able to get away with a card, a kiss and an I love you.
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..Rose-Colored Stained Glass Windows

  7. Hi Matt,

    You’ve certainly got your work cut out for you in writing about love for a whole month!

    Saint Paul said that “The greatest of these is love”. Good for him.

    I can’t aspire to such heights. I settle for a little bit of hope.

    When Ginny and I first married we drove an 18-wheeler cross-country and therefore we lived and worked three feet apart 24hours a day, seven days a week.

    Drove us nuts till we learned to honestly say, “I love you forever, but I can’t stand you right this minute”!

    It worked for us; we’ve been more or less happily married for close to 45 years now.

    So while love may be the greatest, hope is the more achievable.

  8. My husband and I have been married for 16 years (we got married when my husband was 17 and I had just turned 19–not sure what we were thinking…we spend a lot of time telling our 13 and 12 year olds that just because it worked out for us does NOT mean they can get married young.) :)We don’t really do anything for Valentine’s Day–we generally go out for dinner alone once a week except for the week of Valentine’s Day because restaurants get so crazy busy. For me, “just because” flowers, gifts or general sweetness means so much more to me than a holiday that feels forced upon us. We did do V-day when we were younger but honestly I think it was just because other people expected it and we cared what others were thinking about us. We’ve moved on from that for sure. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on icky Love. :)

  9. I’ve been married for 11 1/2 years. My wife has gone back to school and her class is on Monday nights which means that she will be in class on V day. I plan on taking my kids out to eat and then playing the Wii with them.
    seekingpastor recently posted..As Long As It’s Healthy

  10. Hiding! Looking forward to this blog series.

  11. HURRAH! A great topic. Simply “love” it!!!! Hope to hear more and go through the chats with glee and joy. =) Great.

    Anyway, I have a first relationship love of 3 years, 1 of them years being in seperate countries as we are international. We have lived together, and started off travelling together. But we have not had a commitment, let alone marriage. But our family’s have met each other, and we have been to each other’s countries and lived together in others. It’s a little complicated and crazy, and I wish it was simple and traditional, but so far it’s not. I have not seen her in 5 months lately, but we are still together. We are somewhat out of the norm. Typically “judgement worthy”.

    All in all, not sure I CAN do anything on Valentines other than hope the cyber world helps us to talk despite the distance! =) And enjoy it.

  12. Our 5th anniversary is Feb 11th, so V-day is always mixed up with that. So far, 2011 has been pretty darn rough. Our MOPS group sponsors a “MOPS & Pops night out” (free childcare) every v-day weekend, so we will be enjoying some time together sans munchkins. We desperately need the time to reconnect after a couple of months of just surviving our schedules with life piled up on top. Both of us scored a VERY low number (as in 0 & 2) on the “gifts” portion of our love language test, so giving physical gifts just isn’t important to either of us (although, I must admit that the occasional bunch of flowers _does_ make my day), but spending some time together Saturday night, then going on a ski weekend with our SS class over Pres. Day weekend will pretty much do it for us.

    On the day itself, hubs will have Upwards basketball practice, but I’ll probably leave a note for him that morning telling him how much he means to me.
    Princess Leia recently posted..Shoeboxes!

  13. We ignore the “Big V” day because seven days later is the date that my husband and I decided to pursue a relationship with each other. We had just returned from a four day cross country ski trip in the middle of Wisconsin, which is really beautiful country. We knew that we had connected in some way and decided to see if we really were compatible. Actually, unbeknown to me, my husband was making sure God knew what he was doing because God had basically told him on the trip that I was the wife He had picked out for him. Apparently, God thought he needed a push ;-). Twelve years and four kids later, we have what I consider to be an imperfectly wonderful marriage.

    This year, my uncle is trying to organize a get together with all the first and second cousins for the weekend. I am hoping that it will happen.
    Tandeming Troll recently posted..Catch phrases

  14. I must be weird, but I like Valentine’s Day. Not the Hallmark version, not the ginormous expectations and pressure, but the idea that we have a day focused on loving one another.

    Last year I wrote a blog (http://blogs.icta.net/mom/2010/02/best-valentine) about all the ways we can say “I love you” to someone without spending a bundle, waiting in line at a restaurant with frazzled waiters and rushed cooks, or coughing up a single dime to a card company. We typically stay home and do one of the things I listed.

    It must be working. We’re still happily married after 31+ years.

  15. Hey Matt – I think this is my first comment here. I’m kind of new. Anyway – my husband and I have been married 3 years now, and we rarely do anything for Valentine’s day. We’ll probably spend the afternoon at REI and then order a pizza. We haven’t even talked about doing a gift swap, so who knows if that’ll happen. He’s not big on “romance” and I’m not a gal who needs much of it, so Valentine’s day is just an excuse to go somewhere we like and goof off. I’m sure you got your wife something very nice, something she’ll really like :)

  16. I’m married and have been for almost 5 years.

    This year we’re celebrating on Feb 16 for a day date. Maybe at night after the kids are in bed, we’ll have “relations.” Oh, did I say too much?

    And something really special I’m doing, is I’m going to take my 3 year old daughter out on a date to a 50’s diner. I’m going to get her a card and some flowers as well.

    So this year will be fun.

    nicodemusatnite.com
    Charlie Chang recently posted..Music and Memories

  17. A friend recommended your post. First time visitor. I agree with John, you’re taking on a huge subject. But, something tells me it’s going to be a lot of fun for you.

    Read an article about God’s love for us that in essence said we can’t really get at the reason behind His love. We just know that it’s there, no matter what. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Sounds like a love note. And how I feel about my bride. She’s always in my thoughts, in my heart, and I want only the best for her.

    Unlike God, and to one of your points, we’re not perfect and mess up sometimes. But with a simple faith and a simple love, we get up, dust ourselves off and keep loving. That’s what love does.

    Like the child said when asked what marriage is:”It’s when daddy and mommy love each other.”

    Keep up the creativity. Really like the name of your blog.
    Gordon Marcy recently posted..Has Internet evangelism reached the tipping point

  18. I’ve been married almost 9 years now, and V-Day is kind of a toss up. Our first year of marriage, we ended up moving on Valentine’s Day. We had no idea and only figured it out when we noticed everyone was wearing red and pink when we stopped to get a bite to eat.

    Despite being the girl of the relationship, I’m not the typical romantic. Actually, my husband fits more that bill. Knowing this, he doesn’t really plan anything on V-Day. Most years this was fine, but the last 2 years or so I started to get annoyed that we didn’t do anything. This is only because with 2 young kids, we average about 1 date without kids a year. I don’t recommend that. It may be a pretty silly holiday, but it is a nice excuse to go out without kids.

    I’m not sure what we are doing this year. I told him the ball is in his court, but I did give a recommendation of a possible sitter for the kids.

  19. Ugh, Valentines Day. I’m definitely one of the serial single girls. I used to celebrate with my other single friends, having a fancy dinner and wine together. But now they have all paired off. So this year I will spend VD (anyone else think it is ironic that these are the initials of a holiday celebrating romance?) working late, because really, it is just another day.
    Jennifer recently posted..Doubt creeps in

  20. My wife and I have “only” been married for, coming up on, two years. We were fortunate that I got to shadow many pastors during marriage counselling, had asked God to make me a godly man worthy of marriage and, more importantly, serving Him; she had been seeking to be a godly woman; and we had great pre-marital counselors. We were expecting difficulties and trials, but we approached our entire relationship with prayer and seeking understanding.

    For Valentine’s Day, we are a) going to a church brunch, b) taking out our roommates’ parents for dinner (our parents live out of state), and c) going on a photo-fun date in which we wear fake mustaches and take pictures at the traditional “romantic places” around town … just for fun.
    Daniel M. Klem recently posted..My Life with Jesus My first ever Guest Blog!

  21. I am happily married. I haven’t planned a darn thing for Valentine’s Day. My wife thinks my coming home alive from a trip to Dubai starting Friday is enough of a gift.

    Oh, and thanks for this headline: “Who Wrote the Rules for Love?” Now I have The Monotones running through my head.
    Jason recently posted..Day 32- Radically looking at God’s Army

  22. I’ve been married going on 12 years in March. Pretty fantastic. This year for Valentine’s we’re going a group date (not like the Bachelor or some 70’s swinger nastiness, just 2 other couples). Should be fun.
    jasonS recently posted..Change Agents

  23. Wow, one of your more cynical posts. I have a lot of thoughts, but I will stick to the question.

    Married 20 years; no plans for V-day.
    I have told hubby (and he knows) I would rather have him shower me with love, affection, and PRESENTS when HE is inspired, not when the calander tells him.

  24. I have been married 8 years (this time, 15 before – addictions are deal breakers). Mary Anne is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time!

    We are going to a dinner/dance they have at a local Catholic church. There will be food, and it sounds like a fun night to get dressed up and be together.

    At one church I belonged to they had a desert night, and we played a version of the Newly Wed game. (The singles and teens provided child care.) They made photos of the couples and put them in heart frames. We brought a wedding photo to share with the others. It was actually a very nice time.
    David recently posted..Random Questions

  25. I have been married to the love of my life for 8.5 years this Valentines Day. We do not set aside just one day a year to show our awesome love to each other. That is because being married to my wife is an everyday Valentines Day experience.
    Jason recently posted..About Biblical Womanhood- Brief Thoughts

  26. I think too many people place too much of an importance on this day. I mean, why can’t we be caring, thoughtful and all that jazz every day? Valentine’s Day is a nice excuse to by your other some flowers and chocolate but hopefully it’s more than once a year that you show who ever it is, that you care. What’s up with chocolate and flowers every year, if it is so special can’t we be the least bit creative?

    Kids get too much drama and stuff from the television. Disney channel is filled with…crap and it fills their heads with all this love stuff. Since they have no hormones, it just becomes bragging rights for the middle school kid that gets a girlfriend first. I honestly think this day has a lot with our teen-sexual-activity problem. In my school there are so many promiscuous girls, and they are just reaching middle school. How does that happen to kids that young? There are a lot of reasons and places to put the blame, but I don’t think Valentine’s Day helps at all. We’ve dropped the “Saint” part from it, I guess it was supposed to remind us to be holy, and now it’s all about…other activities. High school students take the chance to act upon their not-so-appropriate cynical zeal.

    Something that used to be good, has been completely twisted around in my opinion. I’m buying my girlfriend flowers, but I’m not one to get all excited about the day. I like buying the flowers and being sincere when I mean it, not when the holiday says I should.

  27. I’ve been married for more time than is anyone’s business 😛 but can’t stand Valentine’s day. I used to get stuff for the kids when they were littler, but I don’t like “Time for Romantic Gestures – Go!” Way too much pressure. It’s enough for me that I have a wonderful man who doesn’t buy me mass-produced dreck from Kay Jeweler’s or believe that the best present he can give me is doing a self exam for testicular cancer (CBS Cares!!).

    That being said, I will probably bake something chocolate just because excuses for chocolate are always welcome.

  28. I’m married. This will be my ninth wedded Valentine’s Day, and for the ninth day time in a row, we are not doing much. My birthday is February 9, and her birthday is March 5. We spend enough right before and right after that we’ve never really been into it. But of course, I treat my wife every day the way most husbands treat their wives for Valentine’s Day. I think that helps me get away with this.

    This year, we will celebrate my birthday with her parents on Valentine’s. Super romantic stuff.
    Jeff recently posted..final installment of ministry lessons for now

  29. Single and living in a new place where I know no one but family…so I will be spending it with them. But I plan on reading up on God’s Love for me, His daughter :)
    Meredith Moore recently posted..Jesus Loves the Wasted

  30. My husband and I have been married for 4 years, and I don’t recall Valentine’s Day ever being a big deal. My husband and I were so ridiculously mushy (to the point of making people turn green with nausea all around us) and out of touch with reality (not going to work and spending untold amounts of cash) the first few weeks we were together. I think it’s better we left the romance to the couples that can handle it. ;0)
    Sarahbeth recently posted..Apples

  31. i’ve been married 8 years, and we don’t celebrate v-day. I just have a personal problem with doing the same thing everyone else is doing. I’m ok with celebrating love any other day. looking forward to the series.
    Lon recently posted..Cursed for Christ

  32. Oh man! I’m excited for this series! :] Like… *really* excited.

    I’m single. And, contrary to most single girls out there, I like it. I’m my own person. I don’t have to check in with text messages, phone calls, or e-mails every hour. I don’t have to invite him over for dinner, or dress up to go out to dinner. I don’t have to introduce him to family or get the approvals of friends. I don’t have to spend money on birthday, valentines, or Christmas presents.

    In fact, I’m free to hang with the guys and watch sports. I can watch man vs. food without getting called weird. I can talk to other guys without starting an “I don’t want you even looking at other guys” argument. I can stock my movie cabinet with action, western, car, blood and guts, and fighting movies without being considered an “un-lady-like girlfriend”… etc.

    Now, I realize that not all guys are this way, but I’ve certainly come across my fair of them. So I’m content as I am – alone, unclaimed, single. :]

    It’s a good life.

    I’m looking forward to reading more this month!
    heather joy recently posted..Book Review- “Just Do Something” Kevin DeYoung

  33. Part of the trouble is in the West we primarily think translate love as “eros”. It’s a big call but it would be great to re-educate the populace by making CS Lewis’ “Four loves” compulsory reading so we could get a bit of differentiation. Particularly get people away from thinking God is there to eros them. But it would also help married couples to understand the stages of love so they don’t spend years bemoaning the loss of teenage lust.
    Andrew recently posted..Pseudo operatives

  34. I am married to a very patient, kind, forgiving, BEAUTIFUL, GODLY woman! If you ever need a sermon illustration on God’s goodness and grace, just use my wife’s benevolence towards me as example!

    I am turning this ValDay into ValMonth. Little things every other day or so instead of one big gift. A short note. A card. Today I am buying her a pillow because I have a nice comfy one, while her’s has a hole in the end and is missing some stuffing. She hasn’t asked for one. Has never mentioned it. That’s what I will do all month.
    Lazarus recently posted..And the Award for Best Actor goes to

  35. I have been married for 14 years, and I LOVE Valentine’s Day.

    Sometimes we order pizza delivery from the place where we had our first date. (They went upscale, and no longer do pizza at the restaurant, so we have it delivered so we can eat the very same thing we did on our first date.) Sometimes we go to Denny’s. When we were dating, we used to stop at the local Denny’s for coffee every time we went to see a movie at the theatre across the street. I’m not sure which one we will do this year. Maybe we’ll do something different this year, and rent the first movie we ever saw together (“While You Were Sleeping”)
    Romance doesn’t HAVE to be a Hallmark card, Godiva chocolates, and a dozen roses. It can be so simple… a gesture that says even the LITTLEST things together hold a great place in the heart.
    Helen recently posted..Holding On

  36. “love” and “crap” in the same sentence. Wha??

    No VDay celebration inasmuch as the wedding anniversary is a mere eight days prior. I mean, enough is enough, no?
    vanilla recently posted..Near the Hearth There Lives a Melody

  37. I got married on February 10, so we don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. Never been a big fan of it, anyway. It’s the holiday that says to single people: Better luck next year!
    katdish recently posted..Neruda’s Memoirs

  38. Hello Matty,

    Love is not gross, pink and mushy (a hotdog smootie comes to mind).
    Love is exhilarating, beautiful and painful, as is life.
    In our home, we celebrate all love on Valentines Day (my children are certainly my sweethearts). No one should feel like they have to hide in the closet with a tub of icecream on Valentines Day, because they’re single. Singles should celebrate they’re friendships.

    Happy V-day!

    Lazy Silly Girl

  39. My boyfriend of two years and I are heading towards marriage (we’re early-twenties grad students) but to be incredibly honest, some things have happened lately that have made me realize how much growing up he has to do. I will definitely be tuning in to this series of posts. Maybe we will both learn something.

    We don’t really do V-Day, however; our anniversary is on 2/20, so we just skip the hype and hold out for our special day!

  40. Yesterday was our 38th anniversary. A big myth is that we’ll both be the same people we are now for the rest of our lives. You can either grow and change together or part. It takes work.

    You’re right about the need for counseling after the wedding. Our church has a marriage mentoring program for couples getting married. The year of mentoring/counseling prior to the marriage is just the start. The program continues through the first two years after the wedding.

  41. I’m a junior at UF, and my high school sweetheart and I have been together for over four years. I think we are just going to have a nice dinner. I’m going to grab a little bottle of Rosa Regale, and although we agreed not to do gifts, I want to get her a little something from the mall.
    Brooklyn Cravens recently posted..I just want to be Holy!!

  42. First of all, the topic headers crack me up. Second, my husband and I have been married for 7 1/2 years and have 3 kids. We were together for 5 years before we got married and things went from never fighting to “we have a failure to communicate” (for both of us) after the kiddos came. God’s worked wonders through the last 5 years and we’re closer as a couple than ever. Valentine’s Day will be same old same old…except for maybe a few kids’ crafts and the hubby and I usually write out something mushy on construction paper for each other. If I’m lucky, maybe he’ll draw me a few hearts…or heart people. Those are always cool.
    Jennie recently posted..Despicable Blood Work

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    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Glynn Young, Matt Appling and shanesooter, Matt Appling. Matt Appling said: In honor of the groundhog, I'm kicking off a month-long series of blogs, features and giveaways on love http://wp.me/pSZSu-qZ […]