If Valentines Day Steals Your Mojo

For all the complaining I do about Christmas, there is one holiday I love love love. It’s Valentine’s Day. Some of you, I sense, are making the gag gesture right now. Ladies, stop gagging and let’s get something out of the way:

Kay Jewelers is lying to you.

I have yet to meet one woman, (they probably exist but I’ve never met one) who is surprised with diamonds on Valentines Day by her super hot husband as she drinks champagne by candlelight.

You know what happens in the real world? Me neither, but around here, Sam Kirk draws hearts with a Sharpie on an old pizza box, tracing around the grease spots, and wraps it up with orange bailing twine to give to me as a card. If he doesn’t have a pizza box, he uses his Sharpie on case of Corona – beer missing.

And that kind of Valentine is perfect for me, because love looks different all the time and perspective is a good friend.

So let’s get us some of that, shall we?

love-1153951_1280

Now, I recognize mating is a biological imperative, and when you really want to do that but haven’t, Valentines Day can be a hard ass bouncer, rejecting you at the door for reasons he’ll leave you to imagine (and you will). So it’s not surprising February 14th can leave you feeling mopey or less than or unworthy.

But you are none of those things.

Enter Heineken. Watch the vid or what I say next won’t make sense.

Of course, it’s lame that the definition of a hero in 2016 is a guy who turns down another beer – that bar is set fairly low – but listen to the lyrics, which by the way were written in 1986.

He’s got to be strong and he’s got to be sure and he’s got to be fresh from the fight. A streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds yes, but no mention of some dude in a hoodie and Beatz, passed out on the subway.

Before I realized this was an ad for moderate drinking, I got excited about a whole bunch of beautiful women getting up from the bar, grabbing their keys and saying “Hey pal, take your Tinder profile and shove it because I’m worth more than this.”

“Yes!” I thought. “That’s feminism.” That’s what it looks like when women reject the cheap goods they know they’re about to get from some dude who can’t hold his liquor, much less the door.

Now before I get in trouble, let me say, I am a huge fan of men. I love them, especially the good ones who know something about strength and courage and self-mastery and commitment, but it seems they are fewer and further between these days. Add “loves Jesus” to the description and the talent pool dries considerably.

paul

I don’t know if he loved Jesus, but here’s Paul Newman circa 1963

So what’s a smart, Jesus-loving single gal with super high standards for sex and marriage to do with all that? Especially on Valentines Day?

First the bad news:

For better or worse, when it comes to finding a mate, most things are still out of female control. Men are still the team captains, and we’re still lined up on the gym wall. Sure there are exceptions, but the rule dominates: It is theirs to ask, and ours to accept or decline. The problem is, waiting to be picked is a powerless stance – one that’s especially difficult for women who are quite powerful in other areas of their lives.

I think this is deeply motivating fear for a lot of women. It was for me.

Will I get asked? What if I don’t get asked? What’s wrong with me that I haven’t been picked? There’s that Sports Illustrated model, of course she’ll get picked. Look at her abs, maybe I should do situps. Maybe then I’ll get picked.

It’s hardly cut and dried though. Countless women are stoked to be single and they’ll cite dozens of reasons for it. In fact, I was one of them too. My singleness allowed me space and time to travel around the world and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Yet, at a secret level, those questions still dogged me.

So it’s tricky territory. And maybe some of you are scoffing, saying “Hello it’s 2016 not 1950, and dating apps give women all the control in the world.” Do they? Or have they just increased the ease and speed with which people can hook up with strangers and be disappointed by them? Seems Tinder and Hinge have redefined the term “first date” so thoroughly, it’s unrecognizable as a concept, and women have to pretend they don’t care.

But most women I know care a lot, especially about things like respect, trust, mutuality and duration and they’re kind of disgusted with the whole show. Unfortunately, that getting picked thing is a powerful driver and sometimes, smart, strong women settle for deals they secretly know are just wrong for them.

Ladies. Don’t do it. Hold out. Because here’s the good news:

YOU’VE ALREADY BEEN PICKED!

If you choose to accept what Jesus said and did, you already are beloved, chosen, precious and royal. 

But you have to believe it, before you see it, and that’s the hard part. Imagine the deals we’d reject if we could dwell permanently in this spiritual reality, remembering at crucial moments that, in fact, we are worth dying for.

It’s mystical and abstruse and four-dimensional and fathoms deeper than the roses and diamonds kind of love that even the Christian radio stations hum with on Valentines Day.

But when you’ve been filled with the love of God, when you’ve sat long enough with him to be steeped in the fullness of joy, you own something deep and inviolable, and you begin to operate out of that place, like a Queen in her court. Not with pride, with power.

queen mother

Queen Mother. Photo Credit: The Telegraph

This is a long way of saying my Queens, if you are single on Valentines Day because you’re maintaining a high standard for your life and the people you allow in it…

GO YOU!

Use Valentines Day to celebrate that hard work. Keep rejecting the deals that are beneath you. Get to know the woman God says you are and repeat it a thousand times a day if you must. Then shove every offer you get through that filter, to see what comes out. Make your choices accordingly.

And while you’re at it, go get your girls. Put on your sparkly dresses, red lipstick and favorite shoes, then go celebrate the fact you’re holding out for a hero – one who believes the same thing about you that God does.

Amen.

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How to Love Your Spouse Better.

Sam

Sam

Sam Kirk took the gold medal in the Perfect Man Olympics Saturday night.

This little known sporting event originated the summer Sam and I lived in France. One afternoon, he not only fixed our single neighbor lady’s lawn mower, but then he mowed her lawn.

“In my life, I never think I have a reeel Amereekan cowboy mowing my lawn,” she said as we stood by watching. “He reeely is ze perfect maan.”

Upon hearing that story, which I’ve repeated with the French accent at least 500 times, my family began calling Sam the Perfect Man. But a title that bold really begs for some objective measure, so you know, let the games begin.

Anyway, on Saturday night, the girls were over for our 11th Love Dinner. There were cupcakes, pink ribbons and benedictions because Shelby just got up from 12 weeks of bed rest, still pregnant, with a healthy baby girl in her belly. This is an absolute triumph that we were celebrating even before she produced a tube of KY and a mini ultrasound from her purse, so we could listen to Sophie Kay’s heart.

Somewhere in the midst of the estrogen fog, Sam slipped in the patio door with an armload of wood and lighter fluid. Within minutes, the fire I planned to build but hadn’t gotten around to, was blazing in the fireplace. Not only that, a second fire was blazing in the pit outside, under the full moon. To a giggling chorus of “Hi Sam!” he gave a quick wave and slipped back out to watch football in the man cave.

I’m telling you that to tell you this:

If you ever want to know how to love your spouse better there’s a book you should read.

The Five Love Languages published nearly 20 years ago, is a Christian classic and perennial New York Times Bestseller. If you’ve never read it, the premise is, there are generally five ways people express love for one another: Words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, quality time and gifts.

The trouble is, a lot of us love our spouses the way we want them to love us. Then we can’t understand why they feel unloved. Author Dr. Gary Chapman maintains, the more successful approach is to find out which expression means the most to your spouse and do that.

 Photo Credit: Stephanie Wallace

Photo Credit: Stephanie Wallace

Want to guess what mine is?

Yep, acts of service. That’s why when Sam built a fire for me and my girlfriends, I felt utterly loved by him in a much more powerful way than if he’d walked in with a $200 gift card from DSW.

Now don’t get me wrong, gift cards are awesome, so are words of affirmation. In fact, when people ask what my love language is I often say, “All of them!” But honestly, if you know me, fire trumps shoes every time.

Want to know what Sam’s is? (OMG He loves it when I blog about him. I’m probably going to get a talking to.)

For a long time, I thought it was physical touch, but it’s not. He’s just a man and is naturally inclined that direction. Sam’s love language is quality time, which explains why he goes a little bonkers when I travel to Africa for a month at a time. I cannot believe how long it took me to figure that out.

I still travel to Africa for a month at a time, so this is a tricky spot for us but at least I understand it better. Knowledge is power.

So, if you ever feel like your spouse just doesn’t get how much you love him, it may be he just needs you to love him differently. This book provides some easy framework for doing that.


Have you read the book? What’s your love language?

An Ode to Good Men – Valentines Day Edition.

If you saw my Facebook post last night, you could be forgiven for thinking, “Wait, how did the smoke alarm wind up in the washing machine?”

Sam

This is Sam

Really? Are you still wondering? Here’s something you need to know about life on the Kirk Ranch.

Sometimes farm equipment, cordless drills, small household appliances and even stray ice cubes that fall out of the ice maker just after the glass is removed, must be punished for their performance lapses.

I once ducked a two-pound battery pack from a Bosch drill as it sailed off the barn roof, followed by a contrail of expletives. Its crime? Running out of power. Or say a shirt sleeve gets caught on a stray bolt, there’s no time for untangling it, the offending sleeve must suffer, being violently ripped from the shirt body, because a one-armed garment is better than an insubordinate whole one. And the ice cubes that linger in the chute like lovesick teenagers at their lockers? They earn a World Cup penalty kick into the foyer, where they can melt in disgrace.

But sometimes an appliance does its job too well, and that too must be corrected.

As I  stood in the laundry room last night with a dripping, shrieking smoke alarm in my hand, I asked the man of the house what I think is a logical question.

“How did we get here?”smoke alarm

As it turns out, he was cooking sausage, which he said was delicious despite the fact he had to make it himself (sniff) and it was burned, which sometimes can fill a house with smoke. Evidently, not just one, but every smoke alarm began wailing and repeating “fire fire” – a useful smoke alarm advance, by the way, when you finally hear the voice coming from the washing machine.

Being the efficient man he is, Sam yanked one of them off the wall, lobbed it into the washing machine and slammed the lid. Being the big-picture man he is, he forgot it was in there, even hours later when he threw all his colors and whites in and hit start.

The shrieking lasted all through our romantic dinner, during which Sam suggested I use the time to practice patience and overcome my aversion to loud, repetitive noise. (That’s a thing by the way –  Misophonia, look it up). I suggested he practice getting up from the table and getting his tools out.

“I will, just let it finish washing my jeans.”

This is a long way of saying, not only am I married to a man who can capably use power tools, throw them long distances, cook sausage and wash his own clothes, but he’s a creative problem solver too.

I love you my funny valentine. Fire. Fire.