Love doesn’t come in a heart-shaped box. There is no such person as Prince Charming. A spouse cannot give you “happily ever after.”
I said it.
It’s not pretty, but it’s true.
In the second grade I learned that if someone loved you very much there would be a pretty heart-shaped box of candy on your desk on Valentine’s Day. It would have a crisp ruffle around the outside along with a soft satin covering. It would be just the right size. Not so big it covered the entire desk but not so small that it could fit in your pocket. Inside? Why, inside was the most beautiful collection of chocolate truffles, each in its own little brown paper cup. Each one sitting like a perfect reminder that someone thought you were more special than everyone else in the room. Either way, if you ended up with one of “those” boxes of candy on your desk on Valentine’s Day, you knew that you were envied by everyone. Because you were special to someone.
In the sixth grade I learned that if you got a box of candy and a large teddy bear on Valentine’s Day, you became the luckiest girl in the class.
In the 12th grade I learned that if you got a box of candy, a large teddy bear and a dozen roses on your desk, then you could float to class on a cushion of euphoria with all the comments from your friends about how “loved” you were.
On my first real job (the one with a desk and a phone), I learned that if you came to work, and there on your desk was a box of candy, a large teddy bear, a dozen roses, and two tickets to “the” concert of the year—all your co-workers assured you that you had met your Prince Charming.
The first Valentine’s Day after my first marriage, I didn’t get any of those things so I decided I must not be special.
The first Valentine’s Day after my second marriage I didn’t get any of those things so I decided he must not be my Prince Charming.
The first Valentine’s Day after my third marriage, I didn’t get any of those things so I decided I must not be in my “happily ever after.”
When I turned 47, I was alone on Valentine’s Day. On the table sat a huge box of chocolates. A giant teddy bear the size of a small child. Not one, but two dozen long-stemmed red roses. And a beautiful card full of flowing verse signed “Love, me.” By my measurement, I had finally found someone who loved me. But I sat alone. No one to share it with. No one to admire it with.
Because I was so desperate to find love, I was having an affair with a married man.
Everything about my life was wrong. I was knee deep in debt. I was estranged from my family, my children, everything I held dear. No one admired me. No one was impressed. No one loved me “enough.”
Yet, according to everything the world had ever told me, I was loved. The proof of it lay on the table before me, didn’t it? In my mind I had failed. Epically failed.
Shortly after that fateful holiday, I met someone.
Someone who loved me so much He was willing to give His life for me.
Someone who loved me so much He was willing to take everything I had ever done wrong and replace it with mercy and grace.
Someone whose singular gift to me dwarfed anything the world had ever offered me.
He loved me enough. He loves me now. He will always love me.
Through Him I learned to stop looking for love in a box of chocolates. To stop seeking after Prince Charming. To stop thinking that “happily ever after” would happen here on Earth.
For many, Valentine’s Day is a painful reminder of what we are not. Don’t fall into this lie. It’s just a day on the calendar. A day used by really successful marketers to sell a lot of candy and cards. Do you want to make Valentine’s Day really mean something? Use that day to show the Lord how much you love Him. Use that day to show others how much God loves them.
Every February 14 since meeting the love of my life, my Savior Christ Jesus, my best gift comes when I read Psalm 37:4. “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” He is my Prince Charming and in Him is my happily ever after.
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