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Celebrating a love that improves with age

January is one of my least favorite months — the coldest month in Oklahoma and the one with the least sunshine.

Out of 31 days, we average nine with clear skies and full sunshine. That’s dreary. Then, of course, this January has been a deadly month in our state because of COVID-19. In that category, we’re all praying for a better future.

February can be an icicle with a warm heart. The days are fewer in number and noticeably longer in daylight. And basketball, my favorite sport, is going strong, providing energy to the season as they move toward the playoff time of year.

Valentine’s Day was one of my favorite holidays growing up. I remember decorating a shoe box for school and buying those little Valentine cards. If you had a mother like mine (and I hope you did), you signed a card for every child in your classroom, regardless of "who you liked." And, of course, there was candy. Yum.

A holiday about love and chocolate was sweet. It still is.

So, this month I’d like to celebrate the love that begins with the thrill of romance, then grows deeper by the grace of God. I encourage all who are blessed in a marriage, or long-term relationship, to appreciate each other. A shared faith journey values love above all other "things that endure" (1Corinthians 13:13).

According to author Arthur C. Brooks, people are influenced to marry through a number of reasons. "But in the end what holds people together for the rest of their life, is a shared passion for the good of the other and what is right and true. That means a shared belief in the welfare of the kids, for example, and shared commitment to your religious and philosophical beliefs."

Recently, I heard an example of long-term love. A couple had been married for 54 years when both became very ill with COVID-19 and ended up in adjoining Intensive Care Unit rooms in one of the Mercy Hospitals. As the story was related to me, neither one was doing well. Their only child had recently died, and now they only had one another. They clearly missed being together.

The respiratory therapists, working with the ICU nurses, figured out how to get the husband into a wheelchair and wheeled into his wife’s room where he could sit and hold her hand. According to the nurses, their faces lit up with love for one another, and the older man smilingly told the staff, "You are not just angels. You are cupids!"

Vital signs for both began to improve.

Sharing love and its sacred commitments is one of the greatest blessings in life. With God’s help, it’s also one of the few things in life that can improve with age!

"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them." (1 John 4:16).