February 15, 2020

The Affection Equation

So here we are again, another February. And you know what that means: Valentine’s Day!

Historically, February 14 has been a time when anybody who is in any sort of romantic relationship begins to hyperventilate, sweat profusely, experience dizziness, and feel compelled to spend large amounts of money to purchase gifts (traditionally candy and flowers) for their significant other. Needless to say, if you are single, or in a romantically-undefined relationship, you feel as though you were somehow excluded from all the celebrations.

In response to this (and I love this idea) in the past several years there’s been a celebration on February 13 pun-ily called “Galentine’s” or “Palentine’s” Day, wherein people—whether single or not—can shower their friends with gifts, affection, and attention.

Have I mentioned that I think this is a wonderful idea? My view is, frankly, that too many people get stressed about doing something on Valentine’s Day. I think that every day should be Valentine’s Day. We should show each other we love and cherish each other every day.

February is certainly the month that represents love and relationships. And related to that, I was recently blown away by a TED talk titled (and I’m not making this up) “The Mathematics of Love” (www.ted.com/talks/hannah_fry_the_mathematics_of_love?language=en), in which Hannah Fry, the presenter and author of the book The Mathematics of Love: Patterns, Proofs, and the Search for the Ultimate Equation (I couldn’t help but notice that she is married, but I digress), noted that in our society and culture, people are obsessed, fearful, and anxious about finding someone to marry. But not just anyone, the right one—nay, the perfect one!

Fry went on to note that she has created an equation/algorithm that, if applied properly, can solve the problem of those in search of life-long love characterized by ponies, glitter, and rainbows.

But this is a fallacy, because the Bible says that there are no perfect matches. The apostle Paul bluntly reminds us: “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Rom. 3:23, CEV).

I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but if you’re holding out for Mr. or Miss Perfect, you’ll be waiting for the rest of, well, eternity. My advice, and the advice of every marriage and family therapist I know, is simply this: instead of trying to find the perfect person, become the perfect person.

How do we do that?

Well, it simply begins with a recognition that we are imperfect people—we’re all sinners! And as sinners, we need to accept the only and original Mr. Perfect, Jesus (John 3:16). Once we do that His Holy Spirit begins the process of working in and through us (Phil. 2:12, 13), helping us become that person accepted by God as perfect. Once begun, that process always ends in success (Phil. 1:6).

So whether you’re happily unattached, single and searching, or married, remember: all you really need this Valentine’s Day—and every day—is Jesus!

But go ahead and get a gift for that special someone, or else you’ll be in the doghouse!

Happy Valentine’s, Galentine’s, or Palentine’s Day!

*Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda, a counselor and writer, lives with his family in unplain Plainville, Georgia.