The Essence of Valentine’s Day | Communication | Blog | Better Marriages | Educating Couples - Building Relationships

The Essence of Valentine’s Day

by Lavern Nissley

So, what comes to your mind when you hear “Valentine’s Day”? Roses? Cupid’s arrows? Chocolates? Hearts? Lingerie from Victoria’s Secret? Terror because
you overlooked it?

While these elements have become part of the “wrapping paper” of Valentine’s Day, they are not the essence, or the real gift.

On June 21, 2008 I walked my daughter, Kristen, down the aisle to give her away to Kevin. During that 100 foot walk that would culminate in a memorable
shift of provision and protection of Kristen from me to her new husband a most remarkable thing happened.

Kevin sang a song—The Vow– that he had written especially for this moment. He had even recorded the background music in advance, complete with acoustic guitar, keyboard and drums. Very romantic! And very touching.

They used to say that nothing lasts forever,
But they did not account for love;
‘Cause how can you calculate
A piece {of music} that only God can orchestrate?

Needless to say, Kristen and I were moved to tears, as were the several hundred guests who were attending a wedding that started and went deeper than most.

The one thing that I know for sure
That’s in my life to stay;
It’s the reason that we’re all together,
Right here, right now today.

The emotions swirling within me as a stood there, my “little girl” clinging to my arm, left me sad for an era coming to a close, but delighted that she and her soon to be husband were embarking on the journey of a lifetime.

Baby, I’m yours now . . . forever
Baby, I’m yours now . . . until the end;
Til death be the part, my commitment of heart,
I will love you until the end,
I will love you forever, my friend.

Any apprehensions as Kristen’s daddy about her getting married were quickly melting away in the compelling lyrics of lifelong commitment.

For better, for worse,
In laughter, in hurt,
We stand side by side today;
In sickness, in health,
In need or in wealth,
I will still take your hand and say,

“Baby, I’m yours, now . . . forever”

OK, so any decent musician can string together heart-warming lyrics that leave listeners speechless and in awe, right?

Well, four and a half years later the commitment expressed on their wedding day is no longer theoretical or confined to a song. I’m grateful for the way Kevin and Kristen have navigated the “worse”, “hurt”, “sickness” and “need” realities, not reneging upon the vows made to each other on June 21, 2008.

That’s the essence of Valentine’s Day.


  • Take some time this Valentine’s Day to reflect on its essence (not just the wrapping paper).
  • Does your relationship reflect a deep commitment to each other that transcends the normal hurdles of being in a relationship or marriage?
  • How have you navigated the challenges of communicating well, resolving conflicts productively and connecting passionately? What do you do well? What could be improved?
  • What would you like to hear others say about your marriage on your 50th anniversary? What would you like to hear from each other?