Karen and I have gotten pretty adaptable in recent years about Valentine's Day. We like to celebrate our love for one another, but we hate trying to squeeze into an overcrowded restaurant on the actual day. So we usually celebrate either early or late, with a card and expressions of "Happy Valentine's Day!" on the 14th. This year, we stretched it out a bit, which was really fun. Before Valentine's Day, my bride kidnapped me for a late afternoon showing of True Grit (including popcorn!) and then dinner at Famous Dave's BBQ (my favorite Peoria restaurant). On the actual day, we had a quiet dinner at home (how that happened when all the kids were there can only be attributed to God's grace!). Then, nearly a week later, on the 19th, we celebrated together at the Aquila and Priscilla table at our church's first (hopefully annual) Sweetheart Dinner. I must say also that I was with the most beautiful woman there. Karen looked stunning. Dinner was delicious, the conversation around our table was hilarious, our speakers (Mark and Jill Savage) delivered practical, biblical reminders for keeping our marriages both faithful and fun, and we remembered again how much we enjoy each other.
A couple years ago, one of the old widows in our church, whom I deeply love and appreciate, told me that marriage only gets sweeter with time. I'd heard that before, but coming from her, it stuck with me, and now I'm sure that's true. We're a long way and a lot of years from those giddy kids who danced down the aisle together after the pastor's pronouncement. We're saggier, and grayer, and much, much more tired. But there is a richness, a sweetness, and a deeply contented joy that grows with time. I am so blessed.