An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | Feb. 4, 2013

A lesson in love for Valentine’s Day

By Chaplain (Capt.) Denis Gueu 11th Wing Chaplain

As Valentine's Day approaches, couples may be busy planning a special dinner or romantic getaway. Singles may be thinking about who to ask out or perhaps reevaluating their love life. The first century philosopher Ovid said "to love, one must be lovable."

One may ask, "aren't we all lovable?" The answer is emphatically yes. However, it is much like receiving a gift. If someone leaves a gift at your front door stoop, you must open the door to receive your gift. There is an action to be taken.

It is much the same with love. One must be willing to build a friendship, show vulnerability and overcome defense mechanisms. I like to compare this process to a conduit of water.

Being lovable lets the water in; expressing love lets the water out. It is fluid and well functioning. It doesn't happen without intentionality. Everyone needs practice to be able to graciously and honestly receive love as well as give love.

Some practical steps to show love have to do with one's attitude. For example, if you ask someone out to dinner, you can let the other person pick the restaurant, even if it isn't in your top twenty choices. This is a humble way to show love. It may not take much practice to put one's self first, but it may take practice to consider others above one's self.

Random acts of kindness are another way to show love. In the movie "The Letter Writer," a gentleman in a retirement home writes ten encouraging notes each day. He then keeps his eyes peeled as to whom to give the notes to.

He approaches the person and simply says something to the effect of "I wrote ten encouraging notes this morning, and I think this one is meant for you."

One way to be "lovable" is to give love generously. As Reba McIntyre harmonized, "Love isn't love till you give it away." This is so true of our daily attitude concerning love.