The cost of love is a worthy one


“How do I love thee, let me count the ways”

This month again we will celebrate Valentine’s Day. The season where we honor love in all of its facets, including, of course, romantic love. Lots of flowers will be ordered, lots of boxes of chocolates will be purchased, these items of affection will be delivered to spouses, partners, significant others.

Americans in total are expected to spend $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day in 2023, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics, one of the highest spending years since the NRF began tracking Valentine’s Day in 2004.

This is a lot of money to spend on flowers, chocolates, and romantic dinners. What could $25.9 billion do to help lower the national debt, or reduce hunger, to help support education or health care?

Now, I know I run the risk of being seen as un-romantic.

But, one part of romance and sustaining a relationship with a beloved is being concerned about the future. Some people feel that love should be expressed impulsively: “it’s the spontaneity,” “it’s the excitement that counts.”

The median cost of a divorce in the U.S. is about $7,000, but this is not a one-size-fits-all price tag. The more complicated contested divorces — ones with disagreements around issues such as property distribution or child custody — can become significantly more expensive, often running up tabs well over $100,000.

According to the United States’ National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 4-5 million people get married every year in the U.S. … and approximately 42-53 percent of those marriages eventually end in divorce. 

Again, spontaneity is nice, but it is not a strong indicator for keeping love alive for the long haul.

Joni Mitchell observed in The Silky Veils of Ardor:

“Come all you fair and tender school girls
Be careful now when you court young men
They are like the stars
On a summer morning
They sparkle up the night
And they’re gone again
Daybreak gone again”

So what do you do to make love sustaining and lasting in a relationship?

First, patience is a good thing to remember. There will always be the fight about putting the cap back on the tube of tooth paste or leaving a drawer open and not completely closing it or fighting about who controls the most valued remote control.
Love, sustaining love, requires much more from people, especially in a relationship.  

Second, love will not stay the same. Sometimes, it will be erotic, other times platonic, or filial or even agape. Through out the life span, these manifestations of love will look and feel different.

Third, love requires forgiveness. We are human and there will be mistakes, even when we are trying hard not to do anything that will hurt ourselves or others.

I Corinthians 13: 4-7 states

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Love is what makes life worthwhile and meaningful.

Yes, there is a cost to love.

May we love extravagantly and with abandon, knowing that we can love others because we are loved.

May it be so.

Rev. Peter E. Bauer is a United Church of Christ minister. He is the Interim Minister for First Christian Church in Lockhart. Rev. Peter E. Bauer has been a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and Medium.Com.


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