Valentine’s Day rolls around every year without fail. Husbands forget Feb 14th at their peril. Somehow our wives interpret our forgetting Valentine’s Day as a sign that we don’t care, that we may be putting other priorities like work and sports above them. So, husbands, be warned. Flowers are much cheaper than lawyers.
After almost forty-four years of marriage, I love my wife more now than I have ever loved her. To celebrate our 30th Anniversary, we flew to England to visit with our youngest son, serving then as a youth missionary in Newcastle. It is an amazing gift to be married to someone whom you really like to be with. My wife has been that gift to me. She has been so loyal in supporting our 31-year ministry at St. Simon’s North Vancouver from 1987 to 2018. That is why I dedicated my book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’ “with gratitude to my dear wife who has been married to me for almost thirty years, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” You can imagine that it is not easy to be married to a clergyman, especially with the challenges that faithful Anglicans have been facing in North America.
My wife served as our St. Simon’s NV Music Director, co-ordinating several different choirs and contemporary worship bands. Archbishop David Somerville, who first ordained me, once said that if the devil ever gets into the church, he will come in through the choir. Because music is so closely connected to worship, it makes sense why music can easily be contentious. Sometimes people have worship wars over contemporary songs vs. traditional hymns. At St. Simon’s NV, we decided in 1996 to honour both expressions by offering both a traditional 9am BCP service and a contemporary 10:30am service. Because my dear wife is musically bilingual, she is able to encourage both expressions with integrity. Unlike many church choir directors who are always quitting and creating havoc, my dear wife was a source of musical stability for over two decades. Dynamic music is a key to a vibrant, healthy Church.
My wife and I went to Winston Churchill High School in Vancouver, both graduating forty-eight years ago in 1972. But we only really noticed each other from a distance. We became friends while taking the bus home from the University of British Columbia. She was in Music naturally, and I was in Social Work, dreaming about becoming an Anglican priest. For around a year, we were only good friends. But eventually the penny dropped and I saw the light. My wife really impressed me with her great listening skills, her good sense of humour, and her hard work.
Finally one day in 1975, I invited her to go bike-riding to Little Mountain in Vancouver. The rest is history. Coming back from our second bike ride, I said to her, “Don’t take me too seriously, but relative to two days, I would like to spend the rest of my life with you.” For some reason, this shocked her. But she got over it, and we quickly moved to become engaged. When I introduced her to my mother, my mom said something that she had never said before: “The woman who marries Ed will need to have quarters for the bus”. What she meant is that while I have strong leadership giftings, I work best when I am complimented by someone with strong administrative giftings, who pays attention to the details.
In my first Valentine’s Day article for the Deep Cove Crier over three decades ago, I wrote: “Why do I still enjoy Valentines Day? It’s because all of us have a need to feel loved, even when you’re married. So often romantic love can fade imperceptibly from a marriage. In the busyness of children, work, school and sports, our marriage can easily get lost in the shuffle. Marriage Counselors tell us that romantic love is one of the greatest lacks in modern marriages. The bible reminds each husband to love his wife as his own body, to love his wife as he loves himself, to love his wife just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5).
Husbands, let’s surprise our wives on February 14th and make our family homes the most romantic spot on Planet Earth!”
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada
-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News
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