Happy Valentine’s Day! Reading time: two minutes. I hope you and your beloved have a good argument today. I mean a really good argument. Or maybe I should italicize that differently: a really good argument. I suppose it’s possible that on a day like Valentine’s Day a couple in love could go the whole day without any argument at all. It’s possible. One of you might be out of town or something. The reality is that most every day we’ll do something to irritate one another, just enough to elicit a snippy, biting or sarcastic remark that changes the atmosphere of the home. That’s normal. That’s who we are. The bigger issue is how we move from there through the disagreements and arguments and back to a peaceful and loving “WE” oriented relationship. That takes a good argument. Let me explain. Flowers are helpful to a relationship (according to how they fit in the family budget!) A sweet treat might be good too (in moderation: the four piece sampler or a shared cupcake?) Flowers and candy can be an investment in a relationship. You credit your relational bank account with small gifts. Don’t forget that your spouse has a love language. Some appreciate words of encouragement or acts of service or tender touch or quality time even more than gifts. An argument that results in hurt feelings always takes a toll on a relationship. There’s a price to pay. When accounts are short, when there hasn’t been enough love invested, an argument can tap a marriage dry. Valentine’s Day can be a great way to invest in your marriage account, but it’s nowhere near possible to make a Valentine’s deposit that will build enough credit to bear the burden of all the daily squabbles in a home. It’s more like the opposite: it takes 364 deposits to build up enough credit for a good day long argument. Okay, 364 acts of love and tenderness might get you through two or three good arguments! Good arguments. Those are the kind where the sensitive topic (finance, sex, parenting, housework, kids, etc. insert your sensitive topic here ___) comes up and changes the atmosphere, but after paying the price of airing our grievances, love prevails and the atmosphere returns to where it belongs. Harmony. Love. WE. The disagreements and arguments come naturally. They take no preparation, advance planning or particular thought. Our emotional bank accounts are set to automatic withdrawal. Not so with the deposits. The kind word. The act of service. The tender touch. The little gift. The special time set aside. These all require planning, thought, energy and the investment of self. But what a difference they can make. When the emotional bank account is full, we can endure the daily withdrawals. What’s your plan for an investment on the 15th? Thanks for reading. Do you serve in a multiple staff setting in a church, Lutheran school, university or social service ministry? Discover how a Ministry Team Wellness Workshop can help enhance your team ministry by building the unity, spiritual life and communication essential to partnership in ministry. Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman for more information.