I grew up in a small farm town. Life was simple, uncomplicated, and sometimes magical. Valentine’s Day was one of those holidays when there was magic in the air, maybe it was the hope of love in the air.

One of my favorite memories was of the huge heart display that appeared every year in the drug store on Main Street. The large heart showed all the boxed hearts for sale filled with chocolates. And right in the middle was the biggest red heart imaginable! Surrounding that over-sized, lace-bordered heart were dozens of smaller boxes. As someone bought a box of candies for their Valentine, an empty space would show up on the huge heart display.

So, each day after school we walked to the drug store and looked to see which hearts had been sold. Of course, we all dreamed of that huge heart being ours one day. But who would ever love ME that much to buy that heart full of chocolate, the biggest and most expensive Valentine heart I had ever seen?

I was around twelve to fourteen years of age when those drug store memories loomed large. That was long before I would have a boyfriend—especially one who could afford a box of chocolates. But the magical feelings of those times are still easy to recall.

Today, after being married close to forty years, I realize that being given a box of chocolates could mean someone likes you a lot. And living with someone for a lifetime must mean they love you.

However, I recently read a research paper that stated the divorce rate had tapered off and might even be going down for every age group in America except those over 60. It is being termed the gray divorce. I decided that meant that although people may have been married a long time, they no longer wanted to make-believe it was a good marriage. Instead of pretend any longer, they wanted to see if something better could be waiting for them.

There is something to be said for the dreams of who will love you and give you a big chocolate heart someday. There is also something to be said for the reality of love and commitment that lasts a lifetime.

This kind of love does not happen because two people check off another year of being together. It happens when they both want the best for each other, and want to be part of making that happen. Intentional, fresh commitment day-after-day-after-day “for as long as we both shall live.” They covet not to become part of the gray divorce revolution.

This Valentine’s Day, if you plan to give a box of chocolates, be sure to give your heart as well—one that shows commitment for a lifetime of love.