As another Valentine’s Day is in the rearview mirror, you might have noticed Sweethearts candy, with messages like “Be Mine” and “Kiss Me,” were missing this year.
Necco, the company that makes Sweethearts candy, closed its factory in June 2018.
It is just another simple reminder that Valentine’s Day and its trends come and go like candy. (Don’t worry, Sweethearts are to be produced by a new company in 2020.)
Married couples know one day never compensates for the significance of committing to each other for a lifetime.
“The challenge with Valentine’s Day is it’s all about having intense feelings,” said Aaron Johnson. “That’s what culture thinks love is about. The problem with that is once the feelings die down, then our culture assumes, ‘Well you’re no longer in love with this person.’ Then you think, ‘Oh I need to go find another person.’ Instead of realizing it’s the commitment to our spouse that makes for a lasting love.”
Aaron and his wife, Tonia, have co-led The Cord, a weekend group at Southeast Christian Church, for six years.
The Cord is a group of young married couples that meets Sunday mornings at 10:45 in WC 473 at the Blankenbaker Campus.
The Cord is there to step in and help after feelings begin to fade.
“After about two years of marriage, the chemical explosions of love in your brain carrying you along then diminish and reality sets in,” Aaron said. “The person you married has a lot more issues than you thought and you have a lot more issues than you thought. One of our class slogans is, ‘Marriage is a battle against yourself, not your spouse.’”
“I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” Tonia added. “You’ve been married a few weeks, months and years and you’re recognizing all these things that you thought were a given. The picture that you had built up in your head of these roles in your home and family end up not being a reality.”
The Cord brings together couples from many different backgrounds.
“Many have just come out of college,” Aaron said. “They’re getting into the working world, they’ve lost a lot of their college connections, they’re living away from family and they want to know the next step. They’re newly married or engaged and starting life together, so they’re trying to figure out what life is going to be like. It’s at this point where they really need support and community for those going through the same things.”
Tyler and Samantha Morris attend The Cord.
“When you’re married, you get into real life,” Samantha said. “You get into work, kids and you have friends you had before marriage and how that time-management works. It’s that kind of living life together that totally changes. So as a young couple, you have to find out how to balance everything outside of marriage in addition to figuring out how to live together.”
The Morrises, who are in their 20s and have been married almost five years, found The Cord to be a family extension.
“After getting married, we realized fairly quickly we needed a community around us that was going through the same things, doing life in the same way and having the same goals of orienting their marriage around Christ,” Samantha said.
After getting close with five couples in the group, they jokingly called themselves the “DINKERS,” which means, “Dual Income No Kids Early Retirement.”
Through a connection Tyler and Samantha made through The Cord, they adopted a teenage boy and girl two years ago.
“We weren’t planning on taking on two teenagers and didn’t know what we were going to do at that point,” Samantha said. “But it was a blessing, and we love our kids more than anything now. It’s amazing how God works those paths and puts people in your life at specific times.”
The Cord threw an adoption shower when the Morrises took in their two teens.
The Cord, however, isn’t marked solely by blessings. The group deals with tough times as well.
The Morrises are one of many couples in The Cord who went through infertility.
When the honeymoon phase ends, marriages can be marked by adversity from several sides: unexpected tragedy, communication struggles, financial worries, spiritual differences and parenting concerns.
The Cord has many couples who are a phase ahead of others that are in the process of navigating unchartered territory.
They step into that space and serve.
“We wanted people we could have not just as friends but people as role models,” Tyler added. “People who had been through what we were going to be facing and those who we could see going through a phase of life ahead of us, so we could be prepared.”
“There are couples that come in and say, ‘We want to do this marriage thing right and have a God-centered marriage,’” Samantha added. “And that’s hard to do in isolation. These couples come in, get connected and that’s the continual story I see at The Cord.”
The Cord typically discusses a book in the Bible or an aspect of marriage. A brief message is followed by small group discussion.
For more information, call Aaron Johnson at (502) 664-0766 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.