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If you’re planning to buy roses for your wife or girlfriend on Valentine’s Day, good for you! I know she will enjoy them.

However, as I explained recently to my good friend Ron, I’ve concluded that roses are a horrible depiction of true love. When Ron told me of his plans to give his girlfriend a dozen red roses, I suggested that he might want to reconsider.

“What are you talking about, Jim?” he responded incredulously. “Women love roses!”

“Perhaps that’s true,” I had to admit. “Yet take a moment to think about what a rose actually conveys. Yes, it may bring momentary pleasure, but after a few days it’s wilted and ready to throw away. Sounds like far too many relationships, if you ask me.”

Ron thought I certainly must be teasing him once again.

“Either you’re crazy or you’re kidding,” he finally said. “Everyone knows that roses are the best way to show your love on Valentine’s Day – and I’m sure you don’t have any better ideas.”

“Okay, Ron, if you want to buy her a rose, go ahead,” I conceded. “But if I were you, I would also get her something more lasting and permanent.”

“Yeah, right,” he said, getting rather irritated. “What would you suggest?”

I paused to make sure Ron was paying close attention. “In addition to giving her a rose to illustrate your immediate love and affection, you should also get her a potted plant – perhaps an African violet or something like that ­– to illustrate that your love will last for many months and years into the future.”

Ron was flabbergasted at the idea. “I’ve never heard of anything like that,” he said. “Who has ever heard of giving someone an African violet for Valentine’s Day?”

Despite his initial reservations, Ron is planning to give my idea a try this year. If his girlfriend sees the spiritual significance of the potted plant, it will become a lasting emblem of Ron’s never-ending love. If the idea bombs…well, perhaps the plant will soon end up in the dumpster, along with the wilted roses.

But don’t forget this vital principle: In contrast with roses, the Bible says “love will last forever” (1 Corinthians 13:8). African violets may not arouse as many goose bumps, but I like the longevity.

P.S. #PrayForRon. And if you need any of my personalized advice on how to have a happy Valentine’s Day, feel free to give me a call…

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