How many commercials or advertisements have you seen already promoting that perfect Valentine's Day gift? Probably enough to make your head spin right?
The constant reminders to spend bundles on roses, chocolates and champagne, or all of the above, may even evoke some frustration since many couples, thanks to the state of the economy, are cutting back on a lot of items this year, and a Valentine's Day gift is probably not exactly at the top of the family priority list.
Well, no pun intended, but take heart. If flowers, a romantic getaway or even a quiet dinner for two is too much of a financial strain right now, there is still something special you can do for both you and your spouse while still keeping within your budget. How does a romantic and faith-filled evening at the cost of less than $30 sound?
The film "Fireproof," the highest-grossing Christian film after "The Passion of the Christ," is now available on DVD for $24.99. The film hit the theaters last fall, and although it cost a mere half million to produce, it has already earned $31.5 million at the box office.
The movie has also led to an entire outreach effort complete with books, study guides and a special "couples kit" designed to help promote discussion groups at the church level and encourage more dialogue among couples at home.
While the other materials are certainly helpful, watching the movie as husband and wife is more than enough to allow for some special time together and spark some meaningful conversation. As a side benefit, you will be supporting a Christian film that upholds marriage and family.
My husband and I saw the film at a press preview last summer. Even though our past struggles were different, we still strongly identified with the main characters, Capt. Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) and his wife, Catherine (Erin Bethea). After seven years of marriage, the young couple is headed for divorce court until Caleb's father challenges his son to a 40-day experiment called "The Love Dare."
The movie's catchphrase of "never leave your partner behind" is played out well in the film, as Caleb is also challenged by fellow Christian firefighters who ask him why he is willing to risk his life every day on the job for his colleagues as well as people he doesn't even know, but won't fight for his marriage.
I don't want to give away the ending, but it does bring up some big problems facing many marriages today, including struggles with pornography, work pressures and what happens when God is absent from the relationship.
If you're still wondering if this movie is the right gift, think about the fact that the month of February not only gives us Valentine's Day but also World Marriage Day. Back in 1993, Pope John Paul II imparted his blessing on the annual event, celebrated on the second Sunday of February in an effort to remember and highlight the sacredness of the marriage covenant. (Visit wmd.wwme.org to learn more about the event.) Watching the movie would be a great way to do your part to say yes again to each other and to the Sacrament of Marriage.
Even if you think your relationship with your spouse is just about perfect, you never know when challenges may strike, and watching this film together just may help you "fireproof" your own marriage.
Teresa Tomeo is the host of Catholic Connection produced by Ave Maria Radio and heard daily on EWTN Global Catholic Radio and Sirius Channel 160. Visit www.fireproofthemovie.com to get more information on the film.