Growing up in the '70s, my every February brought about the grade-school ritual of giving and receiving Valentine's Day Cards.

I remember how my mom would take me to the store to buy the small, inexpensive cards which I would then write out for each fellow student. On the big day, we'd go around with a bag and collect cards while handing ours out at the same time.

Filling out cards for my buddies was a fun chance to say "hello" or cheer on the Pittsburgh Steelers, but when it came time to do the cards for the girls, well that was a bit trickier. There were usually a few girls I "liked." Thus, writing their cards was more nerve wracking.

I smile at these memories now, but even today in my late forties and being blessed with a godly wife of over 26 years, it can be hard to express my feelings to my one true valentine in his life, my wife Michelle. As usual, I need look no further than God's Word for "the right words" to say.

So, to honor my wife and glorify the Lord God Almighty who gave her to me, I thought I'd share why I am so thankful for "My Valentine" using the words found in Proverbs 31 starting in verse 10 (ESV).

10: An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.

Michelle, how I thank God for the beauty of marriage between a man and a woman, which models to us God's relationship with us through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:22-33). When God brought you into my life at Penn State in 1990, it was indeed the most precious gift, besides my salvation, He has ever or will ever give to me.

11: The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12: She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

Michelle, I do trust you! It is a profoundly valuable gift to be able to trust you with my heart, deepest thoughts and feelings. Thank you for doing good to me, not harm, all the days of our 26 years and counting.

13: She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands… 15: She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. 16: She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard… 21: She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. 22: She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23: Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.

Michelle, these and a few other verses in this chapter speak of the excellent wife being a hard worker who is fully vested in the financial support of her family. Thank you for working to put me through seminary. This short-term investment in me, before we became parents, has truly enabled me to be the provider for our family since 1998.

Even more importantly, thank you for enthusiastically embracing God's call upon your life as a helpmate and mother. As "Household 6," your support and management of the "home front" enables me to be the Army chaplain that I am. I could not and would not want to be a Soldier if not for the selfless service you perform daily. You are my hero!

26: She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Michelle, your involvement in the Protestant Women of the Chapel, as well as our chapel services, has been exemplary. You have embraced God's role for you to be a "Titus 2" woman; teaching and mentoring younger women on how to love their husbands and children. You are a living example that doing it God's way is the only way for a woman to "be all she can be!"

27: She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28: Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

The children love you and respect you, and they are all teenagers. Truly, God's grace has enabled us to raise up children who fear Him and, as such, respect and love their mother and father. I praise God for who and what you are as my wife and our children's mother.

29: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." 30: Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31: Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

Michelle, you are not the only woman out there living for Christ and obeying His call upon your life and so I am thankful for the godly ladies who have helped mold you. I honestly feel you are more beautiful now than that day in 1990 when we first began our relationship. My ability to see and appreciate the beauty of your character and love for our God has increased tenfold over the past quarter century. May the Lord grant us at least another quarter of a century of sharing our lives together! If He does, I promise I will continue to sing your praises to all who will listen.

I love you my dear, most excellent valentine!