White Day, March 14th
You can read the details of White Day on Wikipedia but basically it is the counterpart to Valentine's Day. In Japan, Valentine's Day is the day when women give gifts of homemade chocolate to men. Since one must always reciprocate in this culture, the men officially must return the favor one month later on March 14th! And it is called White Day.
Marriage and love in Japan are quite different from the culture I grew up in. It is not uncommon for marriages in Japan to be about convenience and out of need or social obligation rather than love. Roles inside of marriage are much much more conservative, with the husband helping out very little at home and with raising the children. The couples also usually lead totally separate lives, knowing very little about each others daily comings and goings and social activities.
These past weeks I have been surrounded by talk of marriage. One friend who is in a wonderful Christian marriage shared with me that at her childrens' kindergarten, she and one other women are the only women happy in their marriage and at meetings and gatherings she must sit and listen to everyone complain and degrade their husbands.
This last week Rocky and I celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary. We began with a short overnight trip, just the two of us. Then on the 11th, the actual anniversary date, Rocky surprised me with breakfast in bed. I shared this with one of my English classes, and could feel the tension in the room as most of my students did not know how to respond to my enthusiasm about our marriage. As it dawned on me that they have never known such love, my heart began to break for them even more.
Oh how I want them to know the unending, all consuming, powerful love of their Savior! It is only because Rocky and I know THAT love that we can have the marriage that we have. I LONG for them to experience LOVE in its purest form, love unconditional and full. A love so powerful it washes your sins whiter than snow!
White Day this year has reminded me to pray MORE for the couples in this country. Pray with us that God will bring HIS love into their lives and transform each one, and in turn transform their marriages and then their whole family. We have seen this happen in our church and we long to see more of it!