By Beth Ann Baus, Crosswalk.com
February 14th is meant to be a day dedicated to celebrating romantic love, friendship, and admiration. Yet we all know this day is typically focused on romantic love, which can leave our single brothers and sisters feeling left out and lonely. Whether single by choice, by divorce, or through the death of a spouse, this day can be one of dread, as it can be a reminder of love yet to be or love that once was. One thing to remember is that Valentine's Day can also be stressful for those in a relationship. Many complain that this holiday ensues unnecessary stress and unrealistic expectations.
If you're married or in a long-term relationship, there is pressure to give a card and gift that somehow perfectly represents your love and devotion. If you're in a new relationship, the same pressure is there and the added stress of not under or over-defining the relationship.
If you're in a relationship, you might not recognize how Valentine's Day unintentionally draws attention to those who are single. If you're single, you may not realize there are many ways you can still enjoy this day. The reality is, whether you're single or in a relationship, we can all celebrate the love of our Heavenly Father and learn to be more content in our circumstances rather than giving in to the hype our culture gives to this one day of the year.
While I am a married woman, I too have muddled through Valentine's Day alone, and I know how dreadful it can be. I share my thoughts with you as someone who has been single and who has many single friends. I see more and more that getting through this holiday has more to do with what's going on in your heart rather than in your love life. If you typically dread seeing February 14th on the calendar, particularly because you're single, I hope the following ideas will help make this Valentine's Day more tolerable and maybe, just maybe, slightly enjoyable.
1. Have a Good Attitude
We're told in Galatians 6:2 to bear one another's burdens. So if you're single and this holiday is difficult for you, talk to someone. Find a trusted friend or family member and be open about your emotions and what this holiday stirs up in you.
While it's best to be open about your feelings, it's also best to be loving toward others. I've witnessed many single people point out the absurdities of Valentine's Day, leaving couples feeling ashamed of celebrating their love. This isn't kind or loving. Rather than giving in to frustration and disappointment, celebrate the love of those around you. Be an encouragement to the couples in your church family. Let them know you're praying for them. Rather than ruining the holiday for others with a bad attitude, honor the Father by celebrating the gift of love.
2. Remember God's Plan Is Often Different from Our Own
Whether you're single by choice, through a divorce, or you've been widowed, you are exactly where the Lord wants you to be. This is a hard truth for some people, but there is so much joy to be found when we can rest in this truth and trust in God's plan for our lives.
If you're single and want to be in a relationship, spend significant time on Valentine's Day praying about this very thing. Perhaps God has intended for you not to marry, but because we can't know that, ask God to bring someone into your life and then pray for that person.
If you're content in your singleness, or perhaps you've been widowed and have no desire to remarry, you may still feel a sense of loss on Valentine's Day. If this is your story, then spend the day in prayer for those in your life who are in relationships. Ask God to show you how you can be an encouragement and blessing to them.
3. Be Kind to Yourself
If you're someone who desires a relationship and is tired of being single, it's easy to spend Valentine's Day focusing on all the things you think are wrong about yourself. It's easy to spend the day degrading yourself in your thought life, picking apart the flaws you see in the mirror, and concluding that you aren't good enough.
Don't give in to the temptation of deciding no one will ever want you. Instead, spend the day celebrating the things you do like about yourself. Celebrate your strengths, talents, and the gifts God has given you to share with his church.
4. Help Make this a Special Day for Someone Else
While it might be disappointing for you to sit home alone on Valentine's, I guarantee there's at least one couple in your church family who are disappointed that they don't have a babysitter.
Babysitting so that a couple can go out and celebrate Valentine's Day might be a reminder of what you yourself don't have. But it might bring you more joy than you realize to offer your evening to someone and allow them a date night.
We are told in Acts 20:35 that it is better to give than to receive. Serve the Lord this Valentine's Day by giving the gift of your time.
5. Be Celebratory!
If the thought of sitting home alone on Valentine's has you down, and if offering babysitting isn't your thing, then host a dinner party or game night. If your home isn't large enough for a crowd, ask about using a room at your church building.
Remember your celebration doesn't have to be for singles only - invite married couples as well. Many couples would jump at the opportunity for a game night. Just as we benefit from multi-generational friendships, married couples can benefit from spending time with singles and vice versa.
Consider making the theme of your gathering LOVE of the FATHER. Focus on the love he has for us and, by extension, the love we have for one another.
6. Remember, Some May Envy You
There's no getting around it; if you're single and wish to be married, singleness is hard. It's easy to feel left out in many areas of life as so many activities are designed for couples. I urge you to be sensitive to the fact that many people around you live in unhealthy relationships and difficult marriages. These people look at you and envy your life.
Let this be another challenge to spend significant time in prayer on Valentine's Day. You are not the only one dreading this day, wishing it was over, and wishing their circumstances were different. Lift up the couples around you in prayer, as well as your single friends.
7. Remember God's Love for You
While it might seem condescending to remind you of the love of your Heavenly Father in the context of Valentine's Day, I assure you, it's not condescending at all. Whatever romantic love you have had or ever will have fails in comparison to the love of God.
The key to enjoying Valentine's Day - whether you're single or not - is about what's going on in your heart. It's about having an attitude that accepts and appreciates where God has you in this season of life and not being envious of others.
When it comes to Valentine's Day, another important factor to remember is that no Christian will be single forever. Marriage on earth is meant to reflect the marriage God will one day enjoy with his people. Jesus is our bridegroom, and we are his bride. One day, when Christ returns for his bride, all the pain of difficult marriages and singleness will disappear! Let us all keep our eyes focused on Jesus and our hearts set on glorifying him so that one day we will rejoice in the reality of Revelation 19:7, "For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready."
Beth Ann Baus is a wife and mother of two adult sons. She is a freelance writer and author of novels, Sister Sunday and My So Much More. In her writing, Beth often pulls from her own experiences of abuse, anxiety, depression and OCD. Beth has a heart for homeschooling, women’s ministry, and is an ACBC-certified Biblical Counselor. She loves serving alongside her husband and pointing couples to the Word for strengthening their marriages and home life. You can find more from her at www.bethannbaus.com.