If you find yourself feeling lonely this Valentine’s Day, don’t beat yourself up. The truth is, we are made for relationship, for companionship, for intimacy.
Is it just me, or is the calendar particularly unkind to the dateless this time of year? Think of it: you just barely recover from Christmas and all the ensuing plus-one events (not to mention all manner of awkward questions from well-meaning relatives). Then, right on the heels of Christmas, you face New Year’s Eve, aka the night everyone in the world has someone to kiss at the stroke of midnight . . . except you. And then, to top it all off, you find yourself running directly into Valentine’s Day.
So what’s a single person to do? Is your only alternative to buy a pint of salted-caramel swirl and watch a black comedy until the calendar mercifully moves on to less loaded holidays, like Presidents’ Day? I would venture to say that, with a little planning, you don’t just have to survive Valentine’s Day. You can own it.
Here are my tips for making it through February with your soul intact. (Please note that I have personally attempted to implement these, though with varying degrees of success.)
Find someone who is just a little bit sadder than you.
I know, I know, this sounds rather pathetic. But the truth is, there is always someone sadder than you. The friend on the heels of an ugly breakup. The single mom who is shouldering a heavy (and often invisible) burden. The widow who is facing her first Valentine’s Day alone.
Knowing other people are miserable too doesn’t take away your pain. But there’s something to be said for carrying a corner of someone else’s load—or at least walking alongside them as they carry it. Perhaps you could send a card or offer to babysit or bring over coffee (which, in my opinion, is the near-universal love language).
Eat chocolate. (But not alone.)
The other near-universal love language is, of course, chocolate. You don’t have to be in a relationship to enjoy the cocoa-themed perks of this holiday (nor do you have to wait until the candy is marked down on February 15). Here’s what I recommend: a giant chocolate-themed party. If you’re an extrovert, go all out and invite every dateless person you know for a chocolate extravaganza. If you’re an introvert, gather up a friend or two and do the same. Call it Galentine’s, ala Leslie Knope, or come up with your own clever name. Whatever you call it, the point is the same: chocolate + friends. You can’t go wrong.
Celebrate love in all its forms.
The world we live in tends to make a romantic relationship a litmus test for happiness. But the truth is, we are surrounded by love in so many forms. Who says romantic relationships should have the exclusive corner on Valentine’s Day? Brainstorm a list of all the people you love—parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, godchildren, friends. We can’t control the love we get (or don’t get), but we do have a say in the love we give. This February, think of some ways you can focus on giving love. Send a card. Make a phone call. Attempt a Valentine’s-themed Pinterest project (mine always flop, but they’re guaranteed to be entertaining).
Be gentle with yourself.
If you find yourself feeling lonely this Valentine’s Day, don’t beat yourself up. The truth is, we are made for relationship, for companionship, for intimacy. So while it’s wise not to get sucked into a vortex of self-pity, it’s also okay to acknowledge that this isn’t where you hoped to find yourself today. It’s okay to tell God, “You know what? This stinks.” And I believe Jesus would put his arm around you and say, “Yep, it does.” (Or, if he’s speaking ESV, he’d say, “Indeed, this does stink.”)
Remember that you are loved.
Maybe you’ve heard that God so loved the world. But this Valentine’s Day, my prayer is that you know he so loves you. Precisely you, with all your quirks and weaknesses and sins. With your unique gifts and talents and beauty. Regardless of your relationship status, may this year mark an ever-deepening relationship with the one who loves you perfectly—without conditions and without strings attached.
To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; to seek Him, the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement. —Augustine
I Was Blind (Dating), But Now I See by Stephanie Rische
Eight setups. Eight awkward dates. Eight things God tried to teach her along the way. (Some of which she’s still trying to figure out.)
Stephanie Rische was starting to feel invisible. All around her, her friends were getting married, and she found herself decidedly alone. Stephanie couldn’t help but wonder if there was something broken in her—was she not pretty enough? Not fun enough? Not dateable enough (whatever that meant)? So she started praying in earnest for God to bring the right man into her life. And instead, He brought her matchmakers. Eight of them, to be precise.
Beloved blogger Stephanie Rische debuts with this charming, vulnerable, and (who are we kidding?) often mortifying true story of a girl who tried really hard to find someone to fall in love with—even when she mostly just ended up falling flat on her face. But amid the most cringeworthy setups and awkward encounters, Stephanie found God’s grace and love meeting her there in ways she never could have imagined—once she opened her eyes to see.