By Hope Bolinger, Crosswalk.com
Valentine’s Day can be a little rough for singles. After all, how in the world did a holiday about a celibate martyr translate into day dedicated to romantic couples? Although we may wait for February 15 to come to shop all the chocolate sales, how do we not only survive the day beforehand, but also thrive?
Although we may post something on Facebook that runs along the lines of “Happy Singles Awareness Day” or just shut out Facebook and other social media for the day, to avoid getting envious about other couples posting, I do believe we can do better for those who will not spend Valentine’s Day with a significant other.
As someone who has celebrated the past seven Valentine’s Days as a single person, I have a few ways that we can revamp the holiday to include singles, that doesn’t include avoiding social media and restaurants during February 14th.
1. Galentine’s Day or Single Pringle Day
Popularized by the hit sit-com Parks and Rec, this holiday celebrates friendships and platonic relationships on Valentine’s Day. Meant for an all-female group, Galentine’s Day might include waffles (or some sort of food), the sharing of memories, and gifts to celebrate lifelong friendships.
But what about single men? They can’t exactly celebrate a Gal-entine if they aren’t gals.
Hence, the Single Pringle Day.
In essence, during Valentine’s Day, gather a group of singles at your church and have a celebration, perhaps even featuring the popular chip brand Pringles.
We don’t have to be alone on Valentine’s Day. We can enjoy festivities and friends, too.
2. Write Valentine’s for Nursing Home Residents
Certainly a neglected group of people (not only on Valentine’s Day) are nursing home residents. Many of them have lost spouses or loved ones and might need some encouragement on this often-lonely holiday (Colossians 3:12).
Write some Valentines or encouraging notes to nursing home residents. Or better yet, pay them a visit and listen to the wonderful stories they may have.
In a similar vein, reach out to those in your church who may have:
- Experienced a recent divorce
- Recently lost a significant other
- Have chosen to remain celibate but are still romantically inclined (perhaps they struggle with temptations with loving someone of the same-sex romantically, are a sex addict, etc.)
Include those the holiday excludes, and love others in all circumstances and seasons.
3. Go Visit a Local Pet Shelter
No creatures need more love than at a local pet shelter.
Head to a one near you and show these animals some compassion and love. If you are able, perhaps adopt one and make it feel like a holiday every day for that pet.
On a day where we can often get self-absorbed, wondering why on earth God didn’t have a significant other for us, we can often forget others who also feel lonely, unloved, and unwanted.
4. Re-Invent the Holiday
The holiday in general doesn’t make at all that much sense. After all, Valentine didn’t exactly have a significant other.
Just like with Galentine’s Day, we can find other traditions to celebrate this holiday. Maybe you, like me, wear all black on this day and celebrate “Celibate Catholic Martyr’s Day.” At my college, a number of other students joined in the festivities, wearing all black and watching a non-romantic movie. Or, like my editor, you grab a group of friends and share a heart-shaped pizza and a movie that night.
Create your own traditions and find ways to include those who usually get excluded on this holiday.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Zachary Nelson
5. Spend Time with God
This may sound dramatic, but I think Satan can often use Valentine’s Day to distract singles from the love that matters most, from God (Colossians 4:2).
Nothing can distract us more from love and gratitude toward God than discontentment. When we see yet another post from a couple or watch as couples romantically gaze into each other’s eyes at a local venue, we might find ourselves shaking our fists at the sky and asking, “Why not me, God?”
Instead of finding ourselves drowning in envy and covetousness, we can choose to spend Valentine’s Day dedicating it to God. Maybe we can spend an extra hour in our Bible that day, listen to a great sermon, or by reading a great Christian Living book.
On Valentine’s Day, we won’t let Satan fill our hearts with ingratitude. We’ll resist by giving back the day to the Lord.
6. Call a Family Member
Most likely, we don’t live next door to our family members. Whether our parents, siblings, etc. have “Valentines” or not, nothing can make them feel more loved than a phone call or visit from you.
Make their day and dial them when you both have a free hour to talk. Maybe they, too, feel lonely on this day, and hearing your voice can fill them with joy.
Or better yet, if they enjoy gifts, get them some chocolate or other Valentine’s Day-related paraphernalia.
Valentine’s Day has too much of a focus on the Greek love Eros (romantic love) that we forget the other types of love: brotherly love, love for a friend, etc.
Let’s take the holiday back and repurpose it to include those kinds of loves.
7. Take Yourself Out on a Date
Nothing can make someone want to hole themselves in their house, wearing sweatpants, than a day like Valentine’s Day. We convince ourselves that we are somehow not worthy or somehow lesser because we didn’t manage to snag a beau in time for a dinner for two in February.
Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we should dress up in one of our favorite outfits and head to a restaurant we love.
For those who are not brave enough to steel themselves in public with all those couples, take time for self-care. Maybe self-care looks like ordering a pizza and watching Disney+. Maybe it does mean wearing sweatpants and chilling inside the house for the day, but whatever you choose to do, make it intentional.
Tell yourself: I am intentionally wearing this outfit and going out with myself because I know that I am a valued child of God (1 John 3) and don’t need a date to determine my worth.
Tell yourself: I am extraordinarily loved by God, but I want to refrain from engaging in temptations such as covetousness in public today, so I will wear comfy clothes, watch my favorite show, and eat a meal I love, because God sees value in me, and therefore, I should see value in myself.
Write down these words if you have to. No one else has to read them but you.
Why Does This Matter?
No doubt, anyone can experience isolation during holidays. Christmas season is difficult for those who have lost family members, are experiencing family strain, etc., for instance.
But singles can most likely agree they often feel most isolated on February 14.
But we don’t have to.
We can dedicate this holiday to our friends, our family, to God, and prevent Satan from making us feel as though we have one worth on this day. We can focus on the other types of love, and include everyone, so no one has to be alone.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Larm Rmah
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 600 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, (Illuminate YA) Den (releasing July 2020), Dear Hero (releasing September 2020), and Dear Henchman (releasing 2021) Find out more about her at her website.