This weekend is Valentine’s Day when everyone celebrates love with hearts, flowers, and gifts. I can still remember my years of prolonged singleness when I had no one to spend Valentine’s Day with. On the rare occasion that I was dating someone at the time, it unfortunately ended up being a disappointing holiday. It was not until I met my husband that anyone ever truly put the effort into buying me flowers, a card, or planning something special for us to do on this day. So, from one former single lady to all you single gals, I get it. I understand your plight.
I remember some of the ways in which well-meaning folks would attempt to offer advice to me, and I really could not handle it. I promise I will not do that to you here.
One year, I recall someone telling me, “to let Jesus be your Valentine.” I felt dumbstruck because I was not sure how to do that. Also, because it sounded so spiritual, I was afraid to question it. At the time, I did not know my faith that well, so I was unable to formulate a rebuttal even if it was just for my own sanity.
Now I am a bit older and have grown some in my understanding on matters of faith. When Adam was by himself in the Garden of Eden before Eve was created, sin had not yet entered the picture. Yet God still said, “it is not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18) Now that I have been married for just under ten years, I can confirm that as a living reality.
The reality is that it is painful to be alone, especially on a day that celebrates love. God created us for love – love for him and love for each other. “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7 NABRE) God created us in a primordial state of marriage. Henceforth, I believe that this fact adds to the lack of fulfillment and loneliness one feels when unmarried because it is part of our creation story.
If you are alone this Valentine’s Day, I would like to offer some more suitable ideas. While nothing will take the pain away completely except for finding a suitable spouse, it is my intent that the following suggestions help you assuage the difficulty of this weekend if you are alone:
- Offer it up: I had not heard about this practice of the church until I was much older and more along in my singleness. However, I think it is a very practical way to handle some of the more painful situations singles must face head on. You can offer up your affliction, which is the actual suffering you experience of spending Valentine’s Day alone. Offer it up for someone you know who is going through a trial, the holy souls in purgatory, or for the prayer of meeting your own spouse.
- Do a Holy Hour: You could spend an hour with Jesus before the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus understands suffering. He went into the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed about the suffering he was about to endure. Spending time in adoration is a comforting way to share your grief with the Lord.
- The Sacred Heart of Jesus: The Sacred Heart of Jesus burns with love for mankind. Jesus thirsts and longs for our love and devotion in return. Consider getting a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and meditating on the twelve promises made to those who display the Sacred Heart in their homes.
- Girlfriend Time: If you have a few girlfriends that are single, why not make an afternoon or evening of it? This way you are not all sitting home alone. You could plan a Valentine’s Day Tea, a fabulous lunch and then an afternoon outing, or a dinner at a restaurant. There is no reason not to enjoy the companionship of great friends.
- A Dinner Party: If you know a small group of single people or are part of a singles group or community, consider a dinner. You could go as small as the number of people you like, and as fancy or casual as please. One option to consider is a potluck or ask everyone to bring something small and you provide the main dishes. Most people do not want to be alone, so I think all involved would be grateful for the opportunity to be included. Do not forget the masks and the social distancing, as appropriate. This year, COVID precautions apply.
- Some Me Time: If no one is available, or you are concerned about public gatherings due to COVID, do not hesitate to get some take-out and enjoy a movie or some good lit!
- Any combination of the above is an acceptable way to feel part of Valentine’s Day as a single person while continuing steadfast in hope for your future spouse.
I want to leave you with the best advice I ever got when I was single on Valentine’s Day. I came home from a long day after work and listened to a voicemail on my phone. My friend had called to wish me Happy Valentine’s Day. She said, “I want you to know that I know this stinks that you are alone, but it will not be forever. I know you will find a husband and get married and I really want to encourage you in that.” This is the same aspiration I have for all of you. Happy Valentine’s Day!
By Julieanne M. Bartlett All Rights Reserved Copyright 2021