Misery might love company, but love is contagious!
When I was a single mom after going through an unwanted divorce, I (understandably!) hated Valentine’s Day. My ex left me in the month of February, and in years past, his father left his mother on Valentine’s Day. It was easy to give into bitterness and think the entire holiday was cursed. Not to mention the popular perspective going around about how Valentine’s Day was just a commercial holiday created for card companies and chocolatiers to rake in extra cash.
But then I remembered how several years prior, when my then-husband was laid off from work from city budget cuts, and we were struggling to pay bills, my cousin offered to pay for me to give my then-toddler a Valentine's gift. She knew we were in a tight spot and wanted to make sure my daughter had a gift from me.
I still remember that kind gesture and get teary-eyed. My cousin was a newlywed herself and didn’t have a lot of extra money either, yet she offered a simple, heartfelt gesture that still affects me over a decade later.
Now that’s love.
Romantic love is wonderful, of course, and having a traditional Valentine on Valentine’s Day can be fun—there’s nothing wrong with that. But there are so many other opportunities to show love that have nothing to do with your left ring finger or your social media relationship status.
The Bible talks about love a lot—in fact, the word love is mentioned in the Bible in the ESV translation well over 500 times. And most of those times are not referencing a husband-wife romantic type love, but rather, God’s love—known in Greek as agape—and phileo, or brotherly love.
John 15:13 (ESV) "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
The Word of God provides plenty of examples of how we’re supposed to love one another. There are instructions for husband and wives, such as Ephesians 5, but there are also commands like these:
Romans 12:10 (ESV) "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor."
1 John 4:19 (ESV) "We love because he first loved us."
John 21:15 (ESV) "When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?' He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, 'Feed my lambs.'”
1 Peter 1:5-7 (ESV) "For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love."
Clearly, God has more for us to do with love than simply get married. We’re to show brotherly love and affection to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We’re to take care of our community and show love by meeting physical needs. We’re to love freely because God first loved us.
We’re equipped with everything we need to love on others because of Christ—and we can do that whether we’re single, dating, engaged, married, divorced, or remarried.
But first, we must die to self.
This is hard but necessary. When we’re wrapped up in our own daily drama and focused on our unfulfilled needs, we grow resentful of not only the people around us who are in relationships but also grow resentful toward God for not bringing us the relationship we want. We start to doubt His plan for our life, His provision, and His timing. This isn’t a healthy place to live.
When we focus on others, though, we are fulfilled. Our needs aren’t so loud when we’re quietly looking to meet the needs of others. When we serve, our selfishness fades. We have peace and joy when we get out of our own heads. And the coolest part about it is that in doing the blessing, we’re blessed in return! It’s a win-win.
This Valentine’s Day, you can draw the curtains, eat your weight in ice cream, and resent everyone on social media…or you could celebrate love in unconventional ways and be blessed.
Here are seven ways to celebrate love on Valentine’s Day when you’re single:
1. Love on Your Family Members
This might sound obvious, but not everyone in your family is married, either. Maybe you’ve lost a parent or grandparent, and there’s a widow or widower in your family tree. Maybe your sister or brother is single, or your cousin is recently separated. Maybe your great-aunt has never married and lives alone with her dog. There are so many opportunities to grab a Valentine's card from Target and make someone’s day by showing them you care.
2. Love on the Children in Your Life
Kids love Valentine’s Day! For them, it’s a season of candy and fun colors and treats at school. No detail goes unnoticed by children when it comes to holiday décor. Go all out and bless your niece or nephew, your best friend’s child, or your neighbor’s kids with fun Valentines this year. Hide them in their home mailbox, or buy a few stuffed animals with hearts on their paws, and make a kid’s day. I dare you not to be immediately cheered up at the sight of their big smile!
3. Love on Your Church Staff
Don’t forget about your church family! Members of the congregation and even the staff need to feel celebrated and appreciated, too. Giving a Valentine’s gift of candy or flowers to a staff member to show your gratitude for their ministry would be a major blessing they won’t soon forget. Write them a letter of appreciation. Slip an anonymous note into their Bible at church. Let go of the conventional methods of Valentines and choose instead to show brotherly love in fresh ways that will last a lifetime.
4. Love on Your Friends
Fries before guys, right? ::wink:: This Valentine’s Day, celebrate your friendships by gifting your besties with small tokens of your affection for them. Cards, candy, stuffed animals, a gift card for a coffee date…get creative and intentional. Even if your best friends are in relationships, there’s no reason to assume they wouldn’t want to also celebrate friendship and have a girl’s night out or celebrate with you.
5. Love on Other Singles
When you’re single, it often feels like everyone around you is in a relationship and you’re the only one who is alone, but this usually isn’t true. More than likely, there’s a friend in your circle who is single, maybe even recently so, who could use cheering up. If that’s the case, find them and create a “Galentine’s Day” event! Let go of the assumption that you’re the only one feeling the way you do, and make the fun happen! They need it too. Does your church have a singles ministry? That’s a great place to plan a fellowship. Or, break out of your comfort zone and attend a different church’s singles ministry for the night.
6. Love on the Unseen
There’s always someone around us who feels unloved and unnoticed. Look for these people and ways to bless them. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Leave Valentine's sticky notes on public community boards with an encouraging message about God’s love. Ask your church if they have a “homebound” list of members who aren’t physically able to get out and come to church anymore. In this post-Covid society, there’s probably more than ever. Visit those sweet people at home or in the hospital, send a card or gift basket to them in the nursing home, and remind them they are still seen and loved. They need it.
7. Love on the Unwanted
You don’t have to look far to find someone hurting on Valentine’s Day. There are women in your church congregation, in line at the grocery store around you, and probably living down the street who are in broken relationships and/or are going through a separation or a divorce. They’re especially feeling the sting of Valentine’s Day this year, and a small token from you could ease their suffocating burden of grief. Listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting in this—it might be as simple as turning around and paying for the woman in line behind you at Starbucks. Look for opportunities to bless those who seem as if they’re hurting. And if you know of someone specifically going through a divorce, go out of your way to bless them this Valentine’s Day. Misery might love company, but love is contagious!
Photo Credit: ©SWN
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of over twenty romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hubby, two daughters, an impressive stash of coffee mugs, and one furry Schnauzer-toddler. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored to truth. When she’s not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can be found somewhere in the vicinity of an iced coffee. She is a regular contributor to iBelieve.com and offers author coaching and editorial services via Storyside LLC.