Valentine’s Day can be a joyful holiday filled with celebrating others through expressions of love. For some, the holiday is just another day. There are also those who hurt—sometimes deeply—each February 14th.
Valentine’s Day was a least favorite holiday of mine. Although I do enjoy writing and sharing my love those closest to me—I always felt jipped because I didn’t have a special Valentine. No boyfriend to spoil me. I didn’t celebrate my first real Valentine’s Day until I turned 29.
It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison game. Just log on Facebook or Instagram and scroll through your feeds. I know because I’ve been there. Or maybe you’re in a relationship, but your boyfriend or husband prefers not to celebrate the holiday for their own reasons.
There are many reasons why Valentine’s Day hurts. It’s amazing how one day can bring so much joy and so much hurt—depending on which side of the spectrum you fall. When I was preparing to write this article, I wanted to have some fun and ask the question on Facebook why people hurt on Valentine’s Day besides the usual “I don’t have a Valentine, therefore it stinks!” I received a number of responses ranging from the comparison game to unmet expectations to different love languages. Let’s read:
Katie said, “You have to watch everyone else have joy and put on a show pretending that you are happy they got flowers or candy or an animal or a ring or a positive pregnancy test.
Jessica said, “I was seriously so let down last Valentine’s Day. Seeing everyone’s posts and such killed me. I found myself falling into the trap of comparing my relationship with others. It took me talking to an older married friend at church for me to really see how selfish I was being. I had pretty much planned the night and hadn’t even given him the chance to surprise me! It was a great lesson learned because I needed to learn how to let myself be romanced.”
Teryn said, “People assume that romantic love is the only kind of love worth celebrating. I think that’s just a hurtful concept in general. Love is found in all sorts of different relationships, and I think it’s important to celebrate those, too.”
Bethany said, “Married people can be hurt on Valentine’s Day! I am totally find now, as being married has changed me. We actually celebrate holidays less traditionally than I was raised. It took me 8 years of marriage to start my own traditions, but I think the first year we were married, I had the expectation that because I was married, Valentine’s Day was to be celebrated a certain way. My husband was raised differently and saw Valentine’s Day as a ‘Hallmark holiday.’ It hurt me because I had false expectations.
Angela said, “My husband doesn’t believe in the corporate created holiday because it’s just all about money.”
Katy said, “Valentine’s Day hurts because it sets an expectation that you deserve something. It’s so silly!”
Carol said, “As always, our culture seems to dictate our expectations and sets us up for disappointment. Even as a young girl I had so much ‘hope’ for that one day!”
Amber said, “I feel alone on Valentine’s Day because my partner doesn’t have the same love language as me.”
I used to believe the lie that because you are in a relationship every holiday should be perfect including Valentine’s Day.
Then I got married.
It wasn’t until I was married that I realized I wasn’t the only one hurting on Valentine’s Day. I wasn’t the only one playing the comparison game or feeling hurt from unmet expectations. Now that I am married, I feel like I have gained more compassion and a healthier perspective of this Hallmark holiday.
I wonder if media pressure from Hallmark commercials, Kay Jewelers ads, or 1-800-Flowers makes it feel more forced. Instead of creativity celebrating those you love—all you have to do is buy their product and it’s guaranteed to make your holiday perfect. Right?
I feel most appreciated when my husband opts out of the cliché dozen roses and gives me a giant hot-pink gerbera daisy instead. I love it when he gives me a card and writes something special—not just because some funny or silly commercial told him too, but because he loves me and wants to show me.
A hidden gem in the Old Testament about creativity and crafts is found in Exodus 31:1-5, NIV. It says,
Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.”
I would like the record to reflect that I am not a crafts person. Growing up, I preferred my mom to buy me a box of Valentine’s Day cards so I could easily sign them and pass them out along with some candy. When I was single, I would rather go to dinner a fancy dinner with my single girlfriends then stay home and make heart-shaped or red-colored food (too much work).
On this Valentine’s Day, I encourage you and I to find ways to be creative and shower those God has placed in our lives. Let’s not feel pressured by a corporation, Pinterest board, or Facebook feed. Instead, let us pray about how God would use us to bless others with the gifts He has already given. Besides, you never know who might be hurting and in need of some encouragement!
Renee Fisher is an adoring wife to Marc and mom to their pit bull named Star. She is a spirited speaker and author of four books, including Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me (Harvest House, 2013). Renee is the editor and founder of DevotionalDiva.com, and loves nothing more than to spur others forward. She is on the Advisory Board for ChristianMingle, creator of Quarter Life Conference, and a Biola University graduate. Renee lives in CA and loves running on sunny days. Connect with her at ReneeFisher.com.