I get a lot of emails from people who are longing for their search for a mate to end, and end soon! Valentine’s Day is likely going to make that feeling even more prominent, especially without a prospect on the horizon. How do you get through Valentine’s Day when you’re single?
Let me first be open with my bias against Valentine’s Day. I’ve always hated it, single, dating someone, and married. You just can’t win. If you’re single, you may feel a bit more lonely toady because it seems like everyone else is in a couple, especially the woman down the hall that just had roses delivered to her cubical. If you’re dating, now it’s the constant balancing act of what is enough, but not too much, to express how you feel, in appropriate measure to the length of the relationship. It’s a complicated equation! What should I expect from my date? Do I look for roses to arrive at my cubical? Should I be upset if they don’t?
You would think if you’ve been dating for a while that these questions would be a lot easier to answer. But now, you have to add the extra pressure or expectation to get engaged. Is he going to ask? Does she expect me to ask? Forget the roses when diamonds are in play. And finally, when you’re married, it can feel very stilted. It’s a pre-determined day to tell your spouse exactly what you should be telling them naturally anyhow. And yes, it’s quite likely that those roses won’t show up. But now, it doesn’t matter to you anyhow. You don’t require proof in petals.
So, what is a single person to do?
1. CHOOSE TO CELEBRATE THE DIFFERENT LOVES IN YOUR LIFE
Your primary support person may be a best friend or mentor, or a community that supports you, which means you are experiencing “philia” or brotherly love. Or, your closest friend may be a sibling, a child, or even a parent, which means you are experiencing “storge” love. Both types are in the bible, in addition to unconditional love (agape) and romantic love.
Take today to send that cherished person a card or special gift, or even a phone call to let him or her know that you are thinking of them. Just the expression of your feelings will bring that sense of connectedness and belonging into your life that you desire.
2. CONNECT WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS
You can choose to connect to family or friends that cherish your time more than you do theirs. Yes, you read that right. Reaching out to someone who you just never seem to find the time to be with. This is a few minutes in a short call or email that would really touch their day with compassion. It can be a widowed grandparent, or aunt or uncle that never had children, a friend going through a breakup or divorce, or someone that you don’t know as well but may be lonely today. By giving of yourself, that hole in your heart gets just a bit smaller.
3. REMEMBER THE TRINITY
Connect to the wellspring of love, the love that the Trinity offers you. Divine love is made to satisfy your longings, regardless of your marital status. In this way, you’ll be practicing how to love your future spouse: love when you may not feel like it, when you feel something is being “held out” from you, when you don’t understand.
Your singlehood is a precious opportunity to develop your relationship with God and his Church that may not be easily accessible later. How? Spend a hour tonight at adoration, or in silence to connect to His whisper, or in reading scripture. Or, speak your anger and disappointment. Whatever is in your heart today, He wants to hear of it and He wants you to bring it to Him. He may show you that each of us walks through difficulties, in different ways at different times of life, and the more you practice leaning on Him the more you will be prepared to walk the path He has prepared for you.