Red roses. Fluffy teddies. Umpteen love hearts on social media feed.
Yep, it must be Valentine’s Day.
I had a lot of trouble tolerating Valentine’s Day when I was single. And it was not just the pointless commercialism. It was the unsubtle message that you have to be admired by someone to be a worthwhile human being.
The horrible inference of this message was that singles are unworthy, inferior, somehow less-than by virtue of their relationship status.
It drove me mental as a single person. It still drives me mental, even as a married person.
I abhor the social pressure to have a relationship in order to have your existence validated. It is the assumption that we are not “enough” in ourselves, that we have to score the approval of others to be acceptable, that is so unhelpful.
I think society does it because singleness makes society uncomfortable.
Hence the necessity of discussing survival strategies. There have been plentiful tips and blogs on this subject recently – just search for the word “Galentine” for proof – but I want to contribute my own Steph-infused version.
Beyond bubble baths and glasses of wine, here are my top three tips for staying sane and single in the aftermath of Valentine’s Day:
1. Be countercultural – find your identity in Christ, not in your relationship status.
The thing that irks me most about Valentine’s Day is the relationship propaganda, the idea that relationships make or break our identity. While relationships can shape and support us, our identity runs deeper than that. Our identity lies in who Christ has made us: children of God.
Hot tip: when someone asks if you got any Valentines, tell them your relationship with the King of the universe is more important than romance. See what kind of reaction you get.
2. Spend the evening with God.
Even though God cannot give us a physical hug, his presence can be powerfully close and comforting, especially when we really need it. Instead of immersing yourself in trashy movies and chocolate (not that there is anything wrong with that), consider having some love-time with God.
Hot tip: struggling to express your love for God? Try the language of the Song of Songs.
3. Friend-dates are a thing.
God did not mean for us to be alone. He placed us in a family, his world-wide family, because he knew we would need one another. Call on your family, your friends, whoever will help you celebrate being loved. After all, romance is not the thing we really crave – it is love and belonging.
Hot tip: target a single friend, invite them over, spoil them and make sure they know they are loved. It is a great cure for a Valentines hangover!
Join me in having a countercultural Valentine’s Day. And remember you are not alone, especially if you follow Jesus. You are loved. You are worthy. You belong.
What tips do you have for surviving, and recovering from, Valentine’s Day? Do you have single friends who can be your date for a day? When was the last time you had love-time with God? Share your story – let’s have a countercultural conversation.