Hearts and candy and all that pink—since the day after Christmas (the day after!), store shelves and TV ads won’t let us forget that Valentine’s Day is coming. But the brokenhearted want to forget, as do many single women. How about you? Do you take pleasure in the cherubs and chocolate, or do they serve only to intensify your loneliness?
Either way, you can’t avoid it unless you curl up and hide under the covers until the holiday passes. But there’s a better way than hiding or merely gritting your teeth for a few more weeks. It begins with taking fresh hold on a right view of reality.
The truth is, we aren’t single because we’ve failed to be in the right place at the right time, or because we aren’t pretty enough, or because we haven’t yet obtained some great spiritual height. We’re single because that’s God’s call on our life for today. It just stands to reason that if God cares to number every hair on our head—and he does (Matt. 10:30)—he cares much more about our marital status and whom we marry. And not only does he care—he has the power to bring it about. He dictates every detail of our lives. “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Prov. 16:9).
Here’s another bit of reality: it’s not singleness that’s the source of our misery; it’s our interpretation of singleness. Life doesn’t begin when we get married. Today, right now—this is our life. Most of us are likely to get married at some point, so what are we doing with these single years? Are we rejoicing in our gifts, or are we so focused on getting out of singleness that we can’t even see the blessings we have today?
Prolonged singleness is actually a privilege that very few get, with the freedom it affords to choose where, when, and how we invest our personal resources.
So next time the hearts and flowers assail your soul, consider these tips:
- Don’t make room for pity—especially self-pity: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).
- Don’t view singleness as a problem to be solved: “I am saying this for your own benefit, not to put a restraint on you, but to promote what is proper and so that you may be devoted to the Lord without distraction” (1 Cor. 7:35).
- Recognize the unique blessings of singleness: “Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17).
- Realize that singles are vital to the body of Christ: “But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that are weaker are indispensable. And those parts of the body that we consider less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unrespectable parts are treated with greater respect, which our respectable parts do not need.
“Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor. 12:18-26).
- Face the loneliness factor head-on: “Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.’
“Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:8–10).
- Reexamine your view of marriage: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband” (Eph. 5:22–33).
- Hope in the Lord and trust his power and goodness: “Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (Ps. 37:3–4).
Finally, don’t hide from Valentine’s Day this year; instead, run straight at it. Give chocolate to someone who is more alone—or lonelier—than you. Plan something hearts-and-flowery for your single friends, perhaps a Valentine’s brunch. And above all, remember that in Christ you are never alone, and you are greatly loved.
“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? . . . For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:32, 38–39).