Valentine’s Day. For some, it’s a wonderful celebration of love and romance. But for many others, it’s one of the most painful times of the year, wryly referred to as “Singles Awareness Day.”
I sincerely hope that you are in the former group, looking forward to tender and cherishing moments with your beloved.
Yet as you savor your own loving relationship, you might also be thinking about a friend or family member who is suffering. Their hurting heart might be caused by the death of a loved one, a broken relationship or the betrayal of trust. Or perhaps a person’s relentless prayers for that special someone have not yet been answered. Whatever the cause, someone you know is absolutely gritting through this week.
And you can make a difference.
But how? What can you do to throw a lifeline of love and hope to someone who is suffering in their singleness? Here are some simple ideas to help another survive this Valentine’s season:
- Reach out with a small token of love and thoughtfulness. Buy your friend some flowers. Drop off some Valentine’s cookies. Your unexpected act of grace will bring sunshine.
- Write a card or letter telling your friend or parent or child what they mean to you. Affirm special character qualities. Express your love and gratitude in writing. Yes, text messages are nice, but they vanish. Written words can be read and re-read and are especially meaningful to someone who is alone.
- Encourage self-care. Often, a lonely person needs to be told that they’re worth it and that it’s OK to go and get a massage or do something kind for themselves.
- Help your friend remember the many ways God has provided for them and protected them over the past year. Encourage the habit of keeping a gratitude journal. This is my favorite.
- Remind your friend that it’s OK to express their loneliness and sadness to God. He can take it. Reading through the Psalms is a great reminder that it’s not “unspiritual” to express disappointment or despair to God. He wants to provide comfort.
- Most importantly, encourage focusing on the truth and depth of God’s love for them. Jesus never changes. An earthly romance might end. But God promises NEVER to leave us or forsake us. His love is constant, deep, authentic and endless. Jesus didn’t give us a red rose. He shed his crimson blood for each of us. Now THAT is love.
Will these things completely substitute for sitting across the table from a trustworthy and loving partner on Valentine’s Day? No, probably not. But by pouring love and encouragement into another, you can help build their resilience. You can remind a hurting soul that they will not just survive...that they will THRIVE in the days to come.
“Nothing helps a broken heart like having someone wonderful give you theirs.” - Rita Stradling