Words and Images by Dianne Jago
February 14th is probably one of the most loved and hated holidays of the year. It’s loved by elementary-aged kids who can’t wait to hand their crush a valentine, and it’s treasured by those in committed relationships who celebrate the tradition of expressing love through gift-giving and fancy dinners. But it’s hated by those who are reminded that they are spending another day without a significant other. Perhaps they recently broke up with someone, are divorced, or are widowed. And like many holidays, it can often leave both the non-Christian and Christian feeling a little lonely. But regardless of what our relationship status happens to be on Facebook, Valentine’s Day can be a wonderful occasion to display the love Christ bestowed upon us.
Here are five ways to show love to a friend on Valentine’s Day:
1) Buy or mail your friend flowers. Flowers and candy are the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts, and it would probably be a huge surprise to your friend to receive something at her work or doorstep. Leave a note that tells her how much you value her friendship and how much God loves her. You could even make it anonymous and sign it from “a secret sister in Christ.”
2) Take your friend out to dinner. If you’ve been dating or married for a while and your significant other doesn’t mind celebrating on another day, take your friend out on a dinner date on February 14th. The fellowship shared over tasty food is a sure way to encourage and keep her from dwelling on negative thoughts that day. If your significant other wants to spend the evening with you, drop off dinner at her place or order her pizza. Or if she has kids, see if you can pre-arrange a dinner date where the kids can make mom dinner for the night.
3) Gift her with a book and dessert. Tell her she’s not allowed to watch sappy movies or surf social media at all that night. Tell her she is only allowed to spend her evening reading, relaxing, and eating a special treat. (Some books I recommend are: The Path of Loneliness by Elisabeth Elliot, Practical Theology for Women by Wendy Alsup, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller, and To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain by Matt Chandler.)
4) Avoid posting all over social media about how great your Valentine’s Day was. It’s natural to want to brag on what your sweetie did for you, but maybe you could save the post for a day or two after the holiday. I think we can all respect each other as emotional creatures and recognize that some may be more sensitive than others on this day. Or perhaps you can reverse the situation and intentionally post about your friend. Share a throwback picture of you two and tell the world what a great woman she is and how much you love and care for her.
5) Remind her of what true love is. This is probably the best thing you can do for a friend. I think many married women can attest to the fact that they felt lonely being single at one point or another, and marriage doesn’t permanently change that. If we are not rooted in Christ then our marriages will not be built on the foundation God intended. (This can even make marriage feel lonely.) We can only learn to love our spouse, or anyone else, once we have truly understood the sacrificial love of Christ and his work on the cross. And once we learn the love of Christ and find our security in him alone, we can recognize that, whether single or married, we are nothing without him. Remind your friend there is nothing wrong with desiring a boyfriend or husband, but the gap she may feel in her life can only be truly filled with a personal relationship with Christ.
Have any other ideas or suggestions that I missed? Feel free to comment below and share what you can do or what someone has done for you to make Valentine’s Day feel a little bit lovelier.
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