It seems that Christmas gatherings and New Year’s parties barely finish and boom, Valentine’s Day sneaks up on the calendar. The next trip to the grocery store displays the glaring red heart candies and pink glittering things.
For some, February 14th is just another day on the calendar for wearing that bright red sweater one more time before winter ends.
For others, Valentine’s Day awakens an inherent desire inside for deep, meaningful relationships. From Rom-Coms to Hallmark cards, our culture offers its best methods for developing these hoped-for significant connections.
Whether we are married or single, we can easily find ourselves falling into the mindset that loving and being loved has to look a certain way in order to be sincere. Now, I love a good funny romantic comedy as much as the next girl, but if I am honest, I have to admit that I have to be careful about what expectations can be built. The movies, social media posts and commercials can sell me an image of what true love and connection looks like so that I can be tempted to regard my very full and meaningful life as lacking if I have fallen for their hollow sale’s pitch.
If this happens, then as Valentine’s Day approaches, as a single person, I can sometimes find myself starting to wonder, “Who might call me, ask me to dinner or bring me flowers?” Anticipation builds.
And if the dinners and flowers do not come, disappointment can readily set in. For my married friends, the discouragement hits them just as hard, albeit looking a bit different. Instead of a potential wave of loneliness, my married friends can find their disappointment directed to their spouse for not living up to the ‘Hallmark’ expectation for the Valentine’s Day celebration (whatever that may be).
In Genesis chapter 2, as a part of the creation story, God states, “It is not good for man to be alone.” God designed us to live in community with others where there is unity in focusing on God to meet our needs. Like Adam and Eve, this desire can ‘go sideways’ when we look to each other to meet our needs rather than our Creator. No one understood this better than the Apostle Paul who encouraged the Philippian church with these words: “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ.” Philippians 4:19 (NLT)
In light of this truth, what if I chose to not take the world’s ‘guided tour’ for Valentine’s Day this year? What if I chose not to listen to the Hallmark script? What if I ‘flipped the script’ and began asking different questions such as ‘who might I call this Valentine’s day?’ ‘Who might I ask for dinner?’ and ‘Who might I bring flowers to?’
If you are married with children, you may consider how your spouse and each individual child receives the message of love the strongest? Do they appreciate spoken words of love and appreciation? Or would your husband feel loved much more strongly if you simply sat and watched a ballgame with him? Would your wife’s love tank fill to overflowing if you cleaned her car?
Considering neighbors and friends, is there someone who is caring for a sick family member? Can you take them a container of soup with crackers? Is there a neighbor in a struggling marriage who you could simply ask out for a walk? Is there a widow or widower who you could invite to lunch or deliver a simple card?
Would you be willing to simply ask God who He wants you to reach out to and love this Valentine’s Day? You can find more ideas on how to connect with neighbors in this article on Connection and Community found on our NBS2GO website.