I was out of eye makeup remover, and I can’t sleep in my makeup. While this may not be important for every girl, it was top priority for me to get some before the day’s end. I decided to make a quick run into our corner drug store. Quick. Easy. Painless. Run in. Run out. No big, right?
But it was a few days before Valentine’s, and at that time in my life, I was single.
Not only was I single, I was a disgruntled, brokenhearted single woman with no plans for Valentine’s Day.
Apparently, I was also not very smart, because that day I unknowingly walked right into the mother lode of Valentine marketing.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Red and pink heart banners dangled down from the ceiling.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Balloon bouquets were around every corner.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Thoughtful cards lined one aisle.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Boxes of chocolates filled the next.
Can’t a girl just get some eye makeup remover without being accosted by valentines?!
In a matter of minutes, I had more than enough reminders of what I didn’t have and wouldn’t get for Valentine’s Day. By the time I made my way through the stuffed animals and finally found eye makeup remover, I was incredibly sad. I muttered, “This is the worst holiday ever.” Tears pooled. Great, I thought, if I bawl my eyes out as much as I want to right now, I won’t even need eye makeup remover.
Valentine’s Day was rough that year.
It may have something to do with the fact that I was only focused on what Valentine’s Day could do for me. When it wasn’t doing anything for me, I felt sad and depressed.
Fake love tends to do that. Fake love is all wrapped up in what others can do for us. It is an “if” kind of love and a “because of” kind of love. It loves “if” someone does something for us or “because” someone does something for us. Fake love is only focused on what it can get from someone else, which pretty much described me. I wasn’t thinking of anyone else that year, and I was depressed and sad.
Valentine’s Day, however, is about celebrating true love, and true love isn’t about receiving. True love is about giving. This kind of love thinks more of others than it does about itself. It’s the kind of love God has for us.
This is real love–not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:10 NLT
I may not have had true love figured out that particular year, but as I grew in my understanding of love, I was able to enjoy some special Valentine’s Days in the years that followed—even as a single woman.
Here are a few ways I learned to celebrate true love as a single woman:
Plan a date.
Offer to take a friend’s child out on a date. One of my all-time favorite dates was with a four year old little boy. Who doesn’t love a Disney movie and ice cream? You will have something fun to do. The kid will think you are the greatest ever. The parents will love you for life. Everyone wins in this scenario.
Go on a date with your dad. After my mom died, I invited my dad to go out on dates with me. We made some fun memories, and it strengthened our relationship. Looking back, I am so thankful that I took advantage of that season to spend time with him before he remarried.
Have you ever had a date with God? Set aside some time to be alone with Him. Make a list to remember and reflect on all He has done for you. I once made a framed photo collage of all the key memories from when I started my relationship with Jesus. I still have the frame filled with pictures, and it is one of my treasures.
Send a card.
You might not get a card, but what if you made sure that all the people you care about got one? Your grandma would be thrilled to get a card from you!
Give cards to your friends—especially your single friends—and let them know how much you appreciate them. Buy the box of 26 Scooby-Doo Valentine cards and see if you can jot something encouraging to people around you. Maybe you could even do it anonymously.
Gather some friends.
Make a pot of soup and invite friends over. Play a board game. Decorate some sugar cookies. It doesn’t have to be formal. If your friends are all out on dates, invite over international students. They love sharing in American celebrations and learning to do things like bake cookies!
Gather friends and have fun while serving someone else. This might take a bit of pre-planning, but check with your church or a local non-profit to see if there’s an opportunity to serve as a group. While we were getting to know each other, Sean and I served on a tornado clean-up crew. We had a blast getting to know each other better as we were helping someone else. I wish I done group service activities more often as a single girl—especially around Valentine’s Day.
These are only a few ideas to get you thinking. What could you do on Valentine’s Day to think of others? Feel free to post your ideas in the comments below.
Valentine’s Day is about showing true love to others. It’s a lesson I’m glad I had learned as a single woman. You might be interested to know that even as a happily married woman, Valentine’s Day is not all about me. It’s not about chocolates and stuffed animals; it’s about thinking of others. In fact, this Valentine’s Day, Sean and I won’t even be together. We’ve planned to do something fun for my dad and stepmom. I’m taking care of my dad so my stepmom can do a fun getaway, and having a date with my dad sounds really awesome.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
If you would like to know about more ways to thrive as a single woman, check out my book, Loving Your Husband Before You Even Have One.