I’m Single. Stop Pitying Me on Valentine’s Day

I don't feel bad for myself, and you don't need to feel bad for me either.

Scenario 1: Valentine’s Day. It’s a sudden build up. The Christmas decorations are wiped off the shelves, and the next day they are replaced with dozens of red hearts, cheery little lovesick bears that say, “I (heart) you,” and more candy than you can poke a stick at.

Through January it niggles at the back of your mind, and by February you are forced to step out of denial and succumb to the reality that you will not be receiving a floral card that says, “Be Mine.” So you watch all your friends and their loved ones make plans for V-Day, observe the insurmountable rom-coms suddenly appearing at a movie theater near you, and perhaps you feel a little melancholy.

This is often the perception of singleness on Valentine’s Day. And it can be a stark, lonely holiday—if we allow it to be such a thing. This brings me to scenario 2, a situation that is far healthier and happier.

Scenario 2: Valentine’s Day. We observe the festivities building up over January and February. A few friends get Valentines and it’s pretty sweet, but in the meantime we are content. We know our worth does not rest in these heart shaped chocolates or the affections of another, and we continue to put our energy into living boldly, fiercely and free, seeking to show Christ to others in our day to day actions. Occasionally we may feel a little discouraged, but Valentine’s Day shouldn't be a reminder of what we don’t have, but rather a reminder of how much we have to bring to the table and the love already present in out lives.

I don’t want to sell myself short by believing that singleness is less significant than a relationship.

As a single woman, I choose to live in scenario 2.

Giving Up on Isolation

That being said, many single people often feel the most isolated on Valentine’s Day. But we learn to get past this, because really, Valentine’s Day is just a day. And when I see it as a celebration of life and love as opposed to a pity party, I can actually enjoy it. This is why I happily challenge the common perception that those of us who are single twenty or thirtysomethings, divorcees, or who might be waiting for “the one” are miserable on February 14.

So that's why I ask you to stop pitying me on Valentine's Day. There are many well-meaning people who try to “help me out” because often, it feels like singleness is perceived as a problem.

People remind me of how wonderful I am, how much I have to offer and tell me that any male would be lucky to have me. While I do believe all of this is true, when these words are said in the context of pity, they make me feel like I’ve failed some sort of quality of life test that demands I have a significant other.

Valentine’s Day—the day Saint Valentine solidified as a day of love and which commercial retailers everywhere have deemed the measure of true affection—is a benchmark day for pity. But when I am pitied for my singleness, it becomes easier to discredit my self-worth. When I start to feel sorry for myself, I believe that being single means I live a lesser life and that I cannot contribute as much to the Kingdom without a significant other. This is simply not true.

I don’t need another day of feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I sometimes need a little help to remember how awesome I am with or without a Valentine.

Selling Yourself Short

When I consider Valentine’s Day, I don’t get angry. I don’t pity myself, and I don’t blame the culture of the Church for placing this pressure on my shoulders. Personally, I remember that I would much rather spend this day, and a lifetime, with someone who’s worth waiting for. I don’t want to sell myself short by believing that singleness is less significant than a relationship.

My value doesn’t rest in a relationship status, in a box of chocolates or in a red rose.

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Paul said it himself, “God gives the gift of singleness to some, the gift of married life to others” (1 Corinthians). And while not all of us who are single desire to stay this way forever, in the meantime it is essential we know that we have important talents and gifts that we can bring to our communities and into our relationships.

So if you are one of the lucky ones who have found their “one,” as much as you want me to experience the same kind of love and joy you possess, please don’t pity me today. Don’t feel sorry for me as I go and see a chick flick with my girlfriends, hang out with my married friends, or go about my life as normal. I’m actually OK with being single, because I know that my self-worth isn’t defined by a Valentine’s Day card.

I’m single. Not sick, not a problem and not past my prime. So please don’t pity me on Valentine’s Day, because today of all days, I need your help to remember that my value doesn’t rest in a relationship status, in a box of chocolates or in a red rose. It rests in the fact that no matter what lies ahead of me, I am God’s beloved and His plans for me far exceed the feelings of a day.

Top Comments

Steve Cornell

344

Steve Cornell commented…

Good perspective! While I am always grateful for times that remind us to show love, Valentine's Day has largely become a marketing tool. Here's a better thing to do: Go back at least once a month (whether single or married) and measure the way you relate to others by the best description of love available to us: see: "What's love got to do with it?" https://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/whats-love-got-to-do-with-it/

Yvonne McLaren

2

Yvonne McLaren commented…

this is a fascinating topic for me as a single Christian woman, I love your rhetoric and admire you for speaking out . This is a topic I talk with my married male Christian friends as much as I do with my single female Christian and non Christian friends.
We have a culture of exclusiveness in the church that is what I have experienced both in New Zealand and in the UK. If you are single and in your 30's you are ok, there is hope for you yet, you can still make it, you can still have a family you can still "breakthrough" into inclusionism. But whoa betide the successful single christian female who is still that way at 40 or 50 it becomes an anomaly. We can be loaded down with degrees, own our own homes, be winning international acclaim in business. But our validity in the church still lies in that one question "are you married...yet?" and in the world it is "do you have a partner? Do you have kids?" but in the church leadership depends on the ability in most instances to be able to write beside the speakers bio "so and so is happily married to someone who looks absolutely lovely and takes a great photo and mothers or fathers their 2.4 beautiful kids while still keeping a perfect home and still manages to iron my shirts" (I am being deliberately facetious for effect). But this has stopped me going to more than one women's conference (many of which I have raised a lot of money for or the sponsorship) . It never fails to amaze me how we can be applauded by the world for getting out there and making it happen, given awards, taken round the world, but the very basis of our relationships, our faith, the church keeps many invalidated until they get "married" stamped on their Christian passports. I know many, many of my fellow believers who are married unhappily to people they went out with too young, made decisions too early and live in silent desperation with a sex life that is minimal to non-existent and it keeps me totally sober about who, when and how I marry. I am not sure whether I making a massive conclusion about any of this, but it feels nice to get it out. Valentines day isn't just about single people and high school couples. We had a massive debate this year in my business from my happily married Christian business partner to my unhappily, living with his accidentally pregnant non-christian employee. They felt pressure to conform to advertising they truly didn't believe in. People everywhere are concerned about impressions people have of them. It highlights an ever widening gap in the fantasy we are surrounded by the hype of the perfect Christian marriage and the whole evolution of our faith around the deification of this relationship. Everytime someone gets engaged in church we all get them up and clap and are genuinely happy for them, but for the first time in 3 decades sitting in church we are now getting up business men and women who are accomplishing things in the market place and saying "yay well done you". What is my answer to all of this, can't we just say, you have come to faith, you are valuable. You are loved and you are accepted. Leadership should be based on character, faithfulness, gifting and servanthood. Not on whether you married some random guy that was the only single left in the your group when you were in your 20/30's which seems apparent in many cases. I am all for love and all for marriage. But it doesn't qualify us for being anything more than two people journeying together with companionship and children.

4 Comments

Steve Cornell

344

Steve Cornell commented…

Good perspective! While I am always grateful for times that remind us to show love, Valentine's Day has largely become a marketing tool. Here's a better thing to do: Go back at least once a month (whether single or married) and measure the way you relate to others by the best description of love available to us: see: "What's love got to do with it?" https://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/whats-love-got-to-do-with-it/

Andrea Enns York

1

Andrea Enns York commented…

Lovely perspective and good writing, however I truly believe single people and high school couples are the only ones who are concerned about Valentine's day.

I've found "the one", and I promise you I won't feel sorry for you if you haven't yet.

Yvonne McLaren

2

Yvonne McLaren commented…

this is a fascinating topic for me as a single Christian woman, I love your rhetoric and admire you for speaking out . This is a topic I talk with my married male Christian friends as much as I do with my single female Christian and non Christian friends.
We have a culture of exclusiveness in the church that is what I have experienced both in New Zealand and in the UK. If you are single and in your 30's you are ok, there is hope for you yet, you can still make it, you can still have a family you can still "breakthrough" into inclusionism. But whoa betide the successful single christian female who is still that way at 40 or 50 it becomes an anomaly. We can be loaded down with degrees, own our own homes, be winning international acclaim in business. But our validity in the church still lies in that one question "are you married...yet?" and in the world it is "do you have a partner? Do you have kids?" but in the church leadership depends on the ability in most instances to be able to write beside the speakers bio "so and so is happily married to someone who looks absolutely lovely and takes a great photo and mothers or fathers their 2.4 beautiful kids while still keeping a perfect home and still manages to iron my shirts" (I am being deliberately facetious for effect). But this has stopped me going to more than one women's conference (many of which I have raised a lot of money for or the sponsorship) . It never fails to amaze me how we can be applauded by the world for getting out there and making it happen, given awards, taken round the world, but the very basis of our relationships, our faith, the church keeps many invalidated until they get "married" stamped on their Christian passports. I know many, many of my fellow believers who are married unhappily to people they went out with too young, made decisions too early and live in silent desperation with a sex life that is minimal to non-existent and it keeps me totally sober about who, when and how I marry. I am not sure whether I making a massive conclusion about any of this, but it feels nice to get it out. Valentines day isn't just about single people and high school couples. We had a massive debate this year in my business from my happily married Christian business partner to my unhappily, living with his accidentally pregnant non-christian employee. They felt pressure to conform to advertising they truly didn't believe in. People everywhere are concerned about impressions people have of them. It highlights an ever widening gap in the fantasy we are surrounded by the hype of the perfect Christian marriage and the whole evolution of our faith around the deification of this relationship. Everytime someone gets engaged in church we all get them up and clap and are genuinely happy for them, but for the first time in 3 decades sitting in church we are now getting up business men and women who are accomplishing things in the market place and saying "yay well done you". What is my answer to all of this, can't we just say, you have come to faith, you are valuable. You are loved and you are accepted. Leadership should be based on character, faithfulness, gifting and servanthood. Not on whether you married some random guy that was the only single left in the your group when you were in your 20/30's which seems apparent in many cases. I am all for love and all for marriage. But it doesn't qualify us for being anything more than two people journeying together with companionship and children.

Marie Desmond

33

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