Years ago I attended a Valentine’s Day event for singles. I was just 18 and had barely even started thinking of myself as a single. The event was a sweet and encouraging gesture, but its predominant message seemed to be “you can cry if you want to.” For the first time I realized that some people pitied me because I didn’t have a special someone.
Those of us who remain single sometimes find that others feel sorry for us. This is especially true around Valentine’s Day. Of course we singles have played our part in attracting this kind of attention. Celebrating February 14 as “Singles Awareness Day” or a Me-Day for V-Day has done a lot to take the focus off of romantic relationships.
I’ll be the first to admit that Valentine’s Day is completely overdone. There are too many expectations, too much attention on choosing a valentine even among young kids and way too much chocolate (if that’s even a thing). I could also do without the flying angel baby. But at its heart (get it? heart?), Valentine’s Day is not about commercialism. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love — particularly the love that leads to marriage — and those of us who are single have at least three reasons to celebrate.
1. Marriage is beautiful.
How two strangers become each other’s better half is nothing short of mystery — and a beautiful mystery at that. When two of my longtime Sunday school friends got married, I kept thinking about how much he had annoyed her in sixth grade. Another friend of mine got married less than two weeks ago to a guy she met last year when her brother introduced them. Real-life relationships are rarely Hallmark Channel material, but their beauty is deeper and more surprising and complicated than any scriptwriter could ever create.
It comes as no surprise that marriage is a beautiful thing, because God — the designer of all things beautiful — created it. He instituted marriage thousands of years before the church as a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church. No matter how much I think about that fact, I can’t wrap my mind around it. Whether we have a ring on our finger or not, we can celebrate marriage as one of the many beautiful things God has created.
2. Marriage is important.
Even if we never walk down the aisle, we have still benefited from marriage. If we grew up in the security of a family with a married mom and dad, our lives have been forever shaped by the goodness of marriage. Even if a stable family was not the mark of our childhood, the likelihood of a strong married couple being present in our lives is high. Marriage provides a healthy place for children to become adults.
Marriage also strengthens the church, especially as husbands and wives become teams who reach out and serve together. In my youth group the grandparents of one of the kids taught one class. We loved them, and they loved us as they worked together as a team. Strong marriages are important for kids, families and the church. I am grateful that marriage benefits all of us, and we can celebrate the positive influence marriage has on our communities.
3. Marriage is not better than singleness.
Because we know that marriage is beautiful and important, and because the majority of adults will be married at some point in their lives, it’s tempting for those of us still single to feel left out of the “best” club. Like we’re in the second-rate group at the pity party but not the real party itself.
But in Jesus no one is ever left out, whether they are single or married, childless or surrounded by babies, old or young, dating yet again or never-been-asked-out. The Bible makes it clear — particularly in Paul’s letters — that singleness is not second-rate and that God’s over-the-top, life-altering love has been poured out equally on all of us. Nothing in the entire universe is more worth celebrating than this fact: In Christ we all stand equally and immeasurably loved.
A day of love and unity
Married Christians often don’t recognize the struggles and realities for those of us still unmarried, and singles often don’t see the difficulties married couples face. But we all have a lot of love to celebrate.
In a time when love has been twisted and committed love has been blasted out of the popular conversation, Valentine’s Day can be a reminder to the world that Christians value real love and biblical marriage. And that we love each other, no matter how different our lives might be.
So let Valentine’s Day be Valentine’s Day. Consider babysitting for some married friends, or ask a single friend to dinner. Find your favorite way to celebrate the love you have experienced. And of course eat some chocolate.
Copyright 2019 Lauren Dunn. All rights reserved.