Do you find yourself single on this Valentine’s Day?
Kinda’ stinks in some ways, doesn’t it?
The overblown marketing began at the local mega-mart sometime around New Year’s Day, so you have been living with the reminder of your solo journey for a month and a half already.
Your Instagram feed is rolling along, a saccharine visual river of flowers, gifts and romantic dinners.
Facebook churns out reminders that everyone “in a relationship” is blissfully happy and that any given bf/gf/beautiful wife/amazing hubby is the greatest person to ever walk the earth, if indeed their deified feet have ever once touched the ground.
Then there are the well-meaning but ill-executed attempts at encouragement…
“Don’t worry. God has a special someone for you. He is just not done getting him/her ready.” (Translation: “I believe, when your future mate is no longer considered a threat to society, the state will allow him/her to roam free again.”)
“When you love God more than anything else, only then will He send the right person to you.” (Translation: “I think you are selfish and stuck on yourself. I am also subtly accusing you of idolatry while placing myself in the position of smug superiority by indicating that I have a partner as a reward for my love of God.”)
“Why you gotta’ be so picky?” (Translation: “Just settle…like I did.”)
It can drive you to declare a 24-hour social media/communication blackout until the red tide recedes.
Now some of you might say, “A bad relationship is better than being alone.” And I would say, “You don’t understand what a real relationship is.”
People can wrongly run to a relationship because of fear of being alone, for validation or for sinful physical pleasure. That fear may also drive a person to adopt a member of the opposite sex (or more than just one), not as a full-blown romantic partner, but as a “placeholder” until a better option emerges or to keep a person as a coffee/hangout/”talk-about-my-problems-because-no-one-understands-me-like-you-do” buddy while stringing the person along, yo-yo like, with vague romantic undertones hinting at the possibility of more yet always artfully dodging full commitment.
Whatever the motivation, halfway, halfhearted, pseudo-romance relationships are painfully wrong, so don’t go there, don’t do that and don’t accept being someone’s “better-than-nothing.”
(Thank you Dustin Downer.)
Now before you stomp off to nurse your broken spirit with a jar of Nutella and a viewing of The Notebook (or, for lighter fare, Old Yeller), just take a moment to consider something…
Would you rather be single and have nothing to share about a relationship or be married and have nothing you would want to share about your relationship?
As I once heard a pastor say, “Most of my counseling is spent with single people who want to be married and married people who want to be single.”
I have looked across my desk into the eyes of those locked into bad marriages, heard the cries of those who rushed a decision to run to the altar and read the words inked in the pain of loveless relationships. None of those people will likely post anything positive today either. My heart breaks for them more than it breaks for any possible personal loneliness or that of any of my fellow single friends.
A godly marriage makes two into one; a malignant marriage makes one into two.
Being single is not the worst situation you could find yourself in today. So no, I am not going to sit around and stir cold, dead ashes of regrets. And yes, I’m definitely praying for Miss Pending’s day today. But I am going to pray for marriages today also: for their strength, endurance, peace and for God to mend, to heal and to bring oneness.
Let’s not forget why this day is on the calendar anyway…
An emperor in Ancient Rome named Claudius got the idea that men made better warriors when they had no families back home. In the heat of battle (the reasoning went) a single man would not worry about how his wife and children would be cared for were he to die. So Claudius passed an edict banning young people from marriage.
Valentine, a Christian priest, defied the edict and secretly performed weddings for couples. He also lent aid to other Christians by helping them escape persecution under the emperor.
For these acts, Valentine was imprisoned. Undaunted, he tried to convert Claudius to Christianity. On February 14, 269, Valentine was stoned, clubbed and then beheaded.
He died because he believed in marriage. And if you believe in marriage, you will have to lay down your own will and desires and die too.
If you are single today, my prayer is that you don’t despair because you have not found the “right one,” but that you are thankful God has kept you from all the wrong ones.
If you are married today, I pray that you see God’s grace, love and peace, and that you and your spouse die to whatever you need to in order to have the marriage that God desires for you.