“‘Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.” Ezekiel 16:8
When I went through my divorce Valentine’s Day was one of the most dreaded days of the year. I hated it. The endless scenarios of people falling in love or frolicking on sun baked beaches all confirmed that I was a failure. During that season of loss and grief my friends tried to tell me I was a terrific person. But I felt like an ugly, rejected loser who couldn’t keep a husband, and Valentine’s Day was the proof. valentines day
But you don’t have to be divorced to dread Valentine’s Day. Loneliness, a spouse who isn’t thoughtful, a recent loss, an illness, or shattered dreams can cause V-Day to feel like D-Day.
After thirty years of helping hurting people I discovered a handful of practical ways for people to cope and even thrive on the day for “lovers.” valentines day
I’m not talking about an unrealistic “just don’t think about it” mentality, or pretending the day doesn’t evoke nostalgia or sadness. My suggestion is an optimistic approach to Valentine’s Day, instead of focusing on what is lacking.
What if this day to celebrate love provoked us to look for beneficial ways to heal our wounds rather than tolerate them? When we take positive steps toward mending a hurting heart, the result can be a life that thrives—whether single or married.
Here are a few practical “Survival Tips” to help a person refrain from an emotional meltdown on Valentine’s Day.
- Don’t hibernate or wait until February 13th to make a plan. Force yourself to be with other people, even if only briefly.
- Gather same sex friends and visit a “family focused” restaurant. Avoid ones that cater to couples or have romantic overtones.
- Look into a church or community support group. They often have fun activities planned.
- Give your child, a friend, a neighbor, a coworker a small, inexpensive gift that communicates “I care.”
- Think of new, fun things to do this year such as: making handmade heart-shaped decorations, pizza, cakes or cookies.
- Try something completely different. Go roller-skating, skiing, hiking, bowling, climb a mountain or a walk through a museum.
- Have a potluck supper, and invite others who may be dreading the day. Have each person bringing a favorite chocolate treat. Use the good linen and china.
- For the single parent, help your child make a valentine for your ex-spouse or former in-laws. This communicates your permission for the child to love the other family, which greatly reduces his or her fear and tension.
- Splurge on a cappuccino or box of Godiva chocolates—for yourself!
- Notice a married same-sex friend who may need encouragement or a hug. While others are receiving cards, gifts, and flowers, Valentine’s Day may be a reminder of a spouse who is thoughtless, cruel or unloving.
- Take a small gift to someone who is lonely or hurting such as: an exchange student, a widow or widower, an unmarried pregnant girl, someone out of work, a hurting teen, a pastor’s wife, an elderly neighbor, or a handicapped/homebound person. valentines day
- Refrain from anesthetizing loneliness with drugs or alcohol. These chemicals can induce despair which often leads to a greater sense of isolation.
- Shun the temptation to frequent bars or use sex as a way to ease the pain. This decision often leads to disastrous long-term consequences.
- Avoid photographs, memorabilia, fragrances, restaurants or atmospheres which trigger nostalgic memories of “what used to be.”
- Steer clear of movies that focus on weddings, people falling in love, adultery, or emotionally wounded children. Instead choose films with a lighthearted, fun plot.
Jesus is our Lover. He loves me just because I breathe.
He is the Only Lover who can completely satisfy my life. He created me and adopted me, which proves I am loveable. His love is the perfect, pure, unending love. And although I enjoy the gift of the love from people and my spouse, I must be mindful that His love is the only one that will never fade. survival
What will you do this Valentine’s Day to make someone’s day brighter? After all, any day with chocolate as the focus is something to smile about!
Copyright © 2015 Laura Petherbridge. All rights reserved. www.LauraPetherbridge.com
By Laura Petherbridge
Wife to Steve
Mom of two stepsons
Grandmother of two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of Sisterhood of Stepmoms
Author of When ‘I Do’ Becomes ‘I Don’t’, 101 Tips for The Smart Stepmom, and The Smart Stepmom with Ron Deal.
Laura’s newest release is Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul.
Click here for Laura’s newest book.