Valentine’s Day: Our top 10 tips

Some single people barely register Valentine’s Day. However, for some this celebration of romance can be a painful reminder that you’re not in a relationship – something for which you may have longed for many years.

If you struggle with Valentine’s Day, rather than ignoring it, it can help to do something proactive to shape the day into something positive for you. Here are our top tips and suggestions from single people...

“I LOVE Valentine's Day, and I've only ever spent two in a relationship! I use it as an excuse to celebrate the people I care about. We all have love in our lives in some form, whether it's a girly night in, a meal with friends, calling my siblings to tell them how much I love them, or writing a card full of words of affirmation for someone. I don't think you should miss out on the fun M&S meal deal, etc. just because you aren't dating!” – Anon

1. Spend time with God

Even if you don’t have a significant other, as Christians we know we are always significant to God. So treat this as a day to celebrate that relationship. Sit down with a coffee or go on a walk and spend some time in prayer.

Ask God what things God loves about you - this could be character traits, gifts you have. Celebrate that you're loved by your Creator and remind yourself why you're grateful for your faith. Pray and ask that you will feel God's love every day. You could also read an encouraging Christian book, put some worship music on or meditate on some Bible verses.

‘When I feel lonely or low, I put on some worship music and sing along, praising God. I always feel better afterwards – and I’m reminded that God is with me.’ John

2. Spend time with friends

Turn Valentine's Day into Palentine's or Galentine's Day and celebrate your friendships! Invite some friends round for dinner, watch a film, play some games. You could even book to go away together and give yourself a well-earned break. This could be with other single friends, or married friends who aren't keen on celebrating Valentine's Day.

‘Last year, two friends and I had an Anti-Valentine’s Party! Well, it wasn’t so much a party as a girls’ night in with pizza and wine, but it was good fun and we didn’t think about romance all evening.’ Rachel

“My housemates and I give each other cards and have a dinner party” - Anon

“30 to 40 people attended a Palentines' Evening for my church's postgraduates’ group, and we wrote affirmations for each other.” – Anon

3. Treat yourself

Just because you don't have a romantic partner to treat you on Valentine's Day, doesn't mean you should miss out! Buy yourself some chocolates or flowers, a book you’ve been wanting, or a nice bottle of wine. Take yourself out for coffee and cake or for a long walk. Have a pamper evening - or order yourself a takeaway and watch a movie. Treat yourself - you deserve it!

“Pamper yourself... I have planned an entire evening before just for me. Is it a lot of work? Yes. Does it feel silly to spend that money on myself? Yes. But does it communicate to my heart that I am worth the effort? Also, yes!” – Kathryn

‘Every year, I buy myself a bunch of roses on Valentine’s Day (usually discounted by the time I get them on my way home from work!). It might sound a bit sad, but actually I really enjoy seeing a vase of beautiful roses in my kitchen – a little luxury to brighten up my week.’ Hope

4. Spread some love

One of the best ways to feel happy is to do something for someone else. As Christians we're taught to actively love and care for others, so look for opportunities to show love in small ways. Here are some ideas:

  • Reach out to someone in your community who is going through a difficult time
  • Send some chocolates in the post to someone struggling with loneliness
  • Visit someone in your community who is housebound
  • Write a note or card to a friend saying why they are important to you
  • Buy a coffee for someone
  • Make an intentional effort to be kind to a shop worker or bus driver
  • Say good morning to someone you see in the street.

“Volunteering at my church's homeless shelter on the 14th of February was one of the best Valentine's Days I've ever had; I was happy to help people on a day that normally makes me feel a bit rubbish. Doing something for others keeps you from thinking too much about yourself.” - Anon

5. Avoid social media

If you tend to find Valentine's Day difficult or you're struggling with being single right now, you might want to make a conscious effort to avoid social media for the day. Seeing photos and posts of happy couples can make it harder to be content! There's no shame in switching off your phone and avoiding it for the day - and may be the wisest thing to do.

6. Make plans for the year

It's still early in the year, so why not make some plans to look forward to! Perhaps there's a new hobby or passion you want to explore, a class you'd like to take, somewhere you'd like to go, or an old friend you haven't seen in a while who you'd like to visit.

Planning next holiday can make the dark days of February easier, with some sunshine on the horizon to look forward to. If you don't want to travel alone, there are a number of Christian companies that offer package holidays, some of which are designed specifically for solo travellers (others are aimed at anyone but often attract singles). Here are some companies you may want to check out (Single Friendly Church cannot endorse any company, so please do your research and decide what’s best for you): 

7. Take steps to find love (if it’s what you want)

If you’re keen to find a partner, Valentine's Day is a great time to take the first step, as there’s a spike in activity on dating websites. You could use the evening to think and pray about what would be important to you in a future spouse. Then sign up, craft a great profile, and dive in. If you’re already online dating but not getting the results you want, this is a good time to update your profile and pictures, and send some positive messages to other members. There are several Christian dating sites and apps out there, including Christian Connection.

8. Make it a family event

If you have children, you could plan a fun night with them around the theme of love. For instance, you can make cards for each other, bake cupcakes or heart-shaped cookies, or draw pictures of the people you love and write a prayer for them. A nice idea is to write notes saying what you love about each other, and put them in a jar to open later. Valentine’s doesn’t have to be about romantic love – it can be a celebration of all love.

‘Every year, my children make Valentine’s cards at school, which they present to me in the evening. We sometimes have a themed teatime, with a heart-shaped cake and heart-shaped confetti on the table. It’s fun!’ Rosie

9. Acknowledge your feelings – and count your blessings

If you feel sadness and grief at your lack of a relationship, it’s okay to acknowledge that. For many people, not being married can lead to a kind of long-term bereavement. It can help if you allow yourself time to feel your deepest emotions and bring them to God in prayer. Think about what you're saying about yourself too - are there any negative thought patterns that you need to work on breaking out of?

Then make a list of the positives you have in your life – including things you may not have if you were married or had children – and give thanks for them one by one.

We have an examen on the theme of relationships to help you reflect. Read it here.

10. Pray for your single friends

Maybe you're not fussed about Valentine's Day, or perhaps you're reading this as a married person wanting to know how to support your single friends. Here are some ways to pray for others on this day:

  • Pray for those who find Valentine's Day a difficult time.
  • Pray for those who have recently gone through a break up.
  • Pray for people who have asked someone out and faced rejection, or those who recently went on a bad date and may be feeling discouraged.
  • Pray for single people who don't want a romantic relationship but feel pressure or lack of understanding from those around them.
  • Pray for people who've lost their spouse and it's their first year on their own.
  • Pray for people whose ex partner has started a new relationship.
  • Pray for new opportunities for your friends who want to meet someone.
  • Thank God for your single friends and friendship, ask God how you can encourage each one of them.