4 Ways You Can Actually Encourage Your Single Friends This Valentine’s Day
Not every church acknowledges the difficulty that single adults can face fitting in with the programming, no matter how hard the pastoral team may try to incorporate them. Often unintentionally, churches can make people who are unmarried feel unwelcome and unwanted. Other churches may have ministries for singles that are focused on getting those people into relationships. More common is making the mistake that singles are all young people, or do not include opportunities for widows and divorced individuals to have fellowship.
This discomfort can be felt particularly on Valentine's Day, when the world – and sometimes the church – puts all their emphasis on love, relationships, and marriage. Surveys show that Valentine’s Day is difficult for millions of people, and it is important to remember that as believers, we can be an encouragement to people who are feeling isolated or left out.
Here are four ways to encourage your single friends this Valentine’s Day.
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1. Be Sensitive to People’s Feelings
Don’t tell them to enjoy their period of singleness. The Apostle Paul was at peace with his state of singleness, but that doesn’t mean that unmarried people want to hear they should be as well. While there are always going to be people who do appreciate that encouragement, many unmarried individuals don’t appreciate that sentiment. It is something that we should avoid saying to someone if we don’t know that person particularly well, or don’t speak to them often. Someone may be struggling with their singleness, and telling them they should be more like Paul doesn’t usually make them feel better.
2. Host a Fun Event
Host an event that can be Valentine’s themed, but not focused on just singles or just couples. If you have the opportunity to throw an event in your home or at your church that anyone can attend, you are creating opportunities for people to connect, to lift one another up, and to have fellowship without highlighting that some people are in relationships and others aren’t.
They can also be more fun and creative than normal Valentine’s Day events. Host a movie night, or a board game tournament. If it's a weekend, do a church bike ride! Get creative and have an event that doesn’t make singles feel isolated. While some churches may have separate events for singles and for couples, having events that don’t focus on that distinction may allow for better relationships to grow between the two groups. It also allows for widows and divorcees to have a place at the event.
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3. Send a Card or a Gift
Get your friend a card highlighting that you appreciate their friendship. Even if they have fallen out of fashion, sometimes giving someone a card and letting them know you love them can be encouraging. Lift them up a little extra this day, and let them know they are a valuable part of your life. For widows and the divorced in particular, it can be nice to have someone remember you on a day when you used to have someone to celebrate with, but are now alone.
If there’s a different kind of “thinking-of-you” gift you know would be meaningful to your friend, then purchase that!
4. Get Together
Spend time with them! Sometimes the simplicity of some company can make an annoying or difficult situation seem better. The gift of time is something many people appreciate, and it isn’t patronizing. Don’t neglect your romantic partner or spouse entirely, but making sure a friend you know isn’t happy to be single on Valentine’s Day has some company for a part of the day can go a long way.
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Bible Verses about the Importance of Encouragement
Life is full of times where believers are called to step in and be a source of encouragement for the people around them. Valentine’s Day is one of those days where the Holy Spirit may lead a Christian to be an encouragement, to remind others that their value is not in their relationship status.
Some Bible verses about the importance of being an encouragement include:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him — a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
“Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:15-16).
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
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A Prayer for Unmarried People at Valentine’s Day
Thank you so much for being sovereign over our lives. Lord, while the world is celebrating love and relationships, there are a lot of people experiencing loneliness, maybe isolation, and some are even struggling with being in a period of singleness. Whether they have never been married, are divorced, or widowed, there are many people right now who see the world celebrating love, and they feel like they have nothing to celebrate.
Lord, please help them to feel Your love and the encouragement of the Holy Spirit. Guide them through this week, which may be very hard for them emotionally. Assure them of Your plan for their lives, so they can step forward into the confidence that whatever is right for them is what will happen if they submit their lives to You.
Thank you that whether or not we are married or single does not change our value. Lord, please help the church to keep this mindset and heart stance too. Help us to celebrate love and marriage, while also honoring that not everyone is in that place, and has different spiritual, emotional, and practical needs. Thank you for unifying the body.
In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray,
God’s will for each person is truly known only to God, and it is up to Him to guide people through life and help them discover what His will is for their individual circumstances. People can be there for one another as they follow God on that journey, buoying up one another to stay true to God and to remain steadfast. The church can sometimes forget that people who are single – whether by choice or by circumstance – can struggle particularly with that state, and should make sure it does not become a stumbling block, or lead to isolation.
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Bethany Verrett is a freelance writer who uses her passion for God, reading, and writing to glorify God. She and her husband have lived all over the country serving their Lord and Savior in ministry. She has a blog on graceandgrowing.com.