After years of singleness, Jemimah Wright shares about the anticipation of her first valentine’s day as a married woman.
My first valentine’s card was from my dad when I was twelve. I was living away from home at boarding school and I was relieved when something came in the post on the 14th. My friend Emily got a card from her dog, so I wasn’t too sad that I didn’t have a handsome admirer. Also I was twelve.
But as the years went by I seemed to be perennially single, and Valentine’s day was an annoying reminder of that. I would try to ignore the day, but when every shop, from Tescos to Boots to the petrol station seemed to be shoving love hearts in my face, it was hard. It seemed I would have to move to the North Pole to fully avoid it, and as I don’t like the cold, that was not an option.
Some years being single was fine. I was busy, enjoying and living life to the full. Other yearsValentine’s reminded me of the hope deferred I was living in. I remember going to a home group one cold February, and there was a married couple there. The husband was showing us a tattoo he had of his wife’s name on is arm. I remember thinking how lovely it must be, to have someone who might want to tattoo your name on themselves. As I was thinking that…verging off into the muddy waters of self-pity, I felt God speak to me. He said, ‘I did’. Immediately I thought of Psalm 49:16: ‘See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hands.’ His words brought peace.
I no longer have to try to let the day pass me by without triggering sadness…but the irony is that now Valentine’s day doesn’t feel such a big deal.
Fast forward a few years, and I was single when my Dad died in November 2020. I had always prayed to be in a relationship or married when he died. But I remember going for a walk the next day, and realising I was ok; I felt loved and looked after by God at one of the hardest times of my life. He was enough. I didn’t need to be married. He spoke to me again then, and said, ‘a man will always let you down, but I will never let you down.’ I experienced the reality of the sufficiency of His love.
A few months after that I met the man who is now my husband.
It was a whirlwind romance, and we met and married in seven months. So this February, for the first time, I am not single on Valentine’s day. I no longer have to try to let the day pass me by without triggering sadness…but the irony is that now Valentine’s day doesn’t feel such a big deal. Valentine’s day has for too long robbed swathes of people (including me) of joy, by making an idol of romantic love. Now I am married I see that more clearly. To be honest, it just feels like a day to buy flowers and go for a meal at inflated prices….and as I love a bargain, this doesn’t appeal to me.
I am extremely grateful for the gift of such a good, kind man as a husband and companion, but valentines day might just pass us by. I hope as the years go by, we won’t need this day to remind each other of our love. And if I could go back to me in the single years, I’d say don’t worry about not having a man to cherish you on valentines day. This sounds trite, but the truth is breath-taking: You are loved – don’t let a day make you feel like you are not.