Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Whether you find the onslaught of red hearts and pink confetti charming or vomit-inducing, it’s all hard to escape.
Our culture is hungry for love. You may be aware that the TV show Love Island is currently running its first all-star series (where ‘big’ names from previous seasons return to the villa to have another go at finding love).
But while our TVs might be bursting with new ways of discovering romance, the number of people in the UK who are married or in a civil partnership has actually fallen below 50%.
Perhaps more shockingly, a survey published by the Crown Prosecution Service this week revealed that the youngest generation have proven to be the most ignorant when it comes to issues of consent. Around half of 18- to 24-year-olds surveyed did not know that it still counts as rape even if the victim doesn’t fight or report the crime immediately. Overall, two thirds of respondents recognised that a person might not be free and able to consent to sex even if no physical force is involved. Concerningly, this dropped to 40% among young people.
Our society seems to be out of tune on love. Can Christians sing a different serenade?
First, whether single, dating, or married, being a Christian doesn’t mean we have to pretend it’s plain sailing. Where appropriate, let’s share our lives with those around us and honestly acknowledge that relational happiness is hard to find.
But, as we share our own struggles or comfort those around us, let’s not echo niceties of there being ‘more fish in the sea’. When friends share their disappointments, we can gently remind ourselves and others that we don’t have to look to a partner to find our worth, purpose, or the answer to our deepest longings. Not because it’s better to be a free agent, but because the best relationship is already waiting.
Jesus is the perfect husband, ready to embrace his bride, the church. Jesus commanded us to ‘love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ (John 15:12–13).
We’re to sacrificially love others, whether or not they know Jesus, as a reminder and embodiment of God’s love. So, this Valentine’s Day, whether at church, home, or work, let’s demonstrate how sweet it is to be loved by the one who came to ‘bind up the broken hearted’ (Isaiah 61:1).