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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Valentine's Day for the Newly Divorced and Widowed...Ten Tips

Top Ten Ways to Make Valentine’s Day Special for a Newly Divorced Friend....or your newly widowed friend

Ever see “When Harry Met Sally?”  Remember how awkward they both felt on New Year’s Eve when all those around them were kissing at midnight, and they were without dates?  Valentine’s can be even worse.  Want to help?  Try one of these suggestions:

(Valentine's Day Caveat....or consider your audience carefully.  When following the suggestions for sending cards, gifts or flowers, as well as an invitation out, gauge your relationship carefully. Be clear about your intentions!  One of the most unkind Valentine's Day gifts is mixed signals and confusing messages!)

1)  Send a Card---a real, paper card, that can be held, read and reread, and kept as a memento, can let someone know they are not forgotten.

2) Send flowers or chocolate---the usual Valentine’s Day gifts aren’t going to be there unless somebody like you sends one, again, just to let them know somebody cares. 

3) Send a flower to work---for a female friend, a simple bouquet or single rose at work can mean a lot, when all her coworkers are receiving bouquets and she might feel left out.

4) Be kind enough to NOT arrange a blind date---for some people, doing so could be a good thing….but probably NOT on Valentine’s Day.  If it turns out to be poor match, it would accentuate the awkwardness. 

5) Take your friend out to lunch—If you are celebrating with your spouse or special one in the evening, the lunch hour could be a good time to life your friend’s spirits. 

6) Give your friend a chance to talk—give him or her a call, stop by the office or home to visit, say hi, ask how they are doing, or just let the friend know you care.  Being a listening ear for someone struggling is a great gift…..but don’t overdo, don’t let your friend obsess into depression. 

7) Double date….maybe---if your friend isn’t freshly out, and if you aren’t overly pushy, and if your friend’s date is someone they already know and are comfortable with……an evening out could be a good thing, if it is a lighthearted time, it can be a real lift.

8) Politely check in with them---ask the day before, and the day after, about the holiday, their plans, their activities, their mood.  An open door ahead of time can help them be intentional and thoughtful facing the day, and the same door afterwards can provide a chance to process and vent. 

9) If you are single, too, consider spending the day together.  While Harry and Sally had a rather odd relationship, it is a good thing for friends to be able to spend difficult days together doing something fun.  Again, if you are doing this with a friend of the opposite sex, be wise---mixed and confused messages can create additional problems.  And the truth is, God can do more to help your friend make it through days like this, and to heal, than you or I ever could.

10) Pray for your friend---that’s right, it’s often overlooked, but the truth is, one of the greatest things you can do for a friend is pray for them. 
And the truth is, God can do more to help your friend make it through days like this, and to heal, than you or I ever could.

If this sounds like a bit of a kink in your own holiday plans, a real inconvenience, I would encourage you to remind yourself of a few scriptures.  If you think this is a good idea, I’d remind you of these same scriptures to give you some context to your kindness (all quoted from the English Standard Version):

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”---Romans 12:15

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”---Philippians 2:4

“Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”---Galatians 6:2
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”---John 15:13
You see, doing this isn’t merely a nice idea, it’s following the example of Christ, it’s the essence of what it means to live like a Christian. 

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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