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Love hearts and broken hearts: The ups and downs of Valentine's Day

To consider approaches to relationships on Valentine’s Day (SEAL theme: Managing feelings).

by Brian Radcliffe

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To consider approaches to relationships on Valentine’s Day (SEAL theme: Managing feelings).

Preparation and materials

  • Choose four readers.
  • Bible quotations are from 1 Corinthians chapter 13.


  1. Leader:  So it’s Valentine’s Day. Did you know that it is said that men spend twice as much on Valentine’s presents as women do? Or that flower shops take advantage of this and put up the price of red roses in the few days before 14 February?

    The sad thing is that it’s also reckoned that 1 per cent of women in the USA buy themselves flowers for Valentine’s Day – just in case no one else does.
  2. Valentine’s Day can give rise to a mixture of emotions.

    Reader 1  (nervously)  When I wake up there’s a sense of anticipation. Will anyone send me a card or a gift today? Has that one person who really matters decided to show love for me? Maybe there’ll even be a surprise.

    Reader 2  (indignantly)  I expect to get something today . . . or else there’ll be trouble. I’m not going to be taken for granted. I’ll be satisfied with nothing less than a card and some flowers or chocolates. If I don’t get at least these, then the relationship’s finished.

    Reader 3  (sadly)  I know I’m going to be disappointed. I never get a card or flowers. I wish today could be passed over, just like me.

    Reader 4  (embarrassed)  I’ve set myself up. I know I’m going to be turned down and everyone will find out. They’ll laugh at what I wrote. I’ll never hear the end of it. I wish I’d never sent that card.
  3. Leader  It’s not just a mixture of emotions; it’s emotions that go to the extremes. Some of you will be totally elated about a relationship that starts today. Others will be utterly gutted, either because expectations were not fulfilled or because you feel rejected in the boyfriend/girlfriend stakes.

    Valentine’s Day is a dangerous time.
  4. Yet Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about love. Jesus talked about the way love is fundamental to our relationships. He told us to love our neighbours, the people we meet day by day. He then went further and told us to love our enemies, the people who hurt us.

    So how can we ensure Valentine’s Day is a day of love for everyone, those who are up and those who are down, those who are close to us and those we avoid, those we like and those we don’t?
  5. In chapter 13 of his letter to the church in Corinth, St Paul gives a job description for being loving. He says love is like this:

    Reader 1  ‘Love is patient and kind, not jealous, conceited or proud.’

    Leader  I think that could easily apply to the way some of you are feeling today. Maybe you’re jealous because someone else was chosen rather than you. Maybe, on the other hand, you’re tempted to gloat over your success.

    My question is: Can you instead overcome your feelings and be patient and kind to others who feel down?
  6. Leader  Let’s hear a little more of what St Paul says.

    Reader 2  ‘Love isn’t rude, selfish or irritable.’

    Leader  When things don’t go our way, it’s easy to become self-centred. This affects the way we respond to even the most innocent of remarks. One way to overcome that negative attitude is deliberately to look outwards and be positive in the way we treat others.
  7. Leader  So on to something else that St Paul says in this chapter:

    Reader 3  ‘Love doesn’t hold grudges, seeks the truth rather than lies and never gives up.’

    Leader  Valentine’s Day is full of secrets. Sometimes the truth gets lost and when that happens our imaginations take over. How long will we persist until we discover this and ensure there are no misunderstandings?
  8. Leader  Of course, the love Paul is talking about is greater than the romantic love that usually comes to mind today.

    The problem with romantic love is that it is like an unexploded bomb and it can cause a lot of damage if it goes off accidentally.

    The love that Jesus and Paul talk about is directed towards repairing some of the damage caused and goes on beyond today into tomorrow and next week.

Time for reflection

Listen again to St Paul’s words. From this description of love, choose something that may help you today.

Reader 1  ‘Love is patient and kind, not jealous, conceited or proud.’

Reader 2  ‘Love isn’t rude, selfish or irritable.’

Reader 3  ‘Love doesn’t hold grudges, seeks the truth rather than lies and never gives up.’

Dear Lord,
thank you for the enjoyment of young love.
Thank you for relationships that start today or are strengthened today.
May we be sensitive to the wide range of emotions that are experienced
and take a loving attitude towards one another.


‘Make you feel my love’ by Adele

Publication date: February 2013   (Vol.15 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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