An invitation to change my view on love Print
Gifts for Your Soul
Thursday, Feb. 06, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

Gifts for Your Soul column by Jacqueline von ZwehlI received the invitation in the mail shortly after New Year’s. It was in an elegant black satin envelope with a black velvet ribbon.

There was no return address, just the name of one of my friends in a fancy Edwardian script. As I eagerly opened the envelope, a return card slipped out and I read the following “You are cordially invited to attend our first annual Un-Valentine Party.”

Inside was a short letter arguing that all of us single girls needed to band together against this commercialized holiday, wear black in solidarity, and enjoy our singlehood with cocktails and embrace the freedom of not being shackled by love.

The invitation argued that “love” was an illusion that didn’t exist except in movies. Rather than spend the Valentine’s night home alone, the card invited us to join together to celebrate not being in love. This was an invitation to change my view on love.

My excitement opening the envelope was replaced with a cold feeling of sadness and a hint of anger. How could I ever possibly believe love was an illusion? Why would I ever celebrate not being in love? Was this really how my friend felt or was this party a desperate attempt to mask a very deep rooted pain brewing in the absence of hope?

Valentine’s Day: my way

I tossed the invitation in the garbage and immediately resolved not to stay home but to celebrate Valentine’s Day that year my way.

I ordered flowers and candy and then made a reservation at one of the most elegant restaurants in town. I even bought a bright new red dress.

On Valentine’s Day morning, I made the long four-hour car ride across the state to my parents’ home and showed up as a complete surprise.

My mom’s face clearly showed how delighted she was to see me, and my dad gave me one of his famous bear hugs. Mom received the bouquet of roses and Dad indulged in the chocolates.

My parents hadn’t formally celebrated the holiday in years but that night the three of us went out to dinner and enjoyed Valentine’s Day together. We enjoyed the gift of family love. That night was a treasured memory in my heart.

Never give up on love

As much as my parents enjoyed the surprise, I was the one who received a Valentine’s miracle that year. Later on that fall, I was blessed to meet my future husband and we were engaged shortly thereafter.

The black satin envelope with the invitation to change my view on love did end up changing my life, because, in fact, it did change my view (but not in the way they had intended)!

I no longer dreaded Valentine’s Day because I didn’t have romantic love in my life, but I rather began to embrace the opportunity to celebrate two people who loved me most in the world.

I never gave up on love and I kept my heart open to appreciate the beauty of this gift from the Lord. Perhaps it was this new view on love which opened my heart to meeting my soon-to-be husband.

Gift for Your Soul

Today’s Gift for Your Soul: Love is not an illusion. It is the greatest gift in the world. In Acts 20:35, we learn that “In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Today, give your love unconditionally. Be the answer to someone else’s prayer through the gift of love.


Jacqueline von Zwehl is the nation’s leading faith-based relationship and love expert and award winning author. She is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), has a BFA from NYU, and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University. Jacqueline has appeared on national TV and radio programs across the country. The Prayer, A Love Story is her award winning debut book. To learn more visit: