Dear Single Girls,
I love you. And I know you won’t believe me when I say that I totally feel you. I completely know how you feel.
But I was hopelessly single. Really. I had dates. But no real relationships. I had crushes. But I felt so completely romantically unwanted by men.
And well-meaning friends tried to make me feel better about this–some of them were mentors and others were peers. And then there were those creepy old men who would say, “If I were 50 years younger…”
You’ve heard the one-liners:
- You have so much to offer!
- Just keep waiting. A man will come along for you.
- Everything happens in God’s time.
- You’ve just gotta get out there and date people!
- I know a guy…
- Why don’t you meet Jack?
And you’ve heard so much more.
The truth is this: Love can happen in a multitude of different ways. As I was waiting for my hunk to come along, I read a billion love stories; I researched romance in the Bible: how did the couples in the Bible come together? Not all of them were prearranged. Some wives were brought to men by others and the guys just went for it. Other times, women put themselves in the way of men before the respectable men found them desirable.
I also read Christian women’s stories from current times. Thanks to the internet, I came across multitudes of blogs about singleness, finding a mate, waiting, searching, etc. You may have come across these; maybe this post is one of them. I heard all of the stories. Authentic, messy, gorgeous, lovely, sticky, and silly love stories. I heard all of the suggestions (including the dreaded: “Enjoy your singleness!” comments).
But that wasn’t working.
God primes us for the right moment. I firmly believe that; but that is another one of those one-liners you hear, right?
But it happened to me. I read a blog post that discussed the fact that, as long as we are dating Christian men, we are dating brothers in Christ. Before my now-husband rang the doorbell for our first date, I prayed that God would help me to love him as a brother in Christ, even if we are not meant to be husband and wife. #primed. Seriously. My heart was in the perfect place to let someone in and to serve.
I can’t promise this formula will work for you. But I can’t promise it won’t. However, I do have my own personal advice to throw your way.
- Implement and stick to the flag system. A red flag, for example, is an issue worth ending a relationship over: he pressures you to have sex before marriage, he doesn’t love Jesus, he disrespects women, he’s not committed to anything in life (i.e.: can’t hold a job or focus on a dream), he never says he’s sorry. A yellow flag, for example, requires investigation: He has a rough relationship with his parents, he dates for a long time without putting a ring on it, he is apathetic toward developing your spiritual relationships together, he has poor personal hygiene. A green flag, though, is a go. For instance: He initiates prayer with you, he maintains proper physical boundaries, he is friends with your father (if your father is in your life), he insists on opening the door for you, he protects you. I live by the flag system.
- Don’t date someone who makes it clear that he only wants physical fulfillment. Everyone will have their heart broken.
- If your good friends and family don’t like him, run. To be clear: If they like him, but wish he wouldn’t make you move two hours away, that’s not the same.
- Pray. Share your pain with Jesus. As far as we know, Jesus was single; He probably has insight to share with your heart.
I have more advice, but you’ll just have to keep coming back to me.
But, seriously, I love you. I wish you the best in your quest for romance.
I hope that, in the mean time, you’ll make the best of your single life in the event that the dashing man of your prayers never shows up. Enjoy making your own decisions that will only impact you: where you’ll eat for dinner, who you’ll hang out with on Friday night, which activity you’ll get involved in at church, etc. Do all the things you want to do; it may not be about you forever.