I met with a girl this week who said, “Your post about wishing you could have a do-over on the season right before you met your husband was spot on for me. What can I do to turn my life around? What are some practical things you would’ve done differently if you could re-do it? How can I live better during this season of singleness?”


So, if that post resonated with you, here’s what I shared with her compiled into one monologue. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s pretend we’re chatting face to face the way I prefer 😉 My prayer is that it encourages and challenges you! Let me know your thoughts (or if I didn’t answer a question you had) in the comments below.


For starters, the whole “don’t settle” thing is MUCH easier said than done. One way to combat settling is to create a non-negotiable list. It’s a list of the qualities or things you ABSOLUTELY know that you want in your future spouse.

Examples from my own non-negotiable list:

  • Pursues Christ; I won’t have to drag him to church on Sunday’s and grace will be a staple in our home.
  • Attractive; I have to be physically attracted to him and he’s got to be a good kisser.
  • Takes Initiative; Exudes leadership and makes things happen. I won’t have to prompt him constantly and he should be able to handle himself in social settings.
  • Great work ethic; Not only works hard, but will do whatever it takes to provide stability in our lives.
  • Go-getter personality; Must be supportive of my wild ideas and must have passions and dreams of his own to go after.

Making your list should be a question of: what can I not live without? Although you may be tempted to add, “Doesn’t play video games” to your non-negotiable list, focus less on what you don’t want and more on what you DO want. Make sense?

View More: http://photos.pass.us/eric-and-amanda-carpenter

Once you have your list, only agree to go out on dates with someone who already meets all of them. No excuses. The minute you agree to go on a date with someone who doesn’t meet everything on your non-negotiable list, you’re compromising. And compromising leads to the inevitable…settling and most likely heartbreak. Don’t want to settle? Narrow the fish in your sea.

Next, when your gut tells you it’s over, end it. Don’t dwell on it. End it. Your intuition is God-given! Chances are if it smells like poo and looks like poo, it probably is poo! Don’t think, “but I feel bad breaking up with him. It will break his heart.” No, you know what will break his heart (and make his family hate you, too)? Staying with him out of pity or guilt or any other weird reason that you conjure up, like I did with one of my longterm relationships. If you’re checking out of a relationship, do it before anyone else comes into the picture.

View More: http://photos.pass.us/eric-and-amanda-carpenterAnd please, for your sake and for the people who love you: don’t live in denial. Justifying or making excuses when someone seems to be uninterested is natural, but it’s not helpful. If I had a nickel for each time a girl said things like, “Well he used to text me all of the time, but he’s just super busy with his job now…I don’t really know what we are.” (I’d be rich.) Seriously? No he’s not just busy. I don’t give a darn how “busy” he is. If he’s not pursuing you, he doesn’t want to. It’s quite simple. If he wanted to take you on a date, he would ask. If he wanted to text you, he would. If he’s not, don’t go chasing him. You’ll be wasting your time!

Which leads me to my next point about self-respect. If you don’t value you, then who will? Don’t give away a piece of yourself to a guy who doesn’t deserve it. Let me tell you something, the only man who deserves to see you naked is one who knows your naked soul; one who puts a ring on your finger and vows to be with you forever.


Lastly, ask yourself: Am I acting in a way that attracts the type of man I desire? Because I’ve met with plenty of girls who tell me, “I just want a good guy. One who loves his family and pursues God and goes to church and will be loyal to me and cherish me.” Then I say, tell me what you do on a Friday night? Their response is usually along the lines of going out to the bars with their friends drinking and wearing dresses their mommas wouldn’t approve of and “ya know, being single, trying to live it up.” Like I tell them, that’s fine and dandy, but your actions aren’t attracting the type of man you just described. The type of man you just described is going to be repelled by you. And I’m not trying to be mean. Just honest.

I share these things because I was in a place once, right before meeting my husband, where I made a lot of decisions that I wish I could take back. I share because I want you to know that you are not alone. And that you are worthy of a clean slate, a fresh start. I share these things not to say, “look how far I’ve come!” but to shout His praises and show you, “look at what God can do!”

If you’re single and have no desire for a man to come swoop you off of your feet…YOU GO GIRL. I wish I could’ve been like you. But I wasn’t. And numbers show that the majority of us aren’t perfectly content being single, so let’s help each other out, ya? Encourage one another. Celebrate careers taking off and trips being planned. Discuss the life that’s being lived OUTSIDE of any romantic relationship.

Remember, you aren’t complete when you get married or have a great boyfriend. You are not going to be complete in Christ “some day”…you are already complete in Christ! What remains for you to do is to walk daily in that completeness by believing that it is true and confessing that what you need right now, Jesus already provides for you. He is your complete forgiveness, complete righteousness, complete favor, and complete protection. Don’t focus on the lack you see in your life. Focus instead on how with Christ, you are complete in everything at this moment. He is at work within you!View More: http://photos.pass.us/eric-and-amanda-carpenter

Colossians 2:10


*Images of E & I are by Jordan Lee.

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Amanda, I don’t know you personally, but I relate to you on an oddly high level! Your words, all of them hit me right in the heart. This lesson, especially when single is dang near impossible to learn, but becoming “the person who your looking for is looking for” is LIFE CHANGING, once I began that journey I met Corey just a short month later, completely unexpected!! I thought for sure God would make me wait a lot longer since I had made some not so good decisions prior to surrendering that area of my life to Him; thank goodness He doesn’t work that way. Now I am in a season where I have found the man that I will spend the rest of my life with and he is so much more than I could’ve ever dreamed up and I wish, so badly that I could be whole for him, because that is what he deserves, BUT, because of choices I made in the season prior to meeting him I won’t be. And reading this part of your story is just comforting- we are forgiven, seen and loved beyond comprehension and past decisions don’t have have any place in my future! Thankful for grace and your beautiful words!

Love from Georgia, Courtney


Courtney – wow we could probably sit and chat for hours it sounds like! How exciting that your journey led you to Corey and that you’re experiencing grace and healing through that relationship. One thing that helped me see clearly that E was going to make an incredible husband was that never, NOT ONCE, did he (or has he even to this day) throw my past up in my face. A man who knows you (all of you) and loves you like Christ loves the church, won’t hold your past against you and will always be gentle. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear if Corey and you end up married someday!!!


Hi Amanda!

I just came across your Instagram page about this post & it caught my attention because I just ended a 4 year relationship because I felt God was telling me to focus on him more abstract this guy wasn’t the right one right now. Hardest decision of my life. Reading this really touched me & it’s exactly what I needed to hear. I am a senior in college and have big dreams of becoming a PA. Praying that I can take your advice and embrace this single time in my life to seek Jesus because he competes me, not a boyfriend.

So so happy I came across your posts! Thanks for helping me 🙂


Hi Karlye! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Ending a relationship of that long isn’t easy, but trust your intuition because it’s God-given. He won’t steer you wrong 🙂 Praying you continue to embrace the single days because I’m telling you, once they’re gone, they’re gone forever. I may write another post really soon to help singles embrace this time in a more meaningful way. Be on the lookout for that one! XO


Amanda per usual you are spot on. As a single chica in my twenties, I often feel I’m being harangued by conflicting advice – get a man, don’t get a man, have sex, don’t put out, etc. I appreciate your posts because you are nonjudgmental as well as gentle. Your heart is in a good place and your writing reflects that. Please continue with the posts geared towards the single ladies – they are much, much appreciated. Finally, I miss you girl!


Aw! Thanks for saying that, Elizabeth. You’re so sweet. I will continue to write posts geared towards the single ladies as they come to my heart. I miss you and hope all is well! Hit me up whenever you’re downtown Chicago 🙂


As a single gal in my 30s who loves Christ dearly but has seen her dark days, you give my soul hope. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. May He continue to bless you and your marriage in ways you’ve never dreamed of!


Carolyn, I’m so glad you feel hope as you read my blog post. I appreciate your sweet words so much! Thank you:)


Hi Manda! I just wanted to let you know this post really spoke to me and has led to me to start a long-overdue “Man Fast” (I don’t know if you’ve heard of that devotional by Nikki Carpenter or not) and break off my casual relationships. I had been reading your blog and Jordan Lee’s blog on and off for a little over a month and felt some stirring about changing my behavior, but then this post hit me dead on. I’ve gone back and forth over the years between seeking God in my relationships consistently for extended periods of time, and then using casual dating to fill the voids left in me from my failed past relationships. Most of all I appreciated your and Jordan Lee’s transparency about your guys’ pasts – sometimes when I would be reading other Christian blogs/instagram posts, they just seemed so perfect and without fault that I would convince myself that no Christian guy would ever date me,. But your blog, and Jordan’s, has given me hope, and also has shown me that I can’t be satisfied in a relationship before I’m satisfied in Christ, and that God can make all things new. I just have to trust in his timing. Thank you so much for your honesty and all your hard work!


Emily, I’m so glad you’ve seen through what Jordan and I have both shared that God does make all things new. You will end up with a great man who has a heart for The Lord if you keep chasing after Christ and refuse to settle. I’m excited to hear how your man fast goes…I think fasts from a lot of things are great! In fact, E and I took a fast from each other when we first began dating just so we could focus on Jesus and not be blinded by love and caught up in our emotions so quickly. 🙂


So thankful for your heart and words on your blog and instagram, Amanda! Every time I see a new post, it makes my day! “The only man who deserves to see you naked is one who knows your naked soul; one who puts a ring on your finger and vows to be with you forever.” AMEN! As a girl who is pursuing a Godly, pure relationship, there aren’t many examples around to follow. Thank you, thank you for standing up and shouting this Truth in a world that does it’s best to ignore/undermine it. You’re a treasure!


Aw! Well your comment just MADE my day! 🙂 Thanks for your encouragement & if you ever have any suggestions of something specific you’d like to hear my thoughts on or learn more about in regards to my own personal story, feel free to email me those: sayhi@mandacarpenter.com XO


I love this post so much! These past few weeks, I’ve found myself in a similar season where I’ve felt alone and like having someone to share my life with would make everything better. Your words have reminded me that I am already complete in Jesus and I thank you for that 🙂 . The part where you challenged me the most was with the question, “am I acting in a way that attracts the type of man I desire” because I know that the answer is no and I want to change that. I appreciate you taking the time to share the story of your past in order to help others like myself who currently find themselves where you were. I am so encouraged by you! This post couldn’t have come at a better time.


Came across you’re post about two guys talking about their friend Josh and I went from there and came across many of your other posts then this one, but just wanted to say this is all so we’ll spoken, what truth in your words:-) so thank you…I’m excited to share to others!!!

May God BLESS You!


This post was written for me today even though you wrote it a couple of years ago. Thank you for this confirmation on completeness! I find my stressed these days with my son going to college and I’m not married.
Thank you! 😊


Aw, I’m so glad to hear that. 🙂

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