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?
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.
And 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!
*Images of E & I are by Jordan Lee.