Singleness is one of my favorite topics to write about.
It seems like everyone is trying to answer the “why” of the hoards of single women filling up the church pews without a plethora of eligible men. It’s heartbreaking, it’s frustrating, it’s confusing . . . but is it hopeless?
Absolutely, not. I think it’s time to do something about our relationship status instead of complaining about the statistics.
If you are like the many single women who entered the new year wondering or silently hoping 2013 is your year to find love, then I want to give you some helpful tips to finding the love of your life. Certainly, dating is never a formula, just like finding a job or selling your house is, but there are some very tangible ways you can improve your odds.
You know what I’m not going to do in this post? I won’t tell you to be content with your singleness. I also won’t encourage you to prop your feet up and pray harder to find a good man. And I certainly won’t tell you that once you don’t want a man, then God will bring you a husband.
If you want to find love in 2013, here are some helpful tips.
Become the right woman the right man is looking for. Use this time to work on your difficult personality traits, idols in your life, bad habits, or anything that you don’t want to bring into marriage. All women have undesirable areas—but I want you to ask yourself a question: Am I who Mr. Right is looking for? If the answer is “no”, then strive to be Mrs. Right.
Don’t be satisfied with singleness. Pray big and specific prayers, because God can handle them. I’m tired of Christians telling singles to “be content,” as it feels so callous. Sure, you should be content in any and every circumstance, but I challenge you to pray the desires of your heart. Pray, pray, pray! Don’t sacrifice your desires on the altar of supposed “contentment.” God has given you desires for marriage—not so you would gouge out your heart and not feel—but to draw you into a deeper relationship with him as you wait on your guy.
Treat singleness like unemployment. I see too many singles taking a passive approach—sitting back with the same friends weekend after weekend waiting for God to drop a husband out of the sky. When I was unemployed, no one told me to be content with my joblessness and pray harder for a job. Everyone advised me to apply to hundreds of jobs, perfect my resume, look for connections, meet potential employers, and put myself out there on LinkedIn. Now, what if I treated unemployment like many of us are told to treat singleness? What if I sat around and ate bons-bons all day and said, “God wants me to be content with my unemployment and plus the job market is terrible."? I’d become a great story you’d tell all your friends—about your delusional friend who will never be employed. Right? My suggestion for dating is to treat it like unemployment: meet as many people as you can, hang out with different groups of friends, try online dating, put extra time into your appearance, ask people to set you up, and whatever else you can think of to help you find a man! No shame in acknowledging your desires and doing everything you can to find someone. Most likely, God isn’t going to send you a Save-the-Date.
I met my husband Michael when I was far from content, far from healed, and very close to my desires for marriage. I don’t know why the church and Christians have defined contentment with our relationship statuses as not wanting a spouse. God wants you and I to live fully alive—hearts open to the great story, even if we don’t always understand the pieces and are far from whole.
What if 2013 is your year to find love? Dear sister, I hope you find strength in knowing God sees your heart and it’s ok to get out there and find a good man!
Ruthie Dean is a book marketer at Harper Collins Christian by day and a writer by night. She and her husband Michael call Nashville home. Their first book, Real Men Don't Text, will be in bookstores in 2013. Ruthie writes a relationship blog for women at www.ruthiedean.com.