Thursday, September 29, 2011
Single, Female, and Ready to Date
Today's post is an article published on Crosswalk.com's Singles section. Co-written by Laura MacCorkle and Cliff Young, both single, they are addressing one reader's concern:
QUESTION: I'm a single Christian woman in my early 40s who has never been in a serious relationship. I've spent most of my life focused on the Lord, ministry, traveling, education, building relationships with my family, friends, and career. Because I have no husband or children, I've "occupied" [my time] by doing the things I felt God led me to do. Now (maybe too late?) I've realized that I can do both; I can live a full, interesting, godly life AND I can be open to a husband . . . but when it comes to relationships, the average pre-teen has more experience than me. I hesitate to respond to men sometimes because I wonder if they'll think I'm some sort of freak because I've not had experience in this area. I really do want to meet someone and the circumstances in my life are such that I can do that now. I am emotionally and spiritually ready. But I'm not sure where to start and how to handle the dreaded questions: "How many relationships have you been in before? What was the longest relationship that you've ever had?" Nor am I really sure where to start. I'd appreciate any advice that you can give.
HE SAID: One of the most common (non-physical) exercises we, as humans, seem to participate in is the “what if” game. We consider and contemplate all sorts of various ways a situation may turn out, oftentimes leaving us with a negative slant or a pessimistic outlook to our circumstance.
When we apply this innate response to dating, we can conjure up how an entire date “will” go, conversations included, long before we meet anyone. Oftentimes, this just leads to creating fear and doubt about ourselves.
What if he wonders why I’m not married?
What if she asks about past relationships?
What if he thinks this?
What if she doesn’t like that?
What if, what if, what if.
We can experience an entire relationship in our mind prior to our first meeting. Heaven forbid should any of our scenarios come to pass, which would only fuel our lack of confidence and, in a strange way, bolster the belief in our “instinctive skill.”
I once heard nearly 85 percent of the things most people worry about never come to pass. That percentage may even be higher when it comes to dating!
Matthew has some great instruction for all of us: Do not worry about your life (Matt. 6:25).
So you’re in your 40s and never been in a serious relationship.
Although you may see this as a drawback, it can also be viewed as an advantage, especially over those “pre-teens” you’re comparing yourself to. Their relationships are typically superficial, not based on personal qualities or eternal values, last only a couple of weeks and often end unpleasantly.
For those who have been in a committed relationship and have experienced a break-up or divorce, there may be emotional scars, which if left unresolved, can cause difficulties and impact subsequent relationships.
Before you start doubting yourself about your “dating experience,” consider there are those who would rather be with someone they can “learn” with, discover each other’s needs, and become “their only” instead of someone who has had a number of serious relationships, may be entering with pre-conceived notions and has “been around the block.” More ...
SHE SAID: I can certainly identify with you. While I may not be in your exact same boat, consider me waving at you from another neighboring vessel just a little bit downstream from you.
I have had some serious relationships over the years, but I have also had a busy career and a very meaningful personal life full of family, friends, church and hobbies. Even though I’ve kept myself quite busy, I would say that I’ve always had one eye on desiring marriage while the other eye was focused on my life as it was and still is: single and fulfilled, but ready to marry.
In your case, I wonder perhaps if God has decided that now is the right time to awaken the desire to date (and marry) in your heart. It sounds like your life has been chock full of interesting opportunities that God has placed in your path, and he has kept you focused on following him down these different avenues. In fact, who knows how many lives you have been able to reach for him in your career, ministry, traveling, education, and through building relationships with your family and friends? That’s encouraging to think about! And it’s also inspiring to see how God has brought you to where you are today. He has used all of your experiences to shape you into the multi-faceted woman who now stands ready to meet an eligible male and share life together. I think that’s great!
I understand your questioning about where to start, especially as it comes to answering questions that are sure to be asked regarding your past dating experience. And so my advice to you is really quite simple: just be yourself. More ...
Sounds like great advice! Get out of the boat, be open, be yourself, and trust God. Sounds like great advice that we've heard becfore :)