Jennifer A. Miskov (written 2011)
Looking at “The Gift of Singleness” article I wrote several years ago, I have noticed that the insights are very good but that the article is a little imbalanced. It must be stated that I was not writing about an actual “gift of singleness” but more so referring to the “season of singleness” as a gift from God, one of the only times in our lives to be fully and 100% devoted to God without having to take care of our spouses, etc. I think having a godly perspective on dating is very important and I think the issue holds two tensions that need to be awkwardly balanced. I admit that I have swung from one extreme to the other but I do feel that some need to swing from the wait on God perspective to a more active stance on the issue depending on their season (while continuing to hold both tensions in the balance if that’s at all possible!).
This article is only written to those single people who are very interested in getting married in the near future. If that’s not you now, please enjoy and take advantage of the freedom that your singleness offers!
Men: Active Pursuing
There are many singles today who are lovers of Jesus but are experiencing severe loneliness and even depression because their needs are not being met with a spouse. Adam was lonely before he even sinned. Humans were created for one another, man and woman together in perfect union. Loneliness is a very real thing that is unfortunately plaguing many single Christians today. I want to encourage the men if they are stuck, to stop waiting for God to point them to the perfect woman who is going to be their wife before they do anything. For many, dating is how people find out if someone is good for them or not. Christians in general need to get over the hurdle of believing that the first person they ask on a date is going to be their wife.
Take some risks, date women to get to know them and once you get to know them you will know whether or not they are a good fit for you. And in the process, you will learn how to relate to women and hopefully develop some positive friendships in the process if putting God first. And a hint to men, you become more attractive when you are intentional and pursue a woman. And look for windows of opportunity and go for it. These change and when it’s too late, it really might be too late. Second hint, many women are more open than you think; many will give you a chance and go out on a date with you if you just ask. If it doesn’t work out, shake off the dust, at least you know that it wasn’t a good fit, then try again. If you don’t risk and get over the fear of rejection, you won't be able to move forward.
Women: Active Waiting
And women, rather than being an adorer from a distance and creating this wonderful fantasy of how you will one day fall in love with this ideal man, get out there and breakthrough into reality. Figure out a way to spend time with him, whether it’s in a group or out to coffee, and soon. Then at least you will know if he really is that ideal man you’ve made him up to be in your mind or if he is just a creation of your imagination. And then if he’s not the ideal man you thought he was, you won’t have to spend endless hours, days, weeks, and months wasting your thoughts fantasizing about someone whom you thought could be the “one.” I believe that it’s not our job to pursue men, but at the same time I think it’s perfectly okay to put yourself out there and pursue a friendship with a man you might be interested in. Please continue to put God first, be yourself, but also learn how to invite pursuit, smile, and be more open to the men in your life.
And if you are thinking about putting on makeup, dressing cuter, looking fabulous, yes that is something that will attract men, which is a good thing, but I think above all, if you choose to do any of these things, do them for yourself first and foremost. If you are content with yourself, make up or no makeup, that is what is going to show the most in your interactions with men. If someone’s heart is bursting inside them, they are full of smiles and love, and open, the right people will be drawn to them.
I really feel the season of preparation in the midst of the gift of the season of singleness needs to be capitalized on. I think that the best relationships happen when a woman is content in who and how God has made her, then she enters a relationship in a giving mode not a taking one. Granted, no one will ever be perfect enough before entering into a relationship but why not use that time before marriage to intentionally ask God to prepare us while we are actively waiting.
So to all, I think the key word really is RISK. Begin to put yourself out there and take chances with people. As long as this is done with respect, each person can only begin to grow up more, learn from mistakes (yes, there will be many but you will improve with time, I promise), and get closer to marriage. Ask God to open up your eyes and heart. He may want to bring you someone whom you have not previously considered but who is right in front of you.
Just last year I needed to by a warm coat for my new life in England, yes in California we don't have such strange weather. Anyway, I looked and looked for the ideal coat. I was close minded to all coats over a certain price range as well as all coats with furry hoods. There was one coat that I really liked the style of. It seemed to be totally me but when I tried it on, it didn't fit right. I did actually consider buying it anyway. Regardless of how good it looked on the hanger, realistically it wouldn't have suited me because it didn't fit right. Finally, after looking for hours for that perfect coat, a friend convinced me to broaden my horizon. She encouraged me to at least try one of the coats with the furry hoods just to see. Turns out that I tried one, it was a great fit, and I ended up buying it.
All this to say, sometimes the style we think will be the perfect fit doesn't end up working at all. And there might be times we risk missing the unexpected perfect fit because we are too close minded to give it a chance. You will never know if it fits unless you try it on. What do you really have to lose anyway? You might make a friend in the process, or even better, who knows, you might end up with that perfect fit after a few tries. There might just be greater things God has for us if we are more open minded to possibilities we otherwise never considered. Just a thought.
Thanks for listening to my musings.
To read similar articles around this subject see:
The Gift of Singleness (If you struggle to trust God in this area and always have to be dating someone)