I’ve heard this blog’s title so many times that I’ve lost count. In my experience, it’s usually said among a group of friends over drinks. You know the scenario well because it plays out weekly on one of those ratchet reality shows- except these scenes aren’t scripted. The topic of “men” pops up and one by one, each lady brings up her current situation.
- There’s Miss Mum who is quiet about her love life. She’s the observer of the group who chimes in every once in a while. This is the one who could be dating a drug kingpin or a celebrity and no one would know about it.
- There’s Miss Drama. Her relationship is filled with more twists and turns than daytime TV’s best soap opera. She’s always “done” with her relationship- until she isn’t. The focus is usually on her situation.
- Then there’s Miss Free Spirit. She usually has a heart of gold and is extremely selfless. But she dates around, and around, and around. She gets caught up with each guy but her flings never last long. And she usually ends her diatribe against the latest flop with “anyways, I’m not dating to get married.”
If you don’t believe that marriage is an institution, then this blog doesn’t apply to you. It’s written with the assumption that Miss Free Spirit wants to get married. One day. I’m not suggesting that everyone should start picking out wedding dresses after the first date. Please do not do that! What I am suggesting is that one should live a life of purpose. And that means that you should go into every date asking yourself if the person sitting across from you could be your husband. You probably won’t know right away. But as their personality unfolds in front of you, you’ll begin to see the bigger picture.
If you want to be (happily) married one day, then you should probably be more selective.
Many have heard the phrase “dress for the job you want”. The same mindset applies in dating. Date for the husband you want. If you know that you absolutely wouldn’t want to marry a man who has no ambition, then why are you dating the aspiring actor who has no plans of getting a day job? If you don’t want to be married to a cheater, then why are you dating someone who was cheating with you? If you want a husband who loves God with his whole spirit, then why are you dating the agnostic (well Jesus didn’t really exist) guy? Isn’t your time a little too valuable to spend it with seat-fillers?
I know, I know. You want to have fun. I don’t blame you. After all, dating the slick talking drug dealer or womanizing athlete has its perks. It’s exciting and you get free meals out of the deal. The problem with this type of fun is that it has consequences. Fun is a fleeting emotion that is quickly replaced by exhaustion, frustration, anger, and sometimes, sadness. When you spend a significant amount of time with someone, you eventually start to like them. Then you like them a lot. Then it becomes even harder to break things off because you’ve grown accustomed to their energy around you. Once things end, you can be left in a vulnerable state with a chip on your shoulder the size of Texas. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. It ain’t worth it. Which brings me to my second point.
If you want to be married, then you have to prepare to be someone’s partner.
There is something inherently selfish about dating for fun. I know the feeling. It’s Thursday night and all the girls are going to be with their respective mates for the weekend. You need plans for Friday! There’s no way you’re going to spend Friday night alone with your toy poodle and Netflix. So you scroll through your old texts and find Mr. Boring, who’ll definitely take you out. Crisis averted. Never mind that your night out is at the expense of someone’s time, money, and feelings. It’s about YOUR fun. You could argue that when you meet “the one” you won’t be that way. But can you guarantee that? Old habits die hard and when you’ve gotten used to exploiting people, there’s a strong chance that you won’t be able to find the one even if he knocked on your front door. Your “good man” radar is screwed up.
If you want to be happily married, you have to figure out who you are without a man.
No one is perfect. I’m certainly not in the running in the Perfection Olympics and there have been times that I’ve had to take a step back to evaluate things. Am I making the right choice? Is this the right career move? Should I involve myself in this business venture? Should I continue to be friends with this person? These questions require a level of introspection that constant dating can disrupt. I’m a staunch advocate of being alone in between relationships. The odd date here or there likely won’t hurt but you should generally take time to figure yourself out. How awesome would it be if you met your partner when you’re at a great place in life? Money is right, career is taking off, you’ve broken off friendships (Ms. Mum was too deceptive, anyways) and you’re just plain ol’ happy. The old you would’ve thrown him in the mix with the other guys you’re seeing. He’d be just another number in your phone, and you wouldn’t be able to see that he’s Mr. Right and possibly Mr. Husband.
Peace & Love,