Exploring the hurdles that hinder you writing your love story.
What’s going on in your search for the perfect match?” my friend — who I’ll call Brian — said. “We haven’t talked about it for a while.”
I thought, “What am I supposed to say?” Should I tell him that I haven’t found the magic formula showing me how to deal with being single? What about my learning process of being a happy single Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Then I replied, “Not much! I wish I could show you the best way to find your soulmate, but I have not made much progress. I’m still struggling with being single. I don’t always succeed in trying to stop focusing on the common ‘lonely and single’ challenge.”
I realized that I had not had a date for almost six months. “Six months! Wow, time is flying fast,” I said. And reflecting on it a bit more, I concluded that I had next to no opportunity to ask a girl out.
Unfortunately, what should be the most promising place to meet someone — my church — has offered me not a single opportunity.
1. You’re not the only one struggling to find the perfect match
My friend told me that he had a conversation with his former flatmate recently. And he told him to forget trying to meet someone at his church. It’s true that the ones “leftover” are not an option for us. Thinking about him, no girl actually came to my mind who would fit his particular personality.
The same for me. I had no clue where to look for my perfect match.
“You know,” I said, “I feel like I’m running out of ideas.”
If you are in a similar situation, what do you think? Are there any single events you should attend? Is there yet another dating website to check out? Or, should you just sit at home and pray that your future husband or your future wife will miraculously show up?
I have visited many other churches — not to look for my significant other — but while I was traveling for business or on vacation. I’ve seen a few girls I would have liked to meet. But I really struggled when I imagined setting out on that one Sunday with the intention to meet one of them. Not because I’m afraid. But I would wonder, is she single? Is she already married? I have no clue. Can I really go up to her and ask if she’s free? That would be weird.
The “after-church time” is too short and often too impersonal in big churches, so there aren’t a lot of opportunities to start off with small talk and actually get to know someone before getting to the point.
Brian told me that he had met a nice girl at his former church and started a conversation with her. She was smiling and happy to talk to him. “Well, she’s so nice! It’s almost too good to be true!” It was. When this thought crossed his mind, another guy came along and the girl said: “Oh, that’s my husband!” “Pleased to meet you!” Brian said after some hesitation.
What a surprise! He would not have thought she was married.
2. It’s a challenge to meet someone who has similar core values
It’s not that simple to meet a girl following Christ.
The exact challenge lies is the fact of finding a purposeful single who follows Christ.
What I have found when thinking about this hurdle for many years is that the girl I’m looking for is not the type that’s found in a nightclub, a bar or a variety of other places in the city. Even at church, it will be no easy game to spot her because it’s a girl who is serving in her ministry.
She is the one who is not desperate and feels no hurry to meet me, even if she sees me in her church. It’s a girl who knows God will bring her husband to her, and that He will open that door.
What’s the result? She will wait. She is patient, knowing God is trustworthy.
That leads me to the question about how I should approach dating. Could it be that my view of dating is too much influenced by the way everybody else is dating?
Finding someone is easy.
I have no problem whatsoever in simply meeting girls. But, I don’t want to find anyone.
I want to find someone special. And that’s not easy to find.
I know I cannot be with the norm because I have crazy ideas. Who would readily accept that I left a well-paying job with a great perspective for career evolution, sold my belongings and moved to Cambodia to serve there as a volunteer? Not anyone. Not the regular girl who is more interested in her comfort than in her purpose.
Craig Groeschel’s quote, “If you want what few people have, do what few people do,” leads me back to my question.
If I want something special — what few people have
— I should start doing what few people do.
Hence, how can I change my dating strategy? That’s a question I need to consider.
3. Try different ways to meet people of the opposite sex
I have tried internet dating. It works for many, but I didn’t like it. I tried many times and had fun dates. But the entire setting and the way you meet a stranger caused a lot of stress for me. After a handful of dates, I just didn’t meet the girl I had hoped to find.
I know it works for many of you. That’s great. It’s an awesome way of meeting people outside of your network that you would have never had the chance to meet.
I did meet a few girls with whom I had interesting conversations. Using the internet helped me to learn what I like and what does not work for me.
I am glad that internet dating works for so many people. I am glad if it works for you.
If it does not work for you, there are many other ways in our modern world to meet. It may take more effort. But don’t despair. Try different things to meet people. Experiment. If the internet is your thing, go for it. If not, call it an experience and try something else.
4. Discover your dating style
I realized that I’m more of a natural guy. In other words, I need to move at the speed of my heart. My rational brain cannot change my emotions. I need time to let the seed grow.
In his book The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman describes that everyone gives and receives love differently. We all use different languages in relationships. One of my most important love languages is quality time.
It may not come as a surprise to you that I love to spend time with the other person in a meaningful way — also while dating. The way I’m wired defines my dating style. I like to meet someone in the most natural way possible.
Looking back, I see that I rarely fell in love on the spot. I do remember when it happened, but it was when I met a girl by surprise. Love hit me when I least expected it.
5. Leave room for the unexpected
For instance, at a birthday party of another friend. That Saturday, I was busy taking care of many administrative things. I had little time to buy my friend a gift for her birthday. I didn’t know she would be there, and I was not giving much thought to how we were going to spend the evening. It is thus fair to say that I went with no expectations.
We met at a restaurant for dinner. And then this beautiful girl arrived. I didn’t even know that my friend had such a stunning and sympathetic friend.
What a surprise!
“And she is funny and following Jesus!” I thought. I definitely needed to check her out. I was sitting not too far from her that night at the dinner table. So, I had the chance to overhear a couple of conversations, and then later speak to her.
Everything moved forward at a frenetic pace. I was in love. What a girl!
Unfortunately, that’s where everything stopped. Later that week, I texted her, asking her out for a date. She refused. “What’s going on!?!” I said. I didn’t know how to handle this situation.
Be with the partner who is a perfect match and can be mutually supportive.
6. Pursue the girl you like in an honoring way
I pursued her for a while, writing a card, sending her texts and going to events she attended. She still refused to go out with me.
Are you ready for a short conversation between a man and a man? Please pursue the girl you like. Don’t be the passive guy waiting for something to happen. But don’t stalk her! Don’t be the rude or desperate guy following her wherever she goes.
Let’s come back to our main discussion. How can it be? She is great! She loves Jesus, serves in her ministry and is good looking! I could not understand what was happening.
I continued to be in love for many weeks, and my heart almost tore apart.
Such a thing never happened when I was meeting girls I met over the internet. My emotions never went that far. They stayed at a “friend’s” level every single time.
She did not change her mind. I respected her unwillingness to meet me. I would have wished to see her. But I honored her decision and stopped pursuing her. It was difficult to move on. I continued to be in love with her. That’s a sign of greatness, guys, if you show the person you think is your perfect match great respect.
Be a happy single and show respect to the people you respect and let them go if they are not willing to be part of our life. This is greatness.
Coming back to my question, how do I need to adjust my dating strategy? That’s an excellent question — that I still don’t know how to answer to your entire satisfaction. It is an important question to ask. In fact, many questions still remain.
I do know, nonetheless, that we need to find our style. A style that’s congruent with our personality — and our experiences.
While thinking about this question, I learned that finding the answer is not the most important thing. Rather, I need to get started and try out new things.
It’s all about experimentation. I am a scientist, and in my field, we are used to asking many questions. The scientific approach is to perform experiments to find the answers. Often, it takes many attempts in science to understand the underlying processes.
In dating, I found I needed to experiment as well. The fear of failing and the pressure to do things right the first time, hold me back.
Fear is a dangerous place to be.
Instead, we should experiment.
It’s important to keep moving and get out there. It doesn’t matter if the date isn’t a total success.
That’s not a failure. Ever!
Failure is staying on your couch and never getting up to get wet.
You’re not going to meet your soulmate by just staying at home, watching Netflix or browsing through your social media feed. That’s just a way to get busy being busy. That approach sets you up for failure. Guaranteed!
Even in the 21st century, dating tools, including Tinder and all of the other dating sites, will not replace a personal word or the beautiful smile you’re wearing. It’s great to have a beautiful social media profile image. But you have to go out there and get wet.
It took Thomas Edison more than 10,000 attempts — I don’t call them failures, neither did he — to invent the light bulb.
For some of us — including me — it will take many attempts to meet our soulmate.
Keep your hope on God and he will bring you the right match in the very right time. This should be the hope that every Christian singles should have.
Keep looking for the perfect match. Our best love stories are closer than we think.
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And please let people know how you’re overcoming your regrets in the comments below.