Surviving the Wait (Part 2)
In my last post I introduced points 1 and 2 for how to survive the wait on meeting Mr Right and finally getting married! Yay! It can be a pretty lonely, long road, so here are three more ideas for how to keep yourself sane during the journey.
3. Do something meaningful
Fortunately for you, we live in a generation and culture in which doing ‘big’ things with ‘big’ meaning is highly encouraged. Whether it’s pursuing further study, climbing the corporate ladder, doing Tough Mudder, climbing Machu Picchu, feeding the homeless, or volunteering in a refugee camp, girls these days are strongly supported to ‘follow their dreams’ and ‘make a difference’.
However, it’s important to find something to do that is meaningful to you. It’s got to be something you have the time, competence, and money to do. We can’t all take a year-long road trip through the USA in a campervan (on my bucket list!) or get a PHD in neuroscience (too hard!). What’s something that will provide meaning to your days? Something that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning? Something that relatives will be able to ask you about at the family events, with real interest?
Maybe you are working on writing a book, or painting a beautiful piece of art. Perhaps you are growing a garden, or learning to be a photographer. Maybe you are thinking of joining a local choir, or sporting group, or volunteer group.
Look at your current lifestyle. Do you find your work meaningful? In our generation we really expect to have a career that brings us lots of satisfaction. But in reality this is a pretty rare achievement. I reckon at least 95% of people around the world just work to pay the bills. To find meaning in their work – this is a blessing on top of that. (Hard truth by Dr Jordan Peterson here.)
So if your work isn’t meaningful, you need to find meaning elsewhere. Of course, the long term-goal and (arguably) the primary way that women find meaning is to get married and have kids. But in the meantime, what’s something you can do to spice up your life?
As a rule of thumb, I think it needs to involve creativity and relationships. So something on the side you create just to make money, for example, may not be enough to help you feel ‘meaning’. It’s got to be something that you enjoy, that gets your creative juices flowing, requires you tap into new places inside yourself that you haven’t discovered before, and involves at least some level of relational interaction or pushback, in order to help you grow. And the most meaningful activities make a difference to someone’s life.
It takes a bit of effort to start doing something meaningful. But it’s worth it! Get off that couch, log off Facebook and start planning. It’ll give you something to do, something to talk about, and probably give you an opportunity to meet new people (people = guys!)
Caveat: I must point out that it’s a tricky balance to find something meaningful to do that you can drop at a moment’s notice. You don’t want to get so embroiled in something that when Mr Right comes along and wants to sweep you away, you can’t actually be swept away because you have so many responsibilities and commitments. This is why I’m reticent to suggest doing something as major as pursuing a PHD, or starting a huge project like a homeless refuge or a touring rock band (it could happen!)
In a way, and not to detract from the meaning of your meaningful activity, you’re kind of just killing time until you can get married. So you need to be able to tie up the ends of the activity pretty quickly and move on into marriage season, when it makes itself available. This is controversial, but in my opinion it’s not the man’s job to give up all his stuff and move into your life – it works the other way around (sorry, but it’s true – it’s hard to swallow but it just works better that way). So be mindful of that.
4. Seek and submit to surrogate parents and elders
I touched on this in a previous post, and I think it’s a tad contentious – but in my experience I have found this to be a crucial part of getting me closer to marriage. It wasn’t until I sank into the loving care of some older women and couples who helped me heal from past hurts, and provide protective leadership for my dating scenarios, that I was able to actually pick myself up and feel supported in making good choices.
So many young women have basically cut ties with their parents these days. Women are living for themselves, by themselves, taking their own advice, and learning how to live from fictional characters like Carrie Bradshaw, Elizabeth Bennett, and Rachel Green. Not helpful. Believe it or not, your parents may have a smidge of wisdom to share with you, if you would lower yourself to receive it. And when it comes to relationships between men and women, older women have some good hard truths that can be pretty useful.
If your parents are really dysfunctional or absent, then sure, you may like to look elsewhere for the wisdom of the elders. Is there an older couple at your church or in your neighbourhood with whom you can build relationship? You need to be under a covering. If it’s not your parents, it needs to be someone else. I think a lot of Christian girls place themselves under the covering of their pastors (without realising it), which can be really good or really bad – depending on the pastors. Ha ha. Do they have your best interests at heart? Are they checking in on you? Are they holding you accountable? Do they give you plenty of time, and listen to you, and let you cry on their shoulder? Do they stand up for you, and protect you? Do they try to find good guys for you to date? Or are they just using you to do more church work or personal favours? And most importantly – are they women? Being mentored by a male pastor: a) is somewhat inappropriate; b) is frustrating because he doesn’t ‘get’ what you need; c) pointless because he will probably mentor you to become an awesome ‘male leader! Not what you want. (See my previous posts.)
There are so many benefits to being under the covering of good Christian parents or parent surrogates. Trust me, it will really help you in the dating scene because it will give you a place where you can be soft, vulnerable and feminine. You can take off your daily armour and ball-busting weaponry that you use to survive, and can actually just sit back and let someone else look after you for a bit. This will fill your feminine love tank and keep your heart nice and supple for your next date with Mr Right!
And believe it or not, there are tons of older Christian couples and older ladies out there who would just love to be utilised. They want to pass on their wisdom, and to take the young ones under their wing. See who’s around, and invite yourself into their world. Be vulnerable, be honest, and be humble. I’m sure they would love to have input into your life.
5. Improve your chances
Now I don’t want you to be waiting around forever. Unless you are totally fine being single for the foreseeable future (as some of you are), the aim of the game is for the wait to eventually be over, and for your knight in shining armour to crest the hill on his white steed and carry you off into the sunset. (Sigh.) So in the meantime, here are some pointers on how to improve your chances of this happening, and make the whole damn thing hurry up.
a. Change your context.
This is absolutely crucial. If you’ve been in the same church, the same social group, the same workplace, the same team (etc) for a long time, why do you think that all of a sudden something different is going to happen? It is extremely unlikely that Mr Right is going to swoop in out of nowhere and make you the luckiest girl in the world. I know, miracles can happen – but trust me, praying for Mr Right to turn up while wandering around in the same old desert is a huge waste of time – a commodity you don’t have.
Visit other churches. Join a different connect group. Start hanging out with other social groups (but don’t ditch all your friends). If you are 30+, I would suggest that you need to switch things up about every 6-12 months. If you’ve been in a setting for this amount of time and no good guys have asked you out, then it’s probably not going to happen. The thing is, in most cases a guy only has to meet you a few times to decide if he’s into you. Getting to know you on a deeper level over a few years is not going to make him more attracted to you (that’s not how guys work).
I know of two separate guys, both Christians, who saw girls they liked the look of working in a retail setting, and literally walked up to the counter and asked them out! They didn’t even know them! Now they are married to those girls. So it doesn’t take a guy long to know if he’s into you. Sometimes it’s just one look or one conversation. Thus, if you’ve been talking to a guy for months and he hasn’t started pursuing you, chances are he’s not going to. MOVE ON.
I’ve already posted about online dating, which is the obvious route. And yes, it’s hard and it’s annoying and you only get hit on by 50-yr old divorcees. Hmmm. But there are good guys out there online! They just have to find you! Try different sites, and don’t give up. Change your profile!!!!!! Find a killer combo of pic and bio that has the boys running.
You might even need to move to another city or country. How much do you want to get married? (If you do move overseas, perhaps think of somewhere not too far away. You don’t want your kids to be too far from their grandparents! Flights to NZ are fairly cheap…)
b. Improve your appeal.
You need to ensure that you are putting forward your ‘best’ self! Your best self is your healthiest, happiest, most vibrant, colourful and engaging self. It is not frazzled, burnt out, cynical, drab, overweight or scraggly.
- Get to a healthy weight, and try doing some strength training (eg. pump class, squats and weights, cross-fit, etc.) to tone those muscles. It really does make a difference to how you look in a nice dress.
- Buy some new clothes – bright, patterned, trendy, with a bit of ‘wow’ – but still you! A couple of pairs of good jeans, some basic good-quality T-shirts, a denim or leather jacket and a well-fitting coloured blazer, leather flats and boots, a pair of good heels, a couple of bright tops and one or two well-fitting dresses = success! Chuck out anything that is faded, has holes, is obviously no longer trendy, is worn, or is drab.
- Get a good handbag – preferably in leather. Black, brown, or white always works. Or it could be a trendy patterned or textured one. And if it’s a big one – please don’t jam it full of everything you need for the next two days, including the kitchen sink. Big hefty bags scream ‘bag lady’. You want to be cool, collected and streamlined. No fuss, no mess!
- Get your hair done - don’t stick to the same old look all the time. Change it up! Look at fashion magazines and ask the hairdresser what new style would suit you. And ‘do’ your hair everyday, or at least every time you go out to church, a party or an event. Invest in a hair straightener – learn how to use it.
- Wear some jewellery – but not too much. I like to wear big, colourful earrings or silver hoops. They’re a bit of a trademark. What’s yours?
- Wear make-up. Especially as you get older, a bit of natural-looking makeup is imperative. Foundation, blush, eye-shadow, eye-liner, mascara, and lipstick is all you need. I recommend getting a good quality foundation and lipstick, at least (I love Clinique foundation). Women lose their ‘colour’ as they age (hormones!) so you need to brighten up your face a bit. At the very least, some mascara and tinted lip gloss will go a long way.
- Get braces and whiten your teeth. This is an expensive thing to do, but if you have bad teeth, it’s vital. You could try Invisalign, which is a bit less intense and obvious. And teeth whitening strips or gel are as cheap as chips on eBay. Having a nice smile will make a HUGE difference to your appeal.
- Wear good perfume. A nice scent can go a LONG way with a man. My favourites are Coco Chanel Mademoiselle, Romance by Ralph Lauren, and La Vie Est Belle by Lancome. (Not that I can afford these anymore. Ha ha. But they do attract men!)
- Be accessible, be cool, be mysterious, and learn how to flirt. More on this in another post!
So there you have it - 5 tips in total for how to survive the wait for Mr Right to find you. And instead of sitting back with your chocolate and chips and whining about this post - why don’t you try one of the ideas? It could change your life! xo