Milk and Honey Magazine article: Manly Advice on Waiting for 'The One' for Christian women/men to wait for the right relationship!

A Man's Take on Waiting for 'The One'

Anonymous (single) man

A wise man once said: “When you're young everything feels like the end of the world. But it's not; it's just the beginning. You might have to meet a few more jerks, but one day you're gonna meet a boy who treats you the way you deserve to be treated. Like the sun rises and sets with you.”

…Okay, okay, this was a quote from Zac Efron’s character Mike O’Donnell in the HIGHLY UNDERRATED film 17 Again, but the point still resonates: not every man (or in my case, woman) you go out with is going to be the home-run, “I could have married them the next week” type of person. So riddle me this, intended audience of 20-somethings, why do we keep acting like that’s the way our story is going to play out?

My mom and dad met in college. They were both in a business fraternity, and my father recalls one of the first times he saw my mom: she was giving a presentation in front of the entire fraternity. It was 1983, so I’m sure my mom was dressed to the nines (I’m thinking Sigourney Weaver Working Girl style, super professional), talking some amazing business jargon, because my mom is a certified BOSS. My dad leaned over to his buddy in the audience and whispered… “I pity the man who marries that woman!” By some volatile combination of God and mutual friends, they started dating soon after, and have been together since ’85.

What does this rom-com worthy anecdote have to do with us single folk in 2017? I think it’s a solid reminder to not let our expectations dictate how we look for love. Especially in Christian communities, I feel like the concept of marriage can be shoved down our throats a bit, creating this sense of urgency to find our perfect Godly man/woman to settle down with. I’ve met some amazing Godly women who I’ve hit it off with right away, and almost immediately, those thoughts start creeping in: “Is this the one? Did God finally bring her around?” It’s difficult to go on dates with someone, get to know them, and simultaneously plan an imaginary wedding, honeymoon, and kitchen backsplash together.

Readers, I’m not writing this to you as a happily married man. I’m a single 23-year-old graduate student, watching from the pews as my friends and classmates are marrying and starting lives together. Luckily, I have been guided by own (mis)adventures in dating to place of comfort, and hopefully to a place where I can encourage some of you who are in a similar situation.

How to Wait for “The One”

1. Surrender Completely… to God’s Will

As a single person, a trap that I tend to fall into is micromanaging my love life. Heck, it’s the rest of my life with someone, why shouldn’t I have the final say? I think Jesus says it best in Matthew: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:23, NIV). The older I get, the more I feel like staying single becomes a more pressing issue, but scripture like this keeps me centered, surrendered to God’s will in my life. God might bring someone into my life tomorrow… maybe when I’m 40 … maybe marriage isn’t in His plan for my life!

Who am I to question the plan of the creator of the first couple in human history? Humbling ourselves before God allows us to continue working to further His kingdom, trying to make sense of His will for our love life can be a major distraction from the rest of our life!

2. Practice Patience… Enjoy Dating

Have you been seeing a guy that’s got you goo-goo eyed? Congratulations! As fun it might be, don’t go imagining the wedding bells quite yet, enjoy the moment! If marriage is in God’s plan for you and your new beau, it will happen! In the meantime, enjoy the time you get to spend adventuring together, they are memories that could last for the rest of your life together. Still playing the field? No worries! There is still so much to enjoy from the process of dating, exclusively or otherwise.

That’s why I fully endorse the idea of creative dates: even if the relationship doesn’t work out in the long-run, there are still some amazing experiences to be had! From my experience, strong feelings make it incredibly hard to practice patience, but it can work to your benefit. As romantic as it may feel to rush heart-first into love, it may not give us the result we like to see in the movies.

3. Love Yourself… Honor Your Body

When it comes to my own experience with dating, this is one of things I regret the most: I failed to honor the body God has given me. I feel like every high school youth group at some point projects 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 on a wall, telling their teens that their “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,” and that “God bought you with a high price.” In my story, rushing into love pushed this commandment to the wayside, under the feelings of what I always thought was love. Then the relationship would end, and I was stuck with the guilt of damaging my own purity, and that of another sister in Christ. I am forever grateful for the amazing forgiveness of our God, but this is still a scar that lays heavy on my heart.

When two Godly people are in a relationship together, I think creating a culture of boundaries and transparency is SUPER IMPORTANT. Lust uses people in different ways, and being able to set boundaries within a relationship can make for an awkward conversation, but ultimately can save all involved from a lot of potential pain. Even if you’re not seeing anyone right now, continuing to value the body you’ve been given is equally important! Satan doesn’t reserve lust just for God-fearing couples, knowing how to address these temptations is a great first step to loving the temple God has given you.

4. Revel in Friendship...Be Young!

Unlike the plot of 17 Again, we truly can only be young once (as much as I would kill to be reincarnated as Zac Efron). Like I said previously, our love life (I mean, our whole life) is in God’s hands, so why sweat the small stuff? Live it up! I spent far too much of my time between the ages of 18 and 22 actively searching for the love of my life, and it made me miss out on a lot of amazing friendships and other experiences. Even when I was dating someone, I got so tied up in trying to solidify the rest of my life with someone that I forgot to ENJOY the time I was currently spending them! When you’re living life unattached, community and friendships can be one of your biggest allies.

While spending time alone can be great, these were the times where I tended to get the loneliest for companionship. Singleness can put some serious blinders on us, making us think that the only kind of love we need is that from a romantic partner. Wrong!

No matter if you’re single, dating, or married, the love and support of friends is something that should never be abandoned. Friends are an amazing source of empathy, support, and guidance for any stage of life. And you never know, God’s plan might grow a friendship into something more!

Full disclosure: I’ve never written something like this before… ever! I’ve made a whole mess of mistakes when it comes to dating and love, but through it all have been shown an incredible amount of grace. God is the ultimate example of love, and being a follower of Christ is an opportunity to learn how to love from the best! As cliché as it sounds, making God the love of our life should be our true priority, and if God blesses you with an awesome, Godly spouse someday… all glory to Him! Continuing to grow a relationship with the Lord through prayer and fellowship is how I have set my eyes towards God’s will for my life, instead of becoming preoccupied with waiting around for a romantic connection.