Have you ever thought to yourself, “How will I ever find the right person? So much has to line up and it’s just not happening.”
I was at that point, too. Until I finally realized that I was doing the whole dating thing WRONG. And you might be too. Just to get down to the point: I’m encouraging you to read the book, True Love Dates (TLD). I read it, started doing what it said, found an amazing man — and married him.
But TLD didn’t simply “find me a husband” – instead, it changed my whole life for the better, and opened my eyes to the things I needed to change in me.
It’s the #1 book I recommend to singles as a must read because if you follow the wisdom in it, I promise your whole life will change for the better.
I was hating the dating scene, frustrated, and losing hope. I even wrote in my journal…
Lord, please help me be at peace with my current situation of singleness. At times, it is difficult to feel that sense of peace. My focus seems to shine on everyone around me who has a significant other. This comparison trap causes me to feel inadequate and I know that is a lie and that I should not be persuaded into NOT trusting the plan you have for me. I feel really lonely. I just want to know that I will find the right person for me, but I guess that’s where trusting you comes in. Ugh, why is that so hard???
Today, I’m married to a fun, loving, Godly man who isn’t “the man of my dreams”, but above and beyond that! Here’s a glimpse of the vows I wrote to my husband at our recent wedding…
Ian, today is my favorite day, not only because I get to marry you, but because it’s one of those days we all long for. The day you stand in awe of the gift God has given you, you now understand why things happened the way they did, you look back and know why certain doors closed and others opened and why the uncomfortable preparation phase was necessary for you to go through to receive your gift…and most of all, you’re reminded of the faithfulness of God. It’s the best feeling in the world to know that you serve a God who loves you and always has your best in mind. You’re my best, my best friend, the best answer to my prayer, and one of the best men I know.
GETTING FROM A to B
A lot of us out there would love to avoid stage A and go straight to stage B, but like anything the “hard stage” helps create the results we want. For me, my hard stage of singleness brought me closer to God, led me to True Love Dates, and helped me become the right person in order to find the right person. I followed 3 key concepts from TLD.
1. DATING INWARD
In True Love Dates, Debra describes dating inward as shifting your focus from “who you are with” to “who you are”. When I came across TLD, I was also listening to Pastor Andy Stanley who offered advice that aligned with True Love Dates. Pastor Andy Stanley said focus on becoming the person that the person you are looking for is looking for.
That got me thinking…what was I even looking for?
As silly as it sounds I focused so much on finding this wonderful person that I didn’t even think about what would make that person so wonderful and who I would have to be for that wonderful person to want to be with me.
As a life and career coach, I’ve seen many on the hunt without a clear idea of what they’re hunting for. My clients get so focused on finding the “right job,” but don’t know what would make a job the right job for THEM. So how do they find it? They don’t until they surrender up the search, pause, reflect on who THEY really are, what their values are, and how they would like to contribute to the world and the experiences they would like to have. Doing all this helps them become the person they want to be and find a path they’re proud to be on.
So that’s what I did! I surrendered and paused the “search”, started creating a vision for my life by journaling my desires, began pursuing opportunities to do what I loved, and spent more time with God. I started becoming the person I wanted to be and trusted that while doing that God would lead me to the person he wanted me to be with and he did! Read more about this process in section one of TLD.
“If you don’t know who you are – you won’t be able to recognize the kind of person who fits into your life” (TLD)
2. DATING OUTWARD
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”~Proverbs 29:18
Before you date outward, get that vision down! Write down what you’re looking for in a spouse beyond just looks. As I tell my coaching clients, it’s important to be clear about what you don’t want and what you do want so you’ll know when you find it.
I did the “Red, Yellow, Green List” activity Debra describes in TLD. For the red list, I wrote down traits I’d never allow myself to settle for in a partner. Red means STOP. For the yellow list, I wrote down traits I’d rather not have in a partner or unknowns I would need to explore more about. Yellow means PROCEED WITH CAUTION. For the green list, I wrote down traits I desired and dreamed about in a partner. Green means GO! I even prayed daily for my future spouse asking God to help him become who he wanted him to be.
Two months after writing down my list, I actually met my husband for the first time. But this time, I knew what I was looking for. It was in a very unexpected, fun way that God no doubt played a role in. He met everything on my green list and more! When confessing to him what I thought was “weird,” (that whole making a list thing), he showed me a list he had made and said I was everything on his list and more. God is so good! He asks that we make our desires known. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”~Philippians 4:6
3. DATING UPWARD
This is the stage of “dating” that often gets forgotten. But if Jesus is your priority you will never have to worry about anything else. Make him the center of your life and pursue him the best you know how and he will take care of the details.
When I read this in TLD, I thought if I truly trust God and pursue him, there is no reason to worry about not finding the right person or not having enough. Fear of missing out won’t even exist because I know there is no way I could miss out on the plans God has for me if I keep my eyes on him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”~Proverbs 3:5-6
After getting clear about who I was and what I desired, I focused on strengthening my relationship with God, reading biblical wisdom daily, praying, talking about God, and doing work that honored him. I built my relationship with Him. I felt so much peace just letting go of control and trusting him. Read more about Dating Upward in Section 3 of TLD.
In TLD, Debra talks about a dating triangle, where at the base of the triangle is you on one corner and your significant other on the other corner and God at the top point. As you date upward and pursue God more, you become closer to your significant other. Fixing your eyes on Jesus and the plans he has for you will bring you closer to finding the right person as it did for me. I met my husband shortly after applying the concepts in TLD, he proposed two years later, and a year after that we got married on an absolutely beautiful day outside his grandparents barn.
TO SUM IT UP
It’s normal to feel anxious as you are desiring a significant other and not seeing it happen yet. God asks you to be driven by faith instead of fear. Let go of working so hard to find someone or make it happen and focus on becoming the right person. Seek God’s will for your life and pray that everything you do honors him. Make your desires known to him and trust that God loves you and wants the best for you. Live with excitement because God is working to make you who he wants you to be and lead the right partner to you.
Angela Barnard is a life coach, yoga teacher, and all-around health enthusiast with a mission to help people maximize their lives and do work that is really meaningful to them. She shares tips to improve your life over at simplymaximize.life.