Dear Single: Don’t Settle!

In Dating, Relationships, Single by Debra Fileta

My husband and I were out for our Valentine’s day date a couple years ago.  We were starving- and lucky for us we had planned to eat at our favorite fancy-shmancy restaurant.  We got a sitter, got all dressed up, and headed over to our destination- ready to have a night to ourselves, enjoy each others company…and frankly, ready to eat!!

Upon arriving we got some unfortunate news- there was a 2 hour wait- and we hadn’t made reservations.  Two hours??  It was worth the wait, we both determined, and took a seat on the only open bench in the place.

An HOUR later,  we were getting desperately hungry.  We happened to notice the restaurant next door was seating guests instantly.  Our growling stomachs could wait no more.  In our fancy clothes, we waltzed our way across the street and settled for the food we could see, touch, and taste here and now. Though our taste buds didn’t get the thrill of their life- sometimes, it’s alright to settle.


But there are also times when settling can bring major pain, disappointment, and long-term consequences. 

I get emails and questions all the time from people who have settled.  Not for a restaurant, a job, or a car…but settling in a relationship.  Men and women who are wondering if it’s even possible to meet their “ideal mate”, wondering if that ideal mate actually even exists- or if they’re just being too picky.

Maybe they’ve waited and waited to find someone to spend the rest of their lives with- and they’re sick of waiting.  Or maybe, they’ve invested so much time and energy into an “okay” relationship that they can’t even imagine the prospect of starting all over again in search for the right relationship.

Is it okay to “settle”? Or should you believe that there is something better out there for you? 

I struggled with that question for many years of my life.  I remember one particular day, sitting on my bed in my college dorm room, tears streaming down my face, with a crumpled piece of paper in my hand.  Almost 4 years before that day I had written a list of the things I would never settle for in a relationship. Here I was years later, looking down at my list- realizing that I was settling for the second year in a row in a relationship that I knew in my heart was not what I truly desired.  I struggled to believe that God could really provide for all the things He had placed on my heart 4 years ago.  I struggled at the thought of starting all over again.  What if this is as good as it gets?

I am so thankful that God gave me the wisdom and the courage to finally say NO to the relationship I found myself in, and moved me forward toward what was best for my life (check out my full story, here).  I had to get over the fears that had taken root in my heart- fear of failure, of confessing my mistakes, and of feeling once again alone.

But God used that time in my life as an opportunity to rely on Him, and trust Him with my future more than I ever thought imaginable.  He changed me and loved on me- reminding me that I was worth so much more than my relationship status.  Fast forward 10 years- now that I am married to the man that I love with all my heart, I look back with regret that I spent so much time afraid to really trust God, wasting time in a relationship that was “okay” instead of living God’s best story for my life.

I wasted my time, and I wasted his- ultimately because I failed to trust God.  Ultimately, because I settled.

No matter where you are at on your journey of finding true love, remember this one thing, when you do things God’s way: God is able to do more than you could ever ask or imagine in your life and in your relationships God created marriage to be seen as a blessing and a gift, not as an obligation…it is to be pursued with confidence, not with fear.  Because whatever you experience through dating, will be exponentially magnified through marriage.  If you are having doubts maybe it’s time to take a look at your list and determine what you will never settle for.  Have a talk with God, and then make a list of the majors in your life that are most important to you.

Remember, there is a difference between majors and minors in a relationship, read this post on Majors and Minors to know the difference.  But at the end of the day, seek to pursue a 10 out of 10 when it comes to the things that REALLY matter.  It may sound obvious, but marriage is for a lifetime…so marry someone who you want to spend the rest of your life with.

It’s time to trust your gut, and trust your heart, but most importantly….trust your God. 

No matter what anyone says…Don’t settle for anything less.

[Additional resources: How to Know What You Want/Need in a Relationship: Chapter 5 in True Love Dates]

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 100+ articles at Relevant Magazine or! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter