Hi my name is Ellie and I loved being single.
While I was single, I really left my heart out on the dance floor. I gave it my all. And, by the time I met my husband, I could literally say that I had done everything that I wanted to do as a single person. Including collecting an incredible amount of… well let’s just say interesting… dating stories.
Here’s one of my personal favorites. And, yes, this is real...
Once upon a time, there was a guy that I met and we instantly hit it off. I thought we were eventually going to date. Then there was a major plot twist. Wait for it…
He got married to Jesus. You heard me. He had an official ceremony and then posted all about it online. He went so far as getting a wedding ring tattooed on his ring finger. That’s weird, right?
All hopes, dreams, attraction… gone in one quick instant. Needless to say, things didn’t work out.
Unfortunately, this is one of the more PG rated experiences I’ve had when it comes to dating. There’s so much more where that came from. But, we don’t have time for that here.
What I really want to share with you is the major lessons I’ve learned as a woman newly entering her 30’s that transitioned from singleness into marriage over the last year.
Here are my top four tips for successfully dating for marriage...
I’ve seen the wild panic in some people's eyes as they approach 30 and are still single. I can totally sympathize. But, let’s believe it’s going to be okay. No one ever died due to singleness that I know of. Even if, hypothetically, you remain single for eternity, you are the one who determines if you will live an epic life or if you will stay inside with the cats (that you don’t yet own) forever.
Societal expectations created by social media, movies, TV and even Christian culture can make us think we need to be further along in the processes of life than we currently are. This is toxic for relationships and your own personal wellbeing. Truth is, we don’t have to be at a certain point by a certain time. We can inadvertently stress our relationships (or lack thereof) out by being freaked out by these factors.
Take a deep breath. Have confidence in God’s plan and timing. Trust that, no matter how pro-active or in-active you are on the dating scene, He is going to fulfill His will for your life. Do what you can, but trust God with the rest.
Dating is one of the best ways to learn, grow and figure out more about who we are. If you think about it, every relationship has taught you more about yourself. That is an invaluable thing. Not even bad dates like the one I had with the guy who married Jesus are for nothing. When a relationship doesn’t work out, we don’t fail, we learn.
Chalk it all up to a good experience, be grateful for the chance to grow and move along. When people exit your life, they are making room for the one person that it will work out with. He will be epic and worth the wait and all the bad experiences (and GREAT bad date story material).
If you are confused about your identity and dating, you are like a loaded cannon. You are going to hurt people with your indecisiveness. Let’s be honest, you will even hurt yourself. That’s why I’m a huge advocate for being single for a little while in order to figure out who you are.
So, be grounded in your identity personally and as a daughter of God. Be strategic and intentional. Check in and see how you are doing physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Know how you grow, what your triggers are, what you do and don’t like. Make this a regular practice. You have to figure these things out for yourself. No one else can do this for you.
Being grounded and aware will make you more secure and, in turn, improve every relationship in your life. After all, if you don’t know yourself, how can you help others know you?
You are so valuable. Your calling in life is huge. Single ladies, it’s not worth it to settle for someone who isn’t bringing the best out in you, and vice versa.
It’s easy to get on social media and think, “I’m not like that,” “Their relationship looks so great and happy,” “Things would be better if_____.” The list is never ending.
Stop it! Get off social media if you need to. You have been given one life. It’s unique and no one else’s. This season was given to you for a reason. Don’t waste time wishing it away.
Dating with the intention to marry someone is, for sure, countercultural. It’s fun and exciting, but there’s also a component of character, faith, intentionality and commitment that carries a lot of weight. So, for all you ladies still dating and looking for Mr. Right, I hope you take these lessons that I had to learn the hard way and begin to apply them to your beautiful season of life. Calm down, put everything into perspective, know who God created you to be, and stop comparing your story to someone else's. When you do these things, you will experience all God has in store for your present dating life, which prepares you for the marriage relationship He has in store for your future.
Good luck ladies. I’m in your corner!
Kaley Rivera Thompson is an author, copywriter, public speaker, and musician. She serves as the Director of Communications and Donor Relations for the student sports-centric nonprofit she and her husband, Gage, run called Twelve. When she's not championing other women, cheering on the rising generation, writing or playing her guitar, Kaley loves to sip strong coffee, go on hikes, or take a day trip to the mountains with her family. She takes the most pride in being a mom to two little girls, Lina and Lili. You can follow her on instagram at @kriverathompson or find out more on her website at kriverathompson.com.