Hi friends! A few days ago I had a chance to chat with Natalie Met Lewis in her great facebook group for single women. We talked all about being intentional with your dating life- you can catch the replay of our conversation if you request to join the group. We had fun, so we think you’ll enjoy it, too! =) And though we talked about a lot of topics, we mainly focused on setting some dating goals for the year. Here’s a little summary of what I shared…
Marriage and motherhood are often viewed as dreams that will just happen if/when they’re supposed to happen. Poof! Like magic! But what if we approached getting married as a series of small decisions that can be made with wisdom and God’s guidance? Could you write out some dating goals for the year that are in your control?
In case you need some suggestions of possible dating goals, I’ve listed some below. I’m going to categorize them as external goals and internal goals. After re-reading How to Get a Date Worth Keeping last fall (still love it, still highly recommend it), I was reminded of how Dr. Cloud categorizes things you can tweak in your dating life by whether they are external habits or internal habits. Sometimes simple changes in a person’s every day routines can lead to meeting a great person to date and marry. And other times a person needs to change some internal thought patterns or habits in order to become the kind of person that can meet and date quality people. In my own story, it was the changes I made in my external habits (like asking friends for set-ups or being more open/flirty) that brought to my attention the internal habits that were keeping me from getting asked out. I had to come face to face with my negative self talk and a lack of drive to work hard for something I really wanted. It was hard work, but I’m so glad God helped me through it. Yes, it led to me meeting Trav, but more importantly, God used my developing dating life to sanctify me and help me lay aside sin and unhealthy patterns. He used my dating life to develop my character, and I’m grateful.
Ok, so here is list of external goals you could set to make small tweaks to your dating life. Remember, you can to decide which ones would be wise for your life. There isn’t a one size fits all solution!
- Write out your dating story from when you had your first crush up to your most recent date. Do you notice any patterns?
- Pray for wisdom, dates, and a husband. Ask your friends/small group/church community to pray for your dating life.
- Let some trusted friends know that you want to be more intentional about your dating life. It’s good to gather a team of safe people around you who can cheer you on and help you persevere when the wait feels long and the work is hard.
- Meet a lot of new people. Set a number for the week if that will help you. This is square one that you will loop back to often in the dating process, and needing to start again does not mean you have failed. It is wise to meet a lot of people as you decide who to marry. It will allow you to learn about yourself and find out what kind of man you work best with.
These next few ideas will all help with the goal of meeting new people:
- Smile more
- Make eye contact
- Talk to people when you’re out and about. When you’re in line at Starbucks, ask the person behind you if they’ve tried that new drink on the menu. If the person next to you on the bus is reading a book, ask what they think of it. If you’re hanging out at a coffee shop, ask the cute guy at the table next to you to watch your stuff while you use the restroom. All you’re doing is creating a moment that can open up a conversation. If you want to meet someone, you have to talk to him!
- Ask friends about potential set-ups. Consider asking friends that are not in your inner circle. You probably know everyone they know, so you need to ask friends and acquaintances that have friends and family you haven’t met before. Check out this post for some help with set-ups!
- Try a new activity each month at your church or in your community
- Get out to where the people are! Finding someone to Netflix and chill with will require a season of getting out into the world instead of being home every night.
- Read at a coffee shop for a couple hours instead of reading at home.
- Go to that party even though you only know a few people.
- Sit somewhere new at church now and then.
- Embrace the meet and greet time during church as a chance to focus on someone else as you meet him/her and practice being light and breezy as you smile and say hello.
- Host casual get togethers at your house as a way to build community and encourage others. Tell your friends to bring new people, too!
- Take intentional breaks from actively meeting new people when you sense that you need to rest.
Internal goal ideas:
- Pay attention to patterns in how you react to dating situations
- What thoughts cross your mind when you meet new men?
- How do you view God as you pray about marriage?
- Does a fear of looking desperate keep you from getting proactive in your dating life?
- What does your process look like when you get rejected or things don’t work out the way you were hoping?
- Set aside time to journal about your experiences with some of the external activities listed above. Maybe even start with just asking yourself how you feel as you read this post. Do these changes feel impossible? Do you feel hopeless? Why?
- Talk to your trusted friends about the things you start to notice about your process.
And then even after you feel like you’ve tried all the things and met all the people…
- Repeat. Many of these things will need to be done again and again. And again. Press on! Rest when you need to. Keep praying. And then keep going.
There are so many other things we could add to these lists! Hopefully these ideas get you thinking of wise ways for you to put effort into your dating life this year. And might I point out something? All of these ideas have lots of cool outcomes- yes, you could meet a great man to date, but so many other cool things could happen too! You may meet some interesting people that become friends, maybe you’ll have great conversations that add to the beauty of your life, you may grow in your ability to be hospitable, you will encourage others in their lives, your prayer life may expand and cause you to draw closer to Jesus, and you can have fun doing new things! I like to say that having an intentional dating life looks like living an abundant life for Jesus with a small emphasis on reminding yourself to be on the lookout for men of good character to flirt with. 😉