Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Met My Man On Twitter & I'm Writing You a How-To Guide On Dating

Hearts are messy places, and when you try to merge two of them, it tends to turn two human beings into living, walking wreckage.

I really shouldn't be writing a How-To Guide on dating, seeing as the man I'm dating I met on Twitter, and our first 30 days together in person have been 30 days on a road-trip to nowhere.

I don't recommend this for everyone. Unless you want your first child to be a carplant that you name Howard and like waking up with no idea what city you'll be sleeping (or showering) in that night. I happen to want this a lot, but I understand that I'm "special."

But seriously. I believe that truths come over time, and they are to be learned in all places in all things.

And I've realized in the last 24 hours that I can tell you exactly how to land yourself a good man and a good relationship:

You let God do it.

(And you stop selling yourself short.)

You can't follow steps 1-10 and waltz through a neat little structure of dating rules, and find yourself in love. But you can cling whole heartedly to truth and fight for what you desire most.

My inbox is yet again full of girls and women who are asking me for relationship advice, and wrestling through some of the most both painful and apathy-ridden scenarios I could stage for you. And every single time I feel under-equipped and hypocritical in all of my answers.

But, in my mind, the years of confusion, frustration, high highs and low lows that I went through happened in order to put truth and empathy in my heart and hands. And I'll be damned if I waste all that pain and exasperation.

So, here goes.

1. Stop telling me that there are no good men left. What you're really saying is, "I know he's out there, but I can't find him, and I'm tired of being lonely." And about half of you are using that as a free pass to being less of the woman you could be, because you don't have a good man in your life. I know you're doing this because I've done it too. Stop saying this, and you'll find him. There are exceptions to everything, but it's much easier to find a good man when you're not swearing against them all.



2. You don't have to choose between What You Want and What You Need. If you are dating who you want but not who you need, you've either bought into the no-strings-attached ticking time bomb, or you've traded what you're worth for immediate satisfaction. And if you are dating who you need but not what you want, chances are you don't actually know what you need. Because what you need is a man who is everything you need AND want.

3. Give it back to God. I've always hated when people told me this. For me, giving a relationship to God always meant breaking up with a guy. Usually, this is an easy way for someone in the church to guilt you into singleness solely to get you to put a stop to the "ultimate sin": having sex. Or it's an easy way for someone to pat a desperate single woman on the head and say, "Well, God just has to fix a few things first in your life before he can bring you the perfect man." No. What I mean is that your future marriage will fail and fail hard if you don't put it in God's hands, so you're much better off learning how to keep your heart and someone else's in God's hand while you're still dating. Or still single. This isn't about changing things, it's about deciding to want what God wants and believing with your body, mind and soul that what he wants is good. The exact kind of good that you want more than anything else in the world. Your God is pro-relationship. He wants that for you.

5. Everyone is allowed a no-strings-attached period of time. No. This is a lie. And it will wreck you. I would have given a limb for someone to walk up to me on the street at a very specific point in my life and just say, "no strings attached is a lie." Sex can either build or destroy - and it will do one or the other, not both. If you are sleeping with a man who is everything you want but not everything you need - or the other way around - get out. You're destroying yourself from the inside out. No more justification, logic, thought, giving-it-more time, excuses, or trying-to-work-it-out. Close your eyes and rip off the band-aid. Today.

6. You're single because God is still fixing you. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you're single because the timing just isn't right. For him, or for you, or for one of any 238520 possible life variables. I dislike this statement because it implies that you are more broken than you should be. And if you're on year three, seven, or ten of being single, this is devastating to believe. I've noticed that it begins to create brokenness that isn't actually there, "because it must be." The truth is that everyone is broken. And you don't need "fixing." You just need God, and the life he's already got planned for you. And God has a life-altering, fireworks-on-display, crazy-love plan for you -- which will come precisely when he wants it to.

7. I can save him. (Or I can fix him. Or he'll change.) Thanks to Max, I can end this entire discussion with his words on the subject: "You must run at the same pace. Otherwise, you will either slow the other down, or be slowed down." Life is too short. Date someone who is running at the same pace as you, or it will end up being very detrimental to someone's life. Also, don't pardon stuff like this. Yes, people can change, but you don't want to be the one responsible for making it happen. Plus, I'm a woman, and I really just don't feel like training a man. Not my job.

8. If he's not crazy about you, it's not going to work. I'm not married, and you could probably find some sub-par, dispassionate men that will get you 30 years of commitment and a wedding band, but after reading dozens and dozens of submissions to the Good Women Project, and investing some serious time speaking with married women this year, I'm pretty confident in my statement. My previous relationships back this up statement up too. Besides, when it comes down to it, do you really have what you want right now? Date a man who is crazy about you. Puh-lease.

9. If you don't respect him, it's not going to work. That's it. If you don't brag about him, respect the decisions he's making, love the man he is, and trust the way he sees the world, you'll end up with a mess of problems that will raise up a mess of pain.

10. Make it God's problem. Stop thinking about how to make it work, or how to find the man you want to marry. Tell God it's his responsibility, and be done with it. Every single time I tried to figure out how I would find the right guy within my parameters of my environment, combined with the statistics of good men left that worked against me, I would immediately become overwhelmed, give up, and start making bad decisions. But when I removed myself from my daily life and reminded myself that God will give me an incredible man, I could live, breathe & move again. Make the mental decision to trust God stubbornly for this. And live it out.

- - -

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25 comments:

Joy Eggerichs said...

I personally love #9. (-: I think it's so important to not lie to yourself on this issue either if you are lonely. Feeling like their wife respects them is SO important to men. So if you feel like you love him but want to change him...he will know and feel very de-energized by your "trying to change him." Love what Lauren said. You should be bragging about him!

Jamie Lane said...

Uh-greed. I did the no-strings-attached thing and it tore me apart inside. Not at the time, but later, I paid for it.
I dated all the wrong guys, knowing they were the wrong guys, and I gave them years of my life...knowing they were wrong for me. Why did I do that? Madness.
I crumbled one month. Everything crumbled. I didn't want to be in control of my life anymore and I gave whatever I had in me to God in January 2008. I gave him whatever it was I was calling "mine" and I begged for him to take over where I left off.
I swore off boys. I told everyone in my whole world that I was done with boys for awhile. And I made a list. A list of everything I NEEDED and WANTED in a man.
I kid you not, two weeks later I met my future husband in the most random way. Three months into our relationship I asked God, "Could this be...?" and his answer was a very definite and unquestionable YES.
My list? He met every single one of them. Every. single. one.
We'll be married two years this May. I can't even find the words to explain what God has done in us in those two years. But it has been amazing and difficult and...amazing, I already said that didn't I?
SO YES,
1) Give God control.
AND YES,
2) Wait for a man that is crazy about you and in whom you know you will RESPECT.

Steph said...

This made me cry. Because for weeks I've been fighting the truths you just laid out. I was always so down to just wait on God because He is good and perfect and His plan is better than anything I could ever picture for myself...but when you get in too deep, in your own timing, not God's, it's really REALLY hard to get out...to just walk away. And that's where I am. Stuck. In quicksand. And not sure what to do. Or how.

Becca said...

I <3 #s 7 & 10. A lot. With my small group girls, on the night that I did the lesson, one of the things I read was about how you should run after God, and when you hear footsteps, look over to see who's running next to you. :)

Also, carplant Howard is quite cute. :P

And "I can change him" reminds me of the joke that on the wedding day, some women see "I'll alter him" instead of "aisle, altar, him." Heh.

Emmy said...

I wish more people would tell girls #6. Can you believe that I've seen a book (in the Christian section of the store) called "How To Avoid The Ten Mistakes Single Women Make." I'm dead serious. It makes me so upset when people say that a girl will win a guy when she has A + B + C all put together and that's when she's "ready" for a relationship.

Well... for a girl who hasn't had a "boyfriend" since she was 14 (I'm 24 now, and you can hardly count that one as a "relationship") - that MUST mean something is wrong with me and that's why I don't have a guy. That can be incredibly hurtful. I can't tell you the tears I've shed and the conversations I've had with my friends lamenting that something must be wrong with me, and that's why I haven't had a boyfriend.

I still have those moments - but they are becoming fewer and fewer. With God's help (and him speaking through my AMAZING friends) I'm slowly learning that it's not because something is wrong with me. He simply has a different plan for me than he does for others. He has a different plan for everyone.

Just me said...

Thank you so much for this. 2 and 7 particularly spoke to me, and I followed it up with 10. I've prayed about this before, but tonight I gave it to God. Just gave it to Him.

Thanks Lauren :)

kathryn-louisa said...

This is just brilliant - there's so much truth and honesty to it, as with everything you write.

Thank you for somehow knowing exactly what I needed to hear.

X

jana.kaye said...

Dear Lauren, love this list. I'm not entirely sure I can believe in it, but I love the hope it represents.

Keep writing and sharing!

Amy said...

I love this....and I think it applies to people really wanting to start a family as well....give it to God and make it His responsibility....He's good for it!!!

kay morrison said...

hi lauren-
God is writing a fabulous story in you and max. super excited to meet you when y'all come through denver!

Karencilla said...

Lauren, thanks so much for writing this. You have no idea how this has made me kind of breath again.

I need to really do #2 and #10.
Thanks.

Jennee said...

Love this post! #6 is so true!

acp1004 said...

Lauren, I don't know why I'm still amazed, but I am. Your ability to write about exactly what is on my heart is weird, but I love it. I've really been struggling with this issue the last few weeks,being single right now is not so fun. Thanks for writing about this and being so honest.
I know if I needed to hear this, then someone else did too. :)

Amy said...

Goodness! This post was amazing. I'm so glad I stopped by to read it. This past week has felt very lonely for me. My dating life has been crappy lately and just this month I've watched 3 close friends get engaged to the men of their dreams. But this post made me happy. Thanks for being awesome! :)

kaleigh said...

Love this. So many women (myself included) need to hear this. We're all broken, every one of us. And the idea of running at the same place? Thank you so much for sharing.

Whaley Bear said...

I am a 29 years old, God trusting stubborn woman whose heart has not been handled well lately but thank you for reminding me Who loves me the most and want nothing but Forever Love for me!

Nisha - Malaysia

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of these things could be true for some people in some situations. I would not call them truths and yet you do. Why do you think you know what is truth and what isn't?

I think your "truths" could be very detrimental for many people taking your "advise."

Alyce said...

I met my boyfriend on Twitter as well. :) Actually, 90% of this looks like recently-learned lessons in my own life. You've got yourself a new follower. Thanks for sharing.

moweezle said...

Great post! I can't even tell you how many times people have used #6 on me, and I agree... it can be disappointing. After a looooong time of waiting, I've finally got to #10 and that's it. (except for some in-between bad days when I revert back to THOSE thoughts)

Krysten @ After 'I Do' said...

Totally totally agree with #8. I spent way too much time with guys that weren't totally crazy about me (or that I wasn't crazy about). It's better to be with someone who is nuts in love with you and you feel the same way back!

Joseph Fusco said...

Beautiful advice, well-crafted. And all of it true. I validate this as a 47-year old man who learned it all the hard way and is now with an amazing woman who could have written this post, too.

Well done.

LCR said...

i just stumbled over here from Kristie's blog and read your "about me" section. You are an eloquent writer; "I think women should be an asset not a liability". It's neat finding people with similar states-of-mind here in blog land:) I can't wait to come back and read more when I have more time... a follower now!
xo

Ab said...

You are adorable. If your road trip with your love brings you to California, please please let me take your photos. I love your writing. It makes my heart happy.

Ab said...

....ok, so I just wanted to add that I just got lost in you and your mans blogs for a longgg time, and I realized he is actually FROM CA. {I hadn't read more then a few posts before} So, for real, please, I want to take photos of your love someday if you make it to SF or move to LA. Your story is beautiful and I love your spirit. :)

Also, this links to my baby blog, but you can see my photos at www.abiqblog.com

Kaylee said...

I just stumbledupon your blog, and it has drilled so much needed truth into my life. Especially for this entry, number 6 hits my heart. Thank you thank you. Your blog makes my heart soar. =)

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