Why I am now 32, single, and still a virgin

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My 32nd birthday was this past week. And I realized I have so much to be grateful for. While I spent it sick in bed, in a weird way it made me appreciate my health and all the times I take for granted being well and feeling great.

So according to my childhood self, does my life look the way I thought it would at 32? Not.at.all. Society almost dictates when we should be in a relationship, a marriage. Maybe it’s because of our childbearing years. But I’m not married. And I don’t have kids. But these years have been some of the best years of my life, each year better than the last.

My family. Friends. My education. Career. Politics. Blogging and ministry. And most importantly, my relationship with God. Could I have achieved all that I have with a guy and/or kids in the picture? Maybe. But there is something to be said for what Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 7 (MSG):

To be married… to be single…

Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others… And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life… The really important thing is obeying God’s call, following his commands.

 All I am saying is that when you marry, you take on additional stress in an already stressful time, and I want to spare you if possible. I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God. I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.

 So let me tell you why I am single. It’s not because I hate men. It’s not because I’m too picky. It’s not because I never want to get married. It’s because I value marriage and I know exactly what I’m looking for. I’m not willing to settle. I’d rather be single, pursuing the dreams God has placed in my heart rather than in a relationship that pulls me away.

At the end of the day, I’ve come to the point where I really don’t care anymore. I’ve spent so much time wondering where, when, or how I’ll meet the right guy because that’s what girls my age do. Sure, I’ve done other things with my time but this has always been in the back of my mind. How much do I need to invest in finding my future spouse? What is my role? But I’m tired. I’m just tired. I don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t want to miss the gift of singleness because I’m so focused on the gift of marriage. I want to spend time on my blog, with my family, growing, learning, and giving back. There’s just something so selfish about feeling like I need to find a guy “because I’m not getting any younger.” But honestly, whether I’m single the rest of my life or I end up getting married, I will only be happy if I’m living my life for God. And fortunately for me, I can do that right here, right now, forever.

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Concern versus control- 25 ways to tell the difference

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I’m finally able to finish and wrap up my posts centered on abuse. For some reason I couldn’t finish but now I can. This one is hard to learn and navigate because I’m so independent. How do you know if someone is genuinely concerned for you or is just trying to control you?

Getting out of an abusive relationship can be difficult and dangerous. You sure you didn’t do something to make him mad? He looks so sad. Forgive and forget. When you love someone- you stay with them through the bad stuff and you know why they do what they do (their childhood, etc.) so you excuse their behavior. We forget it’s possible to forgive and still leave. We forget it’s possible to still love and say no more. You don’t allow yourself to keep being abused.

A simple internet search shows us signs of abuse. Does your boyfriend act in ways that scare you, does he act jealous or possessive, does he try to control you or need to know where you are at all times, does he check your email, phone messages, or texts? Does he tell you what to wear or make you change your clothes? Does he call you or text you excessively or insist that you answer his calls within a specific frame of time? Does he shove, hit, or kick you? Does he blame you for the hurtful things he says or does?

Concern for your well-being is good; control is not. Sometimes it can be very difficult to tell the difference because the difference may be in motives and not necessarily actions. Here’s 25 ways to try and help you navigate:

Concern wants to make your life better; control wants you to make their life better

Concern encourages your own identity; control gradually steals your identity

Concern wants you to pursue your dreams; control finds reasons for you to pursue theirs

Concern helps you to seek God for answers; control tells you they already have the answers

Concern wants you to be happy; control wants you to be only happy with them

Concern convicts; control condemns

Concern is protective; control is suspicious

Concern feels pain when he’s hurt you; control feels empowered

Concern feels bad for mistakes made; control tells you we all make mistakes

Concern guides you; control guilts you

Concern helps to bring out the real you; control suppresses the real you

Concern cares about your convictions; control cares only about theirs

Concern is open and direct; control is secretive and vague

Concern talks rationally; control talks in extremes

Concern protects; control threatens

Concern accepts responsibility for their actions; control excuses their behavior and twists it back to put the blame on you

Concern is humble and looks for ways to improve; control highlights their strengths

Concern cares about your desires and needs; control has to have their way

Concern makes you feel safe; control makes you look for ways out

Concern makes you feel free; control makes you feel in bondage

Concern brings clarity; control brings confusion

Concern leaves you with peace; control leaves you in denial

Concern is always honest; control lies if it’s in his best interest

Concern respects your boundaries; control looks for ways to invade them

Concern loves you, control wants you

Because some of these do have to do with motives and not actions, one of the best things on your side is time. Does he do what is right to avoid negative consequences, to maintain his image, or for admiration or is he motivated by Christ’s love? Don’t refuse to look at all angles of a person or take the time to observe their behavior objectively because you are afraid to face the truth. It’s easy to watch their behavior when everything is going great but what happens when you disagree? What are they like under pressure? If there is something they are hiding, there is something they haven’t dealt with yet. And if they haven’t had time to heal, they will attempt to go through the healing process at your expense. A person needs to be complete in Christ or they will end up abusing you in an attempt to find wholeness.

Honestly, at the end of the day, concern doesn’t even look like control. Not when you take the time to step back and look at it objectively, putting your emotions to the side. Concern will feel like love. A love that puts you before themselves. And control will not. So if you’re already questioning, you already know.

– the virgin heartbreaker

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February Fakes: Why I’d date an atheist over a “Christian” pt. 2 Tom

 

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You were the first guy I met I thought was too good for me. I didn’t know you’d end up being the worst guy I ever dated. We had met through mutual friends and it was fun flirting with you. I wasn’t attracted to you but I had just gotten out of a bad situation with a good-looking jerk and I told myself looks didn’t matter. When I saw how high your morals and values seemed to be, I told myself that was all I really wanted. Besides, I thought attraction could come with time. It didn’t. I wish that was the worst of it.

I remember when you called me up asking to do something together that weekend. I said yes and it would be our first time to hang out alone. I don’t like the word “date” but I guess that’s what this was. Why can’t there be a word for when you hangout with someone with no expectation? Because apparently there was expectation. You started calling me your girlfriend after our first date!!! This should have been a red flag but I chalked it up to lack of experience on your part. I always thought there was an element of sweetness in innocence, but yours was an innocence built on what you felt entitled to one day. Do you know those people that do so much good and then when people start to praise them for it they try to act like it wasn’t a big deal while eating it all up? Yea, that was Tom.

Things were okay at first. It was nice to have someone I felt I could trust, someone I believed to have a relationship with God. It wasn’t until we started to spend more time together and more time discussing the Bible that things got weird. I started putting pieces together and I was in so deep that I started to question whether or not my beliefs were right. It pains me to write that. You had studied the Bible more than I had so I was extremely confused. It wasn’t until later I realized you may have known the Bible better than me but you certainly didn’t know God more than I did.

For the most part, we agreed on scripture but certain things had me questioning other things. All of your family, all of your friends belonged to the same type of church. When I stated I went to a Baptist church, I got looks as if I was the devil. I was willing to look past that- after all you knew my beliefs from the beginning. And we did differ a little on certain scriptures. To me they weren’t major things even though they still bothered me. You agreed they weren’t major things, as well. You said we would work through them and that brought a sense of comfort to me at the time. I felt you valued my beliefs and loved me nonetheless; we would work through them- together. However, I didn’t know when you said we could work through our differences that meant I would have to change my beliefs to fit yours. That realization made for a rather rude awakening and a very painful day.

I didn’t realize how upset I was over this whole relationship until I started talking to my close friends and family about it- asking them if I was doing anything wrong. That’s how deep I had gotten. All of your friends and family tried to tell me how great you are. So part of me wanted to believe it. However, I had never felt so belittled, so less of a human than when I was with you. Of course there were good times. You did so many good things, it was hard for me to come to terms with the fact you weren’t a good person. Good works don’t make good people. Motives, love, the heart- that’s what matters.

I started to realize everything was calculated. Once I started opening my eyes, I started to see things more clearly. You would sacrifice, but you didn’t love. The scripture from Hosea became more real at this point- “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” -Hosea 6:6 When trying to work through this with you, I felt like I was talking to a stonewall. I couldn’t do this anymore. Everything I thought we had was built on hollow ground. I always feel there is hope for an atheist- maybe one day they will experience God’s love. But there is no hope with you. For you claim to have had that experience already while living a life that is devoid of any ounce of His love.

–> Part One & Intro <–

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Tinder Sam and more fam!


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Is that even possible?! For those of you that have been following along, you remember my boy Sam (Sam requested to have his named changed to Zak to coincide with Ben Folds’ Zak & Sara song, how cute). But we are already in too deep with “Sam.” You can read about our times together in the previous posts (here & here) but one thing that definitely stood out with Sam was meeting his whole family on our first date. I think I loved the “So how did you guys meet?” questions the best.

Sam came down recently (aka a few months ago- sorry, I’m a bit behind on these types of posts;) and we were able to hang out some. Though slightly awkward. I, unfortunately/fortunately, had started talking to a new guy right before his visit so it created a little tension between us. Hey, in my defense he was going to bring down a date! Okay, not really- but it was going to be someone that liked him who would help out with all the nieces and nephews. Who knows. Regardless, she didn’t come and I didn’t bring my guy. It just would have been too awkward all around. [Sidenote, new guy and I decided to just remain friends].

Our normal outings are typically held in St. Augustine but this time it was Daytona Beach. It was Stan’s 94th birthday party. 94! Stan is a family friend that is pretty much family. Sam, his grandma, Stan, Sam’s two sisters, sister-in-law, more nieces and nephews than I could count, his mom, dad, and I think that is all. That’s who was there this time. And me. Of course I fit right in. I think Sam’s grandma likes me more than she likes him. Amongst screaming kids, great BBQ, and amazing homemade cake from granny (I’m pretty much family, I can call her that), all I can say is I hope to be like Stan one day. He was so active- wanting to help, loving everything and everyone. It’s always such a joy being around people like him.

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After the party, Sam and I decided to go to the boardwalk since neither of us had ever really been. I drove us since he rode with his family there. Big mistake. We almost just decided to go somewhere else. Parking was the worst in my truck. Awful. Sam is a little passive aggressive in that he won’t tell me what to do until after I didn’t do something and then lets me know what he would have done (now that it’s too late). Thanks. Sam was firmly upset my truck did not fit in certain spots and disliked the fact I did not feel comfortable parking in sketch situations. Then he got mad and said I yelled at him. I can neither confirm nor deny what I did. I ended up driving into a bar parking lot that had spots and we discussed the parking situation for a good 10 minutes. I saw other people parking there and walking to the boardwalk so I told him we should just do that. He thought it would be too obvious what we were doing since we had been sitting in their parking lot awkwardly doing nothing. During this time, a guy in an orange vest came out of the bar to start selling spots. Great. I thought we would be okay since we were already there but I was still nervous. We decided to ask permission from the guy. Well Sam did. I like that about him. He has a manly, take charge, side to him that makes me feel safe. For someone who is somewhat bossy, it’s nice to relax every now and then and let somewhat else take charge;)

BeachcollageWe walked around the boardwalk as Sam complained about the rides and the prices. Sam was too cheap to buy me water, which was free. I know right. Okay he wasn’t that bad, he just didn’t want to stand in line to wait for it even though I was soooo thirsty! On top of this, he was texting his “girlfriend” and making fun of my guy interest with side comments. I remember passing by some people who were passing out Christian tracks, asking people if they were saved. Normally I will pass on by, let them know I am saved, or say something to the effect of I like what they are doing. Sam, however, stopped. He engaged in conversation with them, made them feel valued, and encouraged them. Among all of our play fighting and jokes, it was nice to see this side of Sam. He inspired me more than he knows.

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We ended up stop at a place for drinks while watching a concert that happened to be in the amphitheater that night. We talked about a lot of stuff. I remember asking Sam if he thought we’d still hang out like this once he got a girlfriend. Without hesitation, he said we better. I guess I didn’t realize how scarred I have been from lost friendships with some of my guys. I’m not expecting things to stay the same and I’d never want to come before a guy’s girlfriend but it’s somewhat sad that there’s this underlying theme in society that guys and girls can’t just be friends. It was reassuring to hear Sam say that to me. It made me realize he valued our friendship. Me. Beyond wanting me, if that makes sense. A lot of guys have stopped talking to me once they realized I wasn’t interested in dating. While I understand to a degree, it doesn’t hurt any less. So I try not to get too attached.

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I ended up driving Sam back to the condos where all of his family was staying. It was pretty late and I was hungry. Per usual. Sam made me steak and then gave me ice cream. I didn’t even have to ask. He knows what makes me happy. I hope he’s planning another trip soon because I’m starting to get hungry again.

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The good guys scare me

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This is going to be difficult to write. As I look back at the guys of my past, it was the bad guys I engaged and the good ones I pushed away. You scared me. Because I wasn’t ready. I needed to be single. I needed to grow. I needed to establish who I was in Christ and fall in love with my One True Love first.

You scared me. In some ways you still scare me. Am I ready to be loved? Am I ready to commit? You see, it’s easy with the bad guys, the ones I know aren’t really right for me. Though I truly fall for them and care for them, I know deep down it’ll never work so it’s safe. It’ll be easier to walk away because I know the pain is only temporary.

But you. You are decent. You are kind. You make me feel special. You listen to me and you remember things about me. My imperfections you love. My ugly is cute. Because you see through me and you love me for me.

You make me feel loved, needed, wanted, secure. You’re consistent and reliable which are two of the qualities I admire most. You don’t play games and you make it clear through your actions I am what you want.

But that’s not fun. Not exciting enough. I want a challenge. I want to make the bad boy good. It’s all about me. You see, these were the qualities that made me not worthy of you. Yet, you still pursued me. What love.

It’s so scary. You have so many good qualities but. But what if I haven’t discovered the bad ones yet and it’s too late when I do? But what if you really are perfect and I didn’t fully enjoy being single like I should have because I was so worried about you?

You nice guys keep being nice. Because the problem has never been you. The problem was me. And I’m just scared. Scared I might actually like you.

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Thank you for making me a part of your life but you never became a part of mine

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Do you ever wonder why things never worked out with us? We looked so perfect on the outside but on the inside? Not so much. I’m really not sure how to write this. I feel as though I should feel grateful but I don’t. I always hear how it’s such a huge deal in women’s lives when the guy they are seeing wants you to “meet the parents” as if it symbolizes something special, the next step, or that he ‘like likes’ you. When you meet the family, that’s saying something. At least most of the time. But it’s what I’m used to so maybe I don’t see it as all that big of a deal. I do but I don’t. I don’t think I’ve ever dated a guy where I haven’t met the parents. Shoot, some first dates I met the whole family!

I guess you could say I’ve been fortunate to date guys who have been so quick to welcome me in. I think it has something to do with being a virgin. A lot to do with my faith, morals, and values. And some to do with my crazy personality. When you live your life the way I do- you’re the one they always want to take home to meet the parents because you’re that “good girl.” It doesn’t mean you’re in love though.

You loved me (to an extent- I’ll get back to this later) and were quick to make me a part of your life. I liked it. It made me feel special and valuable. It made me feel you wanted me around and you wanted us to work. I always supported you, was quick to become part of your family, and loved meeting the people that mattered most to you. But something was always wrong and I think I’m finally starting to see what it was.

While you’d been quick to show me off and make me a part of your family, you never wanted to be a part of mine. Can we really call that love? It’s hidden behind “I just wanted to make you feel welcome” and “You mean so much to me that I want you to know everything about me” when in actuality it’s “This is what I’m doing so you either come aboard or not.” What happened to the ‘we’? We become one; I don’t become yours. Did you see this? Did you stop to think how I felt? What you were indirectly asking me to leave- to give up? This can’t be what a healthy relationship is all about. I’ve seen better. And I’ll wait for better.

Maybe I’m to blame for part of it. I still see meeting the family as a huge deal. I don’t want any attachments being formed only for us to realize we aren’t right for each other. No sense in hurting more people than we have to. Or maybe I just don’t want you to meet my parents because I already know they’ll say you aren’t good enough for me. Maybe you aren’t. You aren’t if you don’t want to be a part of my life. If you don’t make an effort to break through. Because the truth is you really didn’t love me as much as you thought you did. You didn’t really want it that bad. I was just a good catch that you could bring home to mom.

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Dating, Marriage, and Sex: Part One- What to look for when you are looking for marriage

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I have always been a firm believer in never dating just to date. I really don’t see any benefits in that and someone always ends up getting hurt. That will be someone’s spouse one day- we shouldn’t play with people’s hearts or emotions if we aren’t willing or looking to commit. One of the pastor’s I listen to is Ben Stuart from Breakaway Ministries at Texas A&M. He has a wonderful ministry there and I always appreciate his perspective on things. He did a series awhile back and I wish I could find them but the messages were entitled Sex and Dating and had four parts, I believe. I decided to utilize my notes from his messages to write this series for you all because it has helped me so much in reminding me what’s important when it comes to dating. I would like to preface this with the fact that I don’t believe in checklists but this should serve as a helpful guide to help us all think a little more objectively when our emotions may get the best of us. Ultimately, you have to listen to God and make the best decision for your life.

Anyone can get a date. Let’s just get that out there. Sometimes we get discouraged or feel inadequate, that no one likes us or we’ll always be single but the truth is, we could all get married tomorrow if we really wanted to. And we can’t forget that. Lower your standards enough and you can. But we don’t want to and we shouldn’t have to. Sometimes we get caught up on this whole dating and marriage thing as if it’s the most important thing in the world. And while I think we could all agree that I do think it is one of the most important decisions we will ever make, there are far greater things out there we should be thinking about. We must not forget that one of the coolest and most exciting things about marriage is how it represents and shows how much Christ loves us, loves the church.

I think that we tend to be in such a rush to find someone that we miss the gift of singleness. Yes, you heard right- singleness is such an amazing gift. It allows you to be fully devoted to Christ and Him alone. You don’t have anyone else to worry about and aren’t looking for ways to please another. Don’t get me wrong, marriage is a beautiful thing and with the right one, you both will be so completely powerful together as you both pursue Christ. But with the wrong one, it could prove to be detrimental. Marriage is never about two incomplete people finding wholeness with the other; rather, it is about two complete people complementing each other to create power. THAT is what makes it so amazing and exciting.

Before you even begin to look at dating, you have to have your relationship with God right first. I cannot stress this enough. If you are not complete yourself, you have no business in the dating world because honestly, everyone will fall short. Only when your security and identity is found in Christ, will you be able to engage in healthy relationships. Otherwise, what we see are just mutually exclusive using relationships or partnerships. I hate to be so blunt but that’s what it is and it makes me so sad. Yes, some of them work but they could be so much better! Don’t you want and desire God’s best for your life? Let God fill your heart so you will be complete, lacking nothing and then allow Him to bring the perfect person FOR YOU into life to help complement it. You have to be full of God’s love first if you want to succeed in a loving and healthy marriage. Since God is love and you are full in Him, the rest will just come naturally and you won’t need all these self-help books on how to love or save your marriage, it’s just who you are.

The next six items are things to consider when looking for a spouse. Once again, these are helpful reminders and tips to help us stay focused and not get distracted from what we really want and are looking for. I would also argue that the first two are the most important. The rest don’t necessarily have to be there but I would imagine a lot of hiccups and arguments in the future if they aren’t. Love is the most important thing, but sometimes we need reminders as to what love really is.

1) A believer. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” You can’t really get more clear than this. One, God says it so I would follow it since God only has our best interest at heart. Two, think about it. If God is the most important thing in your life, two things could either happen- you start to resent the person you are with because you can’t share the most important thing in your life with them or two, your relationship with Christ begins to suffer as you start compromising. There have been some very rare instances where the unbeliever gets saved from what we call “evanga-dating” where you witness to your unbelieving partner. However, this is only because of God’s grace and should never be a model for what we pursue.

2) Someone who is morally submitted to God. This one is so important. If you aren’t really following Christ, I would question how much you really believe. I will sum this one up with a quote from Matt Chandler:

“Can I say something to young ladies here? I’m trying to pick my words carefully here. Your husband, whoever he is, single ladies, will have an unbelievable amount of influence over your sons and daughters in regards to spiritual things. If you want your children to love Jesus deeply, hold out for a man that is Godly. And let me tell you this: I am well aware that Godly men are rare. Lots of neat Christian boys, not a lot of Godly men. And we’re working our tails off for you to try to develop some into that. But don’t settle, because it’s better to be lonely now than you be married and lonely later. Are you tracking with me? It is better that you be lonely now than for you to get married to a man that will teach your kids everything but the way of Jesus.”

3) Someone who is moving at the same pace. This is so important. Okay, I find myself saying that a lot but it is so true because I’ve been there and it doesn’t work. You do not want to date or marry a guy you are having to drag to be the spiritual leader. It gets exhausting. I can’t tell how many times I’ve had to encourage the person I’m with to go to church or do devotions with me. It’s fine for a friendship but I am looking for a man to lead me and my family one day. I have such a strong personality outside my personal life, that all I desire is to be lead when I am home- safe and secure. And I don’t think that is wrong. God calls women to submit to their husbands and I have such a strong desire to do that but it has to be to someone I believe in, that hears God and I can look up to and admire. We are always to be chasing after God and how easy and comforting is it if we have someone there who is moving at the same pace as us? We are only here for a short time; you don’t need to settle for someone who will only slow you down.

4) Someone who is theologically compatible. While I don’t think this one is a deal breaker, I do think it is important. I had someone break up with me because we weren’t on the same page in regards to infant baptism, spiritual gifts, and predestination. I was willing to compromise on them because I didn’t think they were deal breakers; he was not. What it came down to was he didn’t want me teaching our kids what I believed as he thought he was correct and 100% right in what he believed. As you can see, this would have created numerous arguments down the road. My personal opinion is that there is not necessarily one denomination that is better than the other but that the person truly has a relationship with The Lord. I believe that there are things in the Bible that are clearly stated, while others are a little more grey. It is up to the two of you to share and discuss your individual relationships with Christ (always look for someone who has a personal relationship with Christ and not just someone who can quote off scripture or popular theologians- personal experience;-) and the Bible to ensure you are on the same page in your beliefs.

5) Someone who is socially compatible. I think this one can change over time but this is where it’s imperative you already have your identity in Christ. Once you know who you are, you can begin figuring out what your purpose is. Oftentimes, we confuse the two or get them backwards, or worse- find our purpose and/or identity in another person. What’s scary is if you don’t know your purpose yet and you end up marrying someone else who does have a clear direction and purpose, only to find out it’s not the direction God had planned for you. I do think sometimes another person can help aid us in finding our purpose so I don’t want to discredit that. But at the same time, God created a deep desire within us to accomplish something for His kingdom utilizing our personal gifts. What a tragedy it would be if we miss out on that by marrying the wrong person. Only you can know this one. If your heart is for missions overseas, you may not be most compatible with a person who feels called to stay in the states and do something else. I don’t know though. I still feel with real love, both people can accomplish big goals for God that may eventually change. Just something to think about.

6) Someone you are physically attracted to. Alright, I am going to be honest- when I first heard this series, I thought this last one was totally superficial. I’ve been around long enough to think that looks won’t matter if I can really find someone who loves God. However, I recently dated a guy that I was not attracted to at all but I thought he really loved God so I was willing to look past that. I did start to think he was cuter when I got to know him more. However, I was never really attracted to him. Our relationship never went anywhere for other reasons but I did spend some time thinking about the attraction thing. I finally concluded that God does not desire for us to be with someone we aren’t attracted to. There is nothing wrong with wanting someone you are attracted to. Thankfully, we are all attracted to different types of people so I don’t believe we will have to settle in this area. It’s not asking too much to have a godly, cute person:)

Wow, okay that was a lot longer than I anticipated. Check back later this week because I’ll continue this with my next post on how you should date because we all know that’s just as confusing;-)

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