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Secrets For The Sweetheart-less

If Lady Love hasn’t come knocking on your door quite yet, first of all, rest assured—you are still young. When the U.S. government conducted the census in 2000, it turns out that the average age of first-time marrying girls was 25, while the age for guys was 26. So when Aunt Eunice makes you feel like you’re a loser at 23 for still being single, remind her that times have changed since 1890.

However, even though we’re still just kids, that doesn’t mean that the subject of relationships or that particular special someone doesn’t continually pop into our minds like that fly that just doesn’t take the hint when you swat him away. Most of us would like to have those handy pluses of a relationship—knowing someone actually likes you more than anybody else, having a built-in back rubber, no longer struggling to make Friday night plans—must be nice.

Okay, so we don’t have a guaranteed date for weddings. But we’re healthy, happy people that don’t want to end up like Bridget Jones, alone on a Saturday night belting out “All By Myself” with a cigarette in one hand and a bottle in the other. To avoid that fate, here are just a few ideas to maximize our emotional, spiritual and mental fitness while we wait it out for Mr. or Miss Right.

[JUST DO IT]

What is the coolest thing you’ve seen someone do? Maybe you marvel at that wake boarder or surfer you’ve seen on the X Games. Maybe you admiringly watch the drummer of your favorite band. Then you say without conviction, “I wish I could do that.” Who says you can’t?

Okay, so maybe you’ll never be Max Weinberg, but you can learn how to lay down a groove, no matter how old you are. Once you set foot in Relationshipland, you will no longer have the time to invest in doing that thing you always wanted to do. Do it now, while you have the opportunity, and it will magically become a pastime for you to fall back on when that nagging loneliness starts to rear its ugly head. Then, when you do meet your soul mate, he or she will think you’re that much cooler and more interesting because you can do a surface 360.

[LOVE, LOVE ME DO]

We all want to be loved. That’s no secret. We want to feel that sense of belonging and acceptance and know our presence is deeply wanted. However, we tend to get really picky over exactly who we want to love us. There are just some nights when the particular brand of lovin’ we desire can’t be produced by mom and dad or our faithful best buddies.

However, God is just aching to pour His love out on us, and believe it or not, He knows the best brand to give us and when. It’s easy to get so fixated on the type of love we want to be getting that we miss the love that’s coming to us from other avenues, such as our family and friends.

Yeah, we need love, and God is all about filling that need. His only requirement is that we let Him decide how He wants to do that. Look for love in other places, and be open to it coming from often-unlikely sources.

[DOING THE DEW]

TV shows, movies, commercials and music are all sending us messages continually. Of course none of us believes that if we drink Mountain Dew, we’ll suddenly be able to jump a Camaro into a mid-air spiral and land safely. However, the messages media sends us do have a powerful affect on how we think about relationships. If we want to have a healthy perception of this area of life, we can’t consume pop culture naively or ignorantly. We need to remain on our guard.

Flip on the radio, and you’ll hear an average of one misconception per song about love. “I need a girl to ride, ride, ride” isn’t exactly the best model of love to be exposing ourselves to. No, we don’t need to throw all our secular CDs into the fire or boycott the cinema. We just need to be aware that pop culture is obsessed with the area of love and relationships, but its commentary can majorly mess with our minds if we’re not careful.

Entertainment is often about being able to turn our minds off for a while, but that can be a very dangerous practice if we want to keep our minds in line with the right way of thinking about relationships.

[DO NOT PASS GO]

Okay, so you meet someone that really floats your boat, and by an hour later you’ve already had the first phone conversation, the first date and the first night as man and wife—in your mind. That’s right—we’re talking about fantasizing now, a path that often contains many pitfalls.

Tammy, a campus minister in Chicago, suggests a strategy called “daydreaming in reality” to avoid these fantasizing hazards:

· Getting hurt. “We get deeply wounded if things don’t work out because the relationship was so much farther in our minds then it was in reality,” she says.

· Unreal expectations. She says, “Reality never lives up to our perfect fantasies, so rather than appreciating the moments as they unfold, we get caught in the game of comparing reality to our fantasies and are usually left feeling disappointed. We set the [other person] up to fail. No [one] can live up to our ideal picture.”

But instead of never thinking about that person, which we all know is utterly impossible, daydream in reality. Remember the things he or she said or did that made you get that fuzzy feeling in your chest. Play back the time you spent together in your mind. Disciplining your brain like this could save you a lot of trouble later on.

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[DON’T GIVE UP]

One of the most destructive things we can do as single people is get super bitter about our lack of a sweetheart. Hoping that love is in our future often proves to be painful when a relationship we’re really into falls apart or when months or even years go by without any relationship with a member of the opposite sex progressing past “hello.”

But watch out. Though keeping hope alive is often much more difficult than resigning yourself to the bitter mantra, “I’m going to die alone,” it is essential to having a healthy relationship with God.

Don’t think of God as some big meanie who doesn’t think you deserve a relationship. Nobody does, but because of His grace, He blesses people with relationships according to His wisdom. Believe God has someone for you. Believe it deep down in your heart and soul. It’ll do wonders for your sense of peace.

RELATED LINKS:

DATING FOR DUMMIES

AM I READY FOR LOVE?

TABLE FOR ONE, PLEASE

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