Last night one of my sorority sisters stopped by my house after a date. The guy, whom she'd been seeing for a while, was one of those "great on paper" guys. He was handsome, charming, and successful. However, she couldn't put her finger on why they hadn't proceeded past the dating stage in to the boyfriend/girlfriend arena or if she even wanted to for that matter.
Our talk instantly reminded me of a quote I heard once. The speaker lamented (unhappily declared) that we spend so much time going to school to prepare for a career but take very little time to prepare for our relationships. That quote blew my mind. When you stop to think about it relationships make up our lives. In addition to romantic relationships we have friendships, family members, and technically we even have "relationships" with people we don't like that much. So why is it we never stop to plan out what we want from that area of our life like we do others?
As she left my house armed with my favorite book and a blue piece of paper where I scribbled additional things for her to read I thought of how helpful our talk had been for the both of us. For her it marked the start of a period of self-reflection as she begins the journey of identifying what she wants. For me it was checkpoint. A reminder of how far I've come and also how much more growing I have to do. So here's what I would say to her today if I had a stamp and a piece of stationary on me.
First let me say that dress you had on last night was AH-mazing! It was classy & sassy, good choice. I'm so grateful for any chance we get to catch up. I hope you enjoy the reads and sorry for blowing up your phone with texts after you left.
Remember what we talked about. In addition to, prayerfully, creating a list of non-negotiables you need to take time to prepare for your relationship. Identify traits in yourself that need some work (nobody's perfect).
Also don't forget the important traits that your dream guy should have. We agreed that the ability to communicate is huge! He needs to be humble enough to admit when he's wrong and courageous enough to hold you accountable when you are (lovingly, of course). He needs to be able to forgive because you are human and unfortunately you will disappoint him (maybe only once or twice *wink wink*). Look at how he treats his close friends and family. It will show you how he will treat you as time goes on. Most importantly (so I should have mentioned it first, huh?) make sure he prays! Not just grace before meals or on a special occasion/when he's put on the spot but he needs to constantly be growing in his prayer life.
Feelings/chemistry WILL fade (or take on a different shape) so make sure you fall in love with his character more than his looks. Financial security can be lost in an instant so don't go after a guy solely because he has a good career. I don't say that to say you can't pray for him to be hot or ambitious. God knows the desires of your heart so you might as well be honest. Just remember that true security will never be found in this world.
The biggest thing you could hope for is a guy that puts you second…yea you read that right I said SECOND. If he loves Jesus more than you his love will not change based on how you preform. Rather, he will chase after you even in the tough times just as Christ chases after the church.
All these things seem so simple but I'm quickly reminded of all the years I failed to consider any of them. Then I think of how healthy relationships become when you do. Don't just date because you're lonely. Easy for me an introvert to say, I neeeever get lonely *that was sarcasm fyi*, but a little harder for an extrovert like you I know. Trust that God will bring you the right man at the right time. Don't settle!
I am SO SO proud of how you've handled all life has thrown at you (I know the last year has been beyond rough). I love you!