What I Learned About Dating and Finding ‘The One’
I’ve kissed a fair share of frogs in my years of dating. Fortunately, with every failed attempt to find Prince Charming I learned valuable lessons that would help bring me one step further to meeting ‘the one’. From high school crushes (aka obsessions) to short lived romances and butterflies to tears, I’ve experienced all of the emotions a girl can go through when it comes to dating.
Long before I dated way too many men on ‘The Bachelorette’ and ultimately met my Prince Charming, I was living it up in California hoping my husband was somewhere out there in the waves. Maybe he would wash up on shore one day or get the nerve to ask me out in line at Starbucks? My favorite scenario of all was to casually meet the man of my dreams at the grocery store while both of us ponder the produce section. I mean, come on! Every romantic meeting I’ve ever watched in movies or on TV was a fantasy that I was desperately hoping would happen to me. Don’t we all do that? We think, “Well, that’s how true love is supposed to begin, right?”. The truth is, that’s not how life or love work at all.
In dating, we meet someone new, think they are perfect for us, then we either realize they don’t measure up to our expectations or vice versa. Luckily, I didn’t date in the era of Tinder where so many games are played and misinterpreted texts or signals are made, but it was still just as hard back in the day before dating apps.
I like to think that I had my heart and head under control during my dating days since I had a huge group of guy friends to observe, understand, and learn from. However, when it comes to attraction, emotions cannot be controlled most of the time. While I did date some really awesome, great guys in my early twenties, I also played the field and dated the unexpected, the bad boy, the emotionally unavailable, the commitment-phobe, the older man, the so-not-my-type, the narcissist, the play boy, and the list goes on. I had two serious relationships through it all but the short lived flings were great for me to learn what I actually wanted and needed in a life partner, as well as the only thing you need to know about men.
I’m finally getting to the point where I tell you my profound advice for dating that I had to lean on myself once I realized how much time passes when you’re just ‘playing the field’ and following the same patterns. After a hard break up from my last serious relationship and moving to Los Angeles from Orange County to get away and start fresh, I spent my days focused on what brought me joy rather than wanting someone else to fill that joy in me or our relationship. How often do you hope to meet the right one? Every day? Every Minute? Every second? The ache inside for companionship and love is a real thing that all women experience. We are wired to love and want to be loved. But can that want become the desperation that actually keeps the right one away?
Throughout the months in LA of reflecting and praying, I discovered the solution for the ever so apparent need for love. While many of my prayers in my earlier years consisted of “God, please help me meet the one“, I quickly learned that there is so much more to this prayer than meets the eye. We need to know who we are before we can ever really be ready to meet our life partner. We must love ourselves before we can allow someone else to fully love us in return. We also need to trust that God has a plan in our life and the more we try to control it, the further we get from the blessings of it. So.. from this I began to turn my attention from myself and started to pray over my husband (whoever he was going to be).
My prayer became “God, please prepare my husband’s heart. For whenever we do meet, I know HE will be ready.” By this time, I was ready to find love and knew that I needed to stop pursuing it with the wrong men, who were not as into it. My pattern of dating was to typically like the emotionally unavailable and try to make it work all on my own. It was draining and not getting me anywhere except to heartbreak.
A man is wired to pursue a women he is interested in. With that, I knew if I began to pray over my husband that he would pursue me when the time was right for both of us. After a few months, I was offered to appear on ‘The Bachelor’, which became an open door I never in a million years thought would be in my life plan. When that didn’t work out and I was again offered to appear on ‘The Bachelorette’ as the lead, this prayer filled my heart even more.
During my season of ‘The Bachelorette’, I learned how easy and quickly it is to fade back into physical attraction and seek after the emotionally unavailable. Luckily, God was there through it all and allowed me to see that my prayer was right before me. Chris and I had an instant connection that surpassed the physical. His humor was instantly uplifting and the comfort we both felt around each other was natural and tangible. He was always the most confident, of himself and our relationship, and never questioned, doubted or wavered with his feelings. Chris openly expressed how he felt, was ready and fully prepared for us to begin our life together as husband and wife. He trusted me in every decision and pursued our love without doubt, confusion or silly games. There was and always is so much peace in how we feel about each other that reflects in the way we also treat each other. I can’t begin to express how much I love him and how grateful I am to have trusted my heart and God’s grace in it all. How parallel is Chris with my prayer to prepare my husband’s heart? I get goosebumps just thinking about how perfectly imperfect my love story came about and how one prayer changed my entire life.
Whether or not you believe in God, I know that this advice can still be an inspiration to your life. My hope is that no matter how you are feeling about your situation today or about being single that you know there is a plan for you and to trust it will come to pass when the timing is right.