Recover from a broken heart. If you’ve been heartbroken, don’t ignore your pain, but invite God to heal you. Be discreet and empathetic when discussing your heartbreak with your friends. Find joy in other parts of your life. Embrace the gift of time alone to learn more about your heart.

Marry well. Make sure that you love the man you marry, and don’t base your decision to marry someone just on the whims of your feelings, but really think it through. Hope for joy in marriage, but don’t expect your marriage to be perfect. Learn how to take and give correction, and to respect each other. Be grateful that remaining single is a valid option if you never find the right man to marry.

Cherish your family and friends. Choose to love your family and friends, despite their imperfections. Make an effort to be there for them when they need you and, also to spend as much time with them as possible. Encourage each other regularly. Keep in mind that your family’s problems don’t have to define you if you pursue healing and make better choices in our own life. Invest your time and energy into nurturing deep friendships with friends who can become as close to you as family members.

Save and spend your money wisely. Keep money in the proper perspective: while you do need money to survive, you can be happy without being wealthy. Be careful about the financial risks you take. Thank God for whatever income you have, and always be willing to give generously to help people in need.

Approach fame and success wisely. Recognize that your worth isn’t dependent on whether or not others consider you famous or successful; what makes you important is that you’re God’s child. Don’t hesitate to choose substance over celebrity and live quietly doing whatever God has uniquely called you to do.

Live well as a single woman. Fully enjoy your life while you’re single, and treasure the relationships you have with family and friends rather than getting upset or depressed about not being married. Use the freedom you have as a single person to invest your time and energy into developing and using your talents.

Endure suffering well. When you inevitably encounter suffering in this fallen world, be honest about your feelings, but don’t dwell on the negative and direct your energy in positive ways as much as you can. Don’t despair about your suffering; do your best to overcome it and let it shape you into a stronger person. Gratefully accept help from others when you need it.

Enjoy humor. Don’t take life too seriously. Take advantage of opportunities to have fun and to laugh.

Live a principled life. Follow an ethos that reflects the values you believe God is leading you to develop. Ask questions, learn, listen to your conscience, think for yourself, get to know your motivations and actions well, and aim to become the virtuous woman that God wants you to become.

Adapted from The Jane Austen Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons for the Modern Woman, copyright 2012 by Lori Smith. Published by Skirt! Books, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press, Guilford, CT,

Lori Smith is an adorer of Jane Austen and a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. She feels connections to Austen on many levels -- as a writer, a single woman, an Anglican, and as someone struggling with a mysterious chronic illness. For her last book, A Walk with Jane Austen: A Journey into Adventure, Love, and Faith, Lori spent a month in England tracing Austen's life and works. Readers voted to give that book the Jane Austen Regency World Award for best nonfiction, and it received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Visit her website at: