If you’ve read any of my other books, you know my favorite Scripture: “He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet” (Proverbs 27).

If you don’t have a full and enriching life before you meet a potential mate, you will end up settling for someone you wouldn’t ordinarily desire because desperation will make you accept anything. But a full life that is already satisfying at its core will make you much more discerning about your love choices simply because you can afford to take your time and get it right.

Having a life doesn’t just answer the desperation question; it also sets the bar on the respect you will receive from a potential love interest. He will not take you or your time for granted because you had a life before you met him. You are now game waiting to be captured. A challenge. A prize. You need to make that man plot and plan how to get more of your time. Leave him wondering how to win you rather than hide from you. The fuller your life, the more fascinating you will be. The more stimulating conversation you will have to offer. The more he will love how he feels when he’s around you and want to be around you more.

When you have a full life, there is no need for games or manipulation. Your life will take care of making you intriguing.  The balance here is in the presentation of yourself to him. You should always be delighted to hear from him but not have enough time to run after him. Got it? Make him feel desired but not required—there is a difference. One makes you interesting.  The other makes you a pest.

This, however, can be where many accomplished women lose their footing and come to the conclusion that they intimidate men and, therefore, there is no hope for them. Please know ahead of time that I base all of my comments on men, not boys. Again, there is a difference. A true man likes to have a woman on his arm who is about something. What he does not want is a woman who is overly impressed with herself. Leave some room for him to sing your praises. As a matter of fact, let him find out about you and all you have achieved little by little. Like pleasant surprises. There’s no need to overwhelm. You want him to fall in love with you, the woman. Not your achievements or material acquisitions.

Be more interested in him than in yourself. Sometimes those who have accomplished a lot can be self-consumed, always in visionary mode. A man wants a woman who is present with him, interested in him, and impressed with what he brings to her life.  He should be able to find ways to contribute to you feeling loved as well as contributing something tangible to your world. Leave room for that to happen. Which means in some cases, even if you can do something for yourself, let him do it. No man likes to feel unnecessary. He needs to make a space for himself in your world as well as in your heart. Find ways to celebrate him above what you have accomplished, and he will embrace your accomplishments with pride.

This is also the time to nurture rich friendships in two arenas.  Other men and women. The state of your marriage will only be as rich as the friendships you take the time to cultivate. Here is where you learn everything that can be applied to your marriage. Open communication, sharing the important things. Working through offence. Expectations of giving and taking. Compromising. Being sensitive to the needs of others. Being a good listener. Nurturing a servant’s heart. Being transparent and accountable to someone.  Giving 100 percent of yourself unconditionally.

Yes, friendship is the rehearsal before the marriage. Platonic friendships with men are important because, let’s face it, you cannot learn about men from your female friends. Men are different. They think differently. They rationalize on another wavelength. The way to learn about men is to observe men, talk to them, and listen. Most women gauge the responses of men based on their own responses to things. This is not the way to get an accurate read on a man. The assumptions we make when it comes to men usually send us careening down the path of self- deception, where we make destructive mistakes that not only affect the outcome of the relationship, but our hearts as well.  Take the time to make and treasure your friendships with men.  Live, laugh, and learn from them. When men get honest, the revelations can be most surprising. They get honest when they feel safe, and they feel safest within the boundaries of a friendship that expects nothing more from them.