The Best Laid Plans
- 2005 4 Mar
I had the best intentions. Really. I was beginning to keep a log, just as Dr. Cloud suggested, to see how may “eligibles” I meet in the course of each week. Then I was supposed to look at the (pathetically low) number, log the reason for it, and discuss it with my previously assembled team of supportive friends before making a concerted effort to raise that number by meeting five new guys per week.
And that’s where it all fell apart.
You see, in the midst of all of this list making and number logging, Valentine’s Day hit. I had always vowed that no matter what, I wouldn’t be one of those single women who bemoaned this holiday. To get down on all the hearts and flowers, the cute little winged cupids and red paper doilies, it was like declaring I was against love itself. And I’m not. Or at least I wasn’t.
I was happy to receive the chocolate hearts my mother sent me to honor the day. I also received a Valentine from my well-meaning, married sister. (Sigh.) I was determined to stay positive – and busy. I met another single friend to walk around a local lake after work on February 14th. It felt good to be outdoors, but suddenly it was dinner time and we were both hungry. Unfortunately, there was absolutely nowhere we could go to eat. The restaurants were filled with couples and showing up in grungy workout gear with a female friend on this most romantic of nights seemed akin to walking in the door with a big “L” for loser stamped on my forehead (actually it would have been an “SL” for single loser). So I went home. Alone.
Home, where my too-empty log lies waiting.
Don’t Just Sit There?
To be completely honest, I’m still wrestling with why I have to keep a log in the first place. I think it’s a question most single women confront at some point: Why do I have to work so hard for something that should just happen?
I’m not talking about relationships – I know those take work – I just mean meeting someone you’d be willing to do that work with. Remember the days when people seemed to just find each other? Do I really want to turn meeting the right guy into a program complete with lists and charts? Do I want to assess each upcoming social engagement on its potential to produce the highest number of “eligibles”?
I truly believe that Dr. Cloud’s program works and the principles found in How to Get a Date Worth Keeping are sound. The question becomes, “how bad do I want to get a date?” This month, the answer was, “not that bad.”
But back to bigger question: Should love just happen? Have I been brainwashed by all those sappy romantic movies? Have I read one too many Jane Austen novels? Have I bought the big relationship lie?
If I have, I’m not the only one.
Friends who’ve met someone through an Internet dating service or some other means that shows they were actively searching are usually sheepish about admitting it. They feel as if their story lacks the romance of other couples, and they’re probably right. We don’t sigh wistfully when a friend confides, “I just knew he was the one the first time I viewed his profile online!” But why not? Are we romance snobs?
Dating Is a Verb
After my first column on this subject ran, a reader wrote in, concerned that I was relying on Dr. Cloud to bring Mr. Right my way instead of waiting on God. Are the two mutually exclusive? If I use advice found in a book by a respected Christian author to meet a godly man, is that circumventing God’s will for my dating life?
After all, when I felt God nudging me toward a career as a writer, I didn’t sit at home and wait for a journalism degree to fall from the sky. I applied to colleges, studied hard (well, sometimes), pursued internships in my field and then applied for jobs. The fact that I had to work to make it happen doesn’t mean it wasn’t God’s will.
But when it comes to meeting that right guy, it should be different, shouldn’t it? To keep using my career analogy, let’s equate single women with wannabe doctors and love with a medical degree. It seems like some of us are required to attend years of medical school followed by a grueling internship and residency program before we can begin practicing while others are simply handed a diploma and a stethoscope at age 19.
All’s Not Fair In Love
It feels unfair – not to mention somewhat unnatural – that if I want to find love, I’m going to have to participate in some sort of calculated hunt. I don’t want to be that girl who’s always on the lookout for single men. I just want to meet someone naturally and find we have things in common. Is that too much to ask?
Apparently it is. At least it hasn’t happened so far. So maybe it’s time to reassess. Fair or not, finding a godly guy in my 30s is probably going to entail some work on my part. I just need to determine what that looks like for me and what I’m willing to do (I can hear Dr. Cloud now saying it’s going to involve getting out of my comfort zone). So I’ll consult my “team,” I’ll continue to look up for guidance, and I’ll stop expecting life (and love) to be fair.
Oh, and I’ll let you know how it goes. Until next month…
Wendy Lee Nentwig is a freelance writer and editor in Nashville, Tennessee. When not covering music from Beck to Bebo Norman, she collects old metal sign letters, laughs at the cartoon series "Home Movies," marvels at the talent of writers like Rick Bragg and David Sedaris, and is a connoisseur of fountain Cokes. Her favorite part of being single is never having to share the remote.
"How to Get a Date Worth Keeping" is authored by Dr. Henry Cloud and releases this month from Zondervan Publishers. Based on over ten years of personally coaching singles on dating, Dr. Henry Cloud shares his proven, very doable, step-by-step approach to overcoming your sticking points and getting all the dates you could want.
Read the first article in this Singles series, "Confessions of a Dating Failure, here.