"I've been dating for a while, and what strikes me is that sometimes people who have been married once are more likely to find someone than me. While I've been single for years. Or am I imagining that?"
Seven years ago in January I pasted a piece of paper on my bulletin board in the kitchen. "Twenty New Year's Resolutions to Find the Love of My Life This Year," was the headline. I actually laughed a bit about it. I had been on a roll for years dating, taking care of myself, and finding more fun in my single life. And yet ... I wanted to go the extra mile that year, to find that relationship that made me happy. Believe it or not, in June of that year, I started dating who is now my husband.
I already knew him, but started to see him in a different light. Had I found someone because I was doing my best better than any previous year? No, because I went on fewer dates that year than the years before, and I already knew him. Call it grace, call it happiness; there are always factors outside of yourself when it comes to finding love. But most of all I think I was ready to accept that the love of my life wouldn't be perfect. That I wouldn't be perfect. That our relationship wouldn't be perfect. And that we could still find each other and connect ourselves.
I'm writing this to explain that finding a second love is in a way easier than finding a first love. If you've already loved, you'll know better from experience that love isn't perfect, but it's worth it. It is often easier to embrace the imperfection in yourself and the other when you have already had the experience that love is a choice, sometimes more than a feeling. And that love is a feeling that you can strengthen through your choices. And also that love is something very personal, and does not have to meet certain requirements - as long as it is right with you and your boundaries and identity. If you do not have that experience, it is more difficult to trust your feelings and you are more likely to rely on measurable factors such as appearance, age and education level.
Feeling, intuition and reason
My advice? Let go of your checklist and rely more on your intuition than your mind. And no, to rely on your intuition is not to rely on your feelings - feelings of love or lust, for example - because they are often bad advisers. But your intuition tells you if someone can be trusted, if someone is safe, or if someone accepts you. Whether someone is there for you when you are sick or vulnerable. Or someone to stand up for you if needed. Whether you are happy with someone in the long run. Feeling, intuition and reason must be in balance. Easier said than done, but worth the challenge!
Aukelien Van Abbema is a singles and couples counsellor, public speaker, and successful author, including the title Dare to Date.
Helping people with Christian dating, relationships, singleness in church, dating in church, loneliness, connectedness, christian connection, healthy relationships.