Today, I write this article as an eligible Christian bachelorette dating joyfully and faithfully – but that wasn’t always the case. In 2014, I dated, believing that I was ready for marriage and thinking that it was the men who I dated who were the ones responsible for the failed relationships. I came to realize, however, that I was the common denominator and responsible party when they went on to get married and engaged…lol. Life-Coaching And so, 2015 was all about working on myself in the context of relationships: learning how to be open-minded, empathetic, patient, gentle, slow-to-anger – ideally never-to-anger, and learning, simply, that the world does not revolve around Jeanette and everyone has a valid point-of-view that deserves consideration. I learned how to be a better counterpart in all of my relationships and I grew by light years. I owe this progress to my life coach, Patty – I call her my Patty in my pocket – she gave me new eyes and a new life. The Rules And with those new eyes, I re-entered the dating pool. I now knew how to be a good girlfriend – a gracious girlfriend. I was excited. And I achieved some success, but I still felt somewhat out of control – some guys worked out and some didn’t and I didn’t know why one way or the other. I needed a game plan – and I was introduced to and read: the Rules. Or rather, I inhaled the Rules. I read every edition available, typically over 1-2 days each. I had hour-long discussions about it w/ my girlfriend who introduced them to me and we agreed to be “Rules friends,” reaching out to each other for “Rules support.” I marveled at how differently and wrongly I had been dating. My entire approach to dating changed. Time-wasters weeded themselves out as only those who were available, interested, and ready rose to the top. And for the first time, I was enjoying dating. I was having a blast, meeting great men, and enjoying fun dates. Then, I finally met a guy who really rose to the top, making it to date 13. He was treating me right, taking me out, respecting me, adoring me, and just being a wonderful man that I loved spending my time with. But…he didn’t love the Lord. He may have identified with Christianity, but he didn’t live for God – not the way I knew I wanted my future husband to. What had happened? Reckless Love In the midst of this dilemma, a friend of mine introduced me to a sermon series called Reckless Love that answered that question for me: I was idolizing marriage. I was making finding the one more important than being content in God. As a result, I was casting too wide of a net. I was casting a net that would capture men who were ready, available, and interested, yes, but not necessarily men of God. I was making having a relationship more important than having a Godly relationship! My friend divulged to me the difficulties of an unequally yoked relationship and I suddenly saw yield signs that forced me to slow down and pay attention. After watching the Reckless Love sermon series, I re-prioritized my source of love to be God’s love over a man’s love. Additionally, I gained a peace with and even an excitement over my singleness. I saw the opportunity in my single hood. I put on the peace of God and the faith that He would bring my man to me in His best timing. I decided to serve God in my single hood and trust Him with my future mate. And once again, I re-entered the dating scene with new eyes: I dramatically changed my dating profile to reflect how important God was in my life and my future mate. Personally, I vetted men with the criteria that they be, yes, ready, available, and interested, but also, men of God. As a result, my dating pool shrank dramatically in quantity and rose in quality. The Wait During this time, I picked up Devon Franklin and Megan Good’s book: the Wait. In them, I saw a couple who was hot and Hollywood and Christian and had found one another and written a book about waiting on sex and waiting in God and I wanted to hear what they had to say. Reading that book affirmed everything that I had learned from Reckless Love – that our single hood is a wonderful time and we should maximize it to become incredible men and women of God and incredible partners for our future spouses. The Wait affirmed believing in God’s provision of a mate and honoring God with our single, dating, engaged, and married lives. Devon and Megan affirmed waiting until after marriage for sex and living together. They affirmed the importance of a short engagement, getting to marriage, employing pre-marriage counseling, and a host of principles that I believe in. And most importantly, they affirmed the beauty, joy, and fullness of doing it God’s way, as they believe that they are living God’s Plan A lives for them today as a result of their obedience and faith. With all of these tools, I am more open, more ready, more patient, more joyful, and more sure of what I’m looking for and able to offer than ever. I marvel at what a journey it has been. I’ve become an entirely different woman in this game of love and it’s been an evolution like none other. I’m so grateful for all of these tools – they have all played a part in teaching me and I use parts of all of them as I navigate this adventure we call love. If you’re struggling, scratching your head, or have even given up in love or life, the best advice that I can give is: keep the faith and don’t give up. It’s in trying different tools, books, talks that we all aggregate what becomes our approach. I do recommend all of the above that I mentioned, but it may not be the perfect fit or the full fit for you. Regardless, keep trying, keep seeking, keep praying…keep the faith…and you’ll find your way!