Not I: The Ideal Woman?

Let’s take a minute to discuss our flaws. It may seem a little odd to start a post this way, but I need you to allow me to explain. Growing up, I took it upon myself to try to be as perfect as possible. Well, sort of. I pursued academics with all I had within me because that was a world I understood. Not too concerned about those around me, I joined clubs, participated in other extracurricular activities, and volunteered in my community. The aim was not to get into an Ivy League school, but it was at the same time. I enjoyed studying, clubs, and volunteering. If those things just so happened to be what the top universities looked for, then it was a win-win.

“Growing up, I took it upon myself to try to be as perfect as possible.”

It was probably in high school that I began to see myself as different from my peers. The distinction was noticeable—not bad—just noticeable. I enjoyed serving at the local soup kitchen and taking part in charity walks on the weekends. It was easy to get so engrossed in a novel that half my day was spent reading about fictitious people in faraway lands. What’s more, I found satisfaction going to church and rehearsing for an upcoming skit instead of planning what I would wear to a party. In those days, my priorities were different. I was different.

The thought of becoming a “perfect woman” didn’t enter my mind until college. While on the grounds of Howard University, I could be any person I wanted to be. College was the time to reinvent myself. I could go by a different name, switch up my personality completely, or fake a backstory about being from an exotic country (accent included). The point is that the possibilities were endless once I set foot on that college campus. Nevertheless, while some minor things changed, I still basically remained the same. The biggest difference? My desire to achieve perfectionism reached its peak.

“College was the time to reinvent myself.”

I sought to become the kind of woman a man couldn’t resist. I desired the lifestyle of international travel, dinners with dignitaries, and more than enough money in my bank account. Like a shapeshifter, I found myself conforming to what I believed would appeal to my love interest at the time. Has that ever happened to you, fellow navigator? To read more, I talk about it in my book. The constant twisting and bending left me feeling like I had no identity. To be even more transparent, I felt like my identity was closely connected to my crush of the week.

After college, everything changed. Again, I changed. It was not until an event led to me abandoning many of my worldly possessions that I realized what was most important. Instead of trying to be the ideal woman, I pursued God with all I had within me. More than just going to church almost every day of the week, I spent time in intimate prayer and Bible study. It dawned on me that the ideal woman is one who finds her value in God. Eventually, I’ll have to part with my money and the things of this world. But, when it’s all said and done, my soul will have to spend eternity somewhere.

Fellow navigator, I no longer desire to be anyone’s ideal woman. It’s taken some time, but I’ve come to a place where I am content being me. Upon entering a dating relationship, I make my flaws and imperfections known. Sometimes, my strong sense of self-awareness leaves the other party taken aback, but I’m not concerned. I’m tired of wearing a mask—tired of the show we so often put on to get someone to like us. Yes, this approach has blown up in my face and caused a few men to turn around and leave quickly. However, the one who stays will be worth it.

What do you say we stop with the charade? I’m not suggesting we lay all our cards out on the proverbial table the very minute we meet someone of interest. Rather, I’m saying let’s be intentional about showing our real selves to those we encounter who we believe could be good life partners. Fellow navigator, do you play a role when around a dating prospect? Did you end up showing your true self? How did that unveiling go? Tell me about it!

Not I: Forsaking My Beliefs for a Man?

It seems like we just met yesterday. He was tall, had an athletic build, and charmed me off my feet. We conversed in English, French, and Spanish. We spent hours watching movies, laughing about silly things, and talking about our future. I enjoyed every moment of our time together; it just felt right. However, we broached a topic that brought my happily-ever-after fantasy to an end.

“By choosing to stick to my convictions over all others, I’ve said goodbye to many men.”

Fellow navigator, please hear my heart. I’m not condemning those in mixed-faith relationships. If you are able to make it work, then more power to you. My purpose in telling that very real story is to illustrate a situation I’ve found myself in on more than one occasion. I meet a man. We hit it off. Then, we end up at a crossroads because our beliefs don’t align. By choosing to stick to my convictions over all others, I’ve said goodbye to many men. They were decent guys who would make just about any woman happy, but they were not for me.

If I say that my faith is a major part of who I am but hide it from the one I claim to want to spend forever with, then it never really held such a high place in my life. If I openly profess Christ to total strangers but fail to talk about him to my partner, then I am no better than Peter before the crucifixion. If I continue being with a man who denies the existence of a God I know to be real and true, then I am just like Judas and lead a double life.

“There is grace.”

There is grace, fellow navigator. God can change the heart of anyone at any point and time that He so chooses. I don’t doubt this. My apprehension comes when I knowingly enter into a relationship with a man who is at enmity with God or has his own views about faith that completely differ from mine.

There must be something in the water, fellow navigator, because I hear similar stories of women who’ve had to choose between a seemingly good man and God. Based on those I know, the ones who chose the former live good lives but have strayed from the faith. The ones who chose the latter continue to live on their own terms but have yet to say “I do.” It begs the question of why God would allow women who willingly choose Him to remain single…but that’s a post for another day.

Fellow navigator, have you ever found yourself in a position where you had to choose between God or a guy? What did you do? If you’ve tried having a mixed-faith relationship, how did it go? Tell me about it!

Not I: Afraid of Commitment?

When you’ve been single for any amount of years and believe you’re ready for a serious relationship, there’s no getting around the topic of commitment. A committed relationship is one in which both parties agree to put in the effort necessary to make the union work. It’s sacrificing precious sleep after a day of only texting just to hear his voice. It’s banging out items on your to-do list so that you can give him your undivided attention. It’s having open, honest conversations with him about your concerns when he says or does things that don’t sit well with you.

“A committed relationship is one in which both parties agree to put in the effort necessary to make the union work.”

If truth be told, I’m the only one who can determine whether I’m ready for a commitment or not. Sure, a therapist or trusted friend can ask thought-provoking questions and give me objective feedback or insight into my responses. However, I must make the final decision to move forward and step out or hang back and continue working on myself. There’s no shame in either decision because, ultimately, I’m the one who will be putting my heart on the line.

Being transparent, I can honestly say that I’m not afraid of commitment. I have no qualms with remaining loyal to one man and forsaking all others. It’s not a problem for me to carve out time in my schedule to make him feel like a priority. There’s no issue with allowing him to see me fail, cry, or lash out in anger about something that hurt me. Staying true to one man and seeing if the relationship can turn into something more has never been an obstacle for me.

No, I’m not afraid of commitment. I fear the hurt and pain that comes with choosing the wrong person. Because I seldom pick my head up from my books or work to give a man my time, dating can be quite challenging. Despite being a good judge of character when it comes to my friends’ boyfriends and love interests, I don’t always make the best choices for myself.

“I have no qualms with remaining loyal to one man and forsaking all others.”

Since I’m not active in the dating scene, I don’t always know the latest lines or schemes men try to pull on women. I see what I believe is a good man and allow him to pursue me until he proves me wrong. While this may not be the best method when it comes to dating, it’s what I know. As a result, my naivete has led to some dead ends.

Now, I’m not out in these streets dating a ton of men. But the ones who have been granted access to my heart, only to break it into pieces, really did a number on me. They’re the dudes who cause a woman to enter into a new relationship with all sorts of walls up, leaving her vigilant of any and all possible red flags the next dating prospect displays. Even if this new man is truly who she desires, she may make him jump through several hoops just to prove he won’t hurt her like the last one she let into her world.

This is all to say that, fellow navigator, we must get to a point where we face our fears of possibly getting hurt or choosing the wrong person before giving another man permission to pursue. If we do so, without becoming whole, the relationship becomes doomed from the start. It is built on a shaky foundation that’s likely to crumble at any moment because we enter into it anticipating that the man will fail us in some way. We desire to give him a chance, but we stand guard for that one moment when his humanity shows that he’s not a perfect creature.

While I can honestly say that I’m not afraid of committing to a man. I can’t honestly say that I’m ready, willing, or able to trust a man with all that is me simply because he makes his interest known. He hasn’t earned my trust. He hasn’t proven that he’s worthy of my devotion. Short of approaching me and expressing his desire for a relationship, he has done nothing to make me believe that he will love me, honor our union, and protect my heart. As a result, I don’t give him all of me. Instead, I sit and watch as he steps up and shows up. I observe his behavior when he’s discouraged, mad, happy, and even depressed. I allow him to get to know me on a deeper level, little by little, until I’m comfortable opening my entire heart to him because he’s shown that he can handle it. That’s what all those frogs from my past have taught me; the real man is easy to spot when you know what you don’t want, need, or deserve.

Fellow navigator, am I alone in this way of thinking? Have you come to the realization that you’re not afraid of commitment but fear choosing the wrong person? What insight have you received about yourself that makes dating just any random man who calls you beautiful hard to do? Tell me about it!

Not I: Waiting on a Fairy Tale?

Disney did me dirty. I’ve definitively decided that my daughters will not be exposed to Disney princess stories during their formative years. Why? Because I am absolutely sick and tired of the way young girls are conditioned to believe they’re in need of saving. Of course, Disney is not the only guilty culprit in this atrocity against girls. No, there are other companies producing content that teaches girls that they are the inferior sex. I wasn’t born in this country, but Disney’s reach goes far beyond the United States. From a young age, I was informed through fairy tales that my life was incomplete without a man by my side. He was my protector, source of financial security, and only hope in avoiding a life of utter loneliness (aka being an old maid).

“From a young age, I was informed through fairy tales that my life was incomplete without a man by my side.”

After spending some time in introspection, I realized the lessons I learned from princess stories took root deeper than I’d known. As a young, impressionable child, I was taught that girls were dainty, well-mannered, prudent, homely, and soft-spoken. We were to wear beautiful dresses, perform our domestic chores, and remain silent in the presence of men. I was shown that our fathers, husbands, brothers, uncles, and grandfathers had final authority over us. It was acceptable for us to be locked away in a room somewhere to only enjoy the company of animals and imaginary friends, and it was perfectly alright for us to sacrifice our dreams to make another’s come true.

Arguably the biggest lessons princesses taught me were about romantic relationships. In books, TV shows, and movies, I saw that girls were expected to be married at a young age. Many of them were not educated or did not pursue higher education. A proper young lady was also trained in domesticity and had very few friends outside of family members. She never explored foreign lands or conquered dragons. No, she stayed in her father’s house until a man came to take her to his.

She waited patiently for a man to come and to rescue her. She didn’t question his decisions, wonder why he never asked for her opinion, or consider that there was more to her life. When conversing with a suitor, the young lady never inquired about his goals, fears, past relationships, or plans for their future. She didn’t want to know whether he was kind to his mother, had character flaws that might make the success of their marriage challenging, or cared about what she wanted in life. There were no discussions about children, religious affiliations, or political sidings. To make matters worse, there was never ever any talk about finances or how money would be handled in the relationship. These are all important things young girls must learn prior to marriage to avoid becoming stuck in relationships where they are unheard, unloved, and unappreciated.

“She stayed in her father’s house until a man came to take her to his.”

The fairy tale was filled with smiles, laughter, music, dancing, and colorful outfits, but it always ended before the real relationship began. The man endured adversity and braved whatever obstacles came in his way to get his human reward, but that was all she was—a prize. Once the rush of the pursuit was over, the story ended. After he won her heart, things miraculously became spectacular. We were told they lived happily ever after. This is not reality, and it’s far from what I desire.

Relationships are messy. People are fickle. We’re hot, cold, and wishy-washy when it comes to just about everything. I’m not waiting on a fairy tale because it is riddled with untruths. I’m not helpless. I’m unwilling to always be the one to sacrifice what matters most when my partner consistently gets what he wants. I’m more than my cooking, sewing, and cleaning skills.

I wish someone had told me fairy tales weren’t one-size-fits-all from the very beginning. This isn’t what I want my daughters growing up to believe. It’s probably safe to say that the dream of obtaining the fairy tale, as presented through the lens of Disney, no longer applies to me. Nevertheless, I continue to proudly reject its stereotypes and stand as a dissident. Life was never meant to be lived according to a specific blueprint. Quite frankly, outside of serving God and representing Christ well on this earth, everything else is up to me.

Fellow navigator, which fairy tale did you enjoy growing up? What love story did you secretly wish would become yours? When did you have the realization that life was not a fairy tale? Tell me about it!

Not I: Side Chick? Mistress?

Call me conservative, old-fashioned, a prude, or whatever term you want, but I still believe in monogamy in a relationship. For decades I have watched the older generation in communities I’ve been part of at various times in my life exert the energy needed to make their relationships work. Yes, some of those marriages ultimately fell apart. However, the vast majority are still alive and kicking to this day.

As an observer on the outside looking in, I’ve often wondered if either partner ever had the urge to cheat. I mean, some of the relationships appeared to be so bad that I wouldn’t have blamed one partner for filing for divorce and walking away in search of love in another’s arms. Watching these couples work through their mess, I learned some valuable lessons about love, marriage, and why side chicks and mistresses are so common these days.

If our earthly unions are supposed to be representative of Christ’s love for the Church, then I think we fail miserably when we throw our hands in the air and give up on each other too quickly. Believe me, I am the first to admit that I am guilty of walking away from people and relationships too often. At the first sign of conflict, I am usually ready at the door with my bags packed. It wasn’t until a few years ago that God and I had some real conversations about my aversion to conflict, resulting in my inability to grow in this area of my life.

“If our earthly unions are supposed to be representative of Christ’s love for the Church, then I think we fail miserably when we throw our hands in the air and give up on each other too quickly.”

I believe the Bible when it says that marriage is intended for one man and one woman, meaning we shouldn’t have multiple marriage partners. It’s 2020 and people live all sorts of lifestyles, but I choose to hold firm to this belief. I trust that when my husband finds me, he will leave his family so that the two of us can become one. It is in that union that I pray we will walk alongside each other on good days and bad ones. Call me an idealist, but I want to be with one man “until death do us part.” Those aren’t hollow, meaningless words—they represent a love that I believe people long for but seldom desire to work toward.

Some years ago, a guy asked if I would consider being his side piece. True story. Of course, those weren’t his exact words. No. He only stated that he wanted me to remain in the picture as a romantic interest even though he was about to marry another woman. Clearly, he didn’t love me or this woman. I had finally decided to give in to his pursuit, but the timing ended up being bad. But I learned more about this guy’s character in that brief phone call than in the years I had known him. I also recognized that his reason for asking me to play a romantic role in his life was not because he was madly in love with me; he had no intention of calling off his wedding.

Rather, this man didn’t want me—he wanted victory. I was the woman he couldn’t charm for years, so he jumped at the chance to finally say he landed me. It really is true that men enjoy the chase. To him, me saying that I was open to the idea of a relationship (prior to learning he had become engaged) was a sign of status because he could flaunt his trophy to the world. Yup, I said it. That’s what I was to him—a trophy. At that time, I was leading a different kind of life, so people knew my name and my ambition was my driving force. After that call, he made several attempts to contact me and start something romantic, but I blocked them all. Eventually, he must have realized he didn’t stand a chance and went away.

“That’s what I was to him—a trophy.”

The thought of sharing a man with another woman makes me cringe. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that so much is exchanged in a romantic relationship that I wouldn’t want my man to be intimate in that kind of way with someone else. No, I’m not just talking about sex. Being with someone means being intellectually, emotionally, and physically vulnerable. When it’s just he and I, it brings me some comfort to know that the connections we share are just between us. However, when he is that same way with another woman, I question the authenticity of what was exchanged.

To sum it all up, I don’t think I would ever become a side chick or mistress. I love too hard and too deep for that. If a man can’t or won’t commit to me, then I’d rather walk away from the relationship before it gets too serious. What about you, fellow navigator? What are your thoughts concerning polyamorous or polygamous relationships? Tell me about it!

Living Single While Quarantined

PSA: Please check on your single friends who live alone.

Several weeks ago, I got an email from a married friend asking if I was okay. It was weird because she almost never emails me. Her message said she was emailing because I hadn’t responded to her text messages; she was concerned. She sent the email because it was uncharacteristic of me to go days, much less more than a few hours, without responding to her texts. Knowing that I live by myself and because of all that’s been happening with COVID-19, she wanted to make sure nothing had happened.

Feeling so special!

Fellow navigator, can I tell you how much it warmed my heart to receive that email from her? I mean, I nearly cried reading her message. After about a week and some troubleshooting, we were able to begin receiving and sending texts. It turns out there was an issue with the phones/network where, for whatever reason, she didn’t receive my responses to her texts (only mine).

Living single while quarantined is not for the faint of heart. In fact, if you’re not used to being in your own company on a fairly regular basis, it can be darn-near depressing. I feel like I have it even worse because I’m also self-employed; I spend a lot of time in my apartment or by myself somewhere. When you’re married, you at least have another adult to communicate with about everything from the most mundane to the overly complex. There’s someone to bounce ideas off, and you can easily find things to do that allow you to decompress or forget that you’re essentially confined to one space indefinitely.

“In fact, if you’re not used to being in your own company on a fairly regular basis, it can be darn-near depressing.”

While this quarantined life wasn’t a huge adjustment for me, I’ve definitely had my share of struggles being home alone almost 24/7. Minus the once a week (if even that) grocery, mail, or trash run, I haven’t left my apartment in over a month. Although some leaders in Georgia have not taken this pandemic seriously, I shut almost everything down when they closed the schools. I live in a place where people don’t check in during normal conditions; I can’t dare count on them to so much as pick up a phone in the middle of this mess.

Yeah…

There’s no doubt that the number of cases of people struggling with mental health issues and depression will increase the longer quarantined life continues. I’m sad to even think about the number of suicidal attempts that will take place because people are lonely and uncertain how to survive their new normal. This is real, and we don’t want to assume people are alright until it’s too late.

Take it from me: there are many days when I’m not ok. My one constant is literally taking stock of my life and remembering how good God has been to me thus far. I lost about 85% of my income when this pandemic began; I honestly can’t tell you how I’m still living day-to-day. As the one who has contingencies for my contingencies, I did not see this pandemic hitting us as hard as it has. All I know is that I’m grateful for a father who helps when he can, past life experiences that have taught me how to survive with little, and a God who continues to provide opportunities for work.

“Take it from me: there are many days when I’m not ok.”

We’re deviating from the “not I” theme this week because this needs to be said. It takes less than five minutes to pick up a phone and actually talk with a single friend who lives alone, especially someone you don’t talk to regularly. Don’t send a text. Don’t shoot an email. Call. I’m the person who will give a generic response to a text if someone I don’t unusually talk to decides to “check on me.” If the person was really concerned, they’d pick up a phone. It’s as simple as that.

It’s that easy.

I’m grateful that my friend was resourceful enough to find another way of trying to reach me when texting and calling wasn’t working. It showed me that she was determined to reach me when one avenue failed. It told me she valued me enough to try until she was certain I was ok. It made me feel loved beyond measure. That’s what us singles need. There’s but so much a man can do. In these times, the knowledge that we matter is enough. Period.

Fellow navigator, have you been having some of the same feelings living this quarantined life? What are you doing to help pass the time and stay sane? Who has made you feel like you mattered recently?

Not I: Man Hater?

One thing I’ve never understood is why people make the assumption that a woman who chooses to live her best single life hates men. Let’s get something straight: I am not a man hater. Men are great! They provide emotional stability and rational thinking when my hormones go crazy. They offer a different perspective concerning situations that I never in a million years would have considered. For these reasons (and more), I value the role of men in my life.

Just because I make the conscious decision not to enter into a relationship doesn’t mean I’m a man hater. I hate when people make this assumption because they peg me as someone I’m not. My choice to remain single doesn’t stem from a dislike of men; it’s because I don’t want to repeat past mistakes.

It happens…

Speaking to both sides of the divide, I think there needs to be some understanding. We never know another person’s story when it comes to relationships and past experiences. To assume I hate men because I’m not ready to walk down the aisle is a faux pas. I could have been abused, manipulated, or mistreated in other ways by a man. Believe me, the hurt and pain that that suffering awakens takes time to get over.

“Let’s get something straight: I am not a man hater.”

To the men, I ask you to be patient and kind. A woman with her guard up probably has stories upon stories to tell of when she allowed someone in and had her trust broken. I wish I could tell men that their willingness to walk alongside a woman through her pain and mess would do far more good than simply getting frustrated and giving up the chase.

To the women, I would tell you that not all men are the same. After coming out of a bad relationship, we often question our own judgment, find ourselves in the same predicament with a man who’s just as bad because we believe that’s the best we can do, or swear off men altogether. While it’s easy to remain guarded and expect a man to fight to show he really wants us, I’d say that path leads to even more pain. We can’t put everything on a man. Our healing doesn’t come from any one human being; it comes from God.

“Believe me, the hurt and pain that that suffering awakens takes time to get over.”

Before getting involved in a new relationship, I am a firm advocate of us taking time for serious introspection to learn about ourselves. Ask yourself some vital questions that will bring much clarity and allow you to honestly get to know yourself.

  • What about this man made him so attracted to you?
  • When were you happiest in the relationship?
  • What aspects of his character gave you cause to pause?
  • How many times did he offer genuine support?
  • How often did his words pierce you?
  • After the first incident, why didn’t you walk away?
  • Who did you go to for counsel about this man?
  • Was that confidant in a position to give you healthy relationship advice?
  • At any point, did you ever pray and ask God if He was pleased with the union?
  • Did you witness the fruit of this man’s relationship with God before dating?
  • How did you view your worth before dating this man?
  • How did you view your worth after the relationship ended?

That was a lot! Introspection is not a one-size-fits-all process. We all take in and analyze information differently. I think there’s great truth when they say we date the same men with different names. All I’m offering, fellow navigator, are some great starters to get you to begin noticing your patterns.

“Our healing doesn’t come from any one human being; it comes from God.”

Because of our environments growing up, family dynamics, and other factors, I believe we continue vicious cycles when we choose to go it alone. The beauty of our faith in God is that He never leaves us. Even when those around us fail to come through, our Father in heaven is always there.

Always.

Fellow navigator, don’t allow past hurts to keep you from future promises. We’re not men haters. We’re not bound by the pain of people who used and abused us. We are strong, brilliant, caring women who have much to offer the world. We grow from our less-than-stellar situations and move one step closer to being who God created us to be.

Have you ever been accused of being a man hater because of the stance you’ve taken when it comes to dating relationships? What have you learned about yourself regarding romantic relationships? I’d love to hear your story!

Not I: Thinking of Settling?

There’s something to be said for being a single woman in her 30’s in 2020. Unlike some little girls, I didn’t spend too much time fantasizing about a dream wedding or fairytale life with a husband, house, and picket fence. In my younger years, I just assumed marriage would find its way to me during college or immediately after. I watched the romcoms about how two random strangers met in the most unexpected way, fell in love, then walked down the aisle shortly after their chance encounter. It happened in the movies; I knew that was the kind of story I wanted.

“It wasn’t until marriage took away one of us that we picked our heads up out our books to see the world had continued spinning.”

It was easy to continue living while waiting for the man of my dreams to magically appear. After all, I wasn’t the only single person in my social circle in those days. In fact, my single female friends and I felt empowered to continue pursuing our individual dreams because we had each other to count on for motivation and encouragement. It wasn’t until marriage took away one of us that we picked our heads up out our books to see the world had continued spinning. I don’t intend to make marriage sound like a grim ending to an otherwise happy life. No. Instead, I use those words because, as we later learned, that particular friend’s marriage ended up robbing her of years she can never get back.

Learning from mistakes.

My dear friend said “I do” to a man, who cheated on her even before they were married, out of a sense of duty to family members. The entire trajectory of her life changed the day she married a man who never cared about her dreams, goals, or aspirations. I wish I could go back and scream even louder in my friend’s ear about the visible red flags of her then boyfriend. I wish I would have been strong enough to tell her that her family got it wrong, even at the risk of losing our friendship. Sadly, I didn’t.

My friend’s marriage ended not too long after it started, and she is now a single mom struggling to make ends meet. The young, vibrant college grad with a world of possibilities in front of her now has a new reality filled with studying late at night, taking care of her child, and working several jobs to put food on the table and keep the lights on. If this is your reality, dear navigator, I don’t mean to condemn. Life’s circumstances often place us in positions where we are helpless or feel as though we are. I commend my friend for doing what she needs to do for her family. I applaud her for continuing down her path to obtaining higher education in the face of adversity.

When I think about settling for the next man who rolls up in a Jaguar wearing a three-piece suit and uttering sweet nothings, I think of my friend. The unraveling of her marriage was inevitable. Those of us in her social circle knew he didn’t appreciate or deserve her. She valued education. He cared about looking like he was a million bucks. She enjoyed going out to social gatherings filled with art and culture. His idea of a good time was going to the club or drinking. She dreamed of traveling to foreign lands and speaking other languages. He was perfectly fine staying in his little corner of the world until the day he died (with occasional trips to the land of his ancestors). I didn’t realize it then, but I see now that my friend settled big time for this man. She cast her plans aside to be with him, and it ended up being a terrible decision.

“Those of us in her social circle knew he didn’t appreciate or deserve her.”

What does “settling” look like? It can take on different forms for each of us. For me, it’s choosing to be with someone who doesn’t love children. It’s saying “I do” to a man who would rather sit in front of a TV all day than spend quality time with his wife and children. For me, “settling” is picking a man who has no interest in other languages, cultures, or people.

Not settling.

Think about the things that matter the most to you. Now, think about the complete opposite of those things. When you entertain a potential partner who is the absolute opposite of all that matters most to you in the world, you’re settling. Don’t get me wrong, there is such a thing as compromise. That’s when you and your partner meet halfway or intentionally makes sacrifices for the other. I don’t care for American football. However, if the man I wanted to marry was a diehard football fan who wanted to share his passion with me, I’d suck it up and sit with him to watch a few games. This is true compromise.

If truth be told, I’ve thought about throwing in the towel and dating just any man. However, I just can’t get myself to do it. Fellow navigator, if there are attributes and things you truly desire in your spouse, don’t give up on meeting someone with them. I am a firm believer that God really does give us the desires of our hearts. He’s done it for so many before us, so we must trust that He can do it for us.

If you’ve considered settling, what prevented you from going through with it? If you did settle, what did you learn about yourself from the experience? Share your thoughts with our community!