It’s not easy being single.Christian women in there 20’s, 30’s and beyond know it can be difficult searching for a mate and even harder watching friends pair off with their new loves while every single blind date, Christian mingle match and church function leaves everyone else going home frustrated.
Speaking as someone who is single, the whole dating process and “waiting” game can feel overwhelming. Some out there including myself have even asked God “why is this happening?”
According to Joi-Marie McKenzie, the author behind The Engagement Game: Why I Said ‘I Don’t’ to Marriage and ‘I Do’ to Me these are legitimate feelings and questions that she even had for herself.
The young woman knows first hand what its like to force something and someone to work.
In McKenzei’s first book, a memoir released earlier this month, she breaks down how the power of prayer and Godly timing have played into her life, one filled with self-love instead of the endless quest to get hitched.
The funny tales and difficult moments that she touches upon, jump out of almost every single page.
To hear more about how to become a successful dater, Faithwire spoke one-on-one with McKenzie about questions that have routinely popped up in many single Christian women’s heads.
Question: How should women prepare themselves for marriage?
Answer: If a woman desires marriage, first she should know exactly what she’s looking for. Many women become frustrated with dating because they simply don’t know what they want.
In my memoir, The Engagement Game, I did an exercise in which I wrote down a list of what I wanted in a husband. The exercise was useful because it helped me clarify that the person I was dating at the time (for five long years!) actually didn’t fit what I was truly looking for — he lacked the spiritual maturity to lead the household I desired.
So I used prayer as a conduit for clarity to figure out what I wanted and I suggest all women out there use it as well because no marriage is the same. Furthermore, its important to use prayer to empower yourself to determine the structure and expectations of your relationship; and even the timing of your relationship.
Ask yourself, do you want a long courtship before getting engaged, or a short one? How long after you’re married do you want to start a family or do you want children at all? Where would you prefer to raise your family? Who’s ultimately responsible for the household chores, child rearing and the bills? These are all questions that you should decide for yourself.
Next, date with intention…meaning only date men that you feel would meet your expectations. Now of course, God may send someone in your life that you really, truly never expected. And that’s the blessing of God’s grace and ultimate vision for your life. It’s your job again to turn inward and seek God’s counsel to decide if that relationship should move forward.
Lastly, seek a covenant spouse not a husband. In my book, The Engagement Game, I write that a husband is only defined in relation to his wife, but a covenant spouse is defined by his relationship to God. That type of relationship places God in the center. And with that structure you cannot fail.
Question: How do you continue to have faith in God’s plan for your life?
Answer: There will come a time in your life when you want something to happen so bad and it just doesn’t seem to be happening. You feel like you’ve tried everything: You’ve fasted, prayed, turned to your Bible, asked friends and family to pray for you and with you…and it still doesn’t happen.
You may start blaming yourself: “What’s wrong with me? What did I do wrong?” You may even start blaming God: “Where are you? Are you upset with me? Are you punishing me?”
I saw that heartbreaking scenario play out in my own life, when I tried to make the man that I had dated for five years into my covenant spouse.
God whispered to me that he wasn’t The One, but I didn’t want to listen because ‘look God, we’re happy! He loves me! He treats me right!’ But God had something better for me; I just had to have the courage and obedience to trust Him.
So in all things, seek God first.
And then listen. So often, we ask God for advice and then don’t wait and pause to receive the answer.
You’ll know that you’re on the right track when you feel at peace instead of frustrated, when you feel joy instead of anger, when you wake up with hope instead of go to sleep with despair. That’s when you’ll know.
Question: What qualities should women of faith look for in a person and where should they go to find the right person?
Answer: Women do ourselves a disservice when we only look for Christian men at church. Just like ministry, sometimes uncovering fulfilling relationships happen outside of those four walls.
The reality is you can meet your covenant spouse anywhere. I tell my girlfriends all the time that during your preparation period (notice that I didn’t say “waiting period” because I feel that instead of waiting for your spouse, you should be constantly preparing for him and ensuring you’re ready to receive him!), indulge in activities that bring you pleasure. There, you’ll meet people who enjoy doing the same things you do, which is the basis for companionship.
And as for qualities, it truly varies. Since God made all of us differently, we all have different expectations and different desires. Still, a marriage built on faith should have two partners that are caring, loving, have integrity, value accountability, encourage individuality, practice honesty and most importantly put God first.
Joi-Marie McKenzie is an entertainment/lifestyle writer for ABCNews.com. Her debut memoir, The Engagement Game: Why I Said ‘I Don’t’ to Marriage and ‘I Do’ to Me is on sale now.