Being single can be HARD! It can also be very helpful in shaping women and men to become better for the next level of life whether marriage is included or not.
As mentioned in my previous blog post The ABC’s of Singlehood pt. 1 , in March 2017 I had an opportunity to speak to single women and married couples at the Can You Relate Conference 2017 hosted by Algernon and Taneisha Tucker. It was great for me too as my newlywed husband and I learned so much from the others. I spoke on the ABCs of Singlehood and thought I’d share a few more tidbits of what God and a lot of mistakes in life afforded me to know.
Here’s 9-17. Stay tuned for pt. 3 coming soon!
I-Improve those qualities you know you need improved whether single or not.
If you know your attitude is bad (and you know you know) or you are selfish, or you’re lazy, or you have problems committing singlehood is the season to get those things together…by yourself.
J-Join groups to help you grow and stay occupied…a church small group, a book club, a Sassy Singles dinner club, etc.
Do something with yourself while single. You can boost your resume, build up your “team” and who knows, bae or boo might be waiting on you in the very group you join.
K-Keep the desires of your heart. If marriage is your desire, don’t let anything or anyone take it from you.
L-Learn new hobbies and skills like cooking, how to change a tire, how to refurbish a chair, how to install hardwood, how to cut coupons, how to fly fish or something.
M-Make sure your expectations of a mate are being matched by you. Don’t want what you can’t give.
If you can’t afford steak don’t be mad because he can only afford hamburger helper. If you don’t have good credit don’t place unfair pressure on a man to have it because you don’t. If you aren’t bringing just as much to the table don’t be mad when you aren’t able to eat. Expectations of a mate should be matched by what we have to offer. A man is not your ATM, TransUnion savior, heart fixer, daddy do over or ticket to come up. Come up on your own time and own dime so you can help him come up even more.
N-Never let social media deceive you, make you feel less than, lead you to comparisons or have you become hopeless.
Don’t let Facebook, Snapchat and any other mode of media make you think married people are perfect, or that you, somehow because you’re not married are less than or will never have the love you desire…and all the extra good, and not as good stuff which comes along with it.
O-Open up your list of “I Want” in a mate to include, at the top, God’s list of “You Need” in a mate.
Be rid of those superficial things like how he dresses, what his salary looks like (now), where he’s from, how long he’s had the removable goldfront and all that good, not so good stuff which WILL NOT matter at the end of the day when you look back and laugh at how far God has brought you both because He brought you together.
P-Pray for yourself, for the mate you desire, for you all together, for patience, etc.
Pray. Pray. Pray…for him, for you, for his friends, for his mind, for his future job, for your patience, for his tolerance of you and all your “quirks”, for your future children, for everything that comes along with marriage. You can do this even before you meet the man.
I like to say Settling is for Quakers. Whatever you do while single don’t settle for less than who and what you know you deserve. Know your value and stop slinging discounts like a KMart Blue Light Special.
And if you don’t know what you deserve ask somebody who knows better.
Recently, I had an opportunity to speak to single women and married couples at the Can You Relate Conference 2017. It was great for me too as my husband and I learned so much from the others. I spoke on the ABCs of Singlehood and thought I’d share a few tidbits of what God and a lot of mistakes in life afforded me to know.
As a newlywed of only three whole months, I realize I’ve been single in every decade of life. From my first high school heartbreak to all of college, to part of my 20s, to my divorce in my 30’s to my early 40s and now, finally I’m married again to my very best friend. With that, came a lot of opportunities, as I now like to call them, to see singlehood differently, realize the error of my (old) ways, work on fixing those things which had hindered me (like my sassy, quick-witted mouth), learn from those around me and get myself together. I, by no means, know all there is to know about singlehood, but let’s just say singlehood and I tangoed enough over time for me to at least figure out 26 nuggets to share with you. The most important of them all is that being single is a blessing, if you allow it to be.
Here’s 1-8. Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 coming soon!
A-Attitude adjustments are a must through each season of singlehood. You won’t always like it, but that doesn’t have to affect who you are or how you see yourself.
I would be dishonest, also known as a liar, if I painted being single as peaches and cream with a cherry on top. It’s not. With that said, there is a LOT about it which single people may not like. When those times arise, it’s important to keep attitudes in check as not to further delay the process and progress.
B-Be not deceived by the myths of marriage…It’s not always fun. It doesn’t cure whatever was wrong before you said “I Do”. A slothful single woman can easily become a lazy married one. An angry single woman can easily become a married bitter wife. Marriage is WORK!!!! It’s more than about cuddling, cute selfies and hot sex.
Reality shows, social media, other people’s marriage, possibly even one’s own first marriage might have painted a picture of marriage which simply isn’t real, or isn’t real all the time.
C-Celebrate the milestones of others who are walking paths you desire to tread…weddings, anniversaries, new babies. (Even throw the celebrations yourself!)
Wanna show God you trust Him? Do something for someone else in the very area you’re waiting on Him to do something for you.
D-Do things now which will benefit you later…save money, protect your credit, balance your schedule and bank statements, manage your household duties, take care of yourself.
E-Enjoy controlling your coming and going, your calendar, the remote, the thermostat and the radio.
That really is a blessing!!! (Ask me how I know as I have to watch movies and sports sometimes when I’d rather watch Food Network and HGTV all the time.)
F-Forgive any and everyone who needs to be forgiven, including yourself.
Do this as often as needed.
G-Get out of your head with the “by this age I shoulda” dates and age ranges which aren’t fair or feasible.
God does NOT operate on your calendar, schedule, timeframe or deadline. And that’s a GOOD thing! The sooner that’s realized the better life will be.
H-Heal from past hurts, self-inflicted and otherwise.
You know what’s hurting you. Do something about it now. Get help for it so that you don’t run the risk of hurting that man God is preparing to find you. (If you think God is going to let your pain hurt a husband…well, let’s just say He loves him, and you too much for that…which may explain the delay in delivery of your beau, boo or bae.)
Why in the world would you expect God to give you a man to love you, cherish you, compliment you, help you with your stuff, enjoy time with you, and tell you you’re beautiful when you won’t, or don’t do that for yourself?!?!
God is a God of order, something which took me a while to realize, particularly while dating. He does things decently and in ORDER. What that means is that He’s not going to bypass you getting it from Him just so you can get it from a man. So go ahead get it for yourself. Tell yourself you love you and mean every single syllable of it. Value your time, your worth and your whole being (even those wiggly and jiggly parts you may not like). Whisper sweet nothings of candid compliments in your own ear. Take your own self out for dinner and a movie. Get your business all the way together from the spiritual, financial, physical, mental, social and emotional points of view. (Pause for the Cause….please don’t feed into the age-old fairytale of a man being your savior. You already have a Savior who knows you and knows what’s best for you. So, just in case this applies, no more waiting around for a man to come in and pay your bills or buy you $30 steak dinner. Pay our own bills. Buy your own steak (or make it yourself). No more waiting around for a man to love you like your father did or love you like your father didn’t. Your Father God loves you WAY more than that, and I dare you to do the same for yourself.) No more thinking a man is going to elevate you in the game. Oh, contraire, homegirl. We actually elevate them. Don’t believe me. Read Proverbs 18:22. So go ahead now and step your game up so you can catapult his.
Preparation for the future is the best way to make good of the past and make the most out of the present. Wanna be boo’d up, tied down, married off, lawfully wed, in wedded bliss, or wifeyed? Good! I want you to want too. Listen, I know the Single Sister Struggle can be real. I just got married again less than two months ago and had many years before my first marriage, and many years between my first marriage and my final marriage of wanting to be married. Marriage is WONDERFUL, but it’s also the hardest job in the whole wide world. It’s hard as the dickens! What helps is when the two parties coming together have been getting themselves together under the watchful eye and loving hands of God. So sisters, while you wait you might as well handle you before God hands you to him. Capiche?
Singles (and by singles I mean not married, even if you have a boo or a bae, with the same last name you’ve always had, with the same last name you used to have and now have again, filing single on taxes and checking the box which says Miss, Ms. or Divorced )…
Here’s a little secret. You can do it…yourself. While scrolling through my new best friend Pinterest I came across a clever post. Of course I can’t find it now, but it read, “Stop expecting others to do for you what you won’t even do for yourself.”
It’s as simple as that. The time for waiting on life to start is over. Newsflash, life is well on its way to being exactly who its meant to be for you! The mindset of, “I’ll do this when I have someone to do it with” is debilitating. The notion that life alone or in the company of friends, pales in comparison to the married life is a myth. I can tell you a thing or two about both. The thought of “I have no one so I can’t do whatever it is I really want to do” is cuckoo. Pardon my harsh language.
In the words of my daddy when I would pout as a teenager about wanting to do what everyone else was doing, “You were born by yourself. You’re going to die by yourself so stop always talking about what other people are doing.” The same is so in the land of singlehood. We can’t wait on others, compare ourselves with others or complain about others. We simply have to do it. So go ahead and do those things you want to, can afford to, have time, and deserve to do.
Go to a movie alone or with friends
Eat at that five-star restaurant
Plan an amazing trip out of town
Plan an even more amazing trip out of the country
Invest in that rental property
Make financial investments
Get a massage
Join a gym and go at it solo if need be
Start a business
Write a will (I know that’s grim, but hey, singles have stuff to leave behind too.)
Buy a house
Paint your house
Learn how to garden or repair a car or cook
Remodel your bathroom…unless you have zero remodeling skills as I do
Or do like I did and buy those close up concert tickets to see Diddy and the crew… #cantstop #wontstop #badboyforlife
Whatever you do, singles, just make sure to take time to do it for yourself. You deserve it! Of this, I’m sure.
I don’t know how else to say what I’m about to say without just saying it. Do yourself a favor and don’t date someone right after divorce. Yes, I know they may seem nice. I know they may say it’s their former spouse or almost former spouses fault (that’s a WHOLE ‘nother post about NOT dating people who are separated because separated people are still married and with that comes a bunch of guck and stuff you do not want to deal with. I know.) Anywho, I know this newly “free” male or female may seem to have it all together. I know they may appear to be an answered prayer. I know they may be so caring and kind and fun to hang out with. I even know they may be lonely, and you may be too, but I know that they are NOT ready for a new relationship right out of an old one.
A conversation recently with a counterpart who is dating a man with ink still wet on his divorce decree reminded me of the year and a half I spent in a Church of the HighlandsRestoration Small Group for men and women who had experienced divorce and separation. Hearing her gush about how nice he was, how mean the ex-wife was, how they’d known each other for just a little while but bonded so beautifully and how she really wanted to be with someone took me back to that chilly, Autumn Sunday where we discussed dating and marriage after divorce in my small group. It took me back to the moment when the hosts of the small group read the writing on the papers we were discussing and the words about how much time we should take and wait before dating and definitely before marriage rang in my ear like a whistle from an overzealous, courtside referee. I remember shock and awe sitting next to my friend who was going through the same trial. (Hey, girl, hey! Thanks for helping me get through that stage with my lipgloss and high heels on point.) Speaking of lips…I remember “exercising my eyes in the upper part of my head” and sucking my lips like a defeated school girl thinking there was NO WAY IN THE WORLD I was going to wait one year for every two years I was formerly married to get re-married like the wise couple recommended. I had been married nine years so you do the math to see how my mind calculated that to=TOO LONG TO WAIT!
I’m so glad God saw fit to thwart my fast plans. I felt like I deserved a real, and good marriage. And I did/do. I’d gone through the extended small group. I had personal counseling with an amazing Christian counselor. I’d gone to counseling with my former spouse when I was begging him to reconcile. (yep, you read correctly.) I’d prayed. I didn’t have anybody beat anybody up when all of this was unfolding. I didn’t succumb to pressures attempt at depression. I kept eating and in fact, didn’t lose a single pound through the trying ordeal. I didn’t fall out with God, the church or church people. All of this, and you mean to tell me I STILL wasn’t ready regardless of how many times I tried to prove otherwise? I was a hot mess being made better and simply wasn’t ready to come right back out of the gate trying to stroll down the aisle with the first man who spelled my middle name correctly. Neither is anyone else right out of a covenant union stitched, snatched, weaved, orchestrated and ordained by God regardless of what happened to tear it apart. Healing of this nature takes time…lots of time.
So, as I sat and listened to my associate I thought:
I wonder how she’s going to handle navigating through the imminent ex-wife and the children situations…also known as drama.
I wonder how she’ll feel on holidays, if she’s alone as the man and his former spouse figure out how to do what’s best for the children (and the children deserve the best.)
I wonder what will happen if he decides to go back to his ex-wife.
I wonder what would happen if he shuts down communication with her because of the pressures of his new and reduced financial arrangements.
I wonder if she’s even asked him if he’s gone to counseling and still going.
I wonder how she’ll respond if she gets the side eye from friends or his family members who prefer the former wife.
I wonder what’s going to happen the first time he accidentally calls her the ex-wife’s name or makes an unfair comparison of her macaroni and how she folds clothes.
In all my wondering regarding her I remembered that I used to wonder why God would dislike divorce so much, and have in place all of these “rules” for the extended restoration process. The truth is, divorce stings like a MOTHER…pinching her child in church after he/she smacked on a Jolly Rancher too loudly. So I wonder no more. I know that He loves us and has a unique process of healing for His children, especially those who have endured this kind of loss. His timing may not seem fair, but God is doing us a favor. There are some messes He simply doesn’t want us messing with. So, with that I will say again…don’t date someone right after divorce.
An al.com article about Alabama’s former first lady Dianne Bentley sparked some recent and old feelings about what to do and what to say after the breakup. Thankfully, many of have not experienced the ultimate breakup granted by the lingering pains and/or effects of divorce. Chile, be glad about it. But I would think that most have experienced a breakup one way or the other whether it be with a mate, with a job or from an organization and have been faced with the question of what to say, how much to say and to whom.
The article noted so eloquentely how Mrs. Bentley has been just that, eloquent, in this whole sordid process being publicly played out in the press and the privacy of our own homes, memes and phones. What an example of class, poise and trust in God! I needed her as a fresh and real reminder right now to stay the course of silence. For those of you who know me you must know that I love to talk. It’s what I do. So to have a virtual muzzle on my mouth regarding things which are personal, painful, and sometimes public whether I want them to be or not, and not be able to truly and fully speak on it from my point of view offering unshared truths has truly been a lesson learned with some repeated classes. Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe in the power of wise counsel and know that to carry the weight of any breakup on my back alone would be more detrimental than I could bare. So there are those who know what the real deal is because I can trust them to handle it, stay hushed up, not rile me up into a state of tomfoolery and not hinder the plans God obviously has in place with no need of a running mouth ruining it. However, I recognize through trial and error that:
Everyone can’t handle my story of what happened before, during and after the breakup. That means it would be foolish of me to share with the world why what happened has affected my current living options and way of life, or why it took six years for my house to sell, or why I didn’t make the move to divorce first, or whether I knew divorce was coming or not, or why I didn’t allude to others of any problems prior to the divorce, or why I didn’t go back when my former spouse felt he wanted me to, or why I am still friends with some people from our former shared circle, or why some from our former shared circle are no longer friends with me (there is a difference in those two things I just said), or what the divorce decree really said, or what really happened with what was decreed and supposed to be done, or why I won’t entertain or engage negative comments regarding my past or my former spouse, or why my response is usually “Just pray”, and so on and so on and so on. You may hear it but not from me.
Everyone shouldn’t know my story until it’s sealed and wrapped in a pretty little God-blessed bow. I realize that some simply can’t handle the truth. I can barely handle it and it happens to me. I feel the same as I hear of the hurts which happen to those I love, immediately wanting to “fix it” sometimes not through the best of means and especially because it’s not my bees-wax. To share it out of angst or “I’ll get even”, or prematurely without God’s ultimate desires of healing, restoration (according to His design not our definition) and progress taking place would do His plans, even through a breakup, a total disservice. I need God TOO MUCH to do Him a disservice any more than I already have in my 44 years of life.
People are going to believe what they want or need to believe. I see now that some people have to condition themselves to see, believe or accept what they feel they need to in order to keep them in the place of comfort or convenience for where they feel they need to be (and for what reasons). That’s cool. However, to take the position of defense in honor of those things I know to be true because I lived it, and try to explain, vindicate, mitigate or simply be messy does nothing but create more mess. Breakups are a mess with no help needed.
So, whether through divorce, the end of a dating relationship, separation from a job/church/organization or any breach of association, SILENCE, that difficult, unfair, trying, yet necessary stance is the way to go. It really does serve its purpose when it’s allowed to, uninterrupted. #silence
Hearing of a former spouse of a superstar who is now engaged to another superstar share a bit of “shade” regarding her exes engagement brought a point home. Breakups are hard. Ask me how I know. Seeing the one you broke up with or who broke up with you build a new relationship can be harder, especially if it’s public, even in our own little worlds. BUT, Ladies, we can’t be that girl. What girl you ask?
We can’t become that girl who:
Talks about what happened ALL THE TIME.
Throws shade directly or indirectly at the ex boo, bae, husband or hunni.
Throws shade directly or indirectly at the next boo, bae, wife or hunni of our ex boo, bae, husband or hunni.
Loses our identity when we lose a relationship.
Gets consumed with the goings-on of a person who is gone.
Engages our friends in the tomfoolery that is our newfound passion for being a part-time, unpaid private eye.
Compares our ex relationship with his next relationship.
Compares our next relationship with our ex relationship.
Doesn’t believe that the BEST is still yet to come, regardless.
We can’t become that girl, but we can be a better woman.