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Aukelien van Abbema is someone who, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to meet. We do have mutual friends and similar hearts about relationships. The only difference is I’m in Portland, and she’s in Holland.
Should you find yourself in Holland and want to talk relationships, look up Aukelien. Should you just want to bike around and pick tulips, well I think she could help you out with that, too.
From my heart,
Suddenly, I had my light bulb moment.
That feeling I was feeling for days now, that nagging, heavy, depressed feeling, was something I never had expected to feel now–not anymore–but as I recognized it, it ceased to have a grip on me.
I have never been the happiest single alive. That is exactly why, in the summer of 2009, I started a dating course called ‘The Sense and Non-Sense About Dating‘ in my church, Crossroads International Church, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. What I noticed was that there were many singles out there who were somewhere hidden deep inside, or more openly, very unhappy with being single. But none of them were dating–at least not actively in church.
Now, a word about dating.
Not that you need it, because that is what I absolutely love about Joy’s website–how she redefines ‘dating,’ just as we did in our church. It was such a feast of recognition to read her website. There was someone, just like me, but on the other side of a huge ocean, who was passionate to help people date in a healthy God-centered way!
I firmly believe people who learn how to date healthily will have acquired skills to do marriage healthily.
Healthy dating is what we teach in the dating course, and healthy dating is what made me a much happier single–but I always kept a strong, mostly aching, deep longing to be married and belong to someone. I used to wake up in panic, at least three times a week, thinking ‘but I am still alone and that will NEVER change!’
Then, this summer, right before Joy asked me to write a blog for Love and Respect Now, I met the most considerate, reliable and caring guy I ever dated.
So now, here I am. This self-proclaimed ‘single and looking for a husband,’ dating course teacher or ‘dating guru’ has found herself a boyfriend.
I have come to the shocking, though obvious conclusion, that being in a relationship doesn’t always make you extraordinarily happy.
I know, I never wanted anyone dating to tell me that when I was single.
Even though we do a ‘Marriage Myths Busted’ session in our dating course, I still somehow cherished the dream of a perfect guy (and with that, a perfect relationship and of course, a perfect me).
When referring to being in a relationship, Les and Leslie Parrott, writers of the beautiful book ‘Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts,’ say that it’s “just a way to do life.”* It’s mainly a choice.
Even though I do prefer being in a relationship over being single, this was the nagging feeling I felt. That it’s not perfect–that it will never be perfect.
I guess I’m just taking another step in letting go of my need for perfection–a process started long ago when I was still single. Being a single perfectionist is choosing to cling to the dating fantasies–the ‘what-if’s’ and the ‘I wonder who will be my soul-mate’ thoughts– and sticking to the Hollywood myth of finding ‘The One’ (to insist on living happily ever after). And yes, letting go of all of that CAN be depressing because now you have to deal with reality.
Truth is, it’s not reality that disappoints us. It’s our sky-high and unrealistic expectations of it.
God has brought me so many light bulb moments over these past years through dating. He has already helped me learn to let go of my need of control over my agenda, time and energy as I was dating. He has shown me the reality of relating to guys, the beauty of my happy single life over an unhappy relationship and how to go to friends, family and most frequent, to Him to find my real needs fulfilled.
And…He has taught me to stop looking for Mr. Right.
But in the end, I was still quietly hoping for a fairytale and nothing on this side of heaven can truly satisfy any of us, which is a good thing. We always keep longing for more, because that is how God wired us.**
He just asks of us not to look for perfection here, on earth–that is what made me sigh of relief this morning. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to be perfect and my relationship doesn’t have to be perfect–God already is.
He has everything under control and the best IS yet to come, the fairytale ending is promised–just not here, not now, not in this world.
That realization makes me feel so much lighter.
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