How To Get Married – 7 Steps

Dating is a funny concept.  The 13 year-old girls I used to teach always told stories about the boys they were “dating”.  Dating?  Really?  I’m pretty sure your mother would shut down your phone if she found out you texted anything – remotely – suggestive.  Ba-bye.

And then you experience the college dating scene.

As you date in college, though, you’re most likely both poor and eating Ramen, and most of the time you’re still figuring out what you want “to do with your life”.  Or you’re so focused on your career path, you don’t want to be distracted by dating.  ‘Cuz who’s got time for that?

Move on to your 20s, post-college time and for many women, especially Christian women, you hope to marry in the next decade.  Surely the good Lord can provide you a husband by then.  It’s not really asking a lot.  You graduated.  You have a somewhat steady job.

And then some women move into their 30s, and the pool of men gets smaller.  It’s like you moved from the neighborhood pool to the neighborhood baby pool. Except now you share the baby pool with your friends who married and are actually having babies.

What is happening, God?  Do you know that I long for a husband and family?  Are you aware that you made a time limit on when I can have babies?!

I know each of these stages because I lived each one of them.

I met my husband at 36 and married when I was 37.  I know the lonely nights.  I know the awkward times at weddings without a date.  I know the set ups.  I know the internet dating sites.  I know what it’s like to complete the employee form or health insurance form and check the single box.  To list my old roommate as my local emergency contact.  And then start crying as soon as I get in the car.

Are any of these stages ones you can relate to?  Were any of those feelings ones that left your heart aching?  Except maybe worse?

You know you can find someone to pass the time with.  You can find someone to kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve and someone to text when you’re lonely on a Saturday night. You can find a date to keep you busy and distract you from the loneliness.

But is that enough for you?  Is that what you really want?  Is that what you are worthy of?  Or do you want to find your forever love?  Your forever man.

I don’t know you, but I am positive you want a forever love.  You want to marry the love of your life and then pursue life passionately together.  I know, then, that passing the time is not enough. 

You are worthy of more.  You want a man who knows your worth and is willing to go to great lengths to have your love.

I hope that you also want to find God’s best for you because ultimately God’s best person for you is God’s plan for you.  He always wants you to find His best.

Since I had the challenge and gift of being single until I was 37, many people ask me how I met my husband – especially because he is so incredibly handsome, successful, and Godly.  Truly, I got a 10.  And as I look back to when I met him, I know it was after I learned these things and began the process in my own life.

Now, before I list them, please know there is no formula to finding a husband.  It is not after I do this, God will provide this.  But I do know that these 7 Steps helped set me up to find my husband – because I was ready for marriage. And they have helped my own clients be happy single and ready or their 10.

7 Steps to Marriage

  1. Love Your Self – Like Yourself, Believe in Your Worth & Value, Know Yourself, & Be Yourself
  2. Trust Yourself, Trust God/Journey, Trust Guys
  3. Create a vision for your life
  4. Become the person that the person you’re looking for is looking for
  5. Filter for Spiritual & Emotional Values, Date for Fun (Don’t make it a checklist or a chore)
  6. Take Massive Action (not passive “waiting” action)
  7. Transform the limiting beliefs & patterns holding you back

Some of you are thinking – is that it?  Those are the smart things?  I know.  I’m a type A kinda gal who would much rather have this list.

  1. Wear bright colors each day
  2. Workout three times a week
  3. Text back only after initially texted to
  4. Don’t drink more than one glass of wine on the date
  5. Find out his favorite meal and cook it
  6. Smile non-stop the first three dates
  7. Affirm him non-stop about the incredibly sweet (but tacky) gift he just gave you

That’s better, right?  You have much more control of these, and these are, by far, way easier to do.  These are all, in fact, good suggestions for you since most of them are wise for dating.  Most men want a healthy, happy good cook who is confident and not a drunk.

But the second list of things are the outcomes of the first list.

I’m here to testify that each one of these 7 steps are worth your time because they translate not just to a forever man, but to an amazing forever woman.

Admittedly, I heard some of these in my 20s and early 30s and ignored them because I thought I had them.  Some of these seemed ambiguous or hard to grasp exactly how to do.   I’ll write about the actionable steps you can do for each one to help you evaluate and reflect for your own dating life.  But for another day.

For right now, though, let me reassure you – once I started focusing on these 7 steps, I became an even better woman.

And that’s when I found my forever man.  Praise sweet baby Jesus.

The first six steps hinge on the last one. Transform the limiting beliefs, thoughts, lies, & patterns that are holding you back from doing each one of those. That is why you need a coach. To show you what is holding you back and how to accomplish the seven. If you’re ready to do this, let’s do it. Head to “Work With Me” and let’s work together.

“Don’t be a queen waiting on a king.  Be a queen busy with her kingdom until her king arrives.”  @TheClassyPeople

Struggling With Value

“Your life is valuable and full of purpose even if you don’t have kids.”  Those were the words from my friend, Lauren, after I expressed my conflicting feelings of having kids of my own at the age of 40.  It was a gentle sentence slap to my insecurity and fears.  You may be familiar with that convicting feeling.

The Old Insecurity

Lauren’s words shed a light on what was going on deep inside of me.  For years, I thought that I was less worthy of love.  Less valued because I wasn’t married.  I felt like being married was going to get me into this club where I could hang out with other marrieds and talk about married life and be valued.  I thought I was missing out.

A few years ago, I realized God designed me with unique gifts, and I was wasting them with the insecurity and the feeling of being a victim.  He worked on me, and I redesigned my life.  I became secure in knowing I was worthy and valuable, and I looked for a husband that I deserved.  Thankfully, I ended up marrying a wonderful, Godly man knowing I was worthy and valuable with or without him.  Lesson learned, right? Or not.

The New Insecurity

It seems my insecurity is now nestled in with having my own child.  Was my life full of purpose without kids?  Will I forever have to sit silent while my friends discussed naps, feedings, tantrums and then wake up out of the fog when they politely ask me how my husband is?  When I wake up at age 80 and my step-kids are doing their thing with their kids, what will I have?  Am I valuable even if I don’t have a cute family Christmas card and first day of school pics to post on social media?  Will my life be enough?  These are the thoughts that attack my insecurities and feelings of unworthiness as I consider kids.

You see, my husband and I are at somewhat of a time-ticking crossroad.  In order to have our own kids, we will need to sink a lot of time and money into the process and take a gamble.  As I contemplate the money and time, I also consider my desires to have them, my fears of not having them, and honestly, the fears of having them.  It seems like each category has its own long list.

At the moment when Lauren said that to me, I was thinking of the words of thousands of women – that being a mom gives a woman her life purpose.  And when you’re the woman without kids, and you hear it being said from all of these moms, you begin to think maybe you missed out on your purpose.

The Slap

Those are LIES my friends!  I didn’t see it either.  Not until Lauren slapped me with the truth.  She started off with her own perspective on being a mom…well…(trying to be gentle)…my life’s purpose is not to be a mom.  My purpose is to serve and love God.  Right now that comes in the shape of being a mom.  But that’s just for this window of time.  Soon, I will have another way of serving and loving him.

And that’s when she dropped the final slap.  Your life is valuable and full of purpose even if you don’t have kids. 

Oh, yes. That’s right.  I’m here to serve and love God.  He doesn’t actually say I have to be married or have kids in order to fulfill my purpose, does he?  That’s not in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, is it?

Thoughts flooded my head of how I have served and loved Him in my life.  Friends, hundreds of students, colleagues, mission trips, my husband – even my step-kids.  I am walking in His purpose.

The Purpose

My purpose is to serve and love him with what I have – what I have been given – until He calls me home.

That might be with my own kids in the future.   That might not.  Either way, I am filling the role that God gave me.

What about you?  What comes to mind when you think of the lies that cause you to doubt?

Your sentence slap might have a different ending.  Your life is valuable and full of purpose even if you don’t get that award.  Your life is valuable and full of purpose even if you are divorced.  Your life is valuable and full of purpose even if you are a stay-at-home mom and change diapers all day.  Your life is valuable and full of purpose even if you don’t get married.  Your life is valuable and full of purpose even when your kids go to college.  

The Truth

The truth is you are valuable and your life is full of purpose because you are made in the image of God.  You can serve and love Him with what you have.

My husband and I will continue to pray and weigh whether we will have children of our own (we already have two incredible teens that live with their mom).  But as I told Lauren after she slapped me, I need to make sure I believe this truth before I make the decision of not having kids or spending thousands to gamble on having one.  It is true that I will miss out on a little voice calling me momma or a little hand fitting sweetly into mine, but it is not true that my life is worth less because I don’t have them.

My life’s value does not weigh in whether or not I have my own kids.

My life’s value weighs in the God who made it.  And He is priceless.

Thanks to Lauren for her real, but gentle slap into reality.  Thank you for letting me share my heart and my lesson.  My hope is that you too will believe this truth.

True Happiness

It’s the number one thing that people want.  They want it more than money.  The pursuit of it is what the United States founding fathers left their home countries for.  And if I had the formula for true happiness, I’d be richer than Jeff Bezos.  

What I do know is the most important thing you can know about happiness – you ready?  

You will be much happier if you stop trying to pursue happiness. 

It’s true. And this is why.

When we live our lives trying to be happy about everything – our jobs, our romantic relationships, our families, and all the events that are not so happy – we are constantly disappointed.  

If something we consider not good happens, we think life has gone wrong.  It’s not supposed to be hard, sad, frustrating, or scary.  

And THAT almost always causes us to think we’re doing it wrong.  And we get even more unhappy.  On top of the already said negative emotions.  

Let’s take an example.  

I work with mostly single clients.  Most of them think they are unhappy because they’re single.  They believe that they’ll be happy if they’re in a relationship.  Some of them don’t consciously think that, but it underlies their sadness about being single.  

Unfortunately, they’ve been conditioned for two things. One that the goal in life is to be happy.  And the second goal in life is to be in love.  

If those are the two main goals in life and you need goal number two to get to goal number one, then being single would obviously make you unhappy.  You’d be constantly thinking that you’re failing at dating and relationships which only then keeps you thinking you’re failing at life.  

And who is happy when they believe they’re failing at life?  No one. 

First, happiness doesn’t lie in being married or being single or having any other goal.  If that were true, all married people would be happy or all single people would be happy.  Or all rich people would be happy. None are true.  

What it does lie in is in your thinking.  The thoughts you have about being married or being single are what’s creating that feeling of unhappiness.  Thoughts create feelings. Not circumstances.

Second, life is 50-50.  Most people don’t want to be happy about divorce or a job loss or losing a loved one.  That would make no sense.  And it might make you a sociopath.  

Accepting that life is 50-50 – that you’ll have 50% negative emotions and 50% positive emotions about the circumstances and events in life is key.  It releases you from the first goal.  Happiness is no longer the goal in life because it’s a useless goal.  It stops your resistance to the negative emotions that come up for you.  It gives you peace.  

Third, if happiness is no longer the main goal in life, then the other goals you have aren’t about making you happy either.  You don’t have to make other goals mean anything other than growth.  

Start to question why you want each goal in your life.  If being married won’t make you happy – and your partner won’t make you happy, then why do you want to be married?  And why are you unhappy single?  

Most likely it’s because you’re making being single mean something negative about yourself.  That you’re doing it wrong.  That no one likes you.  You’re boring. You’re too much.  You’re not enough.  

And those are all just thoughts that you don’t have to believe.  They’ve been conditioned from society and they simply are’t true.  

They are covering up the real reason to date and be with someone – to have fun, connect, and give love.  And they keep you from being someone who has fun, connects, and gives love.  

Thoughts are optional.  

Fourth, if happiness is no longer the main goal, then you won’t feel unhappy every time you have a negative emotion. You won’t feel like you’re failing.

You start focusing on other emotions that fuel your life. Certainty, completeness, curiousity, empowered, secure, peace, contentment. Those feelings fuel your growth and your goals.

True happiness lies in you letting go of the goal of happiness and deciding that the pursuit – the journey of the goal – is happiness.  Not because you will feel happiness the whole way, but because you are accepting the 50-50 of it the whole way.  

If this resonated with you and you want to learn how to do these four steps, go to my work with me page to apply for 1:1 coaching.  

To True Happiness

Natalie

What are you making “single” mean?

A client of mine told me she got really mad at her dad for saying to his friends that she hadn’t settled down yet.

The thing is.  She hasn’t settled down.  She is single.  (She laughed when I pointed this out to her.)

This is a fact, not an opinion, not a judgement.

But I know there’s a lot of judgement behind that word ‘single’.  

You know whose it is?  Yours.  

What do you make single mean about you?

I know I used to think I was missing out.  I didn’t belong in the married club.  I’m doing things wrong.  There must be something wrong with me if I’m still single.  I’m a loser in this game.

So much judgement.  So much dislike.  So much of me not accepting me for who I was. Single.

What do you make it mean about God?

You’ve been forgotten. He doesn’t care.  He is punishing you.  He’s not trustworthy.  He’s got it all wrong.  

So much judgement.  So much dislike.  How can these thoughts ever serve you?

Right now, you think that you will stop beating yourself up and disliking parts of you when you get married. Changing a circumstance won’t make you stop judging or disliking yourself.  Getting married won’t change those deep rooted beliefs about who you are and who God is.  Those are thoughts that you have believed over and over again.  

You don’t HAVE to believe that about yourself or God.  

It might seem like it’s just what you think, but thoughts are optional.  You get to choose them the same way you choose your clothes.  

You could choose to make it mean nothing about you or God.  Maybe it’s just what it is. You are single.  You will be married one day.  Done.  

One is tearing yourself down and one is allowing you to live without pressure, judgement, and dislike.  

Let your mind choose other drama to dwell on.  Get mad at your dad for something else.  I’m sure there are other things!

Most of all – start choosing to accept & love who you are right now – single – & think the best about yourself.  Always.