Thursday, December 9, 2010

They Date Before They Are Ready for Marriage

Mistake #19

When she was a freshman in high school Anne fell head over heels in love with her dream man and the relationship progressed quickly.  Before she knew it, sophomore year arrived and with the raging hormones it was hard to stop the kisses which led to touches which led to Anne giving her body and heart completely away to another 16 year old.  The relationship became complicated and junior year, after many ups and downs, it ended.  The heartbreak was overwhelming and it took several years for her to heal and move on.  Anne and her boyfriend were both great people.   They loved God, had great families and they were even great together.  The only problem:  The timing was wrong.
Many girls make this mistake.  They fall in love long before they are able to get married and this, almost always, leads to heartbreak.  The Bible says many times in the Song of Solomon, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it is ready.”   
Here’s the guideline:  Don’t start dating one-on-one until you could be married within the next two years. 
This does not mean you cannot hang out with guys before then – just don’t go out alone.  You can enjoy a fun night with friends and a memorable Prom with a guy.  Simply spend time with guys in groups.  Play it safe.  If you feel your heart being caught up when you are with a particular guy, do not spend as much time with him. 
Many girls fear, “What if he’s my Mr. Right and I miss my opportunity because I followed this guideline?”  If he is your Mr. Right and you are not within two years of being able to get married then know that he or someone much better will be there when the time is right!  Promise.  God has amazing plans for you and your life.  Postponing dating will not get in the way of His plans.
High school years are so much fun and your joy can be taken away by heartbreaking relationships.  Protect yourself and have fun.  Then, in a couple of years, when you are ready to find “Mr. Right” pick up this book and study!  Meanwhile, pray for your future husband. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

They Throw the Principles Away in a Long Distance Relationship

Mistake #18

India had beautiful, thick, curly hair with big, warm, brown eyes.  She made people feel special when she talked with them.  She was an amazingly selfless person.  She lived to help other people.  She didn’t just care about people who were hurting, but she would do whatever she could to relieve their pain.  Every other guy she met was in love with her.
One summer she worked at a camp for underprivileged inner-city kids.  It was this summer she met Matt.  She loved how caring and gentle he was with the kids and how much he made her and everyone else laugh.  They spent every free moment they could spare together.  The summer together was great, and real life came back too quickly.  They lived life in colleges 6 hours apart but decided they would make the best of it.  They texted all throughout the day and would often talk for several hours at night.  She loved getting to tell him all about her day each evening.  It was not long before she would hear him typing or doing something else while they talked at night.  Before she knew it, awkward silences filled their conversations.  What was going on?
India typically followed the principles we’ve introduced in the previous chapters, but found herself in exceptional situations.  At camp, reality was suspended so the principles didn’t have to be applied, or so she thought!  Once back in real life their relationship was long distance and she thought there was no way to follow the principles.
Girls often make these mistakes in long distance relationships.
1.      She is too available.  The guy has access to her any time of day.
2.      He doesn’t have to ask her on a date. He has a standing appointment with her every night by default.
3.      He doesn’t have to work to find out more about her.  She lays it all out for him.

We’re not saying long distance is easy.  But you CANNOT throw the principles away JUST because you are far away from the guy!

When things are long distance, remember these principles:
1.      Follow the mirror rule.  Don’t respond any sooner or longer in regards to messages.
2.      Be Where You Are Principle.  If he calls or texts while you are doing something or are with other people, get back with him later.  Remember you are a woman in demand that has a lot going on; you are not available at his every whim.  Let him wonder what you are doing and why you aren’t getting back with him right away.
3.      He still has to ask for dates.  Don’t have conversations with him through the phone, Skype, or texting for more than ten minutes.  Let him want more of you and have to actually ask to schedule time with you on the phone.  It is very easy to say, “It’s been so much fun talking to you, but I have so much to do.  You can call me again sometime.”  When he complains that you have to go already, you can say, “I know, I’d love to go on a phone date with you so we can talk longer sometime, you just have to ask.” 
4.      Be creative.  As time goes on you can be creative with your dates.  You can both look at the stars together or eat the same meal together while you Skype.  Be creative and have fun with it!  None of these ideas can compete with being together, but enjoy what you do have.
5.      Give him the appropriate amount of time.  If you are at an early stage, limit yourself to no more than two phone or Skype dates a week.  Follow the same time allowances you would if you were in the same town dating.  (Review our post from June called They Are Too Available.)

Long distance is not an excuse to let a guy have unlimited access to you.  Even if you are long distance, you are still a woman with a full, fun life.  Let him work hard to be part of that life instead of wondering how he can maneuver himself out of it!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

They Do Not Listen to Friends and Family

Mistake #17

Isabel was a sweet and quiet girl, yet she was not shy.  She wasn’t a flirt with every guy, but she knew how to flirt enough to get a guy's attention.  She could take on any task and get it done well a day before the deadline.  People admired her competence and quiet confidence. 
Like so many girls the problem was not getting a man interested in her, but what happened after he was interested.  In time it became clear to the people who loved Isabel that this was not the guy for her, but because she hardly hung out with these people without her boyfriend, they never had a chance to tell her what they were seeing.  If they were bold enough to make an opportunity to warn her, Isabel was majorly offended.  How could they say this about her boyfriend?  What right did they have?! 
Proverbs 15:22 (NIV) says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” 
The truth is we need to utilize our family and friends for the wisdom and life experience they have.   We need friends who love and follow after God to help us to make wise decisions about who we continue to date and eventually marry.  Girls often underutilize their families.  Here are ways to take advantage of the wisdom you have in the people who care about you most:
·         Spend time around other people together.  If you decide to continue dating someone, it should not be uncommon for the two of you to hang out with other people including friends and family.  This is a good opportunity for them to meet this person and later share with you what is great about this guy and what might be areas of concern. It is also helpful for you to see how he treats and interacts with other people.  If he is dating you, he is likely treating you like royalty, but you want to see how he is with other people.  As a side note, it is especially helpful to see him in a situation with people he can gain nothing from.  How he treats “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40) such as the poor, young, old, socially awkward, etc. will tell you volumes about his character.
·         Listen to happy couples.  If you have people in your life who are in good marriages, they are the perfect people to get feedback from on what they think about this guy.
·         Listen to your parents.  Your parents love you like no one else and have lived longer and seen more than you.  You should take every bit of wisdom from them you can.  We know that some of you have parents who have values you don’t agree with.  We are not saying you are bound to do what they say (assuming you are an adult), but you do have to honor them by listening to them respectfully.   After you have heard them, pray and ask God to reveal to you what is truth in what they have said.

Many people are hesitant to bring someone they are only casually dating around friends and family because of how their friends and family may behave.  If this is the case, go to these people ahead of time and let them know that you value their opinion about the kind of man you should date and marry because they love and know you better than anyone else.  This being the case, you need them to be casual and act like it is no big deal for you to bring a guy around.  Why would it be, you are a woman in demand and go out with lots of different guys?!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

They Worry About What Other People Think

Mistake #16

As a personal trainer at a gym, Fatima gets attention from men.  In the process of writing this blog she was part of a focus group where she commented, “The thing is, if you go on one date with a single guy who is part of our 5,000 member church, then soon people are asking ‘so, when is the wedding?’”  The other girls agreed.  They talked for a long time about how they feel like they have to KNOW they are interested in a guy before they go on a casual date because of the assumptions of the people around them.  Their parents will be too excited, everyone will be questioning them and the other guys will consider them off the market.  Enough excuses!  Forget about what other people think.  It’s not important.  Here are your guidelines.
·         Get it right in your mind.  There is NOTHING wrong with a casual cup of coffee.  There is NOTHING wrong with a guy buying you dinner.  There is NOTHING wrong with accepting dates from 3 different guys over the same weekend!  If you keep it casual and fun then there is NOTHING wrong with going on one, three even twelve dates with the same guy and deciding that you don’t want to further pursue a deeper relationship. This is a fun stage!  Getting to know new people is exciting and great practice for the moment when Mr. Right finally comes around!  Enjoy it!
·         Prepare your responses.  Now, you have to get ready for those crazy comments from the loving (and sometimes just nosey) audience members who feel the need to comment on every area of your intriguing and interesting life!  When they offer advice just respond with a genuine smile and warm tone, “Thanks.  I’ll keep that in mind.”  And the truth is that the advice may be good.  If they make a comment, with an insinuating tone, like, “I hear you are dating Mikey.”  Just say, “Well, we had a casual cup of coffee (or a casual dinner) but it’s nothing serious.”  Smile and move the conversation on.  Play it cool and they will too!  If they make condemning remarks just let it slide and forget about it.  It’s not worth worrying about. 

Remember:   Just have fun!!!  Forget about what other people are thinking.  Forget about their comments.  Enjoy this time!  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

They Do Not Expect Respect

Mistake #15

Mirabelle naturally related well to guys.  She was rarely without a boyfriend and once she had a boyfriend she was all in.  They spent most of their free time together and she seldom did things with just her girlfriends or the clubs she was involved in.  If he wasn’t doing it, she wasn’t doing it.  On top of that, she would put up with more and more lack of respect.  Sometimes he said he was going to pick her up at 6 and did not show until 7:30.  Other times he made plans with her, but when the guys planned something better he canceled.  Sometimes he even went through doors first and did not hold the door for her.  If they spent time together, she had to make the plans. 

Of course, there are deeper issues as to why a girl puts up with this treatment.  Maybe this kind of behavior was what was modeled at home, or maybe she doesn’t think she can do any better.  If this is you, we recommend you start a Bible study on who you are as a child of God.  (See Appendix C.)
Here are some practical things to do to gently demonstrate that you expect respect:
1.      Be less available.  We discuss this in Chapter 2.  If Mirabelle puts the principles in place that we talk about in Chapter 2, many of these issues will quickly be resolved.
2.      Make new plans.  If it is 30 minutes after he was supposed to pick you up and he hasn’t called, make new plans and go do them.  When he asks you about it, you can graciously (not sarcastically) explain that when he didn’t show up, you figured you had gotten the day wrong and had made new plans.  If he tracks you down in your new plans and wants you to go on the date with him, stick with the new plans and say, “I’d love to hang out sometime but I’ve already made other plans!”  You will rarely encounter this situation though if you are following the “Be Where You Are” principle explained in Chapter 2.
3.      Drop him and move on.  If he drops plans with you for something that is less than once in a lifetime, you need to move on.  He doesn’t really like you enough for you to waste your heart on him.  It’s possible that time will pass and he will realize he has made a mistake.  If that is the case, make him start at the beginning with you and win you all over again.  In the meantime, you need to move on.  For great ideas on how to get over him refer to Appendix A.
4.      Let him serve you.  If you want a man who holds doors for you, you need to stop, wait and let him open it.  Sit in the car and wait for him to come open your door for you.  It won’t take him long to get out of the car and realize that you are still sitting in the car waiting for him to open your door.  If something is heavy, ask him to carry it for you.  If he offers to help you with something, let him.  Men want to be a knight in shining armor and you want a gentleman, so give him the opportunity to act like one and let him be chivalrous. 
5.      Stop making plans.  If he wants to be with you, he will do something about it.  He will pick up a phone and call, or he will stop by and see you and ask for a date.  If he doesn’t do something to make plans with you, you can move on without letting your heart get any more involved with this person.  

Sunday, October 10, 2010

They Talk About the Future Too Soon

Mistake #14

Kate was a detail person.  She liked to have everything planned out well in advance with several contingency plans.  This was one of her greatest gifts.  It served her well in school and her jobs.  People knew they could trust her to do things right.  When it came to dating, Kate also liked to have things nice and tidy.  Once she finally decided she liked someone, she just about had the wedding date and reception seating arrangement planned.  She wasn’t foolish enough to tell her crush this, but the thoughts were there.  If she did end up dating someone, within a few weeks she couldn’t restrain herself from hinting about the future.  Kate had it together and guys really liked her, but her relationships never lasted more than few months, because inadvertently, she made guys feel like they were getting their foot caught in a steel trap that wouldn’t let go.

Girls, I am not telling you not to think about the future.  You can’t help but think about the future, especially if you are considering adding someone in particular to your future.  What I am saying is don’t dwell on the future.  Don’t camp out there.  Don’t spend all your time with your girlfriends talking about it.  Be intentional about occupying your mind with other things.

There are two reasons for this:

·         Reason #1: You set yourself up to be hurt by getting your heart set on a particular future prematurely.  Obviously, there is a time to think about the future, but remember to wait for the right time.  “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. . .a time to embrace and a time to refrain, . . .a time to be silent and a time to speak,” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-7)  If he is not bringing up the future, it’s not time yet.  It’s fun to be wanted, so let yourself be pursued!  Christ pursues his bride, the Church; let your Mr. Right pursue you.

·         Reason #2: If you talk about the future before he is ready, you will scare him off.  My dog loves to walk close to me, but the moment I put a leash on him he pulls to get off.  He wants to walk next to me by his choice instead of feeling tied to me.  I know I shouldn’t compare guys to dogs, but the reality is that it is easy for them to feel the walls closing in on them when a girl starts mentioning the future before he is ready.  When the walls start closing in, guys will bail before they get trapped. 

It is hard to stop planning for the future.  Here are some tips to help.

1.      Take every thought captive.  It is a choice you make whether or not to dwell on those thoughts.  When you find your mind wandering to the future prematurely, redirect your mind to something else.  
2.      Meditate on a Bible verse.  Some of my best verse memory times have come from being intentional about not dwelling on something in particular.
3.      Refrain from talking about future specifics with him until you are engaged. 
·         If he brings it up, you may talk about your specific future as an individual and his specific future as an individual. 
For example:
o   “If I get married one day, I want to be able to work from home and stay with my kids.”
o   “When I have a family I want to take annual vacations.”
o   “I’ve always wanted to live in Europe.” 

·         You may not talk about a shared future. 
Don’t say:
o   “When we get married, I want to stay home with our babies.”
o   “I can’t wait to go on family vacations with you every summer.”
o   “We should go to Europe and scope out the perfect location for our dream home.”  
Enjoy getting to know someone and being pursued.  You can’t enjoy the present if you are consumed with the future.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

They Commit Too Soon

Mistake #13

As the president of her sorority, Claire was a gorgeous girl who had plenty of attention from guys.  She was caring, always wore a smile and because of this everyone considered her a friend.  Once she met a guy she liked, she was all his.  They hung out every day, talked on the phone until they were about to fall asleep at night and he was all she could talk and think about.  Soon, they had the Define The Relationship (DTR) talk when they decided that they were going to date exclusively.  After a few months (or a couple of years) they decided that one no longer felt the same way about the other and they split up with broken hearts.  Why were so many hearts broken in Claire’s life?  She committed to relationships too soon!

This is such a common mistake.  You meet the man of your dreams and want to get to know him and you want him to know you.  You say “Yes” to all of his invitations because you have so much fun with him and the attention he gives you feels so good!  You become emotionally attached to him quickly because you share so many of your hopes and dreams with him.  Our mentor, Mark Robinson who has served as Collegiate Minister to thousands of college students, called it Serial Monogamy.  Girls move from one very serious relationship to another.  Christian girls are particularly prone to this mistake because they don’t want to give any piece of their heart away to a guy that they might not marry.  So they convince themselves that this may be Mr. Right!  And they let their guards down.  Here are some guidelines to follow to avoid making this mistake:

·         Slow down.  Have fun!!!  Take your time getting to know him.  You don’t need to rush.  Don’t be quick to define the relationship.  Just enjoy the carefree, fun time that come with dating casually! 
·         Be slow to reveal you heart.  Study the They Reveal Too Much Too Soon post.  These are some of the best guidelines in this blog.  Remember: if he just happens to be the guy you choose to marry, then you have the rest of your lives to get to know each other!  You don’t have to do it in the first week.
·         Do not spend too much time with him.  Remember, you are a busy girl in high demand by so many interesting people!  You have a busy schedule filled with enriching activities!  You have time in your schedule to hang out once in awhile but you won’t clear your schedule to fit him in.  Remember, be a challenge.  
o   First Month: You should see him no more than twice per week.
o   Second and Third Month: You should not hang out with him more than three times per week.
o   Fourth month and beyond: After the third month, if you are still very interested in him, your family and friends are in agreement (see Mistake 17) and if HE BRINGS IT UP FIRST, defining the relationship as exclusive is acceptable.  (Note: If he really likes you he will WANT to define the relationship.  You should never, ever, ever bring this topic up.  Defining the relationship is a way for him to tell other guys to keep their hands off of you.  If he doesn’t want to define the relationship, he is keeping his options open.  Therefore, you need to keep your options open as well.)  Please, enter an exclusive relationship with extreme caution.  After you are exclusive do not see him more than 4 day per week.
o   Engagement:  After you are engaged, you may see him up to 5 days per week.  We recommend never seeing him more than 5 days per week until you are married.  You need a few days apart from each other to be able to evaluate the relationship clearly, keep up your relationships with your friends and family and maintain your identity as an individual.  He needs to marry you to have complete and unlimited access to you.
·         Use caution when getting physical!  Again, be a challenge.  Keep in mind, if people see you holding hands they will assume you are together and you will be considered off of the market.  Other guys will not approach you.  By withholding touch you have the power in the relationship.  He will always wonder, “Will she let me hold her hand tonight?  Should I make my move?”  Absolutely no kissing before you are exclusive.  As we discussed in the They Kiss Too Soon entry, kissing leads to commitment by default.  You want to make the decision to enter into an exclusive relationship with a clear head.  You don’t want your emotions, resulting from your physical relationship, to cloud this huge decision.   

Remember:  Have a great time without the pressure and limitations of a relationship.  The stage of casual dating is really fun!  Enjoy it!

Monday, September 13, 2010

They Kiss Too Early

Mistake #12

Ella was a girl with high standards when it came to guys. In fact, she didn’t date much at all. It wasn’t that she wasn’t attractive or nice. She just knew what she wanted in a man and had decided she wasn’t going to settle for less. Then Jordan came along, he was super cute, way fun and very flirty and he wasn’t afraid to pursue Ella. Ella found this very flattering and fun. At first, she had no problem turning him down, because she knew that Jordan wasn’t the kind of man she wanted to marry. However, as time went on, Ella started to think that it might be fun just to kiss him. There wouldn’t be anything wrong with that as long as she made it clear to Jordan this wasn’t going anywhere. They were just going to have fun. Before she knew it, Ella found herself heartbroken that she was going to have to break up with Jordan, someone she never even wanted to date in the first place.

In college, my group of friends had something we called NCL, or Non-Committal Lip. Basically, the thought was that we could make out with someone just for fun and it wouldn’t mean anything the next day. In theory, this sounded great, but it never worked out this simply. Did I mention never? Literally, never! Many times NCL make-out sessions led to relationships my friends never wanted and later ended in unnecessary heartbreak.

I’m not just talking about NCL here. I’m also talking about kissing or other physical affection whether it is someone you are casual with or someone you are interested in having a future with. Here are the cold, hard facts, girls:

• Fact #1: Our hearts, minds and bodies are not separate entities unaffected by one another. When we start kissing or snuggling someone, we start caring about them differently than before. We have shared an intimacy with that person. When you kiss someone you are creating a connection.

• Fact #2: Kissing makes us feel committed to someone. Internally, we all just seem to know that it is not okay to be physical with more than one person at a time. With that in mind; once we kiss someone, we innately know we shouldn‘t kiss anyone else until that physical relationship has been severed. Therefore, if you don’t want to be committed to a guy or you just don’t want to be committed yet, DON'T KISS HIM.

• Fact #3: Kissing is foreplay to sex. I never realized this until after I got married. Knowing this explains why once you start kissing it is so hard to stop yourself from going further. You aren’t designed to stop at just kissing. You are designed to consummate what you have started.

To quote my hero Paul, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2 NLT)

Before you start kissing someone, ask yourself two questions:

1. Am I ready to commit to this person?

2. Is this pleasing to God, or am I just trying to satisfy my flesh?

Here is another reason to limit yourself to one alcoholic beverage. More alcohol makes you too comfortable and equals loose lips. You are more likely to reveal too much (as we discussed in the last chapter) and you kiss too much.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

They Reveal Too Much Too Soon

Mistake #11

My friend Jennifer is known for her long-winded stories. She will talk and talk and talk and give every single detail to her audience. She is entertaining and guys are drawn to her, so she is asked out on many dates. However, after the first few dates, Jennifer felt completely in love with Mr. Amazing and Mr. Amazing had suddenly lost interest in her. Why? She always revealed too much, too soon.

We have seen too many girls reveal their entire life stories complete with their hopes and dreams (and chosen baby names!) during their first conversation with an eligible bachelor. At the end of her monologue, the guy typically thinks to himself, “Thank you, Lord, for letting that conversation be OVER.”

Men enjoy a challenge. They are internally wired by God to enjoy competition. They love sports, video games, war movies and wrestling matches. Even men who do not obviously follow this stereotype can be found competing with others over who works the hardest, tells the funniest jokes or who has the longest nose hair. And then there are the guys who simply compete against themselves. This love of a challenge does not disappear when men enter the dating realm. It intensifies. So be a challenge for him. Don’t hand him your heart on a platter. Instead make him dig for pieces of you over a long period of time. Many sweet, caring and very OPEN girls have had their hearts broken by revealing too much about themselves too soon in the relationship.

I always followed one basic biblical principle when being pursued by a man. “Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.” (Philippians 2:2-4, NLT) Here is how to practically apply this principle in the context of dating.

• On Dates: Make it your goal to find out as much information as you can about him without revealing much about yourself! Go to the date with an arsenal full of questions that you can ask him. (See Appendix B for ideas.) If you don’t think you will be able to remember all of the questions then write them down and keep them in your purse to look over when you go to the restroom. When he asks you a question, answer it with an honest, SHORT answer and ask him another question. Really LISTEN to the answers he gives and ask more questions about his response. As he talks, nod your head, smile and make eye contact so that he knows you are interested and that you want to know who he truly is. At the end of the date you want him to be thinking, “Wow, she’s amazing! She even showed interest in my love for Star Trek! But, wait, I don’t know anything about her. I’ll call her tomorrow to find out more!” (Note: If you are over 21, we recommend you drink ONLY ONE alcoholic beverage per date. Alcohol can make you comfortable. More than one drink can make you TOO comfortable revealing your deepest darkest secrets, your most embarrassing moments, and your hopes and dreams about a beautiful future with him and your seven children all on the first date. If you don't believe us, watch The Bachelor.)

• On the Phone or Skype: Screen your cell phone calls. Do not answer the phone or text him if you are with other people. Enjoy your friends and family and the event you are at instead of entering into a conversation with him. If you are not busy, keep your phone conversations down to 10 minutes or less. This will keep you from revealing too much too soon and he will soon figure out that he needs to ask you on a date if he wants to spend quality time getting to know you. The same principles apply during phone conversations. Ask more questions than he asks. Answer his questions with honest, short and cute answers. If he leaves a message, only return calls if he specifically asks you to call him back.

• Email, Texting, IM-ing: This can be very dangerous. As women we often feel very free to express ourselves when we are sitting in front of a keyboard. We start typing and suddenly we have typed a 10 page email that is humorous, emotional and perfectly describes everything we are feeling and thinking, but it is way too revealing. Use the Mirror Rule in all of these cases. If he sends a 5 line e-mail, respond with a 5 line or less email. If he sends a 10 word text to you, don’t exceed 10 words when you respond. Use these communication modes to your advantage. Be witty and playful in your responses. Follow the 10 minute rule with texting and IM-ing conversations. You are a busy, in demand woman. He needs to ask for a date to spend some significant time getting to know you.

Remember, your goal is to be an intriguing mystery he wants to solve. Always leave him wanting more at the end of every date, phone call, email or text.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Not Being Mrs. Right for their Mr. Right

Mistake #10

Jim was one of those college friends who never really seemed to go to college, although it was rumored that he had in the past. He seemed to bounce from one job to another. Each one for some reason or another just didn’t “fully tap into his talent and potential.” Therefore, after a short time he would have to let his employer go. In fact, the majority of the time he didn’t have a job, but he did have a well-worn place in front of the TV. He was average height with round glasses and a matching round figure. He was not ugly, but he was in no way trying to take care of himself. Jim was fairly fun to hang around, but at times would say things just to be annoying.

One day the conversation came up regarding what each of us was looking for in a mate. He explained that he wanted a girl who was smart, driven, pretty, and athletic. Okay, just absorb that. He wanted someone who was driven, pretty, and athletic. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Obviously, he was never going to attract that kind of girl, because any girl like that wasn’t looking for someone like Jim.

Now, I am finished picking on my guy friend, but as girls we need to take a look in the mirror. We do this all the time. For example, we want someone who is totally in love with Jesus, yet we are only half-heartedly seeking after Him. What do you want in a guy? Really, think about it. Look at your list from the last chapter.

Okay, now that you have your Mr. Right in mind, what kind of girl do you think he wants? Seriously, take time to stop and think about this. What is your Mr. Right looking for in a woman? Write it down.

Now that you’ve got in your mind what he wants, ask yourself if you are the kind of woman he is looking for.

If you are not the kind of woman your Mr. Right is looking for, you have two options:

Option #1 - Figure out who your Mr. Right is looking for and become that woman. Live up to the standard you have set so you can have the man you have spent your life dreaming of, instead of all the Mr. Wrongs you’ve been attracting. Maybe you want a man who is going be actively involved in his church with his family, but you’ve been hit or miss with church for the last two years. It is time for you to commit and serve. It’s easy to not be intentional, and before you know it you have become a person you never wanted to be and are living a life you never wanted to live. Be the woman God intended you to be!

Option #2 - Change what you are looking for. Maybe as you looked at what your dream man would be looking for, you realized you will never be that. That’s okay. If you’ve had an idea about a rugged outdoorsman, but you can’t stand mosquitoes and frizzy hair, it’s time to let go of that dream. Don’t try to become someone God didn’t intend you to be.

Guys all around you are dreaming about their Mrs. Right. Don’t just pray for your Mr. Right to come along. Also, be the Mrs. Right your Mr. Right is looking for.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

They Date the Wrong Guy Over and Over

Mistake #9

Julie was a mess. AGAIN. Her roommate Heidi had to hear about it. AGAIN. Julie appeared to be a confident girl who attracted a lot of attention from the male population. However, she was always getting into relationships with guys who were hot, fun and bold but who ended up being controlling, manipulative and prideful.

Most of us make this mistake over and over. We end up having a “type” of guy that we are attracted to and easily fall for. The Manly Man. The Jock. The Sensitive Boy. The Romantic. The Ultra-Christian. Here’s the deal. The first impression is not always accurate. The Manly Man tends to hurt our feelings with his words and actions. The Romantic easily gives his heart away and takes it back just as quickly. The Ultra-Christian doesn’t always end up being the strongest Christian in the bunch. Many times, it is the guy in the background, serving, who is the quality “marrying-type”. However, because we are so drawn to “Mr. Popularity” we miss the amazing guys on the sidelines.

We stand by our policy: Give every Christian guy two dates. Open your eyes and look around at all of the different types. Give each guy a chance. Learn from each of life’s experiences. This way, when Mr. Right comes along you will know that the qualities he holds are the exact qualities you need in a man.

1. Learn from your mistakes. We all make mistakes. Our job is to learn from our past mistakes and change our behavior and choices in the future.

2. Make a list. Get a little notebook. Get your favorite pen. Now start thinking about your past relationships. What did you like about the guy? What qualities drove you nuts? Look at your best friends. What qualities do you admire in them and what makes them your most trusted friends? What habits do they have that make you crazy? What about your siblings? Parents? Write these down.

3. Look for a Pattern. You should start to see a pattern develop in your list. Most of your closest friends have personality traits in common. Many of the bad habits that get on your nerves are the same.

4. Start a New List. On another page start to write a list of the qualities and personality traits you would like your Mr. Right to have. (Note: You may be blind to the qualities you need in a mate. Call those who know and love you best and ask them what attributes they think you seek.)

5. Select the Non-Negotiables. There are some characteristics that are non-negotiable. For example, on my list I knew that the man I married had to have a growing relationship with Jesus, be honest and stand up for what is right. These items (and a few others) were underlined on my list.

6. Use Your List. After your second date with a guy pull out the list. Use a pencil and go down the characteristics you have listed. Check off each characteristic he has and leave a blank next to the ones he does not have or has not proven to you yet. If you still want to date him, then after a few more dates go back to your list. If he is missing the mark on a bunch of your likes, you need to go to a friend or a wise woman in your life who you admire and trust and openly discuss your concerns. Ask her if you are being too sensitive or picky or if this is just not a good match. Be willing to accept her advice. If he is hitting the mark… Have fun! Keep dating him! But keep it casual so that if you realize a month or two months into dating that he is not the man of your dreams as you look at your list, then the relationship won’t end in heartbreak!

The only way to avoid dating Mr. Wrong over and over is to give different kinds of guys a chance. Go out with all kinds of guys. Say yes to more dates.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Appendix C: Who Am I in Christ? Study

Who Am I in Christ?

I am the salt of the earth. Matthew 5:13

I am the light of the world. Matthew 5:14

I am a child of God. John 1:12

I am a part of the true vine, a channel of Christ’s love. John 15:1 and 15

I am Christ’s friend. John 15:15

I am chosen and appointed. John 15:16

I am a slave of righteousness. Romans 6:18

I am enslaved to God. Romans 6:22

I am a daughter of God; God is my Father. Romans 8:14-15; Galations 3:26; 4:6

I am a joint heir with Christ, sharing His inheritance with Him. Rom. 8:7

I am a temple – a dwelling place – of God. His Spirit and life dwell in me. 1 Cor. 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:19

I am united with the Lord and am one in spirit with Him. 1 Cor. 6:17

I am a member of Christ’s body. 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 5:30

I am a new creation. 2 Cor. 5:17

By the grace of God, I am what I am. 1 Cor. 15:10

I am a daughter of God and one in Christ. Gal. 4:6-7

I am an heir of God since I am a daughter of God. Gal. 4: 6-7

I am a saint. Eph. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2

I am God’s workmanship. His handiwork – born anew in Christ to do His work. Eph. 2:10

I am a fellow citizen with the rest of God’s family. Eph. 2:19

I am a prisoner of Christ. Eph. 3:1; 4:1

I am righteous and holy. Eph. 4:21

I am a citizen of heaven. Phil 3:20; Eph. 2:6

I am hidden with Christ in God. Col. 3:3

I am an expression of the life of Christ because He is in my life. Col. 3:4

I am chosen by God , holy and dearly loved. Col. 3:12; 1 Thes. 1:4

I am a daughter of light and not of darkness. 1 Thes. 5:5

I am holy and have a heavenly calling. Heb. 3:1

I am a partaker of Christ; I share in His life. Heb. 3:14

I am being built up in Christ as a spiritual house. 1 Pet. 2:5

I am God’s possession. 1 Pet. 2:9-10

I am a stranger to this world in which I temporarily live. 1 Pet. 2:11

I am an enemy of the devil. 1 Pet. 5:8

I am a child of God and I will resemble Christ when He returns. 1 John 3:1-2

I am born of God, and the devil cannot touch me. 1 John 5:18

“No person can consistently behave in a way that’s inconsistent with the way he perceives himself. Because you are in Christ, every one of those characteristics is completely true of you, and there’s nothing you can do to make them more true. But you can make these traits more meaningful and productive in your life by simply choosing to believe what god has said about you. One of the greatest ways to help yourself grow into maturity in Christ is to continually remind yourself who you are in Him. I suggest that you go back and read it aloud to yourself right now. Read the list once or twice a day for a week or two.” – Neil Anderson Victory Over the Darkness

They Do Not Carry Themselves with Confidence

Mistake 8

Daneasha was an intellectual, friendly pre-med student with a contagious laugh. She had a round figure and everyone who knew her loved her. Yet, when she walked around campus she often looked down or to the side. We had a talk with her and coached her in walking with confidence. She argued with us saying that she was a confident girl and didn’t need our coaching. After a few days she reconsidered and started applying our tips and techniques. Within the first day, she started realizing that guys were checking her out, they were making eye contact with her and they even started opening doors for her every time she went in a building! The way she carried herself changed the way guys treated her!

Many of you believe you are confident women, and maybe you are. You are confident in Christ. Your identity is in Him! But as you walk you don’t portray confidence. Here is how you change this:

· Walk upright. While you are walking notice how you carry yourself or ask a friend to observe you. Do you walk with your head up, shoulders back and your back straight? If not, start now.

· Notice what is going on around you. I was coaching a friend on her college campus. As we walked I said, “Wow, Meg, that guy on the bike was totally checking you out!” She responded, “What guy?” I could not believe it! A very attractive guy had to get off of the sidewalk on his bike to give us space. As he did he almost flipped off of his bike because he was totally checking her out. Yet, adorable Megan did not even notice. The lesson: Be in the moment! Notice the people you are passing.

· Make friendly eye contact. Again, eye contact shows that you are a confident, approachable person.

· Smile at people. After you get great at making eye contact, start smiling at people along the way. Practice in front of the mirror and then on your friends.

· Walk with a purpose – this portrays great confidence. Even if you have no place to be, walk like you know where you are going and you have important people waiting for you there. But while you walk remember to make friendly eye contact.

Many of you are reading this thinking, “I don’t feel confident.”

· First, your confidence needs to be found in Christ. Get a friend to do a Bible study with you about who you are in Christ. It will be fun and worthwhile for both of you. (See Appendix C for help with this.)

· Here’s a general principle: If you want to change the way you feel about things, change your actions first. Start walking with confidence and follow the other guidelines above and you’ll start to feel confident. Change the way you feel by acting on it first.

Remember: You are an amazing woman! Walk like one!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

They Do Not Know How to Flirt

Mistake #7

Charis had a lean athletic body, from years of competing in triathlons. She was around guys and the guys noticed her. They checked her out all the time! Did she notice? No! When she did make eye contact with a guy she would naturally look down and immediately start talking with her friends. She was always surrounded by many fun girlfriends! When a guy would approach her she would answer his questions with short answers, smile and laugh nervously. She had so much attention but not many dates. Why? She didn’t know how to flirt.

For some reason, flirting often has negative connotations in the Christian culture. However, I assure you that Eve flirted with Adam… I mean, how else do we exist?! This is part of being approachable and will often give him that extra boost of courage he needs to ask you on a date. I (Leslie) was a flirting professional, in fact, in college Mary had to have an intervention with me to help me tone down my unintentional flirting! Here are some of my tips for healthy flirting:

1) Be aware. They are checking YOU out! You are a female… The guys are aware of you! Look around the room. You’re sure to find a few guys looking at you! As you practice the guidelines in this book you will definitely notice the cuties paying even more attention to you.

2) Be near him. Let him notice you and notice you repeatedly. Do not approach him, but make sure you are in his line of vision. If you are at coffee shop or restaurant, make an excuse to walk by his table. Proximity is the number one factor in attraction.

3) Make eye contact and smile. Practice this on everyone. It is common courtesy. When you make eye contact with someone do not look away immediately. Hold their eye contact for 2-3 seconds and smile.

4) Look back and smile. After the initial eye contact, look at something else for two seconds and then look back and hold his gaze for another 2-3 seconds while smiling. Be brave moment: After holding his gaze for the second time, end it with a wink.

5) LISTEN to them. Ask more questions than you answer. People love for others to find them interesting and guys love an intriguing girl! At the end of your conversation he should know very little about you and you should know plenty about him. Look at Appendix B for question ideas.

6) Use light, appropriate touch. When he has said something funny, laugh lightly and briefly touch his arm or shoulder. Touch is very powerful. Use it to be fun and flirty. Never touch his legs… Touching his legs can be too powerful.

7) Use his name 2 or 3 times within the conversation. People love to hear their own name. It makes them feel as if they mean something to you because you remember their name. Use his name in a playful and flirty way. When he makes a joke, giggle and say, “Oh, Trey, you are so funny.” Or when you ask a question say, “Brad, where did you grow up?”

Other flirting techniques are found throughout this book. Study the guidelines. Apply the guidelines. Put the book down right now and schedule a time with some friends to help each other practice these flirting techniques. Flirting is really about being open, friendly, and playful. Have fun!!!

So...  Do you relate to this?!?  Is this a mistake you make?  Please, let us know!  Apply these guidelines this week and let us know what happens!  Please!!!  Let us know!

They Are Always in a Girl Pack

Mistake 6

Megan and Caitlin have been best friends for years. They are adorable, hilarious and intelligent. They know so many people and are involved in countless activities in their community. They do everything together and with all of their girlfriends. If they go out to eat, they are with eleven other girls. People are naturally drawn to both Megan and Caitlin. In fact, if you were to observe them at a party you would see the guys at the party checking them out! They have everything going for them; yet, neither of them has been on a date in years! Why? They are constantly in a Girl Pack.

We love our girlfriends! We love to be around people who know us, love us, know how to make us laugh and listen to us when we cry. Naturally, when we are going about our everyday lives we want our girlfriends around. So, we travel in Girl Packs! When attractive, interested guys see us traveling in our Girl Packs, they typically run away in fear. Even the most confident guy will not approach a girl at a party when she is standing in a close knit circle with her girlfriends - talk about intimidating! He doesn’t want to face that level of embarrassment if there is a possibility of you rejecting him in front of twenty other girls. Oh, and by the way, you and one other friend are still considered a Girl Pack.

Staying in a Girl Pack is a bad habit. But leaving the Pack for the first time is a little scary! Here are some steps to becoming an independent girl.

1) Start by going to the restroom alone.

Don’t go straight for the restroom. Take the long route. Walk with a purpose but as you walk observe everything that is going on around you. Look around the room and make eye contact with people. Smile at them. A confident, courageous girl goes alone!

2) When you get thirsty go to get a drink alone.

A guy who finds you attractive is much more likely to approach you when you are alone. Go to the drink stand, get a drink and hang out for awhile taking small sips. Smile with your eyes and casually look around the room. Again, make eye contact with people and SMILE! After a few minutes you can go and find your friends again.

3) Never stay in a girl pack for more than 10 minutes at a time at any mixed social function.

After 10 minutes find someone else to talk to or casually take a walk around the room. As you are walking, enjoy yourself. And, once more, make eye contact (for at least two long seconds) with other people and SMILE!

You can apply these steps at any large or small group event, on the college campus, in a restaurant, at a dance, at church… Basically, anywhere.

(Sidenote: We understand that you are girls who love people and have a heart for people.  Please do not misunderstand our hearts.  We want you to fully focus on your friends and family and the people you are interacting with.  However, you need to leave your comfort zones and meet new people.  Be bold and step away from the group of girls you are always around.)
We want your comments!  Tell us if this relates to you...  If you notice yourself making this mistake...  If you are totally against this idea!  We want to hear from you!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

They Do Not Care About Their Appearance

Mistake 5

Rachel is the typical college student. She’s attractive, a member of a top sorority and very intelligent. Everyone loves her sense of humor and she is full of interesting stories and anecdotes. She has traveled extensively and has a ton of girlfriends but guys don’t pay much attention to her. Why? She wears her “comfy” clothes to class and around campus all day. She doesn’t wear make-up. Why should she? She believes that a guy should like her for who she is, not how she looks.

Let’s face it. Love is NOT blind. In a dream world a guy would look past your big hoodie sweatshirt covering your fave sorority social tee and see just your beautiful heart at first sight. However, this doesn’t happen. Guys are very visual and dressing attractively is just a simple way to show that you care about yourself. You can still be low maintenance and look fantastic! Here are a few tips:

1) Clothing: You don’t have to spend a lot of money on clothing or be trendy to make yourself look great! Find a friend who has a sense of style you like and have her look at your wardrobe and help you put together 7-10 rockin’ outfits that make you feel confident. Wear clean, unwrinkled clothing that flatters your figure!

2) Accessories: A pair of hot jeans and a white or black fitted tee can look adorable and attractive when you pair a dangly pair of earrings, a cute necklace and a fun handbag with it. You don’t have to own 56 pairs of shoes but pick a couple of sassy pairs that will go with anything. Accessories are the frosting on the cake… They get the attention. Again, if you are not confident, ask a friend.

3) Make-up: Make-up is amazing!!! Always apply a little. You don’t have to wear a mask of make-up but you can use it to accentuate your strong features and hide the blemishes. Find a friend who does a great job with her make-up and ask for some tips. Go with a friend to the make-up counter at the local department store and ask for a makeover. This can be a fun trip and you can learn a lot. You should own a good concealer to hide the blemishes, blush to define your cheeks, mascara to bring out your glam lashes and lip gloss to highlight your pouty lips.

4) Nails: It doesn’t matter if your nails are long or short. They just need to be well-groomed. If you wear toeless shoes or flip-flops, your feet should look good. Pay for a pedicure. Then you can maintain your feet with some exfoliating scrub, a good pumice stone and nail polish. Keep your fingernails clean and file them so they are not chipped. If your nails and cuticles are looking a little dry, rub some olive oil on them.

5) Smell Good: Your scent can make a guy remember you and keep thinking about you. First, wear an antiperspirant deodorant. Second, pick a fragrance. Wear just enough to make yourself smell better than the average girl out there (you aren’t average!). Your fragrance can be a body spray from a bath and body store or a perfume from a department store. If you can smell it from a step away, you are good. If you can smell it from four feet away, you have too much. Hint: Keep a travel size in your purse to freshen up.

6) Weight: We know this is a touchy subject. You can have a beautiful heart and a gorgeous smile but if you are very overweight, you need to take care of the one and only body that God has given you. Losing weight is as simple as making easy decisions over and over again. It is about the ratio of the calories you take in to the calories you burn. Eat less. Move more. Get others to do it with you. There are many, many great books written on this topic so we will not venture to cover it fully here.

When you feel attractive and pretty you will carry yourself with confidence and your actions will reflect this. Try it out for a week and notice the attention you receive!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Appendix B - Great Get To Know You Questions:

Pick a few of the following questions that you like and stash the list in your purse.  If the conversation starts to get a little slow, excuse yourself to the bathroom and take a peek at your list to help get things going again.

What would your ideal Christmas look like 15 years from now?
What are your favorite family traditions?  What would you like have for traditions?
If you take a dream vacation for 2 weeks where and what you do?
What was your favorite meal as a child?
What were you most afraid of as a child?  What are you most afraid of now?
What were your top three adventures?
What would your former boss say about your performance?
What are the most important features in your dream house?
If you don’t have enough money to pay your bills what would you do?
What were your hobbies and games as a child?
How did/do you usually get in trouble?  How did you try to get out of trouble?
As a child what did you dream about doing when you "grew up"?  As a teenager. . .
Who are your top three heroes?  Why are your heroes?  What attributes/characteristics do they have that you would like to mimic?
What do you enjoy reading?  What do you enjoy watching on TV?
Who are the five most important people in your life right now?  Why are they so important?  How do you show someone they are important to you?
As you drive alone in your car what do you do? What do you listen to? What do you think about?  Would you rather be alone in the car or have someone with you?
If you have a day without any plans what do you do?  
What are three goals you would like to achieve within the next 3 years?  Three goals for the next 5 years?  
If you had $100 extra dollars right now what would you do with it at this moment?
As a child, if you could have asked God any questions, what would they have been?  As a teen?  Now?
What are three things you would like to experience before you die?
Who was your first crush?  What qualities attracted you to him/her?
When was the first time you understood what it was to die?  How did you respond?
If you could play one professional sport what would it be?  What product would you receive an endorsement contract for?
What do you think you will be doing at this exact moment 20 years from now?
If you were granted 3 wishes what would you wish for?
What 5 things would you put in a time capsule to represent you?
Is life more like the game LIFE, Sorry or Monopoly?
If a store clerk gave you too much change what would do you do?
Can you name two people who are a perfect couple?  What makes them a perfect couple?
If you could take me to breakfast to any place in the whole world where would you take me?  for lunch? for dinner?
If your house was on fire what 3 things would you take with you?

Practice these questions this week on anyone and see if you get to know some people in your life better.  Which questions worked the best for you?