By Marcee Woodard
When I was single, I spent a lot of time waiting—waiting for someone to ask me out. And if I liked the date, I started waiting to get asked out on a second date. After that, I was waiting for that same person to ask me to be their girlfriend. If I made it to girlfriend status, I started waiting for the relationship to get serious, so that I could finally get a ring.
I spent so much time waiting that I don’t remember living very much at all.
It wasn’t until I got married and had more kids that I really began to feel like I needed a life.
Instead of spending all those years waiting, I should have been pursuing ME.
If you’re single and overly concerned with getting married, you’re probably not really living. Instead of focusing on getting married, here are eight things you could focus on first:
1. Your money
Because money is the No. 1 reason most marriages fail, why not do what you can now to save your marriage before it starts? Check your credit, clean it up and minimize your debt as much as possible. While it would be nice to marry a guy who has money falling out of his pockets, you may have to settle for an average Joe who loves you unconditionally. So work on bringing good credit and smarter financial habits to the table.
2. Your career
Not that there’s anything wrong with where you are in this phase of life, but there’s also nothing wrong with improving or wanting more. After marriage and kids, it will be a challenge to go back to school, reach for the next level job with the corner office or be the globetrotter who changes the world. In the family stage of life, you’ll be more focused on PTA meetings, recitals, family dinners and family vacations. Remember, you can have it all, but not all at the same time.
3. Your hobbies
All work and no play will make anyone go crazy. You need an outlet, or two or three, to help you relax and wind down. Now is a good time to travel and try different things to see which ones stick. If you know who you are and what you like before you get married, you’ll be less likely to feel guilty for taking time for yourself after family life begins.
4. Your kids
If you are a single parent, chances are you’re consumed with taking care of business. Whether it’s at work, home or your kids’ school, you may be handling it by yourself, and it leaves you little time to enjoy your children. As difficult as it may be to find the strength, it may be necessary that you spend more quality time one-on-one time with them before you expand the family.
5. Your passions
Your job is a means of surviving. But your passion is the thing that makes you want to get out of bed every morning. Sometimes, they are one and the same, if you’re fortunate. If you have lost sight of pursuing your passions, now is a good time to start chasing them down. If you have yet to discover your passions, what are you waiting for? Start by listing your talents and revisiting those things you loved to do as a child.
6. Your God
When was the last time you relentlessly pursued God? Don’t wait until you’re desperate for a financial miracle before you decide to pray or study the Bible. I assure you that He’d love to hear from you anytime. You don’t even need a pastor or a formal process to reach Him. Just sit down and start talking.
We don’t always acknowledge it, but the typical adult carries at least some type of baggage from relationship to relationship. This baggage begins in childhood and is added to the baggage we get from failed relationships and other disappointments. Rather than traveling to the next relationship with overstuffed suitcases, spend this time to heal yourself, validate yourself and love yourself. In addition to your mental health and baggage, devote this time to improve your physical health as well. After all, the best relationships start with the best people; and the only way to attract the best person is to become the best person.
And for all you know: when you take steps to better yourself, you might just attract some new attention. As you draw greater confidence from your new and improved self, you’ll be a natural magnet for potential dates, who are in the same improved space. Now wasn’t that worth the wait?
BMWK, in what other ways, can your work on yourself?
Marcee Woodard is a Christian counselor, who guides single women through self-discovery and teaches them how to love so that they can attract the relationships they deserve. She is also the author of 5 Things Your (future) Husband Wished You Knew. Visit her website at preparingtolove.com.