Over 35 and Single?
Proactive steps are necessary to reach a balanced life
On the way to establishing your career, you may have always thought there was plenty of time to meet the right man and start a family. Then one day you wake up at 35+ with time of the essence. You seemed to have dated so many Mr. Right Now's, never really having the motivation to nurture dating opportunities because there was always something more important going on at work. So where does a professional, established career focused woman start to find the right relationship?
What steps can a career oriented woman 35 and over take to find a good spouse?
1. Make room for love. It is vital to make changes at work so relationships are a priority. Scale back what you can from the office load. I have talked to many women 35 and older who believe they need to do something drastic such as quit their job, move to another state (or even country) to marry and have children. It is in the small changes you make that open more doors to meeting quality men. For this to happen, work needs to stop being front and center and the dominant aspect of your life and that begins when you stop working from home, checking and responding to emails, making calls and not delegating duties you know keep you from working more efficiently. You may have told yourself you will make time when you meet the right man and that you cannot possibly cut back. The adage if you keep on doing what you are doing, you will continue to see the same results definitely applies to carving out quality personal time and making love a priority.
2. Review past relationships. There is a central reason why you have not made it from dating to commitment to marriage and it is helpful to figure out the central theme to your motivation for selecting the type of men you normally gravitate toward. Working through the core challenge will free you from repeating this pattern and will save precious time so you can attract men who are more appropriate.
3. Use the biblical model for your ideal spouse. Focus on the inner qualities and characteristics you find appealing in a man. Many women I speak to are so unrealistic and place unattainable expectations on men which sabotage these men's efforts to become more emotionally intimate. Relationships driven by careers and material possessions are not fulfilling. A man who has godly priorities and is established in his faith will bring his self-sacrificing, honoring love to the marriage. This in turn will provide the foundation for his spiritual leadership in your marriage and the atmosphere in which the relationship can grow and thrive.
4. Develop quality personal time. It is important to be very proactive about meeting available, emotionally ready, godly men. You cannot wait for people to wander into your life: it is a pursuit just like your career. Join several dating services, select men who fit your criteria and set up as many first dates as possible. Join a good church with an active singles life and go to the events. When you are out doing everyday activities, be open, friendly and approachable. Leave the phone in your purse (or turn it off) so you are focused not only on what you are doing, but also those around you. Opportunities to meet men are everywhere and it is a matter of paying attention. Next, join at least one group devoted to an activity you always wanted to pursue but never gave yourself the time to do so. You will meet like minded individuals and start the process of discovering yourself outside of work. Sometimes it is not even the people you meet through these activities, but who they know that can lead you to the love you desire.
5. Remember a good marriage is the goal, not children. It's very easy to panic when you long to have children, always thought there was plenty of time and now the number of years you can conceive are reduced. It is vital to nurture a relationship and allow it to progress into a strong friendship with a solid foundation of mutual respect, trust and love. God will bless you with the dreams and desires of your heart but you must trust the manner which that unfolds. He will always give you exactly what you need for a fulfilling life emotionally and spiritually when you place your trust in His love.
6. Give each date a fair chance. You cannot date men based on externals as that never leads you to the one you will ultimately marry. Many people I speak with say they can assess whether a person is right for them after a precious few seconds. That dating strategy is false and I encourage you not to size anyone up on a glance or very brief conversation. Dating men who fit your criteria will give you the flexibility to explore whether or not this is someone of integrity.
Once a dating relationship progresses, how long should she wait to see if it will lead to commitment?
1. Designate a time frame. Ideally, date for at least three months and then evaluate the relationship direction. Be careful to date with integrity and be honest if you do not see this as a long term possibility. It is kinder and more considerate to break the news early than to lead someone on, allowing them to believe there is more to the relationship. Develop a habit of being clear about your relationship goals of marriage and children and sticking with those convictions.
2. Never consider living together to test compatibility. When you mutually agree the relationship is going to the direction toward commitment, under no circumstances should you test compatibility through living together. This is not the next step in compatibility and easily places you in a greater state of limbo because there is not a clear definition of true commitment. It halts the process of developing mutual love, trust, respect and honor for one another. The goal is marriage and living together only diminishes the time table for your goal.
Although you cannot undo the choices you have made in the past, you can decide to make wise decisions about your personal life from this point forward. An optimistic attitude about marriage and children will lead you to the right relationship quicker than voicing negativity. The battle starts in the mind and focusing on the achievement of this goal is crucial to experiencing the love you desire with your future spouse.