The Definition of Love

relationship, marriage, man, woman, single, God, Bible

I heard the best definition of love: “sacrifice for the spiritual growth of one’s self and another.” So, love is all about growth. Love is also about acceptance: accepting your partner exactly as he is and not hoping to change him. Love is also unconditional. Love and abuse cannot co-exist. I haven’t been in love (even though I’ve said the words) because I never accepted any of my partners as they were, I never cared about their growth, spiritual or otherwise, and I didn’t know the meaning of unconditional. Even though I’ve been hurt alot, I realize I’ve been pretty selfish in what I wanted out of a relationship and that may have had something to do with my results.

They say whatever you want, do that. If you want to receive, give first. If you want certain qualities in a partner, embody those qualities. Love yourself first, and the world will love you back. Until very recently I wasn’t sure about the meaning of self-love and now I am beginning to understand. Do nice things for yourself and be easy on yourself. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can. Don’t berate yourself. Speak to yourself the way you would want a loving parent to speak to you. Especially if your parents were neglectful or abusive, it’s important to learn to nurture yourself. I am just now learning to love myself and it feels nice!

Entering new relationship territory

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I’m not about to give you one of those apologies and excuses about my busy life which drives me nuts on other blogs. The reason I haven’t posted is that I may be entering into a relationship and I’m afraid to say the words out loud. We’ve known each other for two months and have just decided not to date other people. This is not a stretch for me as I had been on a total of two dates before meeting him but it does mean I stop looking for dates which is a big step for me. I found myself comparing other guys to this one anyway and they consistently came up short. He just seems like a really good fit and possesses all the qualities I had been hoping for but thought I would never find. I have never received a text message from this man.

He knows I am waiting for marriage to have intercourse or oral sex and he is okay with that. When I asked “how will I ever say no to you?” he said he would not even try because we’ve made an agreement. That is another thing I thought I would never find: a man who is willing to wait. I thought I might end up alone and join a nunnery or something and that was actually okay with me. I’m at the point where I would rather be alone than compromise my boundaries. If I have to lose myself to keep someone else, that person is not worth having.

I’ve worked hard to restore my virtue (abstaining 18 months now) and my friend jokes that I am a born-again virgin. I like that and I am going to keep working to keep my virtue intact. I understand not everyone understands my need to stay celibate till I’m married but I do and that’s what matters. And now the work might be avoiding a pleasure that is so readily available to me with someone I care for and might eventually love. I have learned the greater satisfaction that comes with delaying gratification and not giving in to every whim and desire just because “I wanna”. I’m also encouraged by the fact that my new fella is down with the whole idea. “Imagine the anticipation,” he said. “It’s exciting.”

Why men pull away

relationship, marriage, wife, husband

One of my men (my favourite because he seems to read my mind and know exactly what I want) pulled away for a few days. I did not hear from him for 5 days and I was disappointed, but my skin is thickened so I sloughed it off and moved on. As these things happen, as soon as I had forgotten about him he got in touch. I was shocked to see his email in which he wrote that he feels I am the woman for him and he would like to take our relationship to the next level. He said he wanted to talk to me that night and we spoke for 2 hours as he asked me about what I want in a relationship and what he would give me. We spoke again on the phone for 2 hours the next night. (He is travelling for work).

I remembered hearing this is what men do – pull away right before they decide to get serious. Of course, I had never experienced it because I never gave anyone enough breathing room to let that happen! When he called, he was surprised to hear “a smile in my voice” and I said, “Well, I’m happy to hear from you!” Before I probably would have tore a strip out of him and possibly ruined a chance to get to know a guy who could be a compatible partner. All out of my own pride and controlling expectations of the way a man should behave.

I read somewhere about embracing the surprises in life, that you don’t have to always know the outcome, what’s going to happen and when, and that’s they way I want to be with this man. He wants to know the real me, communicates authentically, and he cares about whether I get enough sleep, whether my children are having their needs met, and how I am feeling. He is constantly asking about me and I am so happy to bask in that attention that I forget to ask about him. I am being a little bit selfish and he seems to like that. He accepts the fact that I’m not having sex (oral or otherwise) until marriage and says he will support me in that.

I am going on a date tonight with the athlete who had to cancel last week but I will be thinking of my man. For now, I am taking things day by day but I feel I have found someone very compatible with me.

Ephesians 5:31

I found the following image on Facebook and thought, “This is what I want?” (question mark intended)

Bible, God, Christianity, spirituality, marriage, relationship, single woman

Online dating and The Bible

relationship, dating, marriage, husband, wife, single woman, online, internet

It’s funny I wrote a post called “How 5 becomes 1” recently because I think the title has come to fruition already! I’m not sure if I am a particularly good man repellent, or this is a normal weeding out process. It’s also possible 2 men are still standing because one said he is in town next weekend and would like to see me. Maybe he’ll call, who knows? Are my expectations too high? Is it weird of me to think a man will be in touch every couple of days if he is interested? Anyway, one of them is and maybe that’s the way it’s meant to be. Like I’ve been saying… you only need one.

My Match.com subscription is expiring on February 2 after 3 months. I decided to let it go due to my abysmal track record with them. But this morning I received a promising match in my email and when I ‘winked’ he replied instantly. He is a passionate man who describes himself as a humanitarian, bold but not arrogant, educated. The only minus so far is that he’s not athletic but, hey, I could probably overlook that if other values line up with mine.

I have to say this match came in immediately after I dedicated an hour to reading the Bible and meditating on what I read. That doesn’t mean this man is a gift from God necessarily, but when I focus on God, good things seem to enter into my life instantly and effortlessly.

Feeling your feelings

Right now I’m in this place where I’m feeling my feelings. Feeling my feelings? What? Well, I’m learning how to observe my emotions without judging them and even taking information from them that might be useful for me as I move forward on my journey. I used to do everything I could to stifle my emotions; I found them inconvenient and annoying more than anything. I didn’t understand that anger could be anything other than rage, so I was afraid of it and stifled it until it came out in inappropriate ways.

Now I know that anger is the body’s way of providing information and making it difficult not to act. Anger may be telling you that your boundaries are being violated and you need to establish them more firmly or let go of a person or situation that is repeatedly trampling on those boundaries. Anger has generally been a sign to me that I have not been treated the way I deserve, that my feelings were being minimized or invalidated, and I used to accept that and move along. Now, I insist on being treated with dignity and know that my feelings are worthy of validation. I have a right to my feelings! We all do and there are no good feelings or bad feelings…they just are.

Now, if I share my feelings and someone tries to tell me I’m overreacting or I don’t have a right to feel that way, I begin to question whether that person is a positive force in my life. Maybe they need to deal with their own problems around feeling their feelings. Me, I am seeking out others who can be honest and forthright about their emotions, who are not afraid to tell the truth about how they feel, and who will not make me feel bad for having a feeling that might be “inconvenient”.

Calling in ‘The One’: The Sacred Wound

relationship, love, marriage, dating, man, single woman, wedding, abstinence, celibate
We’re getting down to the nitty gritty with the Calling in ‘The One’ book. Today we must write about the ways we have been wounded from a stance that is courageous warrior rather than victim. Can you think of a trauma from your past that left you feeling unlovable? Can you re-write the story to give yourself credit for surviving or even rising above the abuse? They say that those who have fallen the farthest will rise the highest (or something like that!). Our wounds are how we heal the world. First we heal ourselves and then we share what we learned through the experience with others who may have suffered the same ordeal. People with ordinary lives with not big ups and downs don’t get that privilege. Their lives may seem easier but in the end their purpose is different.

The central lesson I am learning from this entire experience – not just the book but the whole celibate trip – is that happiness can only come from within. There is nothing another human being can give me to make me happier; I can only give myself that gift which, for me, comes through a deeper relationship with God. I’m not sure if this is conducive to the mission of the book, but I realized today when I was out running that it doesn’t matter to me whether I meet someone or not. I am happy as I am and the only time I feel incomplete is when I see some popular culture version of what happy is supposed to be., ie., always based on something/someone outside of yourself.

Getting back to today’s “love lesson”, which says to write about your sacred wound (for me that would be my emotionally abusive mother) and how it puts you in the unique position of healing others. Right away, I thought about my daughters and how my own healing and self-awareness will give them a more competent mother. I also thought about the idea that self-awareness is the only way to heal the world and the only education we all need. We think education is best when it’s about abstract ideas, books, and historical events when in fact the most important education is learning to understand one’s inner self, what motivates you to do what you do. Change yourself, change the world.

Women becoming the men they want to marry

love, marriage, relationship, wife, husband, sex, abstinence, celibacy

I’ve been hearing a lot about how being relationship ready requires (for a woman anyway) becoming magnetic and inviting love into your life. It sounds a lot like surrender and I can see how the approach has worked in other areas of my life; you know, you want something so bad and then as soon as you let it go it comes to you, only better than you ever imagined. I’ve found in my life that I get the things I imagine or dream about but they come in a different way than I had envisioned. I believe our thoughts are powerful that way. I’m not sure how God works in our lives, but I know a few people who believe our destiny is already planned out and we need to let it unfold. I wonder if those imaginings I had that wound up coming true (in their own way) were premonitions of what was in store for me anyway?

I’ve heard some women say you have to become the person you want to attract. For instance if you want an athletic person, you need to be athletic yourself. I understand that to a certain degree, but there are things we admire in men particularly because they are different than us. For instance, I want a man who is confident taking charge. Does that mean I become a take-charge woman? Of course not, quite the opposite I would think. We gravitate toward people who possess qualities we lack which is why you often see a shy person with an extrovert. Two introverts may not amount to a lot of fun and two extroverts cancel each other out.

I realize at this moment I have no idea what I want in a man, or if I want one at all. It’s still difficult for me to find a reason to be close to a man other than sex – and as you know, sex is off the table. After all these years, I still find it hard to be comfortable around men, still don’t know what to make of them; I can’t even imagine what it’s like to go on a date (what would I say?). I signed up for an online dating site and have been inundated with interest. Men like the way I look, almost universally. I’ve not responded to anyone, simply because no one has been physically attractive to me. That’s an old habit of seeking only handsome men. I’ve been told that physical chemistry is perhaps the worst predictor of a solid relationship and it’s best to go against type when choosing a potential partner. Let them grow on you. Looks aren’t everything. But they are something, aren’t they?

Joyce Meyer’s Confidence Boosters

God, spirituality, Christianity, Joyce Meyer, Church, relationship, JesusAs I’ve grown and learned to set boundaries, my confidence has improved and I can say that I love and care for myself and know my needs are just as important as anyone else’s. I have learned to stand up for myself in a way that is peaceful and kind rather than angry and hurtful. I go out of my way not to hurt anybody even the least little bit. Yesterday, for instance, I was feeling incredibly irritable and I said a little prayer asking God to please not let my bad mood cause pain to anyone else. I accepted my feelings but I didn’t want them to hurt anyone. I continued on with my day feeling quite irritable and testy but I realized when I went to sleep that my prayer had been answered! In spite of my ornery mood, I had not taken it out on anyone else, not even in the smallest way.

I know it was God and not me because I was not trying  to be good. I was quite surprised at the end of the night to realize I had not inflicted my bad mood on anyone even though I had accepted rather than denied my feelings (or perhaps for that very reason.) Knowing your prayers will be answered is a profound confidence booster. Here are 9 more tips for building self-confidence from Joyce Meyer via The Choice-Driven Life:

1. Never think or speak negatively about yourself.

2. Meditate on and speak positive things about yourself.

3. Never compare yourself with anyone else.

4. Focus on your potential not your limitations.

5. Find something you like to do and that you do well – then do it over and over.

6. Have the courage to be different. Be a God-pleaser, not a man-pleaser.

7. Learn to cope with criticism.

8. Determine your own worth – don’t let other people do it for you.

9. Keep your flaws in perspective.

The wisdom of waiting for marriage

By the title of this blog it’s obvious I started it to document my journey of sexual abstinence. At the time I was sure I would white knuckle it through the twelve months and jump into bed with the first available guy as soon as the year was up. Of course during the year I spent a lot of time on my own which gave me the chance to raise my level of self-awareness and without the distraction of a dramatic relationship, I could begin to see my patterns and what drove me to do the things I did, especially self-sabotage.

I used to look for a partner to fill the hole inside me, to “fix me” so to speak and now that I’m emotionally healthier I see that is a recipe for disaster. That’s why I’ve been working on myself incessantly and understanding God has not sent me the right person yet because I’m not ready for him. Now that I understand the Law of Attraction (that like attracts like), I’m committed to developing my character until I am at a place where I would want to attract someone like me. If I went with what I would attract now, I would outgrow him in short order and I’m looking for a long-term marriage bound relationship.

The greatest gift I have earned over this year of celibacy (almost fifteen months now) is the wisdom of saving oneself for marriage and the truth that men and women are not equal but different. I realize now I don’t want a man to go toe-to-toe with but one who will take care of me and my feelings and to whom I can look up and respect. The world we live in doesn’t support that point of view, but I only need one man who understands this, not the world.