By Liz Lampkin, Crosswalk.com
Being single is one of the most exciting times in a person's life. It's the time when building a profound relationship with God can begin or continue, the time when you can focus on discovering who you are as God's creation. A time for traveling, creating new hobbies, and building greater relationships. Living single has many facets/seasons, but many tend to focus heavily on one. The dating season. This is the period of a single person's life where the goal is to meet new people for different purposes. Many seek marriage, simple companionship, or new friendships. Others look for casual relationships that could lead to long-term commitments. People come, go, stay or return during this phase of a single person's life. With each cycle of engagement, people willingly give and take from each other. When this happens, people become vulnerable to their experiences, and one of two things can happen; they can become bitter and jaded towards the dating world, or they can learn from each experience and develop new standards for what they want. It's a choice. If your choice is to learn and set new standards, look at the list below to see how you should go about this process.
1. Clear your mind and reset your expectations.
Meeting someone new is exciting. Conversations, text messages, anticipating dates, the actual date. It's all a part of the process. Do you know what else is a part of the process? Starting over. If something ends with someone you had high hopes for, it's okay. This simply means you both deserve something and someone different. When things end, take note of your likes and dislikes from that relationship. Clear your mind, refocus on your baseline standards, and move forward. Remember that everyone you encounter will be different, and you'll like or be attracted to something different in them, and that's fine. Be clear and mindful not to compare one thing to the next. That's how you can miss out on all of who the new person is. Not only this, but you may miss out on discovering new things you can grow to like.
2. Be clear on your needs, internally and externally.
Being clear on what you need in relationships is vital. If you don't know what you need, how will you know what to look for? It's important to know what you need and to have a clear understanding of what those needs are. This way, you can recognize them when you see and verbalize them to those around you.
3. Make sure your standards are realistic.
In a world where social media has become the assassin of reality, many people struggle with deciphering between the fantasy and reality of who people are, what they have to offer, and how relationships should work for both people. When setting standards for what you want in a mate and relationship, ensure they are clear-sighted and sensible. One way to know if your standards are reasonable is to measure yourself by what you want in someone else. Make a short list of things you desire in a companion. After this, ask yourself, "can I offer someone else this? Do I have this to offer, or can I create/ add balance to what I don't have that's in someone else?" If the answer is no, then you may want to rethink some of the things you desire, so the relationship is prosperous for both people.
4. Consistency and change.
Be consistent with your baseline (non-negotiable) standards. When deciding what's best for you in a partner, there are things you know you must have that nurture your well-being that shouldn't be compromised. However, as you mature with time, your needs change. This is okay. Things constantly change. Needs and desires constantly change, and they should. You are allowed to change what you want.
5. Your standards are yours.
Know that what you want in someone is what you need. People around us often believe they know who or what we need in a companion. While their intentions are good and they mean well, it's best to know what you want and need for yourself. Everyone's experience and relationship with someone are different. If someone has a recommendation for someone you should meet, it's an honor to be considered because they see something good in you that could potentially be good for someone else. However, just because someone appears good for you does not mean they are. This is okay. Every good person is not meant for every good person. This, too, is okay. Please do not compromise what you want because someone else sees or says something different. Is this to say that you shouldn't take anyone's insight or recommendations? Not at all. However, it is to say that you should be cautious of what others believe you need in a mate and be secure in what you want.
6. Spend time with yourself.
Quality time alone will help you discover your likes and dislikes. This is something many singles often neglect before they delve into relationships. Go to the movies, exercise, read a book, and travel. There are so many things you can do to actively get to know yourself. Take some time each day, week, or month to intentionally plan quality time with the best person you know. You'll be surprised at what you discover. Besides, wouldn't it be tragic to get to know someone else better than you know yourself? Don't miss out on yourself.
7. Casually, carefully date.
Dating is fun. It's adventurous. It's a learning experience. It's exhausting and so much more. There are so many reasons people date. No matter what they are, do it carefully, casually, and consistently until you know you have met the person God has for you. When you do this, you can discover what you like and don't.
8. Pray about your standards.
When it comes to knowing what we want, humans are often confused because there are many options. When establishing the things you want in a partner and relationship, the best thing to do is go to God in prayer and humbly ask Him to show you what you need and what's best for you. A lot of times, when we outline what we want in a partner, the things we desire come from various places. Heartbreak, unsettled emotions, good and bad experiences, other relationships, and movies, but one place our desires don't tend to come from are heartfelt prayers asking for what we need. This must change. God is our creator. He knows everything about us. He knows everything we need; all we have to do is ask Him to show us.
Setting standards for what you want is something everyone must do. It helps guide decisions, interactions, and helps you understand yourself better. You owe it to yourself to know what you want and allow it to come into your life. Not knowing what you want can make you wonder aimlessly from relationship to relationship and waste priceless time. You deserve more than that. As you continue your journey, I pray that you will seek God first when setting standards for what you desire in a mate. I pray that you will allow God to show you and grasp a deep understanding of what he wants for your life.
Author Liz Lampkin is an experienced writer, teacher, and speaker. She is an advocate for singles who encourages them to live their best life God’s way. Follow her on Instagram @Liz_Lampkin.