Celebrate returning to faith, hope, culture and life with community.

Friday, October 10, 2014

From Single-ing to Mingling: How to Take the Leap

Today's post is brought to you by the Single Truth Blog Tour. I had the privilege of meeting Allison, author of Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman  via Twitter a few weeks ago, and we quickly hit it off with our mutual pull-our-hair-out dating experiences.

Though Allison's book is about living the single life well, I wanted to also ask her a few questions about her transition from bachelorette to bride. Because while striking into the dating scene is a lot of fun, it can also drum up a lot of anxiety.

Especially if we've been hurt before.

So, grab yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy Allison's wisdom! I'll see you lovely ladies here next week.

(Pssst! If you'd like a copy of Allison's book, Beacon Hill Press is giving away 10 copies on GoodReads. Click the link to find out more!)

Prodigal Sister: Hey Allison! You've written this great book for single ladies. We love it! Can you tell me a little bit about your transition from being a single girl to being in a committed relationship?
Allison K. Flexer: Once I reached my mid-thirties and remained single, I no longer wanted to casually date. I had gotten to a point where dating wasn’t really fun for me anymore. It was more of a chore, and I was fairly sure I would never meet that one special person. 
God had been prompting me during my quiet times about saying “yes”. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but soon after, I met the man who would become my husband. 
I'd known Michael since childhood (we grew up on the same street in the same hometown), but I hadn’t seen him in almost 20 years. We had an immediate connection. 
When Michael asked me on a date, I had to say, "yes."
In the process, I had to give up some of my fears and trust God. I had been hurt pretty badly in previous relationships and had a fear of rejection. From the beginning, Michael pursued me and never took a step backwards.

PS: Was there anything about your identity as a single woman you needed to let go of in order to be involved in a healthy relationship?
AKF: As a single woman for such a long time, I had grown very independent by the age of 37. I had managed my own life and taken care of myself for a very long time. 
I took pride in not relying on anyone else, and that was something I had to let go of.
Being in a healthy relationship requires letting the other person into your life and receiving things from them. It’s a healthy form of dependence where you open your life and make room for the other person. It may mean giving up some of the things you used to fill your time before that person came along, and that’s okay.

PS: A lot of women (myself included), when they wade into the dating game, can struggle with a fear of commitment. Are relationships really a mess worth making? 
AKF: Relationships are messy for sure. We can somewhat hide our bad qualities when we’re alone. 
Relationships make us aware of the messiness inside ourselves. But we’re designed to live in relationship, and yes, it’s definitely worth it!

A fear of commitment can look different for everyone. Personally, I feared making mistakes. Having made bad decisions in the past, I was hesitant to commit because I didn’t trust myself. I prayed a lot, felt peace that God was in it, and that prompted to me keep moving forward.
PS: Is there such a thing as "guarding your heart" too much?

AKF: I think that’s an expression that's been overused a bit. When a woman is seeking Christ and has an understanding of her great value and worth, I think guarding the heart becomes a natural byproduct. 

Understanding how much we are truly loved and known by God takes away the urge to carelessly give our hearts away. There were times when I made poor choices in this area, but I learned from each and every one of them. God will redeem our regrets!

PS: What would you tell a woman who has been single all of her life who was about to embark on a new relationship?

AKF: I would encourage her to make sure she knows her value comes from God so she’s not seeking validation from a guy. I would tell her not to listen to those people who say she’s too picky. 
Be picky. Don’t settle for less than God’s beautiful plan. Pray and seek God’s counsel in every step of the relationship. If you don’t have peace about a certain aspect of the relationship, pay attention to that.
PS: How do you remain true to yourself when you're in a relationship that's hopefully leading to marriage?
AKF: Honestly, I’m not sure it’s as important to remain true to yourself as it is to remain true to God. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and newness of a relationship and stop spending that quiet time with God. It’s important to continue nurturing your most important relationship—the one with God. Continue to seek his guidance as you move toward marriage.
PS: Is there anything from your single life that you grew to appreciate once you became married?

AKF: Marriage definitely gave me a better view of how God worked on me and improved my character through those single years. I use skills every day in my marriage that I learned from dating relationships I experienced or from those times when it was just me and God. I see how my prolonged singleness taught me to rely on God and built my character. It all prepared me for marriage.
PS: Is there anything you'd like to add?

AKF: In the book, I mention this advice I heard during my single journey: “The loneliest place is being stuck in a bad marriage.” Even though being single is tough and often very lonely, don’t compromise yourself or your values just to be in a relationship. Wait on God and know that you can trust him with your life and your relationships!

Allison K. Flexer is an author, speaker, and blogger who is passionate about communicating the love of God to others. Her first book, Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman (Beacon Hill Press), tells the story of her single journey and gives practical steps for letting go of the lies that destroy the joy and confidence of unmarried women. Allison was also a contributing writer for Fulfilled: The NIV Devotional Bible for the Single Woman. You can connect with Allison on her website at www.allisonflexer.com or on Twitter: @allisonkflex.

photo credit: Poetprince via photopin cc 


Allison K. Flexer said...

Brett, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today. You asked such great questions, and I really had to think about these answers. I hope your readers enjoy it! Also, I love the expression "bachelorette to bride"! That would be a great book title ;)

Helen said...

I love it! You're both awesome, Brett for asking the right questions and Allison for your wisdom in answering them! Great read. Real honest advice I need cos I'm single and deffo waiting on God, trying not to compromise my standards but rely on God's guidance. I like how you said the loneliest place is a bad marriage. Thanks for that reminder :)

Blogger Template Created by pipdig