So, there’s this guy, and he has said “hi” to you. If you are anything like me, your heart kicks into hyperdrive, and you’re picking out wedding colors and dates before you even know his name. Of course, maybe I’m the only woman with that issue (though I doubt it).
I’ve had this problem all my life- all 27 years of it. Whenever a Mr. Maybe appeared on my romantic radar, a team of wild horses couldn’t hold back my heart. I would be off to the races, analyzing our potential future. What would it look like? What would our kids look like? When could we potentially get married? It’s just who I am. I’m a creative dreamer and storyteller, give me the beginning of a story and I will end it for you in an extravagant and fantastic manner.
Here’s the problem: when those stories morph and become beliefs, our hearts get into trouble. When I stop wondering what it might be like and instead start planning what it will be like, I am essentially handing this man my heart. What if he doesn’t want it?
It is vitally important that we, as romantic dreamers, learn how to guard our hearts. It needs to be a diligent practice of ours to keep our thoughts in line, because we know that our actions are quick to follow our thoughts. So, here’s some tips for guarding your heart.
1. Focus on truth (aka- “don’t marry him until you’re married to him.”)
“Hi” does not equal “marry me.” Stop reading into it. It is OK to think a man is attractive or that you might actually like him, but don’t run to the altar just yet. Live in this moment and the truth of this moment. For many of us, the truth is he is a brother in Christ who could be a great friend. That’s the truth. When we jump all the way to “he could be my husband” we start acting funny, and when we start acting funny (like clingy, psycho, stalkers) men tend to run.
2. Approach the Romantic with Caution
Not mandating group dating here and not necessarily talking about romance here. I see romance as the process of being wooed. The romantic actually refers to intimate situations. If you want a litmus test, I would say romantic situations are situations that would make married couples want to go home and have sex. (Just being honest). Examples of romantic situations- candlelit dinner at a fancy restaurant, long walk at night on the beach, etc. Contrast those with getting a card, or a flower arrangement or a gift. Do you see the difference?
There’s one sure-fire way to cause trouble- on date #2 go out for a candlelit dinner. If you are a female who has a weakness in the lust department, it is a really bad idea to put your heart in situations that encourages it to be more romantic than real. Candlelit dinners and long walks on the pier can boil down to a night of fantasy and failure for you. Besides that, if candlelight is date #2, what exactly is supposed to happen on date #50?
3. Let Him Know You From the Outside In
I’m not (not, not, not, NOT) talking about your body here. I mean the outside of your heart. Your heart is who you are and it has layers. Think about it. What might strangers know about you? They might know that you are joyful and friendly. That is part of your heart. It is a layer of you. People who work with you might know that you are joyful, friendly, punctual, and efficient. Acquaintances might know that you are joyful, friendly, punctual, efficient and like Chinese food, and so on.
Do you see the layers here? Now, imagine being that poor man, who wants to get to know you, and you bypass all those layers. He doesn’t get to know that you are joyful, friendly, punctual, efficient and like Chinese food. Instead, you fling all your hopes and dreams at him, along with the names of your children- all 8 of them that you want to have without using birth control because you just don’t believe in that stuff. That might be a little overwhelming, which is why you should…
4. Let Him Lead
It’s counter-culture to our feminist society that tells you to dress in leather and chase him down, but honestly, let him lead. Don’t hand him more of your heart than he has indicated he is ready for. If he wants to win your heart, he is going to have to ‘work’ for it. Don’t pin it to him the moment he says “hi.” Certainly, communicate like you would with other people, just don’t run to the altar dragging him along behind you.
5. Pray For Him
The path to marriage is serious for both of you. He needs wisdom and strength to make the choices he needs to make and to stay pure. Hit your knees on his behalf. Even if he doesn’t end up being your husband, he is still your brother in Christ who will one day, Lord willing, be married to one of your sisters in Christ. Pray that God would work in his life and make him a man after God’s heart. Pray that God would give him the wisdom he needs to stay pure- body, mind and heart.
While you’re at it, pray the same for you.