If you're burned out on the personals and web dating sites, tired of blind dates, convinced there aren't any good singles left, but still hoping to marry well, there are some things you can do to improve your prospects.

Finding a balance

When it comes to finding a husband or wife, websites, popular radio and TV personalities offer advice that is, at best, void of faith, and at worse, embarrassing or manipulative. At the other end of the spectrum are churches and sources of religious advice. They too often preach contentment with no practical help, leaving many to conclude the most aggressive thing they can do to speed up the process is pray harder. Praying is a great place to start. 

What you can do

But beyond that, what, if anything, can a single person do to pursue marriage?

Get out there. You don't have to go to every singles event in town to feel like you're making a worthy effort. Look instead for activities you enjoy. If you enjoy speed dating, great; but if not, pursue hobbies, attend church meetings, go to a book club or sporting event – whatever interests you. You're more likely to find someone with similar interests if you're engaged in an activity you both enjoy when you meet. If, on the other hand, you go to events or places you dread just because you think available potential mates will be attending, the people you meet there probably won't thrill you either.

Be discerning. Even if you enjoy an occasional glass of wine, I would never suggest bars or other potentially seedy hangouts as a place to start a meaningful relationship. Loud music, sensual dancing and excessive drinking and smoking aren't generally the recipe for a substantial relationship foundation.

Throw a party. If you're a true homebody and a night on the town sounds dreadful, host some events in your home. Consider inviting a few single friends over for a dinner party or a game night or to help you paint your living room a new colour. The added bonus is that by playing host or hostess, you'll get to display some of your unique talents in a very obvious and complimentary way. Guys, girls are always keeping an eye out for men who take care of their home and show pride in their possessions. Likewise, men are attracted to women who show traditional nurturing and homemaking skills. To make the night even more interesting, challenge everyone to bring one person of the opposite sex who will be new to the group. That way everyone has the chance to meet someone new.

Check your motives. If you're avoiding activities you know you might enjoy — especially when eligible singles will be there — ask yourself why. Are you giving in to your insecurities? Does fear keep you from enjoying life? If there are underlying reasons why you're not engaging in social events, talk with a friend, your pastor or a counsellor to resolve any deep-rooted issues. (Find out about Focus on the Family Canada’s counselling services).

Join a local church. Though going to church just to meet a mate isn't a good motivation, church can provide wonderful relationship advice, both on how to relate with God and with people. Look for a Biblical church environment also. Does the church encourage and celebrate marriage? Does the singles group have high turnover or are people stuck there for life? Are you meeting mature single people? Is there a vibrant, sizable percentage of the congregation that is single? Or are you the only one? Even if you are, that's not all bad. What about the older members? They likely have sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, cousins, etc. they could introduce you to. Remember the importance of intergenerational relationships and the power of networking.

State your intentions. Do the people in your life know you desire marriage? Do they know the qualities you're seeking in a mate? They might be willing accomplices in the search – and even helpful ones at that – if they do. Don't be afraid to admit your desire for marriage. It's a high calling, after all. The Bible gives two possible paths for singles: lifelong celibate service or marriage. If you're not on the first road, live with purpose toward the second. The more intentional you are about getting there, the more likely you'll be to achieve your goal.

Candice Z. Watters is the founding editor of Boundless.org, a Focus on the Family webzine helping singles find their way to marriage, at time of publication.

© 2004 Candice Watters. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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