Are you ready to dive into the jungle sister?
As a coach I often work with women who have made the decision to look for their spouse independently. Maybe the family set ups they've experienced haven't been as fruitful or the process as easy as they would have liked and they've decided to take hold of the reins themselves.
Or perhaps their first marriage was traditionally set up and didn't work out quite as they would have liked and they want to try a different approach this time.
And in some cases, sisters who have been busy doing other fab and wonderful things with their lives have decided that now is the time they wish to start looking for a spouse and they want to do it themselves, on their own terms and in their own time
Families are becoming increasing content to let their daughters find their own partner and it is fast becoming the norm that a sister will go home and let her parents know she has found The One much to their delight (or in the case of my parents, relief!!)
However, whether you are one of those courageous ladies who has decided that you are ready to get into the driver's seat and tackle this head on or you are a seasoned sole searcher let me offer you some 5 of my most practical tips for going it alone:
1. Widen your search options
Like most of the professional women I work with you are used to having a plan and getting things done and ticking off to do lists. Unfortunately this same approach can have a negative impact on your search. Often sisters approach the process armed with an extensive (and exhaustive) checklist of their exact specifications in a guy which leads to disappointment when, inevitably, you don't find the 6 foot 2, Barrister who from your home town who owns his own home and loves chick flicks and performing arts!
Whether you are searching online or through friends , in order to meet a wider range of guys and get a better understanding of the kind of guy who could be right for you avoid limiting your options because of your criteria. Choose one or two things (e,g age and location) and see what comes up. I'd definitely encourage you to go to marriage mingling events where you can get to know guys human-first rather than stats-first, and see what kind of person you automatically click with. Take your time to discover who actually floats your boat rather than who you’ve been told should float it!
2. Keep an eye on your energy levels
Physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally the process can be draining. It takes time, energy and a great dose of optimism and positivity which often depletes when things aren’t quite going to plan. So if you find yourself feel anxious, down or even tearful just take a break and refocus on yourself and your needs. Often when things are not going right the tendency is to "get back on the horse" or "power through". These are great motivational phrases at the gym but not much in matters of the heart. If you are hurting, take time to heal. If you are mentally exhausted, take a rest. If you've had a hectic week at work and you are feeling physically spent, say no to dates and reschedule them for the following week when you know you will feel better and make a better first impression. Your health and well being always come first.
3. Be aware of your timeline
Everyone is operating on a different marriage timeline and there is no right or wrong version, just what is right for each person. Maybe you hope to marry someone a year or 6 months after making the connection and intention. Maybe for religious reasons you prefer it to be even sooner. Or perhaps flowing a shaky previous marriage you would like longer to make a sound decision (especially if there are children involved).
Decide what is best for you, honour it and make sure the guys you meet are operating on similar timelines. I don't mean come right out and ask him when he'd like to get married the very first time you meet! But rather get an initial idea from him circumstances and what his goals are. Obviously there is some give and take and compromise between two parties but if you are hoping to be married within a year but he needs 3 years to implement his goal of becoming a millionaire and professional water sports athlete then, lovely as he is, you may be on different paths!
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4. Honour yourself
You want to take the right steps towards meeting someone and making a connection and you believe in the spirit of compromise but where does effective compromise becomes simply a compromise of your values?
If you don’t believe in intimacy before marriage and you meet a guy who is hinting that he expects it if he is to marry you then step away from him. You don’t need him. If you wear hijab and a guy says he wants to see a photo of you without it and that does not feel comfortable to you, don’t do it. If you are a homely lady and he's a party animal who wants to take you clubbing it's OK to say no.
I have heard of sisters totally changing their lifestyles, goals and dreams because it wasn't in alignment with what the guy they were meeting wanted whilst all the while feeling a sense of unease because they knew deep down they were now honouring themselves and working in alignment with who they were.
It’s easy to feel that if we give in to certain demands it will make the marriage process happen quicker. However, in doing so the message you are giving is that your needs do not matter - or even exist - which is never a great start to any marriage. If something doesn't feel right or comfortable then listen to your instincts, no matter how "right for you" he may be!
5. Keep your confidante circle small
It’s easy to get carried away in the excitement of meeting a fascinating new guy that you end up telling everyone you meet how brilliant he is! Or when an issue comes up it's very tempting to ask for a range of opinions from friends, family and colleagues as to what you should do.
The result? You become overwhelmed with opinion-overload, confused about what to do and often end up making a simple situation very complicated!
My advice? Only share the details of what you are doing, who you are meeting, how it’s going etc with one or two very close friends who you trust to be impartial, rational and and mature . Not everyone will understand your situation and what you are going through so often as well-intentioned as their advice is, it's may not be the right path for you. Listen to your own instincts too for guidance. And if you want a little extra support and guidance then do join my VIP Facebook group of like-minded ladies who are going through the same experiences as you and get live support and feedback from me directly.
I always say that meeting and marrying the right guy should not be rocket science and if you follow the simple guidelines above I guarantee your journey to marriage will certainly be a lot smoother.