Keeping Hope Alive

“I’ve given up on my dating life,” I announced to a friend after another round of dates didn’t turn into the love and commitment I dream of.

“You know, I’ve heard people say that,” my friend responded, “but usually they’re in their forties when that happens.”

She meant well with her comment—that being in my late twenties puts me in the “young category” still, and that there is no reason to think I still won’t find a great man to marry.

images9But I grew up in the Midwest, where being unmarried and in your late twenties can make you feel like you’re in your forties. And dating, while certainly fun at times, can also be exhausting.

It’s hard to put your heart on the line and have it broken. It’s not always easy meeting good people to date. And sometimes it feels like people my age aren’t as interested as I am in getting married (did you know though, that surveys say that 80% of young adults want lasting marriage?!).

I genuinely want marriage, even knowing—as well as I can—all its good and not so good traits. I want to build a home, with a man and our children, that has traditions and fun. I’m willing to face those hard moments marriage can bring, when I have to look deep into the relationship and all its flaws and remember—I chose to love this person whom, by our vows, I promised to always love. I genuinely want marriage.

So, I think my friend is right…I shouldn’t give up on finding love yet. Here are a few ways I try to keep the belief in love alive:

1)   “It only takes one guy,” my friends and I like to remind each other. Yes, my last 5 dates may not have ended “happily ever after,” but I have to go on dates in order to find a man who will be good for me. So, it’s important that I keep meeting new people and giving good guys a chance, even when I’d rather throw the towel in and call it quits. (note: I said good guys, not necessarily any guy who gives you attention. Standards and staying true to yourself are good things, I’ve learned).

2)   Not all of my goals in life are tied to marriage. Waiting for marriage may mean I have to wait for lasting commitment from a man, kids, and a stable family life, but that doesn’t mean I can’t reach for my other goals now. I’ve gone to school, worked in jobs I’ve really enjoyed, and developed my hobbies—like cooking and running. I’ve learned to take care of myself and my apartment—from paying bills to scheduling doctor and dentist appointments and being on time to school and work. It hasn’t always been easy. I’ve definitely made mistakes! There have been plenty of times I would have loved a man to help with the juggling of life, or to come home to and talk with at the end of a good or bad day. But somewhere along the way, I’ve learned that life doesn’t wait for you to catch up. It feels good to know that I’m developing the best version of myself. And I think my future marriage will be served better by the fact that I’ve taken care of myself when I could.

3)   Hope is attractive. Who would you be more attracted to? Someone who is negative and doesn’t believe love is possible? Or someone who believes lasting love is possible and is willing to work on themselves and a relationship to find and keep that love alive? I’ve read that the marriages are less likely to end in divorce if the couple has an “above-average commitment.” Part of that above-average commitment is the importance the couple places on the relationship. I believe love and lasting marriage will make life better—for both me and the man I marry. So, I can’t give up in the search for a good man, because I don’t want him to give up on his search for me. After all, the best in life is yet to come!

Do you have any more tips for me? I’d love to hear how others keep hope alive when they feel love just isn’t possible. Leave me a note in the comments!

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  • What an encouraging read! Thank you for sharing! That feeling of hopelessness does have a rough way of carrying itself around with us for sure. But what is *real hope without experienced hopelessness?

  • Don’t know if this gives you any hope, but the day my husband first asked me out was the day that began with me sobbing on the bathroom floor, saying that I was done with relationships.

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