Years ago I attended a high school summer camp retreat, and one night, one of our adult leaders corralled all of us girls into a room, leaving all of the boys on the other side of a closed door. What did this top secret, girls-only discussion consist of? A single woman telling a bunch of girls, “Don’t settle.”
In telling us not to settle, she was telling us something that every girl knows subconsciously in her heart but often fails to believe because of the doubts and insecurities she faces: she is worthy. Every woman is worthy of being loved the way God made her to be loved; no woman should ever have to feel like she is giving up any of her values or beliefs in exchange for a relationship.
My favorite part of this story? The single woman who gave us this advice just got married over the summer, after finding someone she loves, who loves her in return—someone she never had to settle for.
I always find it useful to have a plan of action in case I run into a difficult situation where it’s hard to think on the spot—and talking to someone of the opposite sex can most definitely be one of those anxiety-inducing, thought-scattering situations. In order to help you keep yourself from settling for less than you deserve (whether you are a man or a woman), I have created the following checklist to use as a guide to finding a good partner:
- Choose someone who respects you, your values, and your body.
- Only date someone you would be proud to marry with no regrets. It’s never a good idea to play games with your heart—or someone else’s—by allowing yourself to get emotionally involved when you know it won’t and shouldn’t lead anywhere.
- Choose someone who will be a good parent to your children, who won’t run away from commitment or responsibilities.
- Choose someone who would rather tell the ugly truth than a pretty lie.
- Choose someone who respects life in all stages.
- If it feels wrong saying “yes” to someone, reevaluate your decision. If you feel unsettled and not at peace with yourself, you are probably settling. If you settle for less than you deserve, you will become your own roadblock to finding the person you are seeking.
- Raise your standards so that only those who are worthy can make it over them.
- Keep your standards high despite other people believing that they are too high. While it’s true that you need to remember that no one is perfect, it is also true that there are plenty of good people out there you will be passing up if you decide to settle for someone who is unworthy of you. I don’t use “unworthy” in a high and mighty manner—I use it to show how valuable you really are and to remind you that you truly are extraordinary and deserving of someone special.
- Keep in mind that if you expect someone to be a certain way, you should expect the same of yourself. If you want someone who is strong in his or her faith, you should be strong in your faith. It’s not fair to ask someone else for something that you yourself are unwilling to give. Also, you will be more likely to attract that sort of person if you visibly show others that you have those attributes yourself, because people will take notice of them in you, and those who value those attributes could be drawn to you because of them.
Don’t be discouraged if you have a hard time finding someone who meets your standards. At times, I find myself doubting, thinking that maybe my standards are too high. But then I re-evaluate my standards and realize that they are all reasonable and fair. It’s then that I remind myself that good things come to those who wait. Something that may help you in your search for people who meet your standards is to go places you would expect your ideal match to go and do things that you would want your ideal mate to do.
If you lower your standards, you may find yourself with someone you don’t respect and someone who doesn’t make you a better person. Even worse, they might pull you away from God. You want to find someone who pulls you closer to God and reminds you of His love. Never settle for less than that.
Veronica Dannemiller is a Psychology major who plans to become a counselor for adolescents who need a little extra love. She dreams of one day opening her own counseling clinic, where she can bring color to the worlds of teens and children who are stuck seeing the world in black and white. In her free time, she writes books (that she neglects to finish), skim-reads for the good parts of novels, and tries to teach her dog that biting is bad. Her blog, IFIBEME, can be found here.