Dating Spreadsheets and Trusting God

On Mondays at lunch, we fast and pray for men to become godly leaders, for women to be softened with godliness and for godly marriages to be created and sustained.  

My job and my personality lend themselves to creating structure and finding patterns. So it is no surprise that I have attempted to apply the same analytical rigor to my dating life that I’ve applied elsewhere in life. This led to a spreadsheet of the men with whom I’ve ever gone on dates, complete with data points such as how long it lasted, why it ended and the funniest story I got from it. When viewed as a whole, it is a slightly embarrassing testament to both my dating disasters and my weird need to document life. Publicly admitting that the spreadsheet even exists is a small feat, since I was hoping to just delete it once I met WHI, and pretend like none of that ever happened. Oh well. Too late now.

One of the things I have been seeing this year, especially through the prism of things like my dating spreadsheet, was how much I assumed I would “just get married.” I felt that I had a good dating “resume” and was doing everything I could to live my life fully and make sure I was in places to meet lots of solid guys. I did my research and knew that the demographic stats were in my favor for getting married, and so it was just a matter of time. As the time stretched out beyond my ideals and then beyond my demographic research, continuing to think marriage was my inevitable or deserved future looked increasingly illogical.

I was walking home from work two years ago and thinking about some of these issues, and suddenly realized, “Wow. It will require an actual miracle for me to get married.” I had assumed I would need a little of God’s help, but most of this would be me doing the right things. Suddenly, I saw the equation flipped – this was going to require Him to actually show up and to work in big ways. All my analysis and hard effort were nothing in the face of both the larger cultural realities around marriage or my internal heart idolatry of the institution.

The heart issue is that I don’t have to trust God as much if I have my spreadsheets, my research and my dating resume. I could check the boxes on my own strength and wait for the marriage results, which I assumed God would obviously bless since He is all about marriage. The idea that God’s primary goal for my life wasn’t marrying me off was somehow lost in the shuffle.

My gradually developing prayer since then has been this: God, you know my desire to be in a married partnership with a godly man. If that is your plan for me, You have to create him, You have to open my eyes to see him, and You have to propel the relationship. I have tried to do each of those things on my own, and I can’t. 

I have tried to “create” WHI by being strategic in my geographic and social choices, or by doing lots of analysis. I have repeatedly thought I “saw” some awesome guy I was supposed to marry and have found out I was apparently mistaken. I have also tried to force relationships which I thought were right, only to find out that it doesn’t work very well either.  I know that I can’t do this – I can’t “just get married.”

This Monday, I want to open my heart to acknowledge my deep desire for marriage and simultaneously open my hands to let God be God. He is enough – marriage or not – and I know He loves and cares for me. If marriage is in my future, it is only because He is crafting and planning it. And if it isn’t, I know He is still crafting and planning a future for me that is for my good and His glory. No spreadsheets required.

Praying with you,

Amy

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13 Responses to Dating Spreadsheets and Trusting God

  1. Gina says:

    I can relate, too. This is a great prayer.

  2. HS says:

    I can relate so much to what you wrote in this post. I, too, have realized recently that I am not in control of this marriage thing and I am very grateful that I am not. My heavenly Father is in control and that is infinitely better for all involved :-). My heart has also begun to rest in the truth that “He is enough – marriage or not – and I know He loves and cares for me.”
    Thanks for sharing. It’s encouraging to know that other sisters in Christ are on the same heart pilgrimage.

  3. Neelam says:

    Love the prayer, Amy. “God, you know my desire . . . ” Love the part about God having to create him. It rings so true. Thanks for being honest and real. 🙂

  4. arcee32 says:

    Totally resonate with the day you realized it would take a miracle. I first started feeling that way a few years back and it was initially coupled with a sense of grief because maybe there wasn’t much I could do to earn it, be worthy, be good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, etc. I think that if nothing else, when we walk this road with God, He helps us love Him more and gives us the opportunity to testify to other young women that He is still good even when things don’t go according to our plans. 🙂

    • fast. pray. says:

      so true! i never knew that my story would have value precisely because it was so far from what i imagined would happen…but it’s somehow more encouraging that way? odd. and great.

  5. tine says:

    Thank you, Amy. The last paragraph made me cry … and I am sitting in my office, hoping nobody will come in. 🙂
    Sometimes it is so difficult and painful to admit that there is something I want so bad (marriage) and there is nothing I can do to get it. Just waiting and trusting.
    Just the last days once again I tried to “create” WHI and thought I might have found him but had to realize once again that I didn’t. It’s painful.
    BUT If marriage is in my future, it is only because He is crafting and planning it. And then God will come through and do the miracles to make it happen. And if it isn’t, He is still crafting and planning a future for me that is for my good and His glory. Amen!
    HE is so good … and this morning, tears and heartache and everything I want to look at him and the cross. He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

    • fast. pray. says:

      so glad i’m not the only one who cries in my office sometimes! i’m so sorry for the recent heart ache – i don’t know the details, but we are all in it with you – we get it. and it sounds like the word is already ministering so well to your heart. hugs.

  6. Monica says:

    Thanks Amy, this was a rhema word for my soul!

  7. Anna says:

    Praise God there are no spread sheets required. I’m really glad that God’s formula for me and marriage doesn’t look anything like this

    =COUNTIFS(A1:345, Anna’s Dates, [B1:B345, Occurred)

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