There was lots of advice from friends. "Take courses at night school. Get out more; go to plays and movies. Eat at the cafeteria at work." The one I liked best was: "You should just stop looking. When I stopped looking for someone, I met my husband."
So I would say to myself, I'm not looking. But I knew I longed to meet someone who'd be compatible.
Only later did I realize I'd gotten off the track. I felt as if I were waiting to win the lottery. I saw how much I was trusting in chance.
I would go to a social gathering, wondering if this would be the day I'd win the jackpot. Even the guy beside me at the grocery counter might have the number that matched mine.
It wasn't until I saw the similarity to this kind of thinking and the lottery mentality that I began to see the mistake.
Did I believe in chance? Was I believing that God was not providing for me right then? Was I only half a person, needing to find the other half to be made whole?
Nothing brought the whole experience home to me as clearly as a Bible story. It was the story of the man at the pool of Bethesda, who'd had an "infirmity" for 38 years (see John 5:1-14). This man who couldn't walk was sitting by a pool. The traditional belief was that the first person with a disease to enter the water after the angel came (who troubled the water) would be healed.
Obviously our plights were quite different. This man had been suffering with a lifelong crippling disease, and I was able-bodied.
Yet I related to his frustration. He was frustrated because someone always beat him into the water; I was frustrated because whenever a nice guy came along, some other woman would win his attention.
In a sense, I was sitting by the pool, crippled in my thought, thinking that I needed the angel to move the waters - or God to bring Mr. Right to my attention, and all would be perfect.
When Jesus saw the situation and realized that the man had been there all that time, you might think he would have shown some pity. But instead he asked the man, "Wilt thou be made whole?"
I applied this to my situation. Was I ready to see myself as already whole, as being made whole by God, not needing another person?
Like the man at the pool, I tried to evade the question and provide a pitiful argument. I don't have anyone to help me. No one introduces me to new people. It was too much like the biblical account: "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me."
Jesus didn't reply, "That's too bad. Maybe I can help you get into the pool." Jesus knew the power of healing was not in the pool, but with God. It was as if he ignored the man's argument. "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk," he told him.
I took this as a gentle message, telling me to raise my thought. I didn't need to be frantic. I needed to see that God didn't make me as half His child, but whole and complete.
The account continues, "Immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked." I, too, had to walk forward with my newly found identity and not feel anything was lacking in my life.
I stopped seeing every man I met as a potential husband and began enjoying the company of all my friends, male or female. This change in thought made a difference. Life became more enjoyable and less anxious.
The new approach to life became so natural that when my husband-to-be did propose to me, it was a lovely conversation between friends, not a romantic down-on-one-knee kind of proposal.
My husband and I have been happily married for many years, and I continue to learn more about my relationship with God - how He guides us, cares for us, and companions us.