Chapter OneWhy Hasn't God Brought
Me the Love of My Life?
The evening began routinely enough. The team producing my
weekend seminar in Cincinnati and I were out to dinner. We discussed
lighthearted things as we ordered our meal. It was more a
moment to stop and catch our breath than to have life-altering discussions.
Little did anyone know what was about to take place.
"I never thought I'd be doing what I'm doing now at this point
in my life," Lillie said, innocently talking about her work.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well, I always thought I would be married and have children
Oh, I thought to myself. That makes sense. A lot of women feel
that in their mid-thirties. I understood what she was saying, until
"But God hasn't chosen that for me."
My ears perked up. I wondered what she meant. While I believe
that God leads us and guides us in life, I also wondered why she
blamed her situation on God. Both the psychologist and the theologian
in me bristled, wondering what responsibility she might be
shirking regarding her undesired singleness. I knew her well enough
to know she might have some issues contributing to her single state.
"What do you mean, 'God hasn't chosen that?'" I asked.
"Well, I believe God brings the man into your life you are to
marry, and he hasn't brought that man to me yet," she replied. That
was enough to get me going, but her next line really did it. "Or, he
hasn't given me the feelings I would need for the men he has
brought into my life."
"God hasn't 'given you the feelings?' What does that mean?"
"Well, God gives you the feelings for the person he wants you
to marry, and that hasn't happened with any of the men I know."
"Whose feelings are they-yours or God's?"
"What do you mean?" she asked, sounding a little bugged.
"Well, it just sounds like you blame God for a lot. How do you
know he hasn't brought ten great men into your life, but you have
things inside of you that make you incapable of feeling what you
would need to feel for them? How do you know your issues aren't
getting in the way of recognizing and falling in love with a good man
if he did come along? Why do you just assume this is God's fault?"
I felt as though I was on a bit of a mission, defending God's honor.
"I disagree. God will bring the right man to me, and until then,
I just need to wait."
"How is that going?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, how long has it been since you went on a date?"
She hesitated, looking embarrassed. I didn't mean to put her on
the spot; in fact, she had been so assertive in stating her case and so
aggressive in coming after me when I challenged it that her sheepishness
caught me off guard.
"Two years," she said.
"It has been two years since I have been on a date," she confessed.
How could that be, I wondered. She was outgoing and attractive,
a real people person of the highest order-traits that usually
make dating come easily. Then it occurred to me. Her lack of dates
had to be a combination of her sitting back and waiting for the man
of her dreams to come and find her and some personal dynamics
interfering with her desire to be married. I could think of no other
reason someone who actually wanted to have a man in her life
would be that stuck.
Then something changed in me. Up until that point, Lillie and
I had been in a friendly debate. Everyone at the table had gotten
caught up in the banter. But, when I saw the reality of the situation-an
attractive young woman in the prime of her life, yet unhappy-I
felt for her. I wanted to help. And if I were right, I knew I could. So,
I issued a challenge:
"I will make you a deal, Lillie. I will be your dating coach. I
guarantee that if you will do whatever I tell you, you will be dating
in six months."
She looked at me, stunned. "What?"
"Just what I said. I'll be your dating coach, and if you will do
whatever I say, I guarantee you'll be dating in six months. But there
is a catch. I demand total obedience. You have to do everything I tell
you, no questions asked. And I promise I will not ask you to do
anything immoral, unethical, or illegal. But you have to do whatever
I tell you."
Everyone at the table fell silent. I could see the others wondering
whether or not they would subject themselves to such a mystery
challenge. And I could see Lillie weighing the same thing. Did she
really want to do such a crazy thing? Agree to conform to a totally
unknown plan, just like that? I could also see that she was ticked at
my challenging her "way" of thinking about dating. She wanted to
accept the "bet" and prove me wrong. The latter attitude, I suspect,
is what won out.
With the others hanging in suspense, she growled at me: "Fine.
I didn't really think she'd accept my challenge, but I was ready.
I jumped right into it.
"Okay, here is your first assignment. For one month I want you
to keep a log of all the new men you meet and email it to me at the
end of every week. Send me the names so we can count how many
new men come into your life and have a chance to ask you out."
"Are you joking?" she said. "I don't need an assignment for that.
I can tell you right now. None."
"What do you mean, 'None'?" I asked.
"Exactly that. I never meet anyone new. Every day I go to the
office and see the same six or eight people. Then I go home, eat dinner,
and watch TV with my roommate. Then on Saturday, I run
errands and hang out, and on Sunday I go to the same church and
see the same people I always see. That is what happens every week.
I never meet any new men to go out with."
"I don't care. I still want you to keep a log. And for the men to
count, they have to fulfill three requirements. First, they have to be
new men you've never met before. Second, they have to have
enough of an interaction with you to want to ask you out. And,
third, they have to have enough information to ask you out, such
as your name or know how to find you. No pressure to have any
dates right now. I just want to understand your situation. If the
number is zero, that's fine. We can work with that. I just need to
know what the picture really looks like."
She was not impressed with my first assignment. How was calculating
her misery going to get her a date? she was probably wondering,
thinking that this was going to be an easy challenge to win.
But this assignment wasn't meant to help her get a date-yet. I was
trying to get her to come out of denial and see the reality of her
For two years her dating life had been stagnant, and she was
denying that reality with a philosophy that if you do nothing, God
will somehow step in and provide a man. That way of thinking,
which I knew was nowhere in the Bible, kept her from seeing she
was very, very stuck. My goal was to get her to see the reality of her
situation and to get very discouraged. I wanted her to see that what
she was doing was not working and that it had been that way for a
long time. I wanted that realization to sink in and bother her. My
trying to convince her that she was wrong was not going to work.
She was too sure she was right. I wanted her to realize the reality of
her dating life for herself. Just as balancing a checkbook can wake
one up to one's lack of money, keeping a log would awaken Lillie
to her lack of dates.
Lurking in the back of my mind, I had many other assignments
to give her. And after she completed this first one, I gave them to
her one by one. She obeyed, fully. I have to hand it to her: She stuck
with the "program."
Here is the result: In five months, she was in a significant dating
relationship. So, I won the bet. But it didn't end there. Just a few
months ago, I officiated at her wedding to a wonderful man.
When I talked to her the other day, she laughed about how it
had all happened. "Being married is so cool," she said. And then
she stopped herself and quickly added, "But it is only cool if you are
with the right person."
I was so happy for her. She got her dream, and she got it with
a good person. That to me was the full victory: not just to be dating-usually
an easily achievable goal-but to be dating a good
person, the kind worth keeping.
That is the goal of this book. I not only want you to have a
wonderful dating life, but I also want those dates to be with good
people: "the kind worth keeping."
In this book I will give you a strategy to get your dating life
moving in that direction: more dates, and more dates with good
people. I will take you through the program I took Lillie through
and give you some added tips as well. And I believe that if you are
ready to follow my advice, you too can find a date worth keeping.
Are you ready? I hope so.
But, to find out, let's take a gut check first.