Single Parent Faith

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Stint with a Dating Service— Not Really Listening


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A few years ago, I joined a professional dating service that arranged for initial break the ice meetings at a local restaurant. The downfall to all this was that it was always a blind date situation—someone other than me got to pick the guy, based on their interpretation of his and my written profile.

I know what I want, so adding a stranger in the mix to interpret (through her filter) what I communicated, leaves me at the mercy of her judgment. There are several other women who assisted pairing me up. All these opportunities for misinterpretation of my words were equivalent to having too many cooks in the kitchen, between my order and the results. 


Every week or so, I received a call. They all sounded the same, regardless of what woman called. It’s as if they were cloned, all of them shared the high-pitched, sugary, inauthentic sounding voice, “Hello Ella! We have a match for you!” The ultra high dosage was enough to simultaneously pop a tooth and an eardrum.

I tried to sound excited, as I wondered how on earth is this bimbo-sounding stranger going understand what I want in a relationship? Isn’t she going to pair me up with someone she’d date?

She proceeded to go through the litany of “qualities.”

“Well, Trevor is 47, he has a 5,000 square foot house and a boat. His hobbies are sailing, parachuting, and kayaking! He loves the outdoors! He’s never been married…….”

Rut roh! Scratching vinyl record! Those words were as welcome as screeching fingernails on a chalk board……er, uh, what? I know…I know, I need to be open-minded. Believe me I was, for many years, until every man I met that never married (40’s and above), quickly revealed to me why.

Amazingly they all had the same answer, “I never met the right one.”

Really? All of you? Same excuse? It can’t possibly have anything to do with you? It’s always that “she” wasn’t the right one?

In a long enough conversation, some divulged the truth (perhaps it slipped out), it went something like, “I like my life just the way it is. I get to do what I want, when I want...”

The last thing a single mother wants to do is date the emotional equivalent of a child.

This is just one example where the dating service was not “listening.” Clearly on my application I purposely did not select “never married.”

I also emphasized how important it is to me that he be a man of faith. Believe me, now in my  40’s, I've learned a few things about myself. My earlier partner choices were not men of faith. As a result we weren't on the same page, in the same book, nor on the same shelf for that matter, when it came to handling life's issues and pressures. I’m not into recycling lessons.

As the dating service representative went on and on about “qualities,” I was expecting to hear character and personality information. Instead, I heard a laundry list of hobbies and possessions. I was rather disappointed. Clearly this service and I were a mismatch. It made me wonder how “I” must have been described to the guys. 

Despite the service’s misinterpretation of my written and verbally communicated requirements, I gave the guys the benefit of the doubt, assuming they would not have described themselves in that shallow manner. However, after a few introductory dates with guys that were clearly wrong for me, the next time the service called I asked, “Do you read my application when selecting someone for me?”

I went on to give specific examples, just to be clear. And then the proverbial outlandish quote was spoken, “Well Ella you know, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince charming.” I about lost my lunch.  

I participated in a few more introductory meetings, but then couldn’t go through with it any more. I put my membership on hold, and then let it lapse. I was already feeling myself getting sucked into a negativity whirlwind. In my gut I just knew this method wasn’t right for me. The longer I went through the motion, I could feel myself slipping. I wanted to protect my heart from becoming jaded. I understand how important it is to have an open heart through the process of making myself available to meet a wonderful man. Otherwise, I can unintentionally sabotage myself by having negative expectations.

Later as I reflected on this, I realized that the service’s guarantee is to arrange X number of these introductions per year. As such, they measure success by meeting their numbers.  Success is not measured by introducing me to a man of substance and launching a significant relationship. Without working too hard, they can meet their guarantee. I now understand that their objective and mine were not compatible from the start. Sure, if you have the “more is more” philosophy (kissing a lot of frogs), then it stands to reason that the more men you meet the better your chances. Services like this may work for a lot of people, but for those of us who believe in “less is more” (quality over quantity), this exercise acts to undermine our confidence and may in fact undermine our belief that out there exist men of substance.

Maintaining the faith that a man of substance exists out there, who God has intended for me, has been quite the journey. It has tested my faith. It has tested my trust in God, that He will deliver what I have requested.  I have had moments of utmost impenetrable trust—these are the moments where I feel unequivocally sure that He has listened and has answered, and that Mr. Substance is making his way to me.  Then days go by, weeks, months, possibly years. What then? Is He listening?  And if He is, may He be answering “No?”

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
—Matthew 21:21-23

But it’s not so simple. It has to be in accordance with God’s will. That’s why the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew Chapter 6:5-15), that Jesus taught includes, “…Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….” This is a significant part of any prayer. Our humility and understanding that ask as we might, we must always bow to God’s ultimate will.

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” —Luke 22:42

If Jesus, in the middle of his suffering and contemplation of what was to come (his crucifixion), could have the right to beseech of our Father, to take away the suffering, could we not, with far lesser suffering, ask also? If Jesus, in the midst of the utmost wrenching sacrifice, can remember that it’s our Father’s will that should prevail, instead of His own, could we not also?

We too, as His children can ask our Father anything— but in humility we must also understand that life is not about “our” will, but rather “His” will. 

Though our Heavenly Father wants us to lay at His feet our burdens and our desires, this is so we can protect ourselves from ego misleading us to think that we are in control. Granted, we must do our part to remain open and move in the direction that allows the fulfillment of our prayers, but we must also be obedient to wait, if that is the season we are to sit a while in.

Waiting is never empty. In the wait, is where we grow, stretch ourselves spiritually. If we always received instantly everything we requested, we would be slaves to our ego. We wouldn’t need God for anything (or so we’d think).

It's a delicate balance between the "Let Go and Let God," and taking action that is required so we don't sit idly by. But when we are out of balance, when we are trying to control the situation, we won't have peace of mind about it. Things won't go well, it will be an uphill battle, the doors will appear to close, no matter how hard we try. I believe this was the case with this dating service stint. That's why it was riddled with dead end first dates. It wasn't the right venue, the right time...only God knows why. Only when I accepted that it wasn't right for me, did I feel at peace. 

When it comes to matters of the heart, it’s a very personal thing, and best not to be left in the hands of high-priced, nor high-pitched strangers. I put my faith in The One who knows me best. 
Ella Venezia
Copyright © 2011 Ella Venezia. All Rights Reserved.

4 comments:

  1. Wow Ella, beautifully put. Your writing is truly wonderful.

    I love your humility (and humor!) in accepting that it is up to our Father in Heaven. When I was a single mom I had trouble with wondering what He had in store for me too. It was kind of funny because one day, I finally decided to resign myself to just figuring out how to be happy without my "if, then" syndrome (like you obviously have done with such dignity.)

    It was so close to the very minute I let go of all that, a million tiny strings were pulled and bam! There was The One. We have been married for over six years now and each day is happier than the one before.... It was like the Lord was telling me, "All I wanted was for you to turn it over 100%." Really. It was a bona fide miracle.

    Thank you for sharing this!

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  2. So thought provoking and funny too. Thanks for sharing this area of your life. Much of it resonates with me.I must have four books on my bookshelf dealing with this subject. I do like the TD Jakes books and the recent one by Steve Harvey. I'm off sites and just smiling away at men who interest me at services, in the grocery store, coffee shops, etc.(this is tip in Love in 90 Days book)and I go to at least one event a week. Try it, you get a lot of return smiles which do turn into conversations, and then you can decide from there.

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  3. Eden- Thank you for sharing your miracle, and circumstances of meeting your husband! What a blessing indeed! I am happy for you both!
    I often hear about that being the way how we often meet someone. May God bless you both and your marriage for a lifetime! - Ella

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  4. Alvarado- So true about ways to engage life and people when out and about! All places we frequent are a landscape for smiling opportunities! Thanks also for sharing some of the books which provide you support! Happy Smiling!
    -Ella

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