Here’s the final chapter of my response to V’s question, Do you have any practical advice for what Christian singles can do to prepare for a future spouse?
We haven’t exhausted the topic, but this is as far as I’m taking it this time around. If you are interested on more posts about relationships, be sure to check out the previous series! For now I will leave you with a book list.
I think my journals show that I started wanting a “someone else” sometime during the seventh grade. Everyone seemed to be pairing off and I too wanted in on being part of a couple. That desire for relationship has been a part of my personal journey and story. At times it has been a dark part of my story. But thankfully we serve a God who is all about redemption and restoration. Along the way I have read countless books on the topics of spirituality and dating. Below is a list of the most influential books that I read between 7th grade and saying “I Do.” I recognize that not all of them will speak to you for the reasons that they spoke to me. But they each played a part in writing my love story… for better or for worse. I will try and summarize the time in which I read the books and the reason why each was so influential.
Lady in Waiting by Debby Jones and Jackie Kendall – I read this book several times between 7th and 10th grade. I had always struggled with insecurity but had never known what to call it. This book gave a voice to my fears as I realized that I was a woman of insecurity, rather than a woman who was trusting God for His timing in my life.
The Search for Significance by Robert McGee – This book was a great follow up to “Lady in Waiting” as it further explored fears of failure. It contains a workbook portion and I have recommended it to several students who feel as though they don’t have a niche to fill. This book was a powerful reminder that my significance comes from God alone.
Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot – I think I picked this book up when I was a freshman in college. I was frustrated (yet again) that I wasn’t dating and was looking for help with patience. Elizabeth Elliot’s own story of waiting was encouraging and challenging.
Breaking Free by Beth Moore – Eventually my desire to feel attractive and significant manifested itself in the way that I controlled my eating. After a year of battling my weight I found freedom during this study. Of course it is the Lord that frees, but the words in this study gave me the tools to discover how sin had taken me captive in the past and was continuing to do so.
Marriable by Hayley DiMarco and Michael DiMarco – If I’m really honest with myself, I picked up this book because a guy I was over the moon for wasn’t making a move. I thought if I read the book I might figure out how to better communicate with him. We eventually dated, but not because of the book. The book held practical advice, the kind that we’ve been talking about all week long. I probably got some of the ideas from that book and just don’t remember that they found their origin in Marriable.
I Married Adventure by Luci Swindoll – My whole perspective on singleness changed when I read this book. Here was a woman approaching 80 and accomplishing more than most people could dream to experience in a lifetime. Her courage, humor, and wisdom were part of the catalyst that led me to start thinking that I could take a big risk and make a big move away from the familiar.
The Art of Rejection by Hayley DiMarco and Michael DiMarco – I’ve talked about this little book before. I wasn’t handling a break-up well and discovered some fabulous truths about how rejection can actually be a good thing. If you are still reeling from rejection, get this little book asap! While it won’t fix your hurt, it will provide a refreshing perspective.
Revelations of a Single Woman by Connally Gilliam – I was 25 and alone in a big city. I needed to know that there were other women just like me. Connally writes in a style that is engaging, entertaining, and wise. I was thrilled to find a book on singleness that didn’t make me roll my eyes with princess imagery. (I GET IT ALREADY. Someday my prince will come… blah, blah, blah.) Connally made me laugh and encouraged me to value my life in a new way.
Wide Awake by Erwin Raphael McManus – Really I could have listed ALL of Erwin’s books on this list. I love them. I eat them for dinner. This one fell during God’s perfect timing. I had set out to risk big (apply for an internship in Africa) only to have my application returned with a big fat “NO.” I was devastated. “Wide Awake” encouraged me to answer the question Jesus asks blind Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” I stopped crying and started living.
No Other Gods by Kelly Minter – After all the years of wishing and hoping I finally meet THE guy. It’s a whirlwind of a relationship and somewhere in the middle I realize that my heart is leaning towards Him in a big way. I picked up this book and it was a swift reminder that my heart can have only one King. My (albeit amazing) guy wasn’t designed to fulfill or complete me. This book was a kick in the pants.
Before You Say “I Do” by H. Norman Wright and Wes Roberts – My mom mailed this book to me in the weeks after my engagement. I read it quickly. There were quite a few “aha” moments for me reading this… enough of them that I feel like I can recommend it to you. If nothing else, it sparked some great conversations! P.S. Don’t judge the book by the cover.
Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas – I read A LOT of marriage books prior to the big day. In my humble opinion, this was the best one. The book talks about falling forward toward each other on a daily basis. Great principles. Godly wisdom. Here’s the subtitle: “What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?” Good question. Good book.
Love and Respect NOW – Joy Eggerichs writes a fabulous blog on love and respect in dating relationships.
Love and Respect – The Eggerichs (Joy’s parents) have an incredible book and a great blog all about love and respect in a marriage relationship.
Obviously there are hundreds if not thousands of books that can aid you in your own journey. What books have shaped your love story thus far? Any blogs you want to recommend?
More than anything, I want you to remember that just as your book list will look different than anyone else’s, so will your love story! Our God is creative; so don’t expect Him to do the same thing twice. Live your story… a life filled with love!