You Can’t Be Together All the Time – Respecting Your Husband’s Space

againstgravity

Something I deeply treasure in our marriage is the time we spend together.  Whatever season we’re in, whether there is ample amount of time, or barely enough time to reconnect, I truly do value that sense of togetherness.

When we were dating and in college, some of our mutual friends joked that we were attached at the hip, they said they never saw us by ourselves – we went everywhere together, did everything as a couple, and tried to see each other as much as humanly possible.

When we were first married, I heard the term co-dependent and worried that we’d fallen into that relational category because of how much we loved to spend time together.

Co-Dependent -a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin); broadly:  dependence on the needs of or control by another

 

Obviously, we weren’t co-dependent at all.  In reality, we were both growing into our own persons, becoming inter-dependent, and inspiring each other to reach our own individual goals.  My husband went back to school with a renewed attitude after marriage, and was driven with an inspired purpose.  His grades reflected the change – he was suddenly making all A’s and loving his progress in knocking out classes.

We energized each other, and encouraged each other to succeed.

But even in all this togetherness, there was still a lot of times where we would not be so attached at the hip.

There were many nights where we would relax and be in the same vicinity, but doing completely different things.  Myself reading a book or the beauty magazine, Allure, while my husband read his own book or played his game console.  Both focused on other things, but still under an umbrella of love and treasuring each other.

There were still many times where we would read together – to each other even, but it was in these times of separateness that the comfort and relaxation of just knowing that we were there for each other, being quiet and immersed in our own interests, a sense of confidence in our relationship emerged.

I once knew a woman my age that had just gotten married, complain that she was sitting on the couch watching her husband play his game console, and had the incredible urge to throw it across the room.

She was angry that he wasn’t spending time with her in that moment, and maybe in some ways she was lacking intimacy in their marriage.  But this controlling neediness from women to always be the focus of their man, is something that drives relationships into the ground.

Couples need time where they are by themselves, and men in particular, seem to need to be alone or with other men, even when they’re crazy about the woman they love.

There are times when my husband will get off work at night, and instead of come straight home to me, he stays to talk and laugh with his friends there, or goes to visit friends and past co-workers for awhile.  He misses them, and visiting with them, even though it takes away a little of our couple time, gives him so much fulfillment.

Sometimes he’s talking about his work, even asking their ideas and opinions on things he faces, or they’re telling horrible jokes that would make me blush or faint, but this time is his and his alone.  It is not meant for me to intrude upon, or to make him feel guilty for.  He needs that time with others, other men and even a few women who add an overall deeper meaning to his life experience that I alone can’t provide.  When he does come back to me, he’s usually glowing with the happiness of getting to be with these crazy people, and can’t wait to tell me what’s going on in their own lives, or the dirty jokes they shared LOL.

Do I miss him when he stays out later to be with these other people he loves?  Of course, but he needs them… they add to his life.

Men need their own time to get away, to recharge, to become energized.  I remember growing up my mom told me about Abraham Lincoln’s wife.  She was apparently, an extremely jealous woman, who hated allowing Lincoln to spend time with anyone else, especially another woman, and it was hard on him because he was naturally friendly and very people-orientated.  My mom used her as an example of the ugliness of jealousy in a woman, and how she can use it to control and manipulate her husband’s time and his life.  She told me that Lincoln was sad about his wife’s character flaw, and paid the price for it by having less enriched relationships with other people in his life in an effort to keep her happy.  A woman like that makes her man have to keep her happy, or she’ll try to make him miserable, or throw his game console against the wall to get his attention.  She’s allowing her emotions rule their relationship (and rule her husband) and coming from a place of jealousy that’s inspired by insecurity.

Women need their time alone as well, there have been so many times throughout our marriage when I’ve been grateful for the time spent away with other women friends when we gathered together for talking at the park with our kids, or Bible study, or even going out together.  There is something that I get from them that my husband cannot (and probably should not) try to provide for me, simply because they’re women – we connect at a different level and share experiences that men don’t understand.

You just can’t be together all the time.

Men seem to respect that women have their hobbies or girly activities, it’s women like Lincoln’s wife that don’t seem to get that men also need their space – their time to relax and spend time with friends.

It’s good to respect our husband’s space, to let him have the hobbies he loves – reading, writing, hunting, baseball, game-playing, visiting friends, or whatever it may be.

Respect his space, be interdependent.

Advertisements

A Sexless 40 Year Marriage

I received a comment from a man named Nathan a couple of nights ago on my post, The Ignorant Sexless Wife.  In the comment, he brings up many issues that can come from a wife rejecting her husband repeatedly and forcing him to live in a technical sexless marriage.

Any thoughts on his suggestions of what this kind of marriage creates (or may create) is welcome, especially regarding his thoughts on “Mama’s Girls.”

From commenter Nathan,

“Having lived in a marriage for over 40 years like the one the writer describes I can attest to the damage it will do not only to him but most likely to his kids as well. If this woman continues treating him this way he will almost certainly find himself taking some of his resentment and frustration out on the kids rather than her.

He could easily find himself locked in a battle with the kids for control and respect. Since she obviously has little or no respect for him she will most likely undermine his authority with the kids and he will almost certainly loose that battle as well.

Waiting for the kids to get older all the while hoping things will get better will prove to be more wasted time.

A woman like this will almost never change because she will never allow herself to see or believe anything she does is wrong. The reality is that his best bet would be to find a really good Divorce Attorney and cut his losses while he is still young enough to heal and have a chance at a decent life. Looking back, it is advice I wish I had followed 40 years ago when my wife gave me the cold shoulder on our wedding night claiming it was too late and she was too tired!

Dragonfly, you are definitely right about men more accurately reporting their sex life of lack there of. You cited “Spreadsheet Guy” in your example. I began a similar thing within a few years of our marriage to counter my wife’s insistence that I was “wrong”, “making it up” and we had sex more than I claimed. When I began “keeping score” what I found was that things were much worse that even I thought. I used one of those little bank calendars and a series of small symbols to indicate what happened on a particular day.

What I found was that I got 17 to 30 outright rejections before she would “allow” anything. Keep in mind this was within the first 5 years of marriage! Time hasn’t changed a thing. Today is 9/3/2015, the last time I got so much as even a kiss from this woman was on 7/25/2015. The last time before that was on 6/25/2015.

See a pattern here?

Here is another topic you may want to explore in another blog; Mama’s Girls. I have read many articles over the years about “Mama’s Boys” and how destructive that twisted, codependent relationship can be to a marriage. I can’t recall ever seeing an article discussing how equally destructive it can be when it’s the wife that’s tied to her manipulative, controlling, domineering, mothers apron strings. I wonder how many of the women like the one in this article also fit the bill for being a “Mama’s Girl” and “Her” husband was just a convenient father and ATM card for “Her” kids, “Her” house and “Her” perfect, planned life?””

Love, Sex, & Relationships – How Do You Know if It’s Real Love?

Every weekday morning on my drive to work, I used to listen to a man who spoke so much truth, it was almost jarring.  Although he has grandkids, a world and lifetime of experience, Chip Ingram’s voice still sounds like a man in his 30’s, you can actually hear the compassion and genuine love behind his words.

He would speak on many topics, some a little controversial.  He spoke a lot on personal and spiritual growth, I learned things and felt so convicted to change that, in the year I listened to him each morning, I grew a lot spiritually.  He was cunningly smart, he would use science to reveal the truth about things biblically sound, explain scientific studies, go into detail on who were the people who actually funded or conducted those studies, reveal the truths behind the lies that my generation (GenY) and younger were being taught everyday concerning sex and relationships.

I had already, by happenstance, learned his teachings on sex and Christianity coincidentally the few months before my husband and I got married.  During my engagement, I was on a break at a department store I worked at, which was placed inside an outdoor strip mall, and I walked down to the end where a Christian bookstore happened to be.  I walked in and his book Love, Sex, & Relationships was the first one I picked up.  I sat on their couch and started reading… I still remember how shocking some of his real life stories were – so shocking that I held them in my mind long after I read them.  By the time I started listening to him on the radio, though, 6 years later, I had no real use for that information.  It was still interesting, but I was in a stable yet passionate, romantic marriage.  And we knew from watching other couples around us that we were doing something very right.

I preferred listening to his personal growth sermons, things that would actually challenge me, make me wiser, better than I was, and I did gain some insights from hearing his presentation, however, what really sparked my ultimate interest to keep tuning in, was that everyday I’d listen, I would think, “Boy, I wish So-In-So knew that!”  or “Wow!  I need to tell So-In-So this fact!”  One of the things about getting married so young is that you have quite a few friends who are still single, and looking for a relationship or in relationships you wish they wouldn’t be – for their growth and development.  My husband and I lost track of how many couples we knew, around our age too, that had already gotten divorced during our marriage in only 6 years.  A couple of people we knew didn’t even make it to their first year anniversary – and they were committed Christians!

So while I was driving, listening and taking in his valuable points for people in the dating market, I started listening with a real purpose – to be able to impart some of his knowledge to the people I knew.  A couple years later, now I have friends in their late 20’s that still ask me this relationship-sex stuff, and even younger girls that I actively get the privilege of mentoring.  Teen girls, especially, want to know and understand the pitfalls of sex, and how to create or spot a good relationship that will last the test of time; the sad fact is that most of their parents don’t have it, and they are actively seeking to find a good model that they can hold in their minds for themselves to achieve later in life.

Here are Chip Ingram’s 12 Tests of whether or not you can tell if it is Love or Infatuation Sermon notes (no I wasn’t writing in my car… these are available online here):

 Is it “Love” or “Infatuation?”

Test #1 – TIME
 Love grows, and all growth requires time.
 Infatuation may come suddenly.

We can fall into lust or infatuation, but love is when it grows into something more.  Love grows from knowing that person’s character traits, out of caring for that person, whereas infatuation doesn’t care who they really are – it can grow into a strong, intense “crush” feeling or high, but if it’s not willing to grow into love, it’s ultimately useless beyond 9 – 18 months.
Test #2 – KNOWLEDGE
 Love grows out of an appraisal of all the known characteristics of the other
person.
 Infatuation may arise from an acquaintance with only a few or only one of these
characteristics.

Infatuation is just basic chemistry that you may feel with another person, regardless of if they’re a criminal or an upstanding citizen, which is why you have to be careful to go slow in relationships, to find out who the other person really is.  Chip says that often this initial chemistry that comes from a glance, a smile, or an opening line the guy may come at you with, can give you an overall impression of that person that is really far from their real-life character.  I remember when I was 16… I caught the interest of a senior at my high school… who was turning 20 that year (yea, my parents almost died).  He had been homeschooled by his mom in Lousianna, and when placed into our school the year or two before, found that he was actually behind for his age.  He didn’t tell me any of this of course, I had to find out secondhand from his friends, and then he told me the truth.  But he was smoother than the ice at an ice rink with his manner and come-ons, and when I slipped, I fell pretty hard on the ice.  I eventually gave him my phone number, who cared if he smoked, wore a black leather jacket, was friends with the rowdiest seniors at our school who played in a rock band.  All those things just increased my infatuation.  

Even though my parents refused to let me date him, and our relationship never even crossed into the physical realm, the infatuation period was still just as intense.  It started to drop immediately, however, due to the lack of physical engagement (which is why it’s so important to prolong that for girls, so that you can see if the relationship is worth mixing those emotions into it), once I got a grip on who he really was – his real character traits, it was a lot easier to end the fling and try to kill the infatuation.  He had no goals for himself, or any intention on going to college after he graduated, in fact, he was barely even managing to graduate.  His ultimate plan was to work at Walmart after high school, and he did.  

Test #3 – FOCUS
 Love is other-person-centered. It is outgoing. It results in sharing.
 Infatuation is self-centered.

Part of the infatuation phase is living in some kind of fantasy land, and you are ultimately at the center of it becuase it is your own fantasy that is keeping it going.  I’m not saying that real love can’t grow from an infatuation, in fact, that’s basically how my husband and I fell in love & then grew into it, but first and foremost, an infatuation is self-centered.  

Test #4 – SINGULARITY
 Genuine love is centered on one person only.  Even if it is a distance-tested relationship, genuine love means you aren’t tempted to cheat or become infatuated with a coworker, friend, or random stranger you meet at a coffee shop that is friendly and you have chemistry with.  
 An infatuated individual may be “in love” with two or more persons
simultaneously.

This is a good one!  If you find yourself being drawn or infatuated with multiple people at the same time, you can know that you aren’t really “in love” with any of them, including the person you are in a relationship with.  When you are finally ready for love, and are really in love, you don’t let yourself become infatuated with another person, instead you work on growing your love inside the relationship you already have. 

Infatuation can be devastating for married couples who have let their love slowly fade, or who have built up hurt and blocked emotions so that they are actually at a weak point in their marriage.  Emotional affairs to physical affairs, you can bet they all start out as a simple, innocent-seeming feeling of chemistry that creates a spark that is then nurtured into a full-blown infatuation.  Real love that is couple-focused and keeps the work going throughout the years stays true emotionally, as well as physically.

Test #5 – SECURITY
 An individual in love tends to have a sense of security and a feeling of trust after
considering everything involved in his relationship with the other person.
 An infatuated individual tends to have a blind sense of security based upon
wishful thinking rather than upon careful consideration, or he may have a sense
of insecurity that is sometimes expressed as jealousy.

Infatuation really is like building a fantasy life inside your head about another person, you don’t know them quite well enough yet, so you fill in the blanks yourself based on your positive experiences with them so far, and you unknowingly create some kind of faultless person you can dangerously become entwined with.  That’s why affairs are said to be so strangely addicting, the partners only see each other’s good (or perfect) sides, never experiencing their full personality, that is, until they try to start a real relationship (maybe the other spouse found out and divorces the straying spouse).  Most relationships that started from an affair, do not last because it was founded on a fantasy. When the fantasy is over and they see that the perfect partner really has some ugly sides to their personality, the addiction fades away and they are left with each other – two people with major character issues to work on.

Test #6 – WORK
 An individual in love works for the other person or for their mutual benefit. He
may study to make the other person proud of him. His ambition is spurred and
he plans and saves for the future. He may daydream, but his dreams are
reasonably attainable.
 An infatuated person may lose his ambition, his appetite, his interest in everyday
affairs. He thinks of his own misery. He often daydreams, but his dreams are
sometimes not limited to the attainable and are given free rein. At times the
dreams become substitutes for reality and the individual lives in his world of
dreams.

Couples who are in love, work together for the other person.  They care about meeting each other’s needs and it often comes effortlessly.  Their ambitions are spurred, like Chip says, because they are seeking to achieve things in life, together.  There are many times when my husband and I are out without our kids and we are free to relax, when we start day-dreaming about the future we’re building with each other.  Infatuated couples sometimes daydream, but their daydreams are often far-fetched goals that may be realistically unreachable for them, thus setting themselves up for failure – but that kind of thinking makes for a good fantasy life!

Test #7 – PROBLEM SOLVING
 A couple in love faces problems frankly and attempts to solve them. If there are
barriers to their getting married, these barriers are approached intelligently and
removed. Whatever barriers that cannot be removed may be circumvented, but
with the knowledge that what is done is deliberate circumvention.
 In infatuation, problems tend to be disregarded or glossed over.

Real love between a couple means they don’t go into marriage blindly, if there are any problems or issues going in, they deliberately sort them out before tying the knot.  Infatuated couples look past the person’s character flaws, or they get married so fast they never even glanced at what was glaringly obvious to everyone else.  Chip’s example is perfect here, as a pastor, he gets approached by couples like this trying to get him to marry them, all the time:

“We’re in love…  We met yesterday (or last week, or two weeks ago…) and God showed us we’re meant to be together, could you do the marriage?”

“When?” I ask, trying to work toward some sense of realtiy in the conversation.

“Tomorrow, this week – as soon as possible.”

“Why then?  How exactly did this come about?” I ask.

“Well,” she sighs, “I dropped my purse and he picked it up and our eyes met.  Then I found out that his last name started with an S, and I prayed for someone who last name starts with S, so there – we know it’s from God.”

Before I an express my amazement, she babbles on, “What’s so incredible si taht even though he’s 38 years older than me and I’m not sure if he’s a Christian, God has made it so clear that he’s the one.  We don’t have a common vision, but we’ll figure that out later.  I don’t know anything about his family other than he’s been married seventeen times.  Ours would be a blended family because I have eleven children and he has seven, but we love each other.  It’ll work out.”

I’m obviously exaggerating, but it comes out almost like that.  What is it?  It’s infatuation mixed with classic denial – with an added pinch of insanity.

Test #8 – DISTANCE
 Love tends to be constant.
 Infatuation often varies with the distance between the couple.

“Love knows the importance of distance.  Infatuation imagines love to be intense closeness, 24/7, all the time.”  If a couple feels the need to be attached or with each other all day long, it is a sign of unhealthy codependency.  Genuine love allows for two lifes of the two people, and doesn’t try to mesh them into one stagnant, fake life together.  Chip suggested trying to have a short-term mission trip planned where you are away from your relationship partner, if you find that the distance awakens you to infatuations with other people you meet on the trip, you are not in genuine love.  If, however, the time spent apart actually makes you grow and become a better person, all the while wanting to be better for your partner, you can bet you are growing in real love.

Test #9 – PHYSICAL ATTRACTION & INVOLVEMENT
 Physical attraction is a relatively smaller part of their total relationship when a
couple is in love. When a couple is in love, any physical contact they have tends
to have meaning as well as be a pleasurable experience in and of itself. It tends
to express what they feel toward each other.
 In infatuation, physical contact tends to be an end in itself. It represents only
pleasurable experience devoid of meaning.

Part of the reason why introducing sex into a relationship before marriage is so detrimental is because it can dramatically feed the infatuation with strong emotional bonds (from sex) for usually the girl, while helping them both to overlook any character flaws in the other person.  Going slow and waiting for sex until marriage ensures that both parties are going in with eyes open and minds relatively unclouded.  Another thing I’ve noticed personally in watching relationships has been that as soon as sex is introduced (premaritally obviously), the growth tends to come to a slow drip, and soon, the relationship is only about, or only held together, by the sex.

Test #10 – AFFECTION
 In love, an expression of affection tends to come relatively late in the couple’s
relationship.
 In infatuation, it may come earlier, sometimes from the very beginning.

Again, like I mentioned in explaining his last point, if sex is introduced into the relationship right away, it causes the relationship to have very little ambition to grow beyond it into real love.  Love goes slow, takes its time, even if it starts with infatuated feelings, it seeks out to know whether they are worth investing in or not by getting to know who the person really is.

Test #11 – STABILITY
 Love tends to endure.
 Infatuation may change suddenly, unpredictably.

Part of the reason my husband and I were so shocked to see friends we knew divorcing after 1 or 2 to 3 years was their ability to be SO incredibly, undenaibly in love during their engagement or early phase of their relationship, and then so utterly not in love with each other while they were ending their marriages!  It was like watching insane people!  We couldn’t believe how fast their feelings for each other could flip like that.  Now I get it, they were in the infatuation phase, and they never learned how to grow into the love phase – or they were unable to once they found out who the other person really was.  Remember, the infatuation phase can last for 9 to 18 months.  So if a couple falls in love, gets married fast, it makes sense they may find themselves divorcing within the first year or by the time they reach their second or third.

Test #12 – DELAYED GRATIFICATION
 A couple in love is not indifferent to the effects of postponement of their wedding
and do not prolong the period of postponement unless they find it wiser to wait a
reasonable time; they do not feel an almost irresistible drive toward haste.
 Infatuated couples tend to feel an urge toward getting married. Postponement is
intolerable to them and they interpret it as deprivation rather than preparation.

A good test for this is whether or not a couple is able to even wait long enough to try to get through some basic pre-marital counseling sessions.  If they aren’t interested in those at all, they are probably not interested in finding out if the marriage will really work based on reality and what they both realistically are going to want and need from each other while in the marriage.

Single Girls… THIS is What You Should Be Doing in Your 20’s

In my own life experience, being a freshman at college opened up so many doors… I had many guys flirting with me constantly, calling me on the phone, meeting up with me just to talk or hang out around campus, or to simply be near me.  I understood that any one of them wanted a relationship and a lot of them asked, but I held onto that card for someone that I knew was serious.  My “plan” was to not get into a serious relationship at all my freshman year, I knew I was too young and naive to probably do well, but when one guy came at me with an entirely new angle, I caved.  He was Christian and he wanted to “court” me.  This special word “court” hooked me line and sinker, it signaled to me that he was probably serious about marriage and actively looking for someone longterm.  It also helped (majorly) that he was a youth pastor assistant, he had the exact same goals that I had, actively mentored teen guys in high school, had the same religious beliefs, etc.  So I broke my own rule and got into a relationship with him.  It was an intense relationship, but only lasted for 4 months, he wasn’t all that he had seemed, he actually was living a double life – one as a chaste youth pastor, and the other as a playboy on weekends.  After catching him in a couple of lies, and finding out about his double life, I trashed the relationship and moved on quickly.  Any girls in their 20’s reading this need to understand that you cannot stay with a man who will ever lie to you, he is not ready to settle down or doesn’t value you enough to be truthful.

My husband is another story altogether 😉 He was a sexy older Junior (another rule of mine was to try to stay out of relationships with older guys that first year – granted he really was the perfect age).  He saw me at a BBQ at the beginning of the semester at an event we both went to, he said he watched me there – watched me play volleyball, interact with the other people, and was extremely attracted to me.  He said I met him, but I didn’t remember.  He was great at teasing and soon became one of my favorite guys to be around – not only was he older, incredibly handsome, he was also hilarious and teased the crap out of me.  He would walk me to one class (since his was in the same building and down the same hallway), and I remember him talking to me and getting distracted from what he was saying because of how handsome he was.  He tried to feel out if I’d want a relationship with him and felt me shut him down immediately (I was serious about trying to not get into a relationship with anyone that first year).  I remember regretting it when I learned he moved on quickly to another girl my age, and took her to an event he was planning on taking me (but I’d ridiculously said no to).

Once I had gotten into that relationship with the “courtship” impostor, my husband got angry and frustrated.  The guys who were his fraternity roommates friends told him to just go after me anyway – to try to steal me away, but he decided not to.  Once the courtship guy and I broke up, my husband resumed his teasing and being around me.  He hadn’t exactly disappeared before, but there was a marked difference in how he had pulled away.  Internally, he was looking for a longterm relationship – he had already had several girls that he’d been with and many more that he flirted with, and he was “ready” for a serious relationship.  He drew closer to me emotionally, he felt I needed it – the break up with courtship guy had been unnecessarily messy because everyone believed he was a saint.  His church had loved me, and everyone basically assumed we were “courting” for marriage.  No one wanted us to break up, and he played the victim well.  My husband became the epitome of classic masculinity for me – his strength and fearlessness was so intoxicating after being with someone who was a fake.  I fell head over heels and we married only a year later.

I want to present to you some things I wish all girls in their 20’s knew so that they could navigate the dating realm better.  This excerpt is from a blogger named Andrew, who writes at The Rules Revisited.  He explains extremely well how guys think and how girls can optimize their prime years in order to find someone they’d truly want to be with.

Here is Andrew’s advice for what women should be doing in their 20’s when it comes to men:

Female game consists of three parts or stages:

  1. Making yourself as attractive as possible
  2. Making yourself approachable
  3. Filtering out the men that just want to have sex with you from the men that want to date you

While these general stages apply to all women, a woman’s age, experience and eligibility should factor heavily into her approach to dating if she wants to eventually find a man to settle down with. Therefore, various aspects of these three stages – or the components of each one – are more or less important at different times in a woman’s life.

As a girl in your twenties, you are moving into and living through your most eligible years, and should tailor your game accordingly. Your goal should be to meet and date as many eligible men as you can, in an effort to increase the statistical probability of meeting one guy that you can really love. In order to do this effectively you need to be honest with yourself, and filter out the men who will waste your time – even when you are tempted by your emotions, pride or biology to do otherwise. This requires that you spread your attention across all three stages listed above, in the following ways:

  • Establish the right foundations. There are a number of things a girl should do in her teens to prepare for her twenties. If you haven’t done all of these things, or still need to work more on some of them, do so first. Because you have an age advantage over the girls doing these things in their teens, you will be able to learn some of these lessons faster and perhaps more effectively. But these steps are critical – they should not be skipped.
  • Adjust and improve your look as you become a woman. Continue to learn about your complexion, make up, fit and style, and continue to improve your appearance. Your efforts in this realms should be informed by three concepts: (a) your appearance matters, (b) your appearance is controllable, and (c) you can always look better than you do now.
  • Embrace your sexuality. As you become sexually eligible and your confidence grows, you will begin to feel comfortable in your own skin – in a sense, literally. Your look should migrate from cute towards sexy. There is no longer any reason to hide your body, any more than there is a reason to suppress your smile or intentionally give yourself a bad hairstyle. Show off your figure with class of course, but also recognize that living in denial of your sexuality is a recipe for unhappiness.
  • Realize that your male peers are growing up. As you move through your twenties, men will start to gain the upper hand in relationships, due to their high sex drives and promiscuous nature. You should have prepared yourself for this during your teens, but now it means that your defensive game (filtering, #3 above) will become increasingly important. Adjust your disposition towards men accordingly: don’t initiate contactcut off guys who dump you, and – most importantly – wait for commitment before you sleep with anyone.
  • Put yourself out there. Now that you are looking for a husband, you should – ideally – meet new men almost on a daily basis. The only way you will do this is by going to places and doing things to facilitate it. Creating this kind of exposure is a huge part of “making yourself approachable.” If this means forcing yourself into awkward social situations, so be it. If it means you have to hang out with people that you don’t particularly like, deal with it. But living in the suburbs with your parents, skipping happy hours with coworkers, or staying in on weekends will not accomplish this. You are the only one responsible for your own social life, so put yourself in living and working situations conducive to interacting with men, and learn to be social.
  • Don’t waste your time. If you are interested in getting married, your mid to late late twenties is the best time to find your husband, and your early twenties is a close second. Wasting time in obviously dead-end relationships because you “just don’t want to put pressure on him” is bullshit – and is either a symptom of your insecurity, or just stupid. Make sure that your boyfriend knows what you eventually want, then be honest with yourself and cut your losses when you need to.
  • Avoid men your own age. For most of your twenties, men your age will be either actively fucking around, or otherwise disinclined to settle down. Most (not all, but most) do not want to get married until their late twenties at the earliest, and they will do whatever women allow them to do in the meantime. You will be fighting a constant uphill battle if you try to date guys your own age. Instead, focus on men who are 3 to 6 years older than you. For example, if you start dating a guy who is 27 or 28 when you are 23, you could conceivably get married a year later. Avoid younger men like the plague and treat men more than eight years your senior with caution – there is probably a reason that they haven’t settled down yet.
  • Recognize and seize opportunities. While 22 might seem a little young to be settling down, you would be stupid to throw away a lifetime of happiness with a solid man for three or four more years of partying, travel or “independence.” In your twenties, the upcoming five years always seem like they’ll be the most important ones of your life, but they won’t be. By the time you are 30 they will seem almost as frivolous and naive as your early teens seem to you now, so forget your concerns about “missing out.” A little foresight at this age will go a long way.
  • Know why you are dating. It is easy to get caught up in the emotions surrounding relationships, to the point that you forget why you got into them in the first place. If your goal is to find a husband someday, remind yourself of this when you are tempted to sleep with a guy who clearly just wants sex, or when you realize that you don’t want to end up with the guy that you want to win back so badly.
  • Decide what constitutes good enough. Forget the notion of “the one” – it is beyond absurd. Only those with an imagination suffocated by Hollywood will lament a loss of “Romance” in acknowledging this. Trying to attract and select “the one” (or even just “the best” one) out of numerous options will inevitably drive you crazy. Think carefully, decide what attributes Mr. Right has, then fight the urge to wait for something better once you find a man that has them. Write down what you are looking for if you find it helpful to do so.
  • Resist becoming jaded. As you wade through the sea of men who are below your league, don’t like you enough, only want sex, or aren’t ready to settle down, make conscious efforts to stay positive about your prospects. This means pausing in the midst of your sorrows after being dumped, and recognizing that you wouldn’t value a man that was easy to come by, or that being rejected is part of life. Remember that it isn’t your failures (i.e. in relationships) that define you, but how you respond to them: so stop feeling sorry for yourself, get back up, and get back out there.
  • Challenge yourself daily. Whether you do this by reading a book about raising children, forcing yourself to confront a difficult social situation, or learning a second language when you’d rather be watching TV, you should be constantly pushing yourself a little bit – improving your abilities, knowledge, and expanding your comfort zone. This is how you will stand out from the crowd.