Reframe Your Dating Life
by Stephen Arterburn
Stephen Arterburn is the host of NewLife Live heard on 180 radio stations as well as Sirius and XM satellite radio. He is the founder of Women of Faith and best selling author of over 70 books including When You Love Too Much, Avoiding Mr. Wrong, Finding Mr. Right and his most recent book Reframe Your Life.
A Cut and Color
It was a typical day on our live radio broadcast when a single woman asked me for my best advice on how to revive her dead dating life. After she answered a few questions I told her I would give her the best advice to not only revive her dating life, but to reframe it and all of her life into an exciting adventure. You might think it superficial, but I started with the outside, rather than with deep seeded conflicts or other matters of the heart. I asked her how her hairstyle on her online profile compared with her hairstyle in her high school yearbook. She told me it was about the same except for now it was full of grey and much less manageable. So I suggested something quite profound, at least I thought it was. I suggested she make an appointment with the most expensive hairstylist she could afford and immediately allow that stylist to cut it the way the hair care professional thinks, not what she thought would look best on her. And ask that stylist to pick a great color to go with her skin tone and dye every grey hair on her head. It was my "cut and color therapy".
The fact is that if you are wanting to have the most fun dating and meet the best people available, you have to start with the outside. How you look matters online and in person. And the argument that you want someone to love you for who you are and not what you look like does not hold up, because if you look your best you will illicit different responses from others and you will have different reactions to them. You will exist as a different person. An average picture in a great frame can look much more beautiful than it is. The wrong frame on a great picture can distort the beauty and even destroy it. So don't be walking around with the wrong frame around the masterpiece that you either are or can be. Once you change the look of the frame, it is time to address what you need to do with it.
Stop Looking At the Tops of Your Shoes
Your next date is not going to be found as an image reflected on the top of your shoes. And no matter how great your hair looks, making that the only thing a person can see because your head is hung so low will not draw dates to you. Your next date is going to be found when you start looking at and into the eyes of others. Not glancing at them, but looking deeply into the mirrors of another person's soul. If there is a picture on a profile that intrigues you, look at the eyes, practicing so that when the real thing comes along you will be ready to look into real eyes. Somehow some singles have the mistaken idea that it is attractive to act uninterested and preoccupied. In fact it is just the opposite. Those who are comfortable looking at others and connecting eye-ball to eye-ball are the most attractive. The only way you can get good at this is to practice by saying hello to every person you meet, looking them in the eyes and thinking of an engaging comment such as: "You have a nice smile." "I love that watch." "Your shirt is a great color on you." "Is this your first time here?" "It's kind of hard for me to know what to say when I meet a stranger." "Can you tell I am a bit anxious?" Saying anything that helps you move from just looking into their eyes and toward engaging in a meaningful conversation will help your dating life immensely.
The final rule of engagement involves touch. I was talking to a single woman who was single far longer than she wanted to be and when I spoke of touching a man, she became extremely anxious and began to perspire at the prospect of touching someone. But touch makes a huge difference. It bridges a vast chasm of disconnection. I am not talking about hugs, kisses or passionate embraces. The big impact of touch can be achieved by a natural touch on the shoulder, or the forearm or back of their hand. It does not give a message that you are a cheap date or too forward. It is just an indicator of openness and willingness and being so comfortable in your own skin that you are very comfortable making a slight contact with another.
The Triple Crown of Sorry Single-hood
Once you get the outside at peak operating status and begin to engage with others by looking up, seeing them, talking to them and touching them, then you are ready to go to work on this inside. Of course it is fine to start the inside work before the outside project has been completed. When people want to be different or shave off some of the rough edges of their personality they are often without a place to start or have a clear picture of what to aspire to. In Reframe Your Life I present the triple crown of a sick and sorry life and this same triple crown can prevent you from connecting with someone who might make a wonderful companion or even a great mate.
The first area to look at is stubborn resistance. Are your heels dug in on how you act or interact with others? Do you find yourself resistant, reactive and protective with others? Secondly, take a look at your arrogant entitlement. If you feel entitled to more than any one person can provide, you will always live disappointed that no one is measuring up. You will be demanding and nagging because no one is meeting your every need. If you see yourself as above everyone you compare yourself to, you just may never find anyone to connect with at the altitude you are flying. Thirdly, justifiable resentment may embitter you so badly that you are miserable inside and miserable to be around. If you have been hurt and those around you think you are justified to live in a cesspool of anger, bitterness and resentment, you will poison yourself and your relationships.
The triple crown is anything but enjoyable to live with. These three areas can be resolved and replaced with willingness, humility and forgiveness. This new identity will draw people to you and release your life to new freedom and opportunities. If you have thought to yourself that there must be a better way to live, reframing your internal life might be the first step to that better life full of more fun and meaningful connections.
What Not To Wear
One final note on becoming the best single you can be. My favorite show is What Not To Wear. Fashionably-challenged people are told how they can look much better and they resist the advice of the professionals until they finally see the reality of what they have been doing to themselves. On a day when a very resistant woman finally agreed that she had been making big mistakes, Clinton, the male host of "What Not to Wear", made a brilliant observation. He said, "Sometimes you don't know you need help until you get help." So if you don't see any areas to work on, you might want to get some help as a way of determining whether or not you need help. If you do get help you may open more doors to a new life once you trash the old frame and construct a new and improved model. Now go out there and make some healthy connections.
Stephen Arterburn can be reached at email@example.com.
Find out more about Stephen Arterburn and New Life Ministries.
Christian leaders are saying...
Dating and being single can be tricky for a pastor like me. Christian Mingle is a wholesome and encouraging alternative to the modern dating scene for singles who desire to put God first in everything.
~Rev. J. Curtis Pace, Pastor, New Bethel Baptist Church, Philadelphia, MS