A young girl was trudging along a mountain path, trying to reach her grandmother’s house. It was bitter cold, and the wind cut like a knife. When she was within sight of her destination, she heard a rustle at her feet. Looking down, she saw a snake. Before she could move, the snake spoke to her. He said, “I am about to die. It is too cold for me up here, and I am freezing. There is no food in these mountains, and I am starving. Please put me under your coat and take me with you.”
“No,” replied the girl. “I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you will bite me, and your bite is poisonous.”
“No, no,” said the snake. “If you help me, you will be my best friend. I will treat you differently.”
The little girl sat down on a rock for a moment to rest and think things over. She looked at the beautiful markings on the snake and had to admit that it was the most beautiful snake she had ever seen.
Suddenly, she said, “I believe you. I will save you. All living things deserve to be treated with kindness.”
The little girl reached over, put the snake gently under her coat and proceeded toward her grandmother’s house.
Within a moment, she felt a sharp pain in her side. The snake had bitten her.
“How could you do this to me?” she cried. “You promised that you would not bite me, and I trusted you!”
“You knew what I was when you picked me up,” hissed the snake as he slithered away.
The last few weeks and months I have been thinking back to my own dating experiences. I was fortunate in many respects in that my dating career *clears throat* provided me the opportunity to learn what I wanted and what I didn’t want in a relationship. Some items were negotiable and some were non-negotiable. One thing that I can confess to you ladies is that I tried many times to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear when it came to men and relationships. Don’t know what I mean? Well, I have tried to convert many of the variations of the following: the commitment phobe, the bad boy, the playa’, the artist (Aw baby…I’m just trying to get my thing together), the substance abuser (alcohol), and the gym-shoe wearing guy. Each of these types deserves their own post, but I have learned this lesson well…when people show you who they are, believe them. Mother whit also says “a leopard doesn’t change his spots.”
I wasted a lot of time and emotional energy thinking that “love would conquer all” and that “I can change him.” I never said these things out loud but my behavior showed that I felt that “I can change him and that I can make him different.” Ladies, take it from me, you can’t. Don’t try.
People typically develop patterns and habits of relating that are ingrained and that are predictable. These patterns don’t change on their own. They are predictable, so if we are discerning and watchful, these patterns and habits will be made clear!! Watch and listen!! The man who has had a string of fiance`s whom he has left at the altar won’t change because of your love. The man who is a chronic and pathological womanizer won’t change because of your love (and whatever root you attempt to put on him). I could go on, but you get the point. Don’t even waste your time, your energy or your resources to convert of reform him. It doesn’t work, and there is sooooo much better for you out there.
So, as you get on the path toward having a husband find you (yes, he finds you, but I am not talking about sitting at home “waiting on the Lawd” unless you plan to date and marry the UPS man) I want to encourage you to get your team together. These are the women who can regularly meet you for coffee and who can support you and in turn also hold you accountable to your goals. Some great books to kind of organize your discussions would be The Rules, (of course) andFinding Mr. Right and Avoiding Mr. Wrong (Arterburn).
When I was preparing for marriage, I had a group of older women who essentially mentored me towards the altar. These women were married, they shared my faith, they supported and encouraged my desire to be married and they helped me to identify the “snakes on the road.” These were women who poured into me wise counsel. I am praying that each womanwho sincerely desires to be married in the near future would find a group of SAFE Women***. (For clarification on what I mean by “Safe People” read Henry Clouds “Safe People” it is excellent)
These women are your team and they are women who first of all support and affirm your desire to be married!!! These are the women with whom you can confide with what is going on. These women should share your values, who don’t/won’t judge you and who can listen and discern and help you to properly “vet” the man or men** (smile) in your life because she is not emotionally involved or attached. These women can be married of single. It really doesn’t matter. Most importantly though is that they see that marriage as a blessing and also it is not a reward for good behavior.
I can think back to being on an emotional roller-coster with one man in particular. I was wined and dined and he was very emotionally attached to him. He was very charismatic and whenever the relationship seemed to be moving toward a deeper commitment he would pull away. We cycled through this several times. I would break things off with him only to have him chase me again promising marriage and then he would pull back. Finally, one of my friends said to me gently “Karen, he isn’t ready.” Now that I am older, I would be able to spot a guy like him coming. Even reading this, I am struck that I cycled through this relationship as many times as I did. But at the time, I was 20-something and emotionally caught up. Each time the relationship ended, I wound up feeling used and depressed. I am appreciative of supportive women who had the wisdom to tell me to “cut the chord.” These are the women you can call at night after a date or before a date!!!
For example, this woman needed a team:
Cops: Man steals woman’s car on 1st date
Dinner goes from bad to worse when he first skips out on restaurant bill
updated 11:43 p.m. ET, Sat., Aug 29, 2009
FERNDALE, Michigan – A first date went from bad to worse when a man skipped out on the restaurant bill, then stole his date’s car, police said.
Police say 23-year-old Terrance Dejuan McCoy had dinner with a woman April 24 at Buffalo Wild Wings in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale. The woman said the two met a week earlier at a Detroit casino and she knew McCoy only as “Chris.”
The woman told police that McCoy said he left his wallet in her car and asked for keys. He then sped away in the 2000 Chevrolet Impala.
The Daily Tribune of Royal Oak reported that police identified McCoy by a photo he’d sent to the woman’s cell phone, and his phone number.
McCoy was charged with unlawfully taking the car, a five-year felony. He waived a preliminary exam and was bound over for trial Thursday.
Can you even imagine?! I think if this woman had a group of wise women in her life, the scenario MAY have been avoided. After gathering the preliminary information, the scenario may have gone something like this:
Mentor: So where did you meet ______?
Single Lady: At the casino!
Single Lady: Yeah, he seems really nice. I am picking him up Friday and we are going out to eat.
For those of you who are familiar with The Rules, what is it about this date that makes it a big fat “no!”??
On the road of life, we sometimes need tour guides-women who have blazed the trail before us and can point out the potholes and the snakes. We need to have our team because no man is an island and there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors.