Donna Smaldone
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Monday / July 04 / 2011

Choose only a date who would make a good mate: don’t settle

Skip and I always taught our children not to settle — whether it be their choice for college, a job, or even something simple like a chocolate chip cookie. Why? Because you live what you practice.

Let’s say you’re jonesing for a chocolate chip cookie. You’ve been craving one all day and your mouth is watering just thinking about it (oh yes, we’ve all been there). En route home, you stop by the 7-11 and pick up a pre-packaged solution to your craving, giving you some small level of satisfaction.

In its purest sense, you haven’t fulfilled your desire, you simply filled a void. You settled. This becomes ever apparent when you arrive home to the smell of homemade, hot-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies your Mom baked specially for you. *ouch*

I understand wanting to be loved, but for some reason clarity dissipates when it comes to love-n-affection and we settle for filling the void. As long as we have someone to play with, cuddle with, and tell us we’re pretty, we deceive ourselves into thinking we’re satisfied and fulfilling some sense of self-worth — all the while missing the opportunity to find Mr. Right.

At a leadership conference several years ago, Skip-n-I had the privilege of hearing Steven Sample, former president of the University of Southern California and author of The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, who said something that really struck me. He said (and I’m paraphrasing here): every book you choose to read robs you of the opportunity to read something else.

Our here-and-now, microwave society has clouded our better judgement when it comes to seeking long-term, committed relationships with someone who will love us in spite of our shortcomings. And if I may borrow a thought from Mr. Sample, the time you spend dating Mr. Makes Me Feel Good For Now is time you’re stealing from finding Mr. Right.

Every decision matters. Every fork in the road is important. Choose wisely.

Mike Dooley of TUT®’s whole thing is this: Thoughts become things…choose the good ones. If you KNOW he’s not someone you’ll spend the rest of your life with, get out now. Read a different book. You deserve it. (Hint: if he’s straight up told he he’ll never marry you or have kids, and you want to get married and have kids… he’s not The One.)

Don’t settle for someone simply to fill a void. The shame is not just in the settling or the likelihood of heartbreak, but in the choice you’ve made to rob yourself of the opportunity to meet someone else.

As you justify you’re “just having fun”, consider this: the more you traverse the ‘settle’ road with him, the greater the possibility you’re missing Mr. Right on the road running parallel.

Your life is meaningful. Your happily-every-after matters. Act like it.


11 responses to “Choose only a date who would make a good mate: don’t settle”

  1. Karen Ulrich-Dekkers says:

    As always, you’ve gotten me again. Maker of bad decisions toward Mr. Right. I wish those guys would have come with some reviews so you know if they are a good read or just skip to the cliff notes version.

  2. Donna Smaldone says:

    Karen, sometimes you have to get in a chapter or two before you realize it’s not your book. It’s not a matter of beating yourself up when you make poor choices – we all choose poorly from time to time – it’s valuing yourself enough to get out when you know you’ve done so. You don’t need to finish that book, or even use a placeholder bookmark… you KNOW how it ends! The bottom line is: you’re worth it and your happily-ever-after matters.

  3. Phil Richards says:

    Thanks for sharing some words to chew on for a little while. Awesome read!

  4. Donna Smaldone says:

    Thank you, Phil. Here’s to homemade chocolate chip cookies!!

  5. Debbie says:

    I like this a lot… and now I want a cookie- homemade. 😉

  6. Amy Rollins says:

    Well-stated! Albeit, the waiting part can be long…but,. oh so worth it! 🙂 I got so sick of hearing my parents saying “think of each date as a future mate” but, alas, I will be teaching Abbie the same thing!

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Indeed, Amy, hindsight is 20/20. Sometimes it feels like the oven isn’t even pre-heating to be able to bake the cookies!! But once you take a bite of that first homebaked goodness, you remember why you waited. Abbie is a blessed little girl!

  7. Rachael says:

    Shouldn’t Mr. Right also be the person who makes you feel good? I think that it is hard to decifer between the two sometimes. It is definitely true and I have seen what you are referring to at school. Definitely a good way to put it.

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Yes, Rachael, he certainly should be. But all because he loves YOU for you and wants to help you evolve into the best YOU that God designed you to be. Too often people think, “yeah, he’s really great… we’ll get married and then I’ll change those things I don’t like about him” — and that absolutely will not work.

      AND yes, you need to be attracted to one another, too (big fan of that).

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