Steve and I recorded this show about a month before our wedding. We talk about my anxiety during the dating process and his involvement in helping me work through it.
- Anxiety about putting myself out there to date and how that brought me back to therapy
- Challenges of Christian dating after a divorce
- Accepting the anxiety and difficulty trusting as part of the process of getting closer
- Advice to singles in the church
Hello and welcome to Hope for Anxiety and OCD where we are all about reducing shame, increasing hope, and developing healthy relationships with God and others. I am very excited to share this episode with you. Episode 10, because I have my now amazing husband, Steve Bock on the show, and we are going to be talking about how anxious I was during our dating process.
I hope that this story encourages other people maybe who are scared to get out into the dating world, or if you have a partner or a husband, wife who is struggling with anxiety, this episode may help you a little as well as far as how to support them. So without further ado, we’ll dive into the show. So Steve, welcome to the podcast.
Steve: I’m excited to be here.
Carrie: Steve is normally a kind of behind-the-scenes guy and has done a little bit of public speaking, but tends to serve in the background. So I’m very excited that he is stepping out of his comfort zone a little bit and has agreed to be on the podcast.
Steve: Yeah, it’s good to be here. Nervous though.
Carrie: That’s okay cause we’re talking about anxiety, so it’s all good. Your anxiety is welcome.
We are about a month away from getting married.
Steve: Yey! It is good.
Anxious About Dating
Carrie: We’re going to talk a little bit about our story and how we came to be a couple. My story actually started a little bit in the beginning of 2019 where I realized that I wanted to get back into dating, but every time I had tried in the past I would get these awful stomach aches.
I was very anxious about putting myself out there in any way, shape, or form. I had done online dating. I had done meetup groups where I had dated here and there with guys and I realized that I wanted to be married and that if I was going to do that, I was going to have to figure out how to work through this high level of anxiety that I had after my divorce about dating again. And so I ended up going to therapy over it and I told my therapist, I want to date but every time I go to do it, it’s just this awful anxiety comes over me. I can’t sleep. I have stomach aches and I just can’t do it. I can’t follow through.
It was really funny because I saw this man online. One of the reasons I went to go see a man was because I wanted a more of a male perspective on dating. I actually was cleaning out my file cabinet and I filled in the paperwork sometime in the fall of 2019 where I had sent this paperwork to him saying, “You know, I want a date, but I just can’t.”
And here’s why when I read that it was so therapeutic for me because I realized like, “Wow. I don’t feel this way anymore.” I was so excited to go to therapy and tell my therapist about finding that paperwork and saying, “Hey, I think I’m actually ready to date.” I think it’s time for me to put myself out there and I made the decision that I was going to try dating apps again. I got on a dating app and I had went on a few dates with a couple of different guys, but I just was a little bored and didn’t feel like I was making a good connection with the guys that I was meeting. This little heart kept popping up on Facebook every day when I would go in and it would say, “Try Facebook dating.”
I was like, “I don’t know about that. I’m not sure” but I thought, well, “shoot.” I’m not having any luck on this other app that I’m using so I might as well give it a try.
So what was your pre-us meeting story?
Steve: My pre-Carrie story is somewhat similar as far as the dating goes. I had a lot of people from church trying to set me up and those are always difficult because it doesn’t work out. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but oftentimes it just didn’t, just something was missing. So that didn’t work and then I tried the online dating apps just like you and I thought here I am spending this money and getting nowhere.
So for me, I struggle my anxiety kicks in on that first date which I guess I’m not the only one that goes through that. I don’t think but just the same, it was very difficult.
There came a point where Facebook actually emailed me and said, “Hey, we’re gonna start an online dating service that will be free through Facebook and we’re interested in you. You have a nice Facebook page or whatever. It’s clean-cut, and there’s nothing terrible on it. So we wanted to know if you’re interested” and I thought, Wow! I’ve never actually gotten a thing from Facebook like that. I was a little bit special.
So I said, “Whoa, what have I got to lose? Why not?” And then after I said, yes, I thought, Oh gosh, what have I gotten myself into? I didn’t even look at what type of dating is this. What are they going to do? What are they going to ask of me and it wasn’t that bad. They asked me a series of questions and had me fill out the basics. Who am I? Where am I? All the normal stuff that you do on a dating app. So that made me feel good and then they said it might be a while. Well, I’d practically given up on the idea of it after waiting for like three months or something. maybe longer than that, but finally that little heart popped up and I started getting messages and, and then not long after there you were.
And so that’s where it all began.
How Steve and Carrie Found Each Other
Carrie: Yeah and we found out amazingly that we had a lot in common. We grew up about an hour away from each other in Florida. Even though we’re in Tennessee now. We had both been on mission trips and now we’re talking about mission trips and food and restaurants and other things we enjoyed together. So that was a lot of fun. We had a couple of phone calls and you talked a lot.
Steve: Yes. Do you want to talk about that? Well, ironically, you’re asking me if I talk a lot and to talk about it. I am one of those people that if I don’t know you or I’m in a big crowd, I probably won’t say much. It’s difficult when it’s like, “Hey Steve, this is a girl and you have to talk to her” and my mind goes, “Nope, don’t want to say a thing,” but then as you get comfortable, as I get comfortable, I had so much to talk about because I hadn’t shared anything with anybody in so long. So all I wanted to do was talk. I thought, “Wow! This woman, she’s a good listener.”
Well, little did I know you get paid to do that? I guess I knew, but anyways, you were easy to talk to. You are easy to talk to and a great listener.
Carrie: The really scary thing came for me of having to tell Steve that I was divorced because we hadn’t gotten to that part yet in our chats online or over the phone.
Steve: That didn’t bother me because I had the same issue and so the reaction you had was I kind of “felt bad for you cause you’d gotten yourself kind of worked up about it” like worried, and then I’m like, “Nah, it’s not a deal-breaker at all.” You know, I was married too. So that gave us something in common. So it kind of worked in our favor.
Tips for Dating After Divorce
Carrie: There is some stigma in the Christian church when you’re dating and you’re divorced. It’s scary because I did have men say to me, “Hey, I need to pray about this for a few days.” That happened to me at least twice and you’re going to say, “okay, go pray about it.” My conscience is clear with God.
I don’t know. He’s going to have to communicate that to you one way or the other, or I need to know everything that happened and I need to know why it ended. So I guess if I would add just a word of advice thrown out there for people who are dating, if you haven’t been divorced, and you’re potentially dating people who are divorced, give it time for that story to unfold because often that story is pretty personal and pretty intimate like reasons why people’s marriages ending. Sometimes depending on how long it’s been since that point a lot of times those things aren’t relevant anymore at this level. Would you agree with that?
Steve: Without going into details, our stories were so similar, at least with me. I felt like people would come to a conclusion of, there’s gotta be a reason he’s divorced. What did he do? Maybe that’s not what they were thinking but that’s the feeling that I had from them. People, you can’t just jump out there and judge them like that because you don’t know and like you say, give them some time.
Carrie: Right. I think one of the things that you told me that I felt was very healing was that it takes two people to get married but it only takes one person to get divorced and in both of our situations, it wasn’t our choice. That wasn’t something that we wanted to do and we would have held on and done what we could to make it work, but there was no repair at that point.
Steve And Carrie’s Funny Date Story
Carrie: So then we branched out and met up for a first date at?
Steve: Plaza Mariachi, which if you’ve never been to a place like that. That is a wonderful place for a first date because it’s open. It’s easy to find and there’s so much going on. It offers you a pretty good place to sit and talk, although it did get a bit loud.
Carrie: Yeah. So Plaza Mariachi, for those of you who aren’t in the Nashville area, they basically took an old grocery store and they converted it into kind of an open mall concept. They’ve got a food court and they’ve got, you can get ice cream or tacos or coffee. They also have little shops kind of on the side but one thing that’s really fun that they have is performances. So, Steve, I was like, “okay, will you tell me a little bit more about your salvation story?” So he’s telling me, and he’s going through the process and of course, that’s kind of serious and then all of a sudden I just screamed, “fire!” Because all of a sudden, there’s this guy out in the middle of the food court, throwing around fire and breathing fire and all of this stuff.
Steve: Which I can’t see by the way.
Carrie: Because you’re back was to it.
Steve: Which seems when you’re given a little bit of your testimony, it doesn’t seem so wonderful when somebody else “fire” like, “Wow. I thought my story was good” but maybe I need to pray and start over here.
Carrie: So our second date, we got lost on a trail.
Steve: Yes. Mainly because they were doing some work on the trail and they didn’t mark the reroute. So we just kind of literally walked way past it.
Carrie: We missed the detour or something on the way back [01:00:37] and it’s getting closer to getting dark. This was in the late fall and it was getting dark earlier and so finally we decided to pull up the map and realize we are way down South and we need to get back up the other way to our car. So fortunately that date went well because otherwise, that would have been a long walk back to the car.
Steve: That would have been very difficult. I have to walk back that far with a person you don’t want to be with, that wouldn’t be good, but that was a good test for us because that was kind of a moment where it could have went either way. We’re together and got a few laughs and it was worth it. It was good.
Carrie: I think the coffee shop type date is good when you’re first getting to know somebody because you can leave in a short amount of time or something, but it’s nice to be able to do things with people, to look at stuff, and see how they interact around other people and also how they interact with you. And we had to problem solve on a date too. So that was actually good.
Steve: Definitely. I thought it was an easy deal. Just walk this way and make a turn and come back and you’re done.
Carrie: Yeah, there was a snafu on date three.
Steve: Yes, which wasn’t all my fault.
Carrie: No, it was not. You want to share what happened?
Steve: Yeah. I think you had suggested the place and I thought,” Oh yeah, I think I’ve been there.” That’s a great place, I think. That sounds good. The deal is to make it short and simple. There are two restaurants on the same road, not what four miles apart, I think same name. Both of them are Mexican restaurants.
They are almost identical. So I call her and I’m like, “well, I’m here just waiting” and she said, “I’m here at the table.” Wait like, “Oh no.”
That’s when we discovered we were both at a restaurant with the same name on the same street but it was not the same restaurant. So I had to find her. I went to the wrong one, by the way, not her.
Carrie: So that was fun and then we went to go see the Opera Land Hotel where they decorate everything for Christmas, really nice. We just walked around there and we took our first picture together and that was sweet. So time went on in our relationship and we were talking on a regular basis and we were seeing each other a couple of times a week.
Getting To Know Each Other Better
Carrie: One thing that you did relatively early on in our relationship was made a decision to take a night off work per week because you were working in the evenings and I think that was a big sign to me that you were interested in kind of moving the relationship forward.
Steve: For me, any relationship that I had with friends, that was the problem is that I work way too much in my mind. I thought if I’m going to make this work because I do like this girl, and if I’m going to make this work, I don’t think working all the time is going to help our relationship. You can’t just see one another here and there and expect it to work and only do the phones. So I knew I had to take a night off to make that work. I think that benefited us a lot.
Carrie: Yeah, it really did. I think it kept me going forward because I don’t know if I can do a one-day-a-week relationship or just have a weekend relationship with somebody. I want to get to know them more and have it go deeper.
Seeing A Therapist To Cope With Dating Anxiety
Carrie: So things progressed along and I was working with my therapist off and on but I started to have these awful nightmares.
They would be things like, I went to go catch a flight and I get to the ticket counter and I’ve missed my flight and the lady is saying, “I’m sorry, Ma’am, there’s nothing that we can do for you. You didn’t get here in time” or I didn’t make it to a concert that I had tickets to.
As I was talking through these nightmares with my therapist, I realized that they all had this kind of common theme and it was okay, I’m gonna like royally screw this relationship up and it’s going to be my fault. Something’s going to go bad and it’s going to be on me.
I just decided to tell Steve about these nightmares that I was having and be really honest about it. I’m nervous like I’m getting closer to you and that feels really vulnerable and really scary because I don’t want to get hurt again.
Understanding Your Partner’s Fear and Anxiety
Steve: Absolutely and when you told me, I got it. I can’t say that it was my dream but I completely wanted to understand you. That would be horrible to have to go through that and have that dream and that fear and that anxiety. So for me, I thought the best thing to do was to just be patient and wait.
Carrie: Yeah. I know that my therapist helped me realize that it was tied back to some past stuff and then I was in a different place in my life. I was an adult and I really could protect myself if I needed to. Something about what we processed and me coming to that conclusion of “Oh, okay. I’m actually safe.” Not only am I safe but I can also protect myself. That allowed me to stop having those nightmares really after the one processing session which was amazing. I know there were a lot of different points in our relationship where I felt like I was seeking reassurance from you of “Hey, is everything okay?” “Are we good?” Did that frustrate you or annoy you at times?
Steve: In a way, it was a big compliment because it meant that you were getting to a point where you wanted to trust me and wanted to get to know me. We wanted to grow more as a couple. So it kind of in a weird way. It sort of made me happy because I knew if we can get through this then we can make it. We can grow as a couple. So I was kind of excited but I knew when somebody’s going through something, you can’t get aggravated with them because that’s their something and if you’re going to be a couple, you have to go through things together. I knew that. So I knew I had to just be patient and hear you out. I know that you would do the exact same thing for me. I wouldn’t want you to get all irritated with me and say, “Hey, you jerk.” That’s part of relationships. I think though that’s a key thing.
Respecting Each Other’s Feelings
Carrie: Right. One of the things that really helped me through that process was when I would come to you with something like I’m having a nightmare or I’m scared about this, or I just need to know that our relationship is okay because we got in a fight or something like that, that you are just so open to say, “it’s okay.” However you’re feeling is, how you’re feeling and now we have to figure out what to do and how to move forward because I think so many times, people try to say, “just don’t feel anxious.” like, yeah, I need to worry about that. I mean, everything’s fine instead of just really like allowing it to be there and sitting with it and saying, you know, I know that there were several times that you told me, of course, you’re having a hard time trusting. Of course, you’re having a hard time opening up. This is still somewhat new.
Steve: I mean if it were anything else maybe this is a bad example, but if you were riding a bicycle and you had just fallen off that bicycle but you wanted to ride that bike, you would get back on it. I think relationships are similar, you have to get back at it and keep trying, or you’re never gonna get through it if you don’t keep trying. That’s my opinion but you did a lot of things for me as well though where I would have a bad day and whatever, and you were very, very patient with me when I would get aggravated, whatever it is. There were days where I thought, why in the world would she want to be with me? But you still, you man, and not to get all sappy, but you made life a lot better. Let me rephrase that, you make life a lot better.
Joy and Contentment in The Lord: From Being Happy To Ridiculously Happy
Carrie: One of the things that I realized was we had taken a few pictures amongst the first couple of months of dating and one day I was just kind of scrolling through those pictures in my phone and I had this realization and this epiphany of I was happy before I met Steve. So it’s not like you made me happy. I believe very much that there was joy and a contentment in the Lord even though I was longing to have a mate which I believe was a God-given desire that I had. But when I looked at those pictures, I was like, “Man, I went from happy to like ridiculous level happy.” And I don’t know do you feel kind of like, maybe talk a little bit about that process for you as far as like where you were before we met versus now?
Steve: Sure. Prior to us meeting, I was at a moment where I thought I know that God has someone there for me, but boy I don’t know what I’m doing wrong or what I should be doing. There was just this, it’s almost like when you’re driving on the road and you’re going the wrong way, but you keep going and hope that maybe I’ll see a sign soon. Eventually, you came along, but I had to be patient to get to that.
I think there was a waiting period for me to not rush anything, to not force anything to happen because I really wasn’t happy. I was alone. I didn’t like that. I’m not that type of person. I like doing for others and a single person who likes to do for others, that’s not always a great setup. I mean, you can go and volunteer and do all the things you want, but it isn’t necessarily going to be something that makes you happy if you’re longing for someone. So for me, once I met you, I thought, “Wow! I really like her.” There could be something here. It was actually when we took our flight to Florida, then I knew because long story short, what I call my adopted mom she had cancer and I was told you need to go see her because you may not have another chance. I was really, really upset about that and you went with me, you’re like, “well, I’ll just go with you,” and, “Oh my goodness. Really?” This might be the one. I knew then for sure.
I don’t know if that answers your question but that was definitely a turning point prior to that. I wasn’t so sure before we dated, I definitely felt lost.
Carrie: Just to clarify, adopted mom is your best friend’s mom.
Steve Telling His Family About Seeing and Dating A Therapist
Steve: My best friend’s mom basically feeds me because I eat a lot. She did things for me that I needed in my life as well. So I’m just one of those special people that needed two moms. That’s all. She did not legally adopt me and she was not my birth mom or anything like that.
Carrie: To understand the context of our flight to Florida was literally that week COVID-19 had been declared a global pandemic and like nobody was flying. There were maybe like 20 people on one of our flights and then on the way back, they kept canceling the flight and they consolidated a bunch of flights. So there were more people on that one, but that was scary because we didn’t know at that point in time. Everybody was being told to stay at home. Don’t travel. Don’t go places and life at the same time was still going on and you knew if I don’t go see second mom, I may not get to see her even if she passes. So we prayed about it. I always just said, “God, please protect us and just please shelter us and cover us” and he did and we did not get sick. Praise the Lord. We did wear masks before wearing masks was required.
Steve: I’m going to back up a second on you. You asked me about things before I met you. One of the things was when you introduce someone to your family or tell your family, “Hey, I’m dating someone.” That for me, there comes a point where you say, “Oh, I just don’t know.”
I don’t want to, I don’t know. You want to be sure. All right, this has got a really good chance. Now I will tell my family. Right now, I don’t know if other people do that, but that was me. When I called my parents up and this is such a silly story.
Carrie: I know you got to tell this.
Steve: I would be in trouble if I didn’t tell this. So I thought it would be a good point, I was talking to both my parents as I often do and telling them, “well, guys, I got something I need to tell you.” And so they’re like, “Oh wait, this guy never gets serious. This must be really important.” I said, “I’m seeing a therapist.” And my dad said, “Oh my gosh, is everything okay?” and I said, “Well, yeah, it’s our I guess second, third date” something like that. Now what he said, “Isn’t that a little unethical for you to be seeing a therapist?” And I said,” well, yeah, but no, no, not that kind of seeing our therapist.” I said, “it’s our second date third date, whatever it was.” I wasn’t seeing you as my therapist.
And that took a little while for my dad to kind of get the idea that I was kind of giving him a hard time that I was actually dating a girl who happens to be a therapist, not dating my therapist. Yeah. That’s kind of our fun story.
Carrie: That was pretty funny. I laughed so hard and then I said, “Oh, please tell me, you clarified that with your dad” like you were never my client just for clarification. I was like, your dad does know we met on Facebook, right? Was it weird for you finding out that I was a therapist? Because sometimes that’s weird when you meet people.
Steve: A little bit. Only because I was afraid that the first date was going to be less personal and more, well, “how does that make you feel, Steve?” and “How do you feel when.” I wanted to be with someone who is real, not someone who is on the other side as a therapist. I was hoping, and you did that, you can let go of that therapist mode to be able to date and be you, but that, honestly, it’s not like that lasted very long. That was just a moment of “Well, therapists are real too.” It worked out great though.
Carrie: Yeah. We’re human beings. People don’t realize that a lot of times they’re just like, “Oh gosh, you’re going to analyze me or something” and a lot of times I’ll just joke and I’ll say “I’m off the clock”.
One of the other reasons I wanted to have you on the show was really to encourage single people who maybe aren’t even dating right now. Maybe they’re like me and they were hurting and burned and they’re still healing from that. Or maybe they’re in a situation where they just don’t feel like there is anybody to date and you are single for a long time as a Christian. And that’s a hard space to be in because the church and as it should be is so pro-marriage and you feel awkward or like the odd one out, a lot of times.
Steve: Absolutely. I felt like the reject a lot of times, like what is wrong with me? You know, for me, after going through the divorce, I thought, well, let me give this two years before I date at all. A year to get over that situation as best I can, a year to find me and then I thought then I’ll date and everything will be great, whatever, but it didn’t quite work like that. I can’t tell you how many times people would say, “Man, you have really high standards. You’re going to be single for a long time”, but it was important to me to have a checklist.
The first one on there, she’s got to be Christian. That is important. Not go to church. That’s not enough. I mean, Christian, like a relationship. So I went a very long time as a single man and it’s difficult. Part of that is you get this feeling of am I good enough? And there were moments where I didn’t even try.
I just didn’t. I thought, well, I can’t force it. If it happens, it happens. If you’re not doing anything and you’re not even trying, the likeliness of just stumbling upon whoever it is you’re supposed to be dating. That’s not. You have to search, you don’t find if you don’t search typically.
But I was scared, I thought, am I good enough? And all of that. Anyways, I try dating through church and different avenues and they just didn’t fit for me. That’s not saying if there’s a church out there that has a singles ministry, that it’s a bad idea. No, it’s just the ones that I went through didn’t work for me. It took me a lot of tries and a long, long time.
Carrie: I actually met someone in the singles ministry at church, and he had come a couple Sundays, literally to meet a woman I think, and I start talking to him and realize he’s not even saved. Like he doesn’t even have a relationship and so now I’m like witnessing this guy, like do you know, like it’s not just about going to church or it’s not just like, yeah, I believe in God. You’ve got to have a relationship with Jesus and he just did not understand.
I think he really thought that he had a saving relationship with Christ and I remember being very discouraged by that because I was like, okay, God, I’m in the church and I’m trying to meet a godly man. I ended up meeting someone who’s not a Christian. So, I would agree with you that I remember there were definitely times where I cried out to God and I just said, “Lord, I don’t see it.”
I don’t see single men out there that are living for you and if that’s the case, then I’ve got to stay single until I find somebody. Finding that you not only went to church, but you were serving in the church already, that you were being mentored and going through continued discipleship with other men in the church. That was really exciting for me. I was like, “How is this man not been snatched up yet?”
Steve: And it was funny to me too, that in serving, I hate to say it this way, but that’ll really make me desirable. It doesn’t work like that but I did think that at a moment and I thought, “yeah, I do missions.” Surely, that’s not why I did missions, but at the same time, I thought this will be great. It doesn’t work like that. It’s what it is.
Carrie: Yeah. I know that everybody says this. I don’t want to be cliche, but I really feel like so much is about timing and I think about even God’s grace in the timing that we met and we’re able to meet each other’s families before COVID really hit and get to know each other and go out and do things before everything shut down.
That was really God’s grace at that point. When you’re in the middle of something, it’s really, really hard to have perspective on it. So like when you’re in the middle of your single loneliness, sexless life, let’s just be honest and you’re sitting there going, “Oh gosh, like, am I ever going to meet somebody?”
It’s really, really hard. And so I guess if you’re in that place, I just want to encourage you and say like I’ve been there. I’ve been crying in the car or crying in my bed about how I’m never gonna meet anybody. But now when I look back on it, I’m like, “Oh, gosh, God is so gracious and so good to me.” And it’s almost like he had this gift and he was like, “You can’t have it now. It’s not for now, but I have it for you already. I’m going to give it to you when it’s time, when you’re ready to receive that gift and you’re ready to have it. I’m going to give it to you.” I think it’s really shifted my perspective on other things in my life that I’m praying and I’m seeking God for, and I’m asking him for, and it’s allowed me to just really trust in His timing more and more.
Steve: Absolutely and like you say, I think you’re absolutely right, it’s about timing. If I would’ve seen you 15 years ago, would it have been the same? No. Everything had to match up. You had to go through what you went through and I had to go through what I went through.
I’ve matured so much as a Christian since then. So, it’s a good thing that we had to wait, but when you’re going through it, it does not feel like a good thing. No one says, “Oh, I’m so glad to be single and sprinkle…I can’t even talk single and miserable and I’m so glad I have to wait. Yeah, this is wonderful.
I’m lonely. I don’t even like myself. Isn’t this great. You know what I mean? But when you look back, you see how you’re molded and you’re preowned and the right one is there for you.
Carrie: Yeah, let’s just do some, maybe some general advice for single Christians. I would say really be passionate and dedicated to something specifically God. Obviously putting God first and serving the church. I think too many single Christians I’ve seen are going to this church over here on Sunday mornings and they sometimes hit that church over there on Wednesday nights and they’re not really necessarily dedicated to a church or they attend, but they aren’t pouring into it. They aren’t serving.
I think, any opportunity to be really dedicated and committed and serve others because as a single person, sometimes we can really get self-absorbed and just kind of into what we’ve got going on and just going through the motions and survival. And so being able to be committed to something or committed to the church prepares you for when you’re committed to another person because if you’re willing to carve out, say that time to serve the children’s ministry. Then you’re going to be willing to carve out that time to date someone. You’re going to be willing to carve out that time when you do get married.
Steve: That will be something that if you’re looking for someone when they see that you’re working in serving in the church and you’re happy and doing it, they’re going to see that as a great gift. That is a wonderful thing. It’s a great attribute versus “Oh, well, look at the desperate one there.” That’s who I want. Nobody wants to be desperate. Serve more because what you need is what you need to do and that’s what they’ll look at.
Carrie: I think for me too, when I knew I was ready to date again, it was because I felt like for the first time, in a long time, I felt like I had something to give. I wasn’t just looking for what I was going to receive as part of the relationship and that was really huge for me.
Steve: I didn’t want to be, for me, that person who is just afraid to be alone because you see people that date and the only reason that maybe they’re dating, maybe this is judgmental on my part, but you get the idea that the only reason they’re dating because they don’t want to be alone. That’s just a recipe for disaster. I think being patient there’s a lot to that.
Carrie: Any other advice or anything else you want to add?
Steve: We didn’t say this and we should have. Pray a lot. Pray a lot about it and don’t just say, “God help me to find a wonderful, beautiful woman.” Don’t be selfish about it.
Pray that you’ll be the right person for them because he’s got a future for you, but you need to be ready.
Carrie: And you’ve got to be willing to work on yourself and examine yourself and look at how can I prepare myself? How can I surrender to God’s transformation process in my life?
If you’re not a person who’s willing to receive feedback from other people, that’s going to be a stumbling block in a relationship. If you’re a person that has a hard time being honest about what you think and feel that’s going to be a stumbling block, but the good news is that you really can work on those things in your friendships and your relationships with coworkers, in your relationships with family and other people in the church and community and that’s so valuable. Those things are really going to prepare you. I definitely would agree with what you said about praying and really allowing God to bring forth that prayer process, the qualities that you really want to have in a spouse.
I know one of the things that I prayed for was somebody who would be in love with Jesus, not just go to church who would be serving the church, who would be involved in ministry opportunities and who would pray with me and who would be willing to encourage my spiritual journey as well.
There were many different characteristics that I was able to pray through and then go back and look at our relationship and look at you and say, “okay, these are the things that I’ve already been praying for and now I’m seeing the answer to those prayers.”
Steve: Yeah. That was important with the prayer was not just me praying. I don’t know for you if this happened, but for me as a guy, I had to open up to someone and say, “Hey bro, do you mind praying for me that I won’t be single and miserable?” I’ll be the man that God wants me to be for whoever or wherever she is. And so I did. There were several people praying, but there were two specifics. One was a former pastor’s wife and another was a very close accountability partner, buddy whatever you want to call them of mine.
And they’re both just two of the most, I don’t know if I could say the most Christian people I know, but definitely there in the word every day they are connected. They are great prayer warriors and both of them prayed like crazy and so, boy did their faces light up when I said, “Hey, guess what? I found someone.”
Get someone to pray with you because it’s not just about you praying. God wants us to include others. It’s not a solo thing. So get someone to pray with you because they can tell you things that maybe you’re ignoring or you’re not seeing. They can go deeper with you. It’s worth it.
Carrie: We’re both blessed to also have praying parents who watched us go through divorce and obviously were heartbroken because no parent wants that for their kids and they really were praying along with us.
Steve: Yes. I think my mom is more protective of you than she is of me, which is really saying a lot, but that’s a good thing. She always wants to know, “are you treating her good?” How is she doing? That’s good though. That’s what I want. It’s a good thing. It’s a good feeling.
Carrie: I didn’t tell you were going to be asked this, but at the end of every episode on hope for anxiety and OCD, what we ask is for the guests to share a story of hope, which is a time that you received hope from God or another person.
Steve: Wow. That is a tough question. Probably when my brother died because that was someone who I was extremely close to. I had really more than one person, but there were a few that came up beside me and just kind of said, “Hey, we know you’re not going to open up about what’s going on, maybe, but we’re praying for you.” Specific prayers, very specific. That gave me hope because I had never been through life without my brother. Losing a family member that is so difficult but having people there that said, “Steve, we know that you lost someone and we can’t fix that but what we can do is we’ll be your family.” “Where you had that phone call with your brother, every whatever day we’ll call you. We’ll do this or we’ll do that.”
So that’s part of how my mission family that I have actually grew because that group of people who I did missions with, they would call me and they would just show up and say, “Hey, you want to go out to dinner?” “You want to go out to lunch.” Do the things that my brother and I might do. So that gave me hope. It made me realize if someone’s going through someone or something, you need to do that for them. Stand up and do something. Be there for people.
Carrie: Just being there is so important. Thank you so much for sharing all of your singleness. It’s always good laughing with you.
Steve: Yes, always good laughing with you too.
I am so thankful that Steve was willing to come on the podcast. He’s a bit more of a private behind-the-scenes guy. So this was really a gift to me to get to interview him and share our story and talk a little bit about what dating was like for us. I hope it provided some encouragement to some other people who are out there maybe who are struggling with anxiety in this area.
Since this is our 10th episode and we launched with 10 episodes, I really want to hear from you as far as what parts of the show do you really like. What parts do you not like? What things can we improve on and make them better for you?
This is not just about me talking into a microphone, finding some friends to interview, and throwing it out there. It’s really my desire that this information be encouraging, helpful, and hopeful. So whether you think that we’re meeting those goals, or we’re not, please let us know on hopeforanxietyandocd.com.
Thanks so much for listening.
Hope for anxiety and OCD is a production of By The Well Counseling in Smyrna, Tennessee. Our original music is by Brandon Mangrum and audio editing is completed by Benjamin Bynam.
Until next time. May you be comforted by God’s great love for you.