Single, but want to be married? No Longer a Bridesmaid offers practical, Bible-based suggestions, tips, and strategies for today’s single, Christian woman. Based on the author’s own experiences as well as her in-depth research and observations, this book shares a modern-day, realistic path from being a forever bridesmaid to becoming a bride – and wife. Terry Cato shares insight based on her seven-year journey that prepared her for her husband and the marriage she enjoys today. She offers lessons from her own experience, as well as what she has learned working with single women. Single, Christian women face many issues when praying for a mate. Cato addresses many of these in plain language, and in an easy-to-understand manner so you can apply the tools, tips, and strategies to your own life. In this book, learn: The seven types of single women and how they could be harming their chances of getting married, Why dating is just practicing for divorce, How to deal with and heal old emotional wounds, The seven steps the author used to successfully prepare for her husband, How to live a happy, celibate life as you prepare for your husband & more … Whether you’re dating a man you think might be “The One,” or you can’t remember the last time you were in a relationship, you can become a more joyful, spiritually-minded woman, on the way to walking down the aisle with the man Christ has already chosen for you. The single state you are in right now can help prepare you for your marriage, if you approach it properly. Do it right, and you may soon find that you are No Longer a Bridesmaid!
YOU’RE CALLING ME A WHAT?!
I’ve had the blessed opportunity to share my testimony of preparation with many single women. As a result of my sharing with these women, the door to relationship dialogue usually opens and over the years, I’ve heard relationship horror stories, success stories, and everything you could imagine in between. I began to notice similar characteristics in these women and soon found myself starting to categorize the single women that I come into contact with.
The women came from varying backgrounds, but they shared many similarities. The most common characteristic was that the vast majority were Christian, and most had formal/post secondary education. All appeared to be hardworking, success-driven women. And without a doubt, most everyone had the “infamous list!”
In categorizing these single women, I came up with seven primary categories to describe the relationship personalities of single ladies that I’ve come across. There is a chapter dedicated to each personality, describing the characteristics of that group and the potential dilemma or pitfall that could keep these single women in a state of singleness; exception being, the Lady-in-Waiting chapter. The pitfalls of the Lady-in-Waiting are there as a precaution since the Lady-in-Waiting is a single lady who is actually engaged to be married.
Some single ladies may fit the characteristics of more than one category. And others may find themselves in one category and over time fit the characteristics of another. The latter best describes me. I started out as the Professional Student with a bit of the Church Sister stirred in; over time, I became a hard core Church Sister before becoming a Lady-in-Waiting.
The purpose of this book is to bring to light the various personalities, not that any particular personality is good or bad, but to see the personality for what it is and move forward to a place of being a Lady-in-Waiting, if that is what the single lady desires!
ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID
We’ve all heard the clichés, “Always a Bridesmaid ~ Never a Bride!” or “The Leading Lady and the Best Friend” and perhaps the most well-known of them all, the “Hero and the Sidekick.” About five years into my seven-year journey, on any particular day either of those descriptions summed up exactly how I felt. During this time, I was going through a difficult break-up with my first fiancé, I was taking night classes in an eleven-month program to get a professional certification, and I had also started a new job in a different industry. To say that I was stressed out is a marginalization of my situation. In the midst of everything going on in my personal and professional life, several of my friends, acquaintances, and co-workers were getting married. I felt as if everyone around me was either married or engaged to be married. The circle of single ladies that once surrounded me was becoming smaller by the year.
Instead of the feeling of excitement and anticipation that I felt when I began my journey, I started to feel like I was drowning in a sea of hopelessness as I strived to grow and be a better person with the hope of one day being a wife.
Will You Be a Bridesmaid in My Wedding?
I remember the first phone call from one of my good friends from college. After a long day at work, I returned a missed call from her. We exchanged courtesies then she told me how she appreciated my support and words of encouragement when she was going through a difficult time in her relationship and that they had worked through their issues and she was planning her wedding. Then excitedly asked me, “Will you be a bridesmaid in my wedding?” I answered, “Yes, of course! I will be honored to stand with you.”
I was elated that my friend was about to be married to the love of her life. In the back of my mind I was wondering, “Lord when will it be my time?”
This scenario played out several more times before I became the bride. Each time a friend called me and asked if I would be in their wedding my heart was always overjoyed for my friend and sad for me, because I sometimes felt as if God had forgotten that I too desired a husband. Regardless of how hopeless I felt about my own situation, I always rose to the occasion for my friends. I did not want to be the source of any stress for my friends – most brides are under a tremendous amount of pressure, and I felt my duty as a friend and bridesmaid was to be as amicable as possible during the wedding experience. I have observed some women selfishly sabotage their friend’s wedding experience because they were jealous. I’ve witnessed actions such as close friends refusing to be in their friend’s wedding for trivial reasons, friends who have agreed to be in the wedding only to back out at various stages in the process for one reason or another, and the classic one – friends who have agreed to be in the wedding that whine, moan, and complain the entire time. I’ve seen the bridesmaids who hate the dress and/or feel like it is too expensive, don’t like the shoes, complain about the jewelry, regardless of what the bride-to-be does. They are never satisfied. This was never me.
In my heart I longed to be the bride, however, I never allowed my personal desire to fester to the point where I was jealous of one of my friends. I knew that being jealous of what God was doing in their life was counterproductive to where I knew God was taking me. I always felt like this is not my time, but I will have my time so there is no need to be envious or jealous – celebrate their occasion.
The Single Best Friend with All the Advice
During my season of singleness, I somehow became the friend with all the relationship advice. I really don’t know how this came to be. I just realized at some point during my preparation process that a lot of my friends were calling me with their relationship issues and asking for advice. My friends have always told me that I am like the “mom” of the group. This perhaps is why many of them sought me for relationship advice. I, however, felt like I was blind and I was leading the blind. Initially, I freely gave advice to any and all of my friends who called. My giving advice also happened while I was engaged to my first fiancé and was having my own relationship issues to contend with. After hearing several comedians jokingly refer to their girlfriend or wife’s “single best friend with all the advice” I had an aha moment! I realized that I had all the answers for everyone else, but in my own situation I was struggling with my own advice concerning what I should do.
In my heart, I knew exactly what I needed to do regarding my engagement – but knowing what to do and doing it are distinctively different. I had a major struggle internally with my decision. The struggle was so intense that it took me months to actually end my engagement. In my mind I was no longer engaged long before I officially called the engagement off. I became so frustrated with myself that I stopped giving relationship advice to my friends. I had one friend who was extra persistent in wanting advice about her situation that I finally told her to stop asking me for advice because I have relationship issues of my own. I jokingly, but seriously, told her that I am no longer your single friend with all the advice! And that I would no longer feel a little heated and convicted when I heard a comedian refer to his girlfriend or wife’s “single best friend with all the advice.”
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