There is nothing easy about divorce. It wreaks havoc on the heart and wounds you in places you didn’t know could hurt. But eventually, after the dust settles, you might think about getting back in the dating game. But how do you know if you’re ready?

One of the single biggest factors that will determine the state of your next relationship is what you bring to the table, so getting emotionally, spiritually and physically healthy before you date is crucial. Think of it this way – if you want a potential date to be attracted to you, spend less time trying to find that person and instead, focus on becoming that person.

I am a runner, so before I sign up to run a half-marathon, I train. Likewise, if I want the job of my dreams, I update my resume and do whatever I can to become more hirable. It’s the same idea in dating. If you want to transform your dating life, maybe it’s time to take a long and hard look at your entire personhood and get serious about becoming the best version of yourself. The following are three ways to do it successfully.

1. Invest In Your Emotional Health

All of us need to do periodic checks on our emotional health. Our decision-making processes flow out of our heart and are based on the beliefs, emotions and experiences that shape who we are. If you have unresolved bitterness, lingering defensiveness or barriers around your heart, it will negatively affect your dating life. Your emotional health shapes your habits, character, personality, finances, time management and life call; it essentially affects all that you are.

Some of you have been in a bad relationship. Maybe it’s time to stop and spend some time reflecting on what went wrong. Maybe your ability to pick healthy people needs some work. Do you have abuse in your past or abandonment issues you need to deal with before you get into another relationship? Are you are expecting a guy (or gal) to make you feel better about yourself?

This is the time to find a good counselor and work through past issues. Find healing and forgiveness and let go of the past for a brighter future. Also, any addiction you have needs to be addressed before you start a new relationship. When we are not healthy, we pick unhealthy people. Your emotional health will attract others who are also prepared for a relationship; conversely, your brokenness will attract brokenness in others. Work on fixing your issues now rather than hoping that a significant other will do the work for you.

2. Spruce Up Your Image

Paul says in a letter to Timothy, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” Basically, he’s saying physical training is not the most important thing, but it has some worth – certainly in overall health and confidence. It’s important to remember, there is no absolute standard for what is beautiful. Your job is simply to be the best YOU God created you to be. That means focusing on the entire personhood and not just the outside.

Consider doing a personal assessment and taking into consideration your physical fitness, eating habits, grooming and how you dress. Working on the outside to better reflect the inside of you is valuable; just don’t take this to the extreme in beating yourself up, working out excessively or feeling discouraged. That being said, we can all do something! Try swapping out some processed foods in your diet for whole foods. Start working out with a friend or get a buddy to help spiff up your wardrobe. Even just greeting people with a big smile helps to enhance your personal appearance and approachability. Caring for your appearance and physical health aren’t the most important pursuits, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have value.

3. Recognize That Your Identity Is In Christ

It’s critical for you to understand who God made you to be. Often, women fail to see ourselves as valuable and worth waiting for; meanwhile, men forget that God created them to steward his creation not dominate and consume. God’s word tells us we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and we have nothing to hide because “there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). How amazing is it that we can never be separated from God’s love? (Romans 8:39) We have also been given fullness through Christ. (Colossians 2:9-10) This means whether we are married or single, we are complete and lacking nothing.

You have intrinsic value, meaning and purpose because you are created in the image of God. You don’t need a spouse, a boyfriend or a girlfriend to complete you. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and you don’t have to settle for crumbs.

If we focus more on knowing God and becoming who he wants us to be, our spiritual character will help us to become men and women worth marrying. For most of us, when we come to a place of healing and health, we find contentment with whatever God has for us. Just don’t be surprised when “the one” shows up shortly after that moment of personal surrender to God.

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