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New Year, New Books #18: Finding a Date Worth Keeping by Dr. Henry Cloud

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I was at the church library recently perusing the shelves for my next book when I saw this title. Now, this isn’t typically the book I would grab because, to be quite honest, it fills me with cynicism and slight anxiety. I mean give me a break… So why did I pick it up?

One, there’s an interesting “guarantee” on the cover. It guarantees you’ll “Be Dating in Six Months or Your Money Back”. Once again, not to be cynical but doesn’t that seem a little presumptuous to you?!? Like come on dude, you really think a book can make that big of a difference? Two, I had a flick through and the page I landed on had some quotes that hit a little closer to home than I liked. For example, “When I am at work, I talk to guys all the time. But get me around a cute guy and something happens inside.” or “I turn into somebody else. It’s weird. I retreat into my shell.” Finally, three, Dr. Cloud is not only a Christian and a psychologist but he has been a dating coach for years so I figured that gives him some credence to tell me what to do. (Remember, anytime you take advice from someone you need to consider if this is a person you should allow to “feed” into you. Just because someone is an expert in a field or has written a book on a topic doesn’t mean they necessarily have your standards or that they are feeding you truth. Think about it!)

So, what came of my reading? Well, let me tell you I was surprised from the beginning because this book came with challenges...I mean LITERAL challenges that you are supposed to undertake. Like homework but scarier! Dr. Cloud warns that you are going to feel uncomfortable reading his book, especially if you actually follow through with his suggestions and within the first few chapters I knew that he spoke the truth.

Throughout the book Dr. Cloud uses the story of a friend who undertook his “challenge” and how her life was revolutionized and thus her love life was revolutionized. This girl reminded me a lot of myself so I took comfort in her transformation. Dr. Cloud also takes a holistic, shall we say, approach to dating. Meaning the issues you are having in your dating life come from issues you have as a person. Problems have to be fixed from the inside out. No amount of online dating, pretty dresses or conversation starters are going to make you attractive to the opposite sex if you have internal issues you need to deal with in the first place.

While I will be the first to admit that Dr. Cloud’s program makes me incredibly uncomfortable I appreciate that he gets to the root of the issues rather than giving cheap, off the cuff fixes that are temporal at best. His methods concern themselves with being stuck in a routine that lends to not meeting new people, having an unapproachable quality and other personal/internal factors that lead to self-sabotaging actions. Truthfully, he makes me uncomfortable because he speaks truth into my issues, many of which I didn’t realize were issues but once viewed from a different perspective I clearly see are issues for me!

I also like that he suggests getting a team together to help you view your issues more objectively. I call them my council and per Dr. Cloud they have the power to veto bad decisions and push me out of my comfort zone which is obviously what is needed. He also suggest that you and said council approach some of these challenges together in an effort to enjoy the process rather than view this whole thing as a terrible project required for a course you are taking in college.

So, I know the big question you are asking... Have I followed his program? Did I form a council? Did I take up the challenges? The answer is a meek yes. I’ve started the program and I am trying to challenge myself in the ways Dr. Cloud suggests and yes, I have a council now but I’m not sure I will be “dating” in six months because I’m not sure I can step THAT FAR outside of my comfort zone to complete some of his tasks. I think they are brilliant and make sense but I just don’t know if I’m that brave. I’m just being honest and maybe that is the issue? Regardless, I am so glad that I found this book because I have learned so much about myself, not just dating wise, and I hope I will grow in my new understanding. It really has been a wonderful and eye opening journey and one I highly suggest to my singling and mingling friends!

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