Will and Anna are my friends. Those are not their real names because of client confidentiality — but close enough. They've been married four years now and have two children. As a former client, Will owes me his firstborn, but I have not, to date, swooped in to collect.
My "client consultations" (always, I should note, stated with air quotes) started in a roundabout way. Five years ago, I published a book for single women and started on the speaking circuit. Soon I added a blog for women. It didn't take long before I realized that I could definitely do a lot more for single women if I also found a way to encourage single men to pursue them. I didn't have to think about this very long, however — eventually a number of the younger single men I knew started to come to me for feminine advice. They nicknamed themselves the "clients" and my adjunct ministry was off and running.
(Full disclosure: This was not a formal, teaching ministry. This was a lend-me-your-sympathetic-ear-and-tell-me-what-she-means ministry. In other words, I became a walking advice columnist and cheerleader for my brothers in Christ.)
My advice to clients consisted of three key pieces of counsel:
- Men trust God by risking rejection while women trust God by waiting on men
- Don't allow the passivity of our culture to shape your masculinity
- Initiate communication and clarify your intentions early on
But why just hand out advice when you can also be a Crush Catalyst? That's my professional, po-mo title for the old-school term, "matchmaker." See, in this litigious world, I can't guarantee any outcomes. Who knows from whence comes the spark for a match? Ah, but I definitely can create context where I might become a catalyst for change.
This brings me back to Will. He had a bad crush on Anna. Every time she laughed, he melted. He loved her laugh. But he had a hard time figuring out how to get to know her better. So I, the Crush Catalyst, volunteered to throw a birthday dinner party for him — and invite her, of course.
The fact that I didn't know Anna very well didn't matter. I rounded up her girlfriends and some other randomly connected people and shoehorned 17 people in my house for dinner. I asked one of the guys to lead a time of honoring Will, during which we went around the table and said complimentary things about Will. (Building up the rep is a crucial part of the Crush Catalyst's job.)
When Anna's turn came, Will began to breathe very loudly. I thought no one else noticed how his heart raced when Anna spoke to him, but two of our mutual friends cornered me in the kitchen afterward and demanded to know if this was a set-up dinner party.
"Why would you ever think that?" I asked, all innocence.
"For one, it's one of the most random collections of people I've ever seen at a dinner party," said one of my friends with a knowing laugh. "Plus I couldn't help but notice how Will reacted when Anna was speaking."
Busted! But for a good cause. I went to their wedding nine months later.
These days, I don't have many clients left. Nearly all are married, and the remaining few are in serious relationships. So now I must franchise.
I've made it my personal mission to go around encouraging married people to introduce their single friends to each other. (Singles can do this, too — obviously — but I've noticed a far greater success rate when the married man has a timely suggestion for the single man!) My motto is: "It's only an introduction, people!"
I'm being serious here. If the church would help singles meet and marry, we wouldn't have big business rushing in to profit off of our desire to meet one another.
So, here's my advice to future Crush Catalysts.
(Read the rest of "Crush Catalyst" and get tips for fellow singletons on Boundless.org. Married? This is DEFINITELY an article for you. Get on over there to Boundless to find out how you can help...)