A few years ago, my great-aunt (82 at the time, and a diehard Catholic her entire life) bequeathed upon me a book that I declined to open until recently. Its title: How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul, by Jason and Crystalina Evert.

If you’ve begun to doubt that love is real, this book will offer you a vision of godly love, the hope that it exists, the confidence that you deserve it, and the means by which you can find it…regardless of the past.

I guess this made sense to her to give to me, as she is completely unaware that I am just about as far from “godly” as you can get. I also questioned her timing in giving this to me while I was in a committed long-term relationship (DO YOU NOT LIKE BOYRAX???), but figured this could be a source of amusement for when I get bored and become mildly interested in how I can find this godly man, who will then reject me for my interest in sex outside of marriage and rum & cokes.

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Note: I'm only going to do a few chapters at a time here, because this is a long, long book and I want to get all the goldmine there is out of it. Be sure not to date anyone until you've gotten all the invaluable information!

Introduction

I was a little surprised reading the introduction to this book, honestly. It starts with some great points: "it seems that the average teen girl magazine has an occasional article bashing anorexic models, followed by a hundred pages of advertisements that glorify them", for example. However, it very quickly slips into the wince-worthy speech that I would expect from this kind of book - his example of how he knows that you can't have premarital sex and also love is an 82-year-old woman that didn't have sex before marriage and had a long marriage (Is that you Aunt Peggy? Is that why you gave me this book?). Crystalina calls her husband's voice a "unique male perspective" on the issue of how women have to change themselves to be acceptable to the right kind of men. Cue eyeroll. She also claims that this will give valuable information to teens, college students, and professionals. We'll see about that, Ms. Is-that-even-a-real-name.

Chapter 1: No Missionary Dating

I have to say, I read "missionary" in this title and immediately was shocked that they were jumping straight into the sex. That's what I get for skimming (to be fair this book is nearly 300 pages). I'm really not sure what they mean by "missionary dating"; it's described as dating a man that you're not at peace with, because you put too much into the relationship to throw it away. I can't decide if that's related to missionaries that spread the word of God or missionary style sex. Is Jason telling me that I should doggy-style date? Maybe reverse cowgirl date?

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Either way, this chapter addresses men that women should not be dating, in a convenient top ten list. Once again, there are some gems of quotes in here - when talking about fixer-upper boyfriends: "It is not the woman's job to save her man." However, there's also a great deal of blaming said woman for choosing the man in the first place. According to Jason, women that want a flip-flopping man to commit were never ready for a relationship in the first place. Or, you know, they love the man or made a mistake or any other number of reasons. When a woman is manipulated by a man into sexual activity, she's ignoring her God-given intuition and needs to stay away for the sake of her future children. Also, apparently if a man does not pressure you into sex and is fine with not having sex and you choose to have sex and he agrees, he's a terrible person and wearing away her purity. Choice quotes from this chapter:

"Included in the 'walking hormone' category is any guy who looks at porn or asks you to send him a racy photo of yourself. If a guy asks you for a revealing photo, go ahead and send him a picture of your bare hand, waving goodbye to him."

"If it weren't for the Internet, [women] would never venture into an adult bookstore to buy a pornographic magazine...most of these women are not thirsting for smutty images or seedy conversations."

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"Think of [your boyfriend] as one of those dogs that have been trained to balance food on its nose."

On abusive, controlling relationships: "Like him, you are not a victim."

"Our prejudice against dating older guys is not based on theory. Research shows that three out of every four teenage girls who lose their virginity lose it to an older guy. Also girls who date guys two or more years older are twice as likely to drink and six time as likely to have tried pot." I see no problem with any of these things. Do you guys see a problem with any of these things?

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"The first time [verbal] abuse happens, you're a victim. The second time it happens, you're a volunteer."

""In a survey of single men, not one reported a long-term relationship as the result of an Internet contact." The copyright date on this book is 2010, people.

"There's really no such thing as online dating."

Chapter 2: Date With Purpose

Love has nothing to do with emotions, you guys. Also, the only reason to date is to find a spouse. Crystalina seems to be chiding people that tell women what not to do in dating...ignoring the fact that the last chapter was entirely that. This chapter focuses on how to handle a relationship, telling you things like "don't date in high school because you can't focus on marriage in high school" and my personal favorite, that if you don't tell your family about a relationship, there must be a problem with the relationship and not the family (because your family is obviously God-fearing wonderful people since you have this book!), and you have to "fix" your family before dating. Also of course, love God before you date anyone! Put one man top in your life, and another man second! Choice quotes from this chapter:

On dating for reasons other than marriage: "it's divorce practice."

On dating for marriage: "A fresh alternative to the stale and mindless dating circus." This just in: dating for a spouse is...fresh.

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"How do you know when to say yes to a guy?" Yes, it's all about saying yes, never asking yourself.

"How many relationships can you count in which the guy turned out to be entirely different than the girl imagined? Had she taken her time to get to know him better as a friend, she could have avoided such a surprise."

"There is no point in dating if marriage is a decade away."

"If you want a relationship to have purpose and meaning, it cannot be isolated from your ultimate purpose and meaning in life." I will make sure to keep my relationships from interfering with my ultimate purpose: the appreciation and consumption of cannolis.

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Well, that's it for part 1 of How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul! Stay tuned in a few days for future parts of this eye-opening book that will surely bring me closer to God.