Karyl Dunson is the author of a new book for Christian single women entitled, How to Find a Husband Following God's Will.
This is Karyl's first book and like many new authors she used a pen name (Karen Elizabeth Totten). This in no way clouds the book's message. In fact Karyl will be the first to reveal the message of this book is very much authentic, as it is the story of her journey to marriage.
She desires to help single women on their path to
marriage, so let's join Karyl as
endeavors to share her heart and more about her book.
CSW: As you might imagine, most single women want to be married but before we jump to the obvious please share a bit more about yourself and why you decided to write the book.KD: I am 46 years old, African-American and was first married at the age of 43. I was raised Catholic but strayed away from Catholicism during college. Thankfully, I never strayed from God. While in college I sang in a gospel choir and attended different churches. After college I guess you could say I was searching. I tried different religions such as the Unity Church, evangelical Christian churches, the Mormon Church, and the Unitarian Church.
Throughout, my faith in God was strong, despite experiencing various difficulties: depression, an abusive relationship, and the loss of my father and grandmother. Because I came from a history of divorce, and perhaps in order to prevent further loss, I was scared of commitment and marriage. Also, having been adopted and struggling with rejection and abandonment, part of me didn’t think anyone would commit to me and stay with me forever. Not a recipe for marriage.
What changed for me was that due to a couple of central relationships, I turned back to the church, and the Catholic church in particular. I came back to myself, so to speak. Trusting in God, I started to know the kind of person I wanted to be. I began to believe in myself again and recognized the power, beauty and sacredness of marriage. I outwardly claimed that I wanted to be married. From that point on, I was no longer dating, but looking for a husband. I also knew that I wasn’t going to settle. I would rather be single than not marry the right man. I wasn’t looking for a perfect man, but the right man for me.
After I had been married for a couple of years, I decided that I wanted to write a book. I wasn’t sure what I’d write about but it occurred to me that I wanted to help others struggling to find a spouse. It had been a tough road for me and I wanted to share whatever wisdom I garnered and to point people toward the Bible where there is so much wisdom. And there you have it.
CSW: I firmly believe singles should be preparing for marriage and I can honestly say I got a few nuggets of wisdom from the book. What would you say is the greatest lesson you learned on your journey to marriage?
KD: It is especially meaningful coming from you because I think you’ve done a very impressive job with your website. I wish I had known about your website when I was single. Luckily we’ve become acquainted now!
My biggest lesson learned has to be patience. Our world is so very impatient and immediate gratification oriented. We want things yesterday. Impatience is related to control. We like to control things. But when we remember that we are not in control, we really do just have to wait. We also have to accept that we may never have certain things. I love the expression “God willing and the creek don’t rise.” It’s so true! We make plans but we really don’t know if we will be here to see the plans through.
CSW: You mentioned “following God’s will” is the most important part of the book’s title, so how would you encourage Christian single women to discover and follow God’s will for their lives?KD: We each need to make time to listen to God and hear what He is trying to tell us. The kind of praying where you talk to God is wonderful. Believe me, I am a talker. I also like to talk to God. He hears me whining, joking, praising, and crying. But I have to remind myself that some times I need to shut up and listen to God.
God is always trying to tell us things. It’s like the gospel song “God is trying to tell you something.” I believe that God speaks to us in many different ways. He speaks to us through our families and friends. He speaks to us through signs. He speaks to us through nature. He speaks to us through dreams, gut feelings, and through what we feel in our hearts. Our job is to figure out what he is trying to tell us. The best way for me to do this is to be very still and quiet. It can be in church or at home. I find that quiet is key.
CSW: One of my favorite responses from your book is to the question “how will I know when I find the one?” You simply and profoundly stated, “It will feel like home. “ As you mention, home is not perfect but how can a single women avoid costly compromises without looking for perfection?KD: Wow, you ask some very good questions! That is a very difficult one. Before I answer the hard question, I’d like to share the exact moment when I knew my husband was the one. We were shopping at a Walmart and I looked at him and although I had only know him a few weeks at the time, he felt like family. It felt like I was at the store with my father or brother. We were doing something mundane but I felt complete normal, natural, completely safe, and completely myself. Home is not perfect. But there is no place like it. What I’ve described thus far about that home feeling is really a feeling. So it’s hard to be analytical about it but I will try.
We can have hard and fast rules. For instance, we will not date a drug addict. But what if you happen to fall in love with a drug addict? What comes to mind is the movie about Johnny Cash called Walk the Line. Cash’s wife falls in love with him and takes a chance on him. She and her fiercely loving Christian family help him out of his addiction. She probably broke all her rules about compromises, but it turned out to be the right thing to do in her case and it worked out. That’s where you have to rely on what you know in your gut to be right and ask God to confirm it for you. If you have a history of making bad decisions, you might ask for help from a trusted spiritual advisor or a Christian friend with good judgement.
CSW: What would you say is the greatest contributing factor to a Christian single woman’s ability to enjoy a fulfilling life as Christian single?
KD: Without a doubt it is her relationship with God. God is so huge and is always there. I can’t think of a better mate! I tell my husband that if he dies first, I would like to become a nun. In my faith, that’s like marrying God. Even if you are not Catholic and you are not a nun, that kind of close relationship with God is available to you. God will always be there for you. Don’t forget that you are never alone if you have God.CSW: What advice would you offer to Christian single women to help them lead a fulfilling single life while preparing for marriage?
KD: Find a great church and good Christian people to spend time with. There is so much wonderful stuff to do! I’d almost say pretend that marriage doesn’t exist and think of all the spectacular things out there. It’s kind of like if you love chocolate and you want chocolate but can’t have it. You obsess over it. But if you said to yourself, chocolate doesn’t exist, just think how many other wonderful things there are to eat! Lemon meringe pie, licorice, apple pie, vanilla ice cream. Can you tell I love sweets? Change your perspective and you see a whole other horizon.
CSW: Do you have any plans to write another book in the future, possibly How to be a Wife Following God’s Will?
KD: Another good question. I would like to write another book but right now I’m working on a children’s book about pies. I had thought about a book on being a wife and had started doing research. There are a lot of great book on being a good Christian wife. I didn’t really see a need and I also don’t feel like an expert after three years! It seems silly to be telling my Aunt who’s been married 50 years how to be a good wife! Honestly, now that I’ve written How to Find a Husband Following God’s Will, I’ve seen lots of good books and resources out there for single Christian women. But I just had to write my book. Do you know what it feels like when you just have to do something? That book poured out of me. I wrote it so fast. It’s very short but it was exactly what I wanted to say.
CSW: My sincere thanks to Karyl for granting my interview request and for her ongoing support to help Christian single women and this web ministry.
Discover wholeness in single life while preparing to be a wife!