|Photo via Legacy Event Planning|
I first wrote this post about a year ago. A girlfriend and I had read former Miss USA Kristen Dalton Wolfe's The Husband List: 12 Non-Negotiables and were inspired to draft lists of our own. Since that time, I have experienced more spiritual and personal growth than I could have ever imagined. I was recently invited to share this post on the Courtship vs. Dating blog as a guest blogger and thought it fitting to update it to reflect who I am now.
I’ll begin by saying I’ve made a lot of mistakes in dating, more than I care to reveal. The first is probably denial. When I was in high school and college, any girl seeking to date for the sole purpose of marriage was a turn-off for most guys. I grew up thinking I was ugly so I always wanted male attention--I wouldn’t dream of doing anything to turn them off. So I played the role of the "chill" girl for years. It got me absolutely nowhere, except that I ended up in several “situationships.” I now shake my head. I’m not what you’d call a “chill” girl. I’m just not. I own and accept that now, but back then I couldn’t bring myself to. I guess it comes with maturity and self-awareness.
I should also admit that I have always thought a great deal of marriage. Now a twenty-something living in New York City--the worst-ever city for dating--this has only been heightened. Don’t get me wrong--I am very much enjoying this season of singleness and don’t want to rush it; but I wouldn’t be telling the whole truth if I didn’t admit that I do long for marriage someday. It isn’t guaranteed for any of us, but I’m just believing The Two is out there. (More on this later.)
It’s funny how society would have us to believe we're supposed to date around, sleep around and miraculously arrive at our spouse once we've had all our fun. Only there are conditions and double-standards. Men are supposed to have more fun: date and sleep around more than women because they're men and that's what they do. So that means women (the “good” ones, at least) are supposed to wait for their Adam to come along after he's sown his royal oats. In short, we're expected to accept what's left over of a man who is to become our life partner. But that’s not what I want. At all. You see, I’ve encountered with the insecure, the passive, the playboy, the aggressive, the emotionally unavailable...you name it. So believe me, I know what I don’t want. And I believe part of knowing what you want is knowing what you don’t want.
My second mistake in dating was always thinking a guy could be The One. This resulted in my falling in love with potential. I think it’s a common mistake for many young people--and so easy to do. You envision who or what someone could become and latch onto that. The trouble is: there is no guarantee he or she will, in fact, mature into that someone. That’s why it’s so dangerous. It’s having false hope. I would even go as far as trying to change guys into my “dream guy.” I was crazy. You can’t change anyone, so looking back now, I laugh at how ridiculous I was.
This was all brought into perspective not long ago at a young adult gathering I attend on Friday nights. It was about relationships and one of the main points the youth pastor made was: no man or woman will ever be The One--that’s Jesus’ job. Now, not many things blow my mind, but that did. I had been wearing the wrong lens all these years and didn’t even know it. That was certainly a moment of clarity for me. In that same message, the youth pastor encouraged us to fall in love with our future and the vision God has given us. That way, we’ll be able to discern more clearly who can share that future and vision as a life partner. Think about it: if you believe you are called to minister internationally and you meet someone whose sole ambition is to make lots of money by winning domestic court cases, you’ll immediately know that your missions aren’t aligned. This love for your future is just about guaranteed to save you some heartache in the long run.
So my Adam will be The Two, and I will be his, as we both follow The One. I have a pretty strong personality. I’ve been told I like to argue--I don’t agree--I know I ask a ton of questions, and as the youngest of four and only girl, I’m pretty acquainted with persuasion as a means of getting my way. Needless to say, my Adam will need to be one of a kind.
What will make him so incredible and how will I know? That's the reason for this list. You know, the boyfriend/husband list I mentioned in the beginning. Kristen had some amazing ones on her list and I second them all, but below are my personal non-negotiables. Of course, no man is going to be perfect. I am not perfect. But a girl’s gotta have standards. Here’s the way to my “yes”:
He loves God more than he loves me and is a walking ministry.
I admit this wasn’t always a deal-breaker for me, but now I can’t imagine being with a man who doesn’t truly fear God. He spreads the gospel and uses words when necessary.
He is a clear leader.
He thinks for himself and even goes against the grain due to his convictions. This just absolutely does it for me. So much respect. This is someone I can submit to.
He has ambition, vision and a dream that I can help him build on.
As his helper, I have the ability to participate in bringing his dreams to life. They should be meaningful, fun (in part, up to us) and a challenge.
He makes me laugh but can be serious when need be.
I love to laugh. It is my favorite pastime. So he has to be funny. But when it comes time to have a serious conversation, I want him to have the maturity to do so.
He shows kindness to all, is generous and has a heart for service.
Growing up, my father taught us that it costs nothing to be kind. And a wise man we all know once said it is better to give than to receive.
He is sociable and likes to try new things.
I have a rule that I don’t say no to an invitation unless I’ve already made plans or it’s an extreme inconvenience. I’m also an extrovert so I like to entertain. At least until we have children, we can’t be boring and knit on Friday nights.
He knows when to give in to my persuasion and when to tell me no.
I told you I’m used to getting my way, but I find it highly attractive when a guy knows when to tell me no. (Hint: It’s not super often because I’m reasonable and have great ideas, but it’s always justified and with much love.)
He loves children and dogs.
I’m obsessed with and want lots of both (emphasis on the children).
He inspires me to be a better person.
He’s someone I admire and respect. Just being around him should make me want to be a better me.
He is open-minded and pursues lifelong learning.
He will be teachable and seek to learn from those around him.
He is wise with money.
Ya girl likes to shop. What’s his is mine and mine is his, so one of us will have to teach the other to exercise restraint. That one is currently not me.
He prays for me.
Praying for someone else is such a selfless act. Marriage is ministry and I want to know that I can count on him to intercede on my behalf. (And vice versa, of course)
(This isn’t a non-negotiable, but a strong preference.)
Even if only to me, because I’m the one who has to wake up beside him each morning. But physical attraction is a must.
He loves my family and they love him.
I’m really close with my family. We don’t just do the big holidays together, but even our made-up ones and business anniversaries. Those can get to be quite awkward with people you despise.
He gets me.
I’m a girl of both simple and extravagant taste, yet not a complicated person at all. However, I do find it refreshing when I discover someone really gets me. Of all people, my husband should.
What’s the way to your yes? I hope you all find inspiration in my list and I challenge you to make ones of your own.
P.S. The Wife List does exist. It was written by Kristen’s husband.
P.P.S. I do have a thing for men in suits. Especially blue suits.