When I was an Editor-in-Chief for TheOdysseyOnline, I wrote a blog post about why I don’t believe in husband check lists. You probably know what I’m talking about, and you may even have your own husband check list. If you never attended a girls’ bible study and have no idea what I’m talking about, husband check lists are a list of criteria your future husband must meet. Among these criteria are usually requirements about spiritual beliefs, personality, interests, and maybe even looks. On January 5th, 2019, my loving boyfriend of the last three-and-a-half years asked me to marry him, and I said yes. Oddly enough, I’m still happy that I didn’t use a husband check list when evaluating my now fiance. Here are some things that did and didn’t help the process of narrowing down “the one.”
- Minimizing my check list.
A lot of girls keep a physical, literal check list for their future husband, and that may be fine. I recall making some in junior high that I eventually got rid of when I realized how arbitrary they were. I mean what twelve-year-old girl has realistic expectations of relationships or men that shouldn’t have altered by the time she is of marrying age? Anyway, when I entered the dating game, my check list criteria I made sure to ask of every suitor, (I say “every” when there were maybe two,) was, “Are you a Christian? Do you believe Jesus is the only way? Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?” Most Christians would easily answer “yes” to all of three of those, and if a guy did answer yes to those and I was somewhat attracted to him with no reason to doubt his sincerity, I went for it. That’s what I did with my fiance when we initially formed the relationship. While there were and are times we disagree on spiritual things, I have come to learn that both of our views are shifting all the time. The only views that shouldn’t move are the answers to those three questions. If you have that in common with a guy, I’d recommend not putting a lot of stock or pressure into all of his views aligning up with all of yours, cause that probably doesn’t and shouldn’t exist.
2. Letting go of expectations.
This may sound sad at first, but it kind of goes along with the first point. I don’t suggest lowering your expectations but instead minimizing them. When I was a teenage girl who didn’t actually have any relationship experience, I had a tall order for what I expected my future husband to be like which really reflected my lack of experience with the human race. These years of late teens and early twenties are pretty pivotal in terms of figuring out what one wants in life, what one believes about life, and what one wants to do with their life. Core values may or may not change, but if they are changing for the better in a way that helps you follow the Lord, I don’t see anything wrong with that. I think that a lot of young women, myself included, concoct a set of standards for our Prince Charming when we are at a place of being dangerously content with ourselves and outwardly critical of those around us, oftentimes subconsciously expecting more from others than we do of ourselves. I recommend thinking about your basic life values when choosing who to date. This isn’t to say that every Christian dude needs to go out with you. If you aren’t attracted to his personality or he’s into all the things you hate, let that disconnect speak for itself.
3. Giving Chances
Ladies, if a guy is abusive in any fashion, manipulative of you or pushy of your boundaries, you have permission to ditch him with no explanation. That’s not good for you. Don’t give that a second chance. However, for your typical guy and gal around this impressionable age, (I’m 21, just for context,) we say and do and act on crap that our partners won’t like and we will regret. My fiance and I have had to give each other multiple chances, whether due to our own personal stupidity or the other person’s. The mark of a potential husband isn’t one who doesn’t disappoint you. Everyone is fallible, and while we should have high standards of how we want to be treated, I think that disagreements and relationship breaks should be talked about as a more common thing because, guess what, they are! Those who are or have been in long-term relationships just know that at some point it becomes less important to recount relationship woes to your girlfriends because you all realize that’s just part of the package. I like to remind myself that I’m a disappointment to myself at times and I will be disappointed by people.
4. Finally, Prioritizing My Partner
I also wrote an article for TheOdysseyOnline at some point that was about why girls shouldn’t spend all their time with their partner. To an extent, I still believe that. Especially when there isn’t a firm plan on heading to marriage, you never know what’s going to happen with that boyfriend, and you don’t want to lose your friends and family in the process. However, the more serious my relationship with Cale (yes, that’s his name) got, (although we took it seriously from the beginning,) the more I realized that certain people, relationships, or attachments would not build up my union with my fiance, and they needed to be laid aside. I’m not suggesting you ditch all your friends who aren’t getting married or whom you perceive to be immature; this advice I think applies to any person going through a transition that’s necessary for your growth: the people who used to build you up and help you may very well become an unhelpful distraction if they take up too large a space in your life. At some point your partner does become the primary relationship in your life, and that’s okay. Granted, I JUST got engaged so I’m learning what all of this means too.
When all of these points fail, you can also whip yourself up some man-catchin’ beignets. Thanks for reading my first personal post on this platform that’s just about me and my stuff. If you liked it, maybe I will do more! But the regularly-scheduled program of spiritual content will return shortly.
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