Happy Saturday, everyone. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been on somewhat of a relationship-topic kick lately. When We Feel Unworthy of Being Loved, Crushes + True Love: Twenty-Seven Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Twelve, and random posts I’ve been stumbling across online have gotten me thinking about what love truly is.
Don’t worry, guys, I’m not in love now. I’m only sixteen, okay? Yet it’s only beneficial to experiment with ideas and figure out what we believe even before we enter the relationship realm. I’ve been doing a bunch of that “figuring out” lately, and in doing so, have started to solidify what I personally think regarding interpersonal and romantic relationships.
Please, know that when I express my opinions, I’m not judging those who disagree with me. Never think that. You all are awesome, whether you agree with me or not!
I’ve been thinking about the idea behind the “Future Spouse Checklist” this week. If you haven’t heard of the concept, it’s basically creating a list of requirements of the perfect future spouse, and comparing every potential romantic interest to that list.
Many times, a person will put something such as, “Must be in the medical field.” “Must want pets.” “Must be taller/shorter than me.” “Must enjoy reading classics.” Etcetera.
To some degree, those are all good things. It’s good to identify things you value and things that you’d want the person you’ll love to value as well.
But the Future Spouse Checklist can also be greatly limiting.
Here are my reasons for not making a Future Husband Checklist – and things for you to consider as well.
I’m Not God. I Can’t See The Whole Picture.
It’s not my place to decide that perfectly godly, Jesus-loving, awesome person isn’t for me, just because they don’t fill a “requirement.”
If a guy isn’t really interested in my favorite genre of entertainment, and yet He loves Jesus wholeheartedly and wants Him to be the center of His life – who am I to say that this guy isn’t good enough for me?
He might not be right, and only time would tell whether that’s the case or not. But for me, I want to give God the ultimate say, and not my list.
Coming Up With a List of “Requirements” Fosters a Critical Spirit
Often, the more we make a long list of requirements, the more we start to compare people to our made-up image of a perfect person.
But truly, here – there is no perfect person. And to compare people to a standard that we ourselves cannot flawlessly live up to – that’s not right.
I’m not saying we conscientiously try to require people to be perfect, yet we make these long-winded lists of things we want to see someone else be. Someone who, by our demands, might not even exist.
When we’re constantly comparing people we meet to a man-made list, we can become critical and dismiss the amazing work God could be doing in their lives.
Perhaps they have felt God’s strong call on them to be in missions, and yet by the standards we’ve set out, they “need to be a lawyer” – and so a wonderful person, following God’s calling, has been discarded from our minds.
Why are we doing this?
In making naïve lists, from our finite points of view, we can teach ourselves to be critical of others, to never be happy with the people God is shaping them to be.
That gets messy fast, and can hurt us immensely. When we’re never satisfied with others, we can never really be satisfied with ourselves, or even God.
The List Focuses on Finding “The One” Rather Than Growing to be “The One.”
It’s easy to nitpick in others – believe me, I’ve done it – and yet forget that we need working on too.
If you want a spouse that’s good with kids – which is a very good thing, by the way – be good with kids.
If you want a spouse that’s quick to forgive – be quick to forgive.
If you want a spouse that’s compassionate and loving, even when it’s hard – be that way, yourself.
In getting to know our God, these things will grow in us as we desire to become more like Him.
Because in getting to know God, the focus shifts to Him, not us, not how great we are, not how great so-and-so is. When the focus of our lives is on God, we can become the right person for our future spouse – because they’ve been becoming the right person as well.
When We Let God Lead, We Open Our Eyes to His Blessings
Relationships become so much more amazing when we let God do the leading. When we let Him bring the right person to us, instead of running around, comparing every single person against our checklist and hosting spouse auditions.
It’s incredibly important that we don’t try to force our way into anything that we can tell isn’t right, or refuse to act in something that’s perfectly good and perhaps even from God. It’s imperative that we’re listening to what God has to say to us – and not just relying on our own wisdom to do what we think is right.
It’s Not About Us
Relationships, dating, marriage – ultimately, they’re not about us.
They’re about Jesus.
They’re a reflection of God’s love. Of Christ’s commitment to us, the Church, His Bride.
Marriage is not ultimate fulfillment; Jesus is. We must wrap our heads around this before diving headfirst into a lifelong commitment. We must understand that the purpose of our human love is to exemplify the love and grace that God gives us day after day.
Before adding to the checklist, ask yourself, “Is this bringing glory to God, or am I just trying to make myself happy?”
“Is this list beneficial, or is it potentially hurting my future relationships?”
“Is this list helping me to grow as a person, or making me critical of the inadequacies of others?”
Seeking Standards, Not Checklists
Please note that when I make comments about “checklists,” I’m not talking about standards.
Standards are brilliant to have in relationships, and absolutely necessary when it comes to finding the right person to spend the rest of your life with.
But the standards don’t have to be complicated.
How about something simple, like this:
Loves Jesus with their whole heart.
Understands grace and applies that to their interpersonal relationships with others.
Is truly filled with the joy of the Lord, not just nice-sounding words.
Loves me selflessly.
We both agree on important theology.
Values purity in relationships and wants to honor God with their life and choices.
What else, ultimately, is more important than these things? Of course there need to be external factors that draw two people together, such as common interests and goals. But instead of coming into a relationship with a selfish mindset, let us give of ourselves.
Instead of seeking to find happiness in another person, let us find it in Jesus.
Instead of searching for perfection, let us let God work in our lives and the lives of others – because His grace is the most important thing in every one of our lives.