We’ve all heard this story at least once: “I can honestly say that I was not attracted to my husband at all when we first met... I always thought I would marry a man who was (insert amazing characteristics)… but I can honestly say now that my hubby is one of the best things that have ever happened to me…”
Am I the only person who is brave enough to admit that this story used to scare the crap out of me?! Let me explain. At one point, during my college years, there was no escaping conversation about “The List”. This conversation would show up at every girl’s night, women’s conference, and small group. The rules were simple, after much thought and prayer you were to create a list featuring all the characteristics you desired in a mate. After getting to know a male suitor you were to refer back to The List, if he did not meet the criteria, chances are he was not the one. So, like many of you, I wrote out my list: Loves God, active in church, fine, athletic, funny, good dresser, fine, educated, ambitious oh and did I mention fine? From the age of 18-21 I edited my list at least a dozen times and vowed never to part from it, besides veering from it would only result in my settling and one day having to tell the dreadful story above… right?
My loyalty to The List, particularly the superficial things, were the cause of serious debate with family and friends alike. I was accused of being too picky, religious, and arrogant and was even encouraged to lower my standards because they were unrealistic. Recently a friend teased that I was the equivalent to Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas (TLC member and the star of VH1’s ‘What Chilli Wants). The show is centered on Chilli’s quest to find true love, but has been widely criticized because of the bazaar expectations that she puts on men. On one hand I admire and respect her discipline in waiting for what she really wants, however I’ve grown to understand there are exceptions and that having balance is key. Furthermore I personally don’t think that I was THAT bad… well maybe just a little.
As I’ve matured in this area, I can honestly say I no longer desire a lot of things I did when I was twenty-one years old. Nowadays I am much more concerned with a man’s heart, his character and his work ethic. Proverbs 31 says it best: Beauty is fleeting and charm is deceitful. Now when looking at a potential mate I pay more attention to the way he handles tough situations as opposed to what brand of clothing he’s wearing. I want to build a relationship that has a sturdy foundation, is God centered and long lasting; superficial things will not sustain when life happens.
Am I saying rip up your list, lower your standards and get into relationships with men who you are not attracted to? Absolutely NOT! Remember there has to be balance. In addition, we can’t discount the importance of having a standard. There’s an old saying: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” I truly believe this. That said, what I’m learning to do is pray that my desires line up with God’s desires for me. When I think about it, it makes perfect sense. He created us that means that he knows our quirks, our shortcomings, and ultimately he knows who and what we need better than we ever could.
Guest Contributor, Tamra Cobbins