On Finding Your Person
If you have spent any of your single life in a church, you probably have a minimum of 2 lists.
1) A list of what you want in a mate.
2) A list of what you don’t want in a mate.
You were likely encouraged to start with deal-breakers (loves Jesus, treats me well…).
You were also likely encouraged to include “just the things you want” (blue eyes, plays guitar, owns a peacock…) because, after all, God is a “good, good father” and wants us to have the desires of our hearts…right?
I imagine my kids will have the same lists.
In fact, I will encourage them to make them.
There are, however, a few things that I will also stress to them regarding their “lists”.
- You will not marry Jesus.
(Look at those babies!)
This person that you commit to spend your life with will not be perfect. Actually, not even close. They will make mistakes. They will bring baggage.
Just. Like. You.
If you think that you are so close to perfection, my friend…you are not ready for marriage. Grab a mirror first.
They cannot fulfill you. If you expect them to, it is you who are setting them up to fail. He or she cannot be your everything. The moment that you put them in that position, you have created an idol. No one should be held to that standard. Not you, not your spouse.
So get that out of your mind. Yes. You want someone who desires to be like Him. But, again, just like you, they will mess up. They may have already. And that has to be ok…or you will never even make it to the altar, let alone, through the struggle of normal life that follows.
- Your “deal breaker” list should be minimal.
There were 10 commandments. Jesus boiled them down to two.
All the rest follows.
Perhaps this is the approach your “list” should follow.
I will take a detour here and say that, perhaps for you, there are convictions or hurts that lead you to have a very specific deal breaker.
I could not have married someone who did not enjoy traveling.
I also could not have married someone who expected a clean house, daily home-cooking, and a wife who stayed home while the kids were growing up.
(Getting this cute little hat cost this man quite a few nights of Dad duty….)
This, however, is something very specific to me.
Ultimately, it came down to this: I needed someone who saw my calling as a gift to be appreciated and honored instead of something that “got in the way” or was an “inconvenience”. That holds true no matter what the calling.
If the calling is to stay at home, then that should be seen the same.
Another example could be if someone has had significant hurt from alcohol use either in themselves or a family member. Love says that as it has hurt you so significantly, I will not make it a part of my life because it is something that means so much to you. Even if it is something that would not bother me, I will give it up for you. And that’s ok. It should not be accompanied by guilt or jesting but an openness and willingness to be a safe place for the person you are wanting to call a partner–someone you go to battle with. If this something could cause your right-hand-man/woman to be distracted from battle…it’s probably not in your best interest either…
So, yes. A couple of specifics are fine, maybe even good. But, again, this should be kept to a minimum.
- Your list will change. You will change. Your person will change.
How in the world do you really know what you need in a co-parent? Until you have a kid, you only have limited knowledge of how you will operate and what baggage you will bring.
What if in 10 years, you discover a new passion and want to go “back to school” and completely alter your course? Or what if in 10 years, you decide that you want to stop doing what you went to school for and tackle something absolutely unrelated which would change your previous schedule?
And what if they do the same?
Again, deal-breakers, yes…but let us not forget flexibility both for yourself and in a spouse. Does the love and commitment that they hold trump the rigidity of routine or “but you said”.
When Michael asked me to marry him, I had absolutely no intention of becoming a doctor. None at all. He never saw himself working in a local church (which….the rest of the world knew he would do, but whatever. He figured it out). I had the change of heart while we were engaged. I gave him an out. I told him over and over how hard it would be. But he stayed.
It has meant less travel, minimal social life, and more work for him on the home front. But he has never really complained about it past “awww, bummer” when I have to go work at horrible times. He has brought me dinner at midnight and said goodbye to any sort of regular date nights. He has taken kids to school and packed my lunch right along with theirs. These are not things that perhaps he had planned for when we said “I do”, but things that have been necessary for us both to pursue our respective dreams together.
While our schedules and careers have taken some turns, it is his character that has remained consistent. And that is what makes or breaks each situation.
- Don’t lower your standards; expand your horizons.
I see too many people stuck in a “why haven’t I found someone” rut.
Michael and I met when he was a senior in high school and I was a freshman in college (insert joke, yea, yea).
Never in a million years did either of us ever see this coming. In a strange journey of growing and changing ourselves, we found each other rather unexpectedly. In so many ways, we were not each other’s list. Yet in so many ways—and the important ways—we are.
Let’s revisit the “good, good Father”.
Yes, he wants to give us the desires of our hearts.
But he is also a Father, who will so much more provide us with what we need.
Because what if my kid asks for a rock for dinner.
They’re not going to get it.
But I would also fully expect that in 10 years when they aren’t starving with a belly full of rocks, they will thank me.
Don’t hear what I’m not saying. Deal-breakers are necessary. But there are so many things on these human-made lists that could keep you from “finding someone” …simply because you’ve created a box.
You probably don’t want to be in a box.
Why are you trying to fit someone else into one?
People grow and change. If not, it means they’re dead. And that wouldn’t make for a very good spouse…
Boil that list down, friends.
Then look outside of yourself.
They may have been there all along…