I love lists. I didn’t used to, but then my brain got too full. Without lists, I wouldn’t get anything done. Now I make them for everything–tasks for the day, groceries, the process of book production, scenes left in novels, etc. But some folks make lists for things I’d never even though of–like lists for what they want in a spouse.
I heard about this phenomenon years ago when an acquaintance told me that I was the closest fit to his list that he’d ever encountered. I was in my early 20s at the time and didn’t really understand what he was talking about, so–silly me–I asked. Come to learn, this gentleman had made a list of the qualities he wanted in a wife. He was divorced and apparently knew what he hadn’t liked before, so I guess he thought I would be honored that I fit his idea of an ideal wife.
I was somewhat honored. More creeped out than anything else. Because he was in his mid-40s. Needless to say, whether I fit his list or not, that wasn’t a relationship I was going to pursue (and there were other reasons aside from the age difference, just to clarify).
But I got to wondering about this idea of making a list of what you want in a significant other. Do people really do it? Does it actually work?
For years, my little group of friends had this really funny inside joke going on about my poor brother. My brother is one of those brilliant engineer types (he just exudes smartness, which is sadly not transferable by osmosis … trust me, I tried). So we all used to tease him that he was just going to have to build himself a robot to marry, who we all deemed “Robo-wife.” And, yes, some of us were goofy enough to buy him parts for Robo-wife.
No, if you’re wondering. He never built Robo-wife, and he has since moved on. But the concept of building a wife (or a husband) came to mind when I started thinking about this whole concept of list-making for significant others.
If you got to build your spouse, you could choose the characteristics you wanted instead of having to make do with the ones that come pre-installed. And maybe there’s some allure in that, but I think it would get really old really fast.
So, am I saying you shouldn’t ask questions? You shouldn’t care about someone else’s personality quirks or character qualities? You should just marry them on the spot and be surprised? Heavens, no. That’s a knee-jerk reaction, and, like most knee-jerk reactions, it’s foolish. I just question if it’s wise to have a checklist.
As I’ve previously established, I’m perfectly okay being single, but should I make a list of things I want in a husband so that I’m prepared in case one comes along that I might consider? Or am I happy with any variety of the male species?
I’m well aware that this is an intensely personal decision. Most relationship decisions are personal, and they should be. But as far as I’m concerned, there is one requirement and only one requirement on my Significant Other List. And that is whoever he is, He has to belong to Jesus.
That’s the one point I won’t budge on. And it comes down more to a matter of faith than anything else, because if I meet someone who I really really like but who doesn’t know Jesus, I will have to trust God more than I want to be with that person. And it’s easy to say it now. We’ll see if I have the strength to make that choice if I ever face that situation.
But other than that? Well, what else matters other than that?
Sure, it would be nice if he likes geeky movies. And, it would be a plus if he likes living in the country in a 100-year-old, paid-off house. And if he didn’t mind an occasional song on the MP3 player by Disciple or Project 86 followed by Hans Zimmer and Rimsky-Korsakov, that would be a definite plus. But a requirement? No.
The danger, in my mind, with list making is that it teaches us to look for what we want and discount what we don’t. And generally that’s okay, but a relationship shouldn’t always be about what you want. It should be about what you need and about what you can bring to the other person. I don’t want to discount someone because he doesn’t like science fiction and prefers Steve Green music.
If I’m supposed to get married, God will bring exactly the right person at exactly the right time. So I don’t want to put God in a box on this. Who knows? In 10 years, I may not even like Project 86 or Rimsky-Korsakov anymore! (Unlikely, but not impossible.)
So make a list or don’t. It’s up to you. But I’m going to skip that kind of list. Know what’s important. That’s what you should look for–the things the matter to God in a husband. If he’s got that, you’ll probably be just fine.