That thing that you create in your mind (and may even physically write down) that intricately spells out what you desire in your future spouse.
Maybe you created The List when you were in middle school Bible study. Maybe you created (and recreated) it after dating a loser. Maybe you have 10 things on your list. Maybe you have just a few.
Regardless of when you first started thinking about the attributes of your future spouse, everyone has an idea of the kind of person they hope to spend the rest of their lives with. Maybe you want him to have a gnarly beard, play the drums, run his own business, while also feeding orphans in India. Maybe you want her to be a model who also happens to be a fantastic cook and an award-winning soccer player.
Okay, okay. I know you’re rolling your eyes as you read this, but let’s be serious for a moment. While you may not have a list that extensive, what do you have on your list? Where does Jesus come in? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to singles who will describe their ideal lover and mention Jesus as an afterthought. “I mean, it’d be great if he was _______ and _______ and _______. Oh, and Jesus. Hope he loves Jesus.”
What if we’ve gotten so wrapped up in the list, we’ve forgotten the most important Person we’re supposed to be pursuing together? What if Jesus doesn’t want you to marry someone who likes all the same things you do? What if He desires you to marry someone who will challenge you and grow you in the areas where you struggle?
Friends, what is the reason we’re here on this earth? To love God with our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. To love people as ourselves. Life is not about you, and marriage is not about you. In a world that tells you constantly to make much of your own name, it’s so easy to lose sight of our true calling. It will always be for God’s glory, and until we fully recognize this, we will continue to grasp in vain attempts for what we deem a “good life.”
I had my ideas of what I wanted in a guy. I wanted him to love Jesus, but I also wanted him to fulfill a lengthy list of “important” attributes. Beard. Musician. Handy-man. Culinary expert. In the midst of my list, I made an idol out of my ideal.
After a lot of conviction and a lot of prayer, I’ve now readjusted my dear old list to the following:
- Must be ACTIVELY pursuing Jesus.
- Must have a servant’s heart. (Humility is ATTRACTIVE.)
- Must have a sense of humor. (Life is hard enough; let’s laugh through it!)
My prayers have also changed. They typically go something like this: “Lord, please bring the man you know I need, not the man I want. And if Your plan doesn’t include marriage, that’s okay too. Help me to choose You daily.”
You know what? When you reevaluate The List, you lessen the pressure. Less pressure on the other person, less pressure on you to find him or her. More possibility. And more Jesus.