I have a college-age daughter and I have noticed recently that she and several of her friends have been reposting and sharing articles encouraging each other to continue to pray for their future husbands.

To be clear, I am in complete agreement that men and women should pray consistently and fervently for their future spouse. However, in my opinion, many of these articles seem to be providing their own personal "checklist" for the traits of the spouse that they have pre-chosen to be "ideal" for themselves.

We all have dreams... little girls dream of their very own "Prince Charming." Our biggest dream, however, needs to be that we are open to God's plan for our lives, even when that differs from our own preconceived notions (GASP)!

You see, I was married for 10 years to a wonderful man who "fit" my checklist. Life was good. However, two beautiful daughters and 10 years later, he died suddenly from a heart attack. I mean SUDDENLY. Healthy and happy one day but literally gone the next. We were devastated, to say the least. I had no idea how to "family" without this man. But God ever so lovingly saw us through... CARRIED us through those dark, dark days.

Fast forward about two years, I was beginning to think about dating again. But I definitely had a checklist... Christian, college graduate, no divorces, no kids. Sounds harsh but I'm being honest. I was praying fervently that God would put what I thought was my PERFECT husband... the one who fit my checklist... into our lives.

I found a person who fit my "checklist" but the relationship was a miserable failure.

Side-stage cue enter this military man, college drop-out, divorced and three kids. We hit it off IMMEDIATELY. I mean IMMEDIATELY. My friends and family were very, very distrustful of this man.....I think that maybe they had a checklist also.

I married this college drop out, divorced military man with three kids within six months. Why? Because I just KNEW. I had such a peace in my heart that this was who GOD HAD PLANNED FOR ME.

I felt ashamed of myself for my previous prayers for my "perfect" husband... for two reasons, mainly:

1. God's plan is the best plan

2. I was being selfish in my prayers.

We've now been together for just over 10 years. He decided a couple of years into our marriage (during his second deployment) to go back to college. This man... fulltime military and active family man... this man persevered and earned his associates and the bachelor's degrees. I am so proud of him for believing in himself and the dedication that was required to complete the HOURS AND HOURS of coursework.

Turns out that my little "checklist" was completely SELF-SERVING. God had better plans for me than I had for myself.

I fully believe that God had prepared ME over the years, and thru a previous Christian marriage, for this military man... this man that I never once prayed for as my future husband.

He has been a blessing to us but we have also been a blessing to him. Maybe, God had prepared ME to minister to this broken man... to be HIS blessing. He FREQUENTLY thanks me for bringing those two little girls into his life. They were 11 & 7 when we met.

Admittedly, we have had our ups and downs but I have to say that this man FOR WHOM I NOW pray was God's gift to me... I'm so thankful that I didn't miss this blessing because of my preconceived notions of "Mr. Right"!

I implore you, ladies... be open to who God has planned for you... pray for THAT MAN! You may get surprised!