Don't Tell Me My Standards Are Too High

Don't Tell Me My Standards Are Too High

I will wait, and I will not settle.
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Seven years ago, I sat in the back of my parents’ mini van on the way to my first college tour. My mom and I were chatting away about all of the exciting things that would be coming up in the next few years: graduating high school, moving into a dorm and of course, dating college boys. It was during that conversation that my mom encouraged me to make a list — that is, a list of traits and characteristics I was looking for in a guy. This way, I would have standards to go by, making it much more difficult for me to settle for just any boy who came along.

So that afternoon in the back of that minivan, I started writing my list. At the very top of the list were the really important things:

Loves Jesus

Taller than me

Great personality

Hard worker

Good sense of humor

Then as I went further down the list, I got a little more specific:

Likes to cook

No piercings

Plays/loves sports

At least six feet tall

Brown or blue eyes

And the list kept going.

Once I finished it, I would tell my friends and family about my list, very proud of the fact that I had standards, and high standards at that. However, many of the people I told about this list were not as proud. In fact, a lot of them were downright discouraging. I would hear things like:

“That’s a pretty lofty list, Kristen.”

"I wouldn’t get your hopes up.”

“You’re going to need to tone that list down a little if you want to find someone.”

“I hope you’re willing to be single for a long time.”

“You’re never going to find someone that fits all of those standards."

Or my personal favorite…

“Good luck with that."

I look back at this wrinkled piece of paper now and can’t help but chuckle, because my list was really detailed, and looking back now, those people had a point that it was going to be pretty difficult to find someone who matched every single item on that list.

So over the next few years, my standards changed pretty drastically. As I navigated my fair share of dating disasters, I started to realize what was really important, and what wasn’t.

Now, seven years later, this is what my list looks like:

  1. Has an obvious, growing relationship with Jesus
  2. Has a heart for others
  3. Has a kind, gentle spirit
  4. Strives to fulfill God’s call on his life
  5. Pursues me and treats me with love and respect
  6. Thinks my character, my faith and my personality are attractive qualities
  7. Wants a family
  8. Strives for purity, even when it’s difficult
  9. Taller than me

OK, so the last one carried over from the first list, but everything else is pretty much new. Either way, I thought that this version of my list would be much more realistic and would make it much easier for me to find someone. Not only that, but I thought other people would be much more supportive and encouraging about this list than they were the last one.

Boy, was I wrong.

Once again, I heard the same old lines, all of which could be summed up in four words:

“Good luck with that.”

For a while, this discouragement really bothered me. Partially because I’m a people pleaser, and I want people to like me and not think I’m an idiot. But mainly, it bothered me because for 5 years, I never got past a second date with anyone. So I couldn’t help but wonder if there was some truth to what these people had been telling me. What if I really was going to have to lower my standards if I wanted to find someone? What if I had no choice but to settle? What if they were right?

Thankfully, it didn’t take me long to realize that these discouragers weren’t any more right about my standards than I was about thinking Rachel was going to pick Peter in the "Bachelorette" finale.

I have a list that I not only believe I can be proud of, but I have a list that I believe my Heavenly Father is proud of, too. Every single thing on my list (other than the one about being taller than me) is backed by what He talks about in His Word.

He desires all of us to have a growing relationship with Him. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

He asks all of us to be kind, caring and gentle towards other people. (Galatians 5:22-23)

He tells us to value someone’s character over their appearance. (1 Samuel 16:7)

He commands us to live a life purity, to love each other and to respect each other. (1 Timothy 4:12)





So, to all of the people who have discouraged me over the years because of my list, to the people who have said I’ll never find someone according to my standards, please hear me when I say this.

Don’t tell me my standards are too high.

I truly believe my standards for a husband are in line with God’s standards for all of His children. He was the originator of this list. He came up with each and every quality. So if you have a problem with my list, then feel free to take it up with my Heavenly Father.

And let me be the first to say, good luck with that.

Cover Image Credit: Courtesy of Noelle Leopard

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An Open Letter to the Guy I'm Finally Getting Over

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I remember when all of this started. I couldn't have predicted you if I'd tried. I was so focused on myself that it took me a while to even admit I was interested in you. You were the one I didn't see coming, and then before long, you were the one I couldn't imagine leaving.

I'll be honest. I lied to myself and to everyone else for a long time. “We aren't anything serious," I'd say. “I'm just having fun." How stupid was I to think that I could resist getting caught up in you? Those months that we spent together were some of the best of my life. I didn't think it was possible for a someone to make me laugh like you did, to make me feel the way you did. You brought out a side of me I had never seen before, and even though that scared me, I didn't want it stop.

You had me so fooled.

One day, just like that, you were gone, and before I knew it I couldn't even recognize myself anymore. I couldn't imagine how someone I had given so much to could just leave like that and not even look back. The months after that was a string of waking up and losing you all over again, telling my friends I was fine one second and crying to them the next. And the second I started thinking I was okay, I saw you again. We talked, I cried, I yelled, you cried, you yelled, and for a couple weeks I pretended that everything would be okay, and you really meant it this time and we would make it. But just like before, it wasn't real.

Realizing that took me longer than I'd like to admit, but this is what I need you to know: I'm moving on. Finally, after months of dialing your number just to talk myself out of it, I can say that I'm moving on. I won't listen to sad songs anymore. I won't look at our pictures and re-live the days we spent together. I'm erasing every trace of you. I'm smiling brighter, I'm laughing louder, and if it's the last thing I do, I swear I'll find something that's better than what we had.

That's not to say that your memory won't knock the breath out of me on a Tuesday afternoon when our song comes through my headphones. That's not to say that I won't remember the promises you made me and want to scream at myself for ever believing you. But the difference is that I'll recognize the pain in those memories, and then I'll set them down and walk away. Because I'm done carrying them with me and I'm done giving you that power over me.

So don't call me up someday when I've finally forgotten your laugh; don't think about me at all if you can help it. You lost that right when you made the choices you did. This isn't some stupid love story we'll tell later down the road about how we beat the odds and came through stronger on the other side. This is done, do you understand? I'm finally done.

Years from now I'll look back on the adventures we had and laugh at how crazy we were. I'll remember the fierce happiness I felt while we were running wild together and I'll be grateful for this because it has molded me in ways I can't begin to explain. Someday I'll tell my daughter about you and pray that she learns from my mistakes, and when that day comes I'll wonder where you are and genuinely wish you the kind of happiness that I will have found.

I know you'll never read this. But I'll read this, on those nights when it feels like everything is starting to fall apart. Again and again and again, I'll read this and remind myself of the promise I'm making at this very moment, to look forward and stop letting your memory dictate my happiness. Someone wise once said, “Suddenly you'll just know, that it's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings." Well I'm trusting that this was just one short chapter of my book, and this is me turning the page.

Onto the next.

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Cole And Sav LaBrant Give Me Hope That Our Generation Isn't Defined By Hookup Culture

Let's make "dating" a trend again.

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In case you haven't heard, Savannah and Cole's relationship is literally #goals.

From how they met to the way they kept Jesus in the center of everything they did, their relationship shows us that not all guys (and girls) just want to "hook up" or have a one night stand.

Being in college, it can be very hard to distance yourself from hookup culture because almost everyone participates in it in some way. This can mean meeting a random guy at a frat party and then going home with him that night, or it can mean sending a "You up?" text at 2 in the morning with only one intention in mind.

We, as a generation, don't date anymore.

A boy doesn't ask a girl (in person) to go to dinner and a movie anymore. If they are to do it, it's done over text and is totally impersonal. If a boy picks up a girl from their house, they honk the car horn instead of ring the doorbell.

But, some people still follow these few simple rules of dating. Some men choose to look nice for a date, bring the girl flowers, and only has the intention of getting to know the girl better, instead of only wanting to have sex with her by the end of the night.

So, boys, take the hint from Cole LaBrant.

Pursue that girl (or guy), even if she lives on the other side of the country. Put the relationship into God's hands, and He will guide you in the right direction.

The Bible also tells us to stay pure in our relationships until marriage.

For many, it can be very hard to keep this commitment to purity because everyone around us is saying to do the exact opposite.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 says, "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins inside their own body. Do you not know your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies."

This verse does not condemn us for what we have done in the past. If you've had sex in the past, know that it is okay.

Even if you knew Jesus at the time, know that it is okay, because we serve a God of forgiveness and love. He knows that we are not perfect humans and that we are bound to mess up from time to time. So, do not judge yourself or others for what you have done in the past. The only thing you can do is to move forward with your eyes on Jesus.

Cole and Savannah have been very open about the ups and downs of their relationship on their YouTube channel, and also in their new book. They realize their relationship isn't perfect, and it gives us hope that our relationships don't need to be picture perfect either. If you slip up in your relationship, talk through it in open honesty, and move forward.

Image Credit: Cole and Savannah LaBrant on YouTube

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