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:
Taller than me
Good sense of humor
Then as I went further down the list, I got a little more specific:
Likes to cook
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:
- Has an obvious, growing relationship with Jesus
- Has a heart for others
- Has a kind, gentle spirit
- Strives to fulfill God’s call on his life
- Pursues me and treats me with love and respect
- Thinks my character, my faith and my personality are attractive qualities
- Wants a family
- Strives for purity, even when it’s difficult
- 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.