What does relationship goals mean to you? What are your non-negotiables? I never really considered what mine were… or really cared to give value to them… why? Because I am a girl who never really took dating seriously. I thought I was looking for my husband in each partner but was I really? Or was I looking for comfort? The World Race really put me in my place because I can't solve a past heartbreak/breakup by starting another relationship (that contract life). No, I had to handle the pain of a previous relationship all by myself from the minute I got on that acceptance call. I wasn't truly by myself during that time, but I didn't have a distraction. Why do we do that? We do we run to earthly distractions so easily? Not to be harsh by any means, but when will we find our worth in the One who matters instead of who is the first in our contact lists?

I have been struggling with this idea of self-control lately and feeling like I have none, mostly when it comes to relationships, vulnerability, and running to distractions. When moving to Peru last month, we stayed with an amazing family who became my home away from home. They poured into us and wanted to know us. Little did I know, I would learn more about myself and what I deserve because of their example. Their marriage became my new relationship goals, all other Nicholas Sparks ideals were thrown in my mental garbage space. To break it down easily before I get on my soapbox, here are the things they did so right that showed me what I truly wanted when it came to finding a partner…

Submission

You probably rolled your eyes at that word alone, but it's not what you think it means. We all know the bible stresses that a wife should be submissive to her husband and husbands are submissive to God. It's like this line of communication, but what does being "submissive" actually mean? I thought it meant just doing whatever my husband wants to do which when you are born as an only child, being told to do something by an "equivalent" is literally your worst nightmare. To my host family, my host dad wanted his wife to be submissive to him when it came to allowing him to serve her….. Like WHAT?!?! I loved everything about that. He served the crap out of her and out of us. It brought a whole new meaning to the statements made in the Word about this.

Serving

With the last paragraph leading into serving, let me show you some examples. My host dad would always offer Chais, coffees, and sometimes sangrias every night while watching the movies our host mom would invite us to watch with their family. We watched a good 15 movies in one month. That's HUGE because we were not just a one time deal for them. They have teams coming in and out and they treat each team like they are the most special. We were a needy team as well, we needed wifi, groceries, and a couple of doctor visits and they drove us each time they could, no complaint. Did I mention that they always had the best lollipops on hand when I needed them most? They also served us through communication daily and six to eight-hour church services on Sundays because they didn't want to bring us to a church where we didn't speak the language.

Safe Space

They truly created a safe space for us to talk and be vulnerable. They shared communion with us and sang with us. They had conversations with us about beliefs and morals. My favorite thing is that they let their kids join in. They had a few teenagers and a couple of kids under 10 years old. The ages truly varied, yet they treated each child as their own individual. They talked about the hard stuff and answered any questions that were being asked. They did not hide and they were not embarrassed. It showed so much maturity and strength that I truly admired.

Sabbath & Searching

While there are a million great things about this couple, this is one of the ones I loved the most. They searched for God together and looked in every place possible. Yes, yes and more yes. They listened to podcasts, studied new ideas together, shared their agreements and disagreements, and knew how to handle those conversations with others. They believed in a sabbath Saturday which was a whole day of rest and said it truly strengthened their relationship in a place where relationships were hard. They constantly fought the Cusco, Peru norm and loved each other immensely along the way.

My non-negotiables went from being above 6'5 and blue-eyed to everything I listed above. Why did I ever settle for anything less before? Maybe this is my wake up call from God to get it together. Don't ignore that kind of messages around you. Invest in people and learn from them. It is okay to not have all the answers.