This post isn’t about whether it’s right or wrong to have a list… you can decide that for yourself. I just want to put some ideas and questions out there for you to ponder…
Why have a list?
It seems that those with lists use them as yardsticks to see whether potential girlfriends/boyfriends measure up to their expectations.
On a basic level, they ask themselves, “Is this the kind of person I want to spend my life with?” and that seems like a reasonable thing to do.
On a deeper level, though, it seems to say, “I know exactly what I want and need in a mate”, and “They must measure up. They must tick all the boxes. They must give me what I want”. I wonder a little about that. Do we really know what we want and need in a husband/wife? I don’t know everything about my future, where my life will take me, or the challenges I will face. So, how can I know what I need? The first example of marriage in the Bible is Adam and Eve. God saw Adam was alone, said that it wasn’t good, and so made him a helper, Eve. Did he consult Adam and ask him what he wanted? Would Adam have known?
What’s on your list?
I find it intriguing hearing what people have on their lists…
He/she must… fulfil these 100 very specific physical attributes, have a swagful of particular skills/talents/abilities, exhibit an array of lovely, well-developed character traits…
What difference will it make to your marriage if he/she is blond, can play the cello and sing the national anthem of Liechtenstein???
If we look at a few examples from the Bible and read between the lines a little, we could consider what may have been on people’s lists when they sought a spouse…
Noah (& Mrs Noah) – ‘She’ll have a good attitude (no-grumbler here please!) and stick by me no matter what’
Isaac (& Rebekah) – ‘She’ll be servant hearted and will go where God calls her’
Abraham (& Sarah) – ‘She’ll be patient’ and ‘He will trust God and be obedient and thankful’
Jacob (& Rachel) – ‘She will be beautiful’
Jacob (& Leah) – ‘She will be motherly’ (If he’d have bothered with a list for the wife he didn’t really want, that is!)
Boaz (& Ruth) ‘She’ll be faithful to God’ and ‘He’ll fulfil his responsibilities’
Elkanah (& Hannah) ‘She’ll be hopeful in the face of disappointment and tenacious in her prayers’ and ‘He’ll comfort me in tough times’
David (& Abigail) ‘She’ll speak wisdom to me when I need it’
Gomer (& Hosea) ‘He will be gracious and forgiving’
The King (& Esther) ‘She’ll stand up for what she believes in, and be a person of great influence and integrity’ and ‘He will show me favour’
Samson (& Delilah) ‘He will be strong and buff’
Aquila (& Priscilla) ‘She/He will be united with me and we’ll be a team to share the message of Christ’
Were these couples perfect? How similar/different were their lists to ours today? Did they always display their ‘list attributes’?
It is pretty clear that there will be times when our partner fails to live up to our expectations (and we’ll fail to meet theirs). And, I would suggest that marriage is far more about persistence than perfection! Which makes me wonder…
Are you ‘list ready’?
Something I’m yet to hear, is someone sharing about their list of what THEY intend to BE for their future husband/spouse. This constantly amazes me. How selfish is it to have a long list of expectations of someone else, yet to fail to consider what you offer to them. Marriage is a two-way street after all!
In light of this, I find the Proverbs 31 wife inspiring. I know we can read about her and feel like we’ll never measure up, but I don’t think the proverb is to be a ‘to do list’ for us. More, I think it points to perhaps her greatest attribute, her dependence upon God. No woman (or man) could do all that she did without being empowered to do so by God. I imagine her prayer life went something like this, ‘God show me your heart. Teach me your ways. Show me how to be a great wife and mother. Help me to be moulded into the person you’ve created me to be. Guide my steps. Lead me unto obedience. Let me never forget your goodness…’ And, I imagine her husband was similar, and together they’d have been a power couple!
I don’t have a list for my future husband. Sure I have things I’d like to see in Him. I want him to be passionate about God, family-minded, servant hearted, fun to be with and attractive. But above all that… I want to be a wife that is deserving of such a husband. And I desire to be a ‘helper’ who will bring out the best in the one I do life with. Most of all, I want us to be a great team, living wholeheartedly for our God and drawing our strength from Him.
Whether you’re a list maker or not, be encouraged to seek God’s heart for what He wants in your life and in your loving…