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Ditch Your Dating Checklist

When I was 20 years old, I had it all figured out. Like most people my age, I had a plan–a timeline really–of exactly how things should go and when they should happen.

I, of course, like any good Christian girl, submitted my timeline to God. I passed Him the memo, you know, just so He could stay in the loop.

Here’s what my plan consisted of:

Graduate college at 21. Score my dream job in New York, preferably working for some type of political non-profit, making peanuts, but not caring because I was doing what I loved.  Travel the world (you know with all the money I wasn’t making). Oh, and I was going to be married by 21. That’s right upon turning 21, I would have a ring on my finger and a church booked for the big day.

My husband wasn’t going to be just any man. He was to be a very specific type of man. I had a plan, remember? And with that plan also comes a list. It was the list of qualities, characteristics, and attributes I wanted in my future husband. It was quite the checklist really. It went something like this…

He would be tall, like 6’3″ tall or taller

He would make a good living doing some type of normal job

He wouldn’t care if we had kids or not

He would drink martinis (don’t ask me)

He would bow to my every whim

He would be my spiritual guru, guiding me in all things Jesus-ly

He would let me decorate the house however I wanted

He’d be perfect

Nice list, huh? Well let me tell you, that is not what I got. Like so many of us, who plan and re-plan, and then casually submit those plans to God, we are shocked when reality doesn’t line up with our expectations.

If ever there was a time to throw out the checklist, it is when we are dating. Lists are harmful and are not what God has in mind for us. Here’s why:

Lists are really a collection of what we think we want or we think we need.

Lists are limiting. They do not allow room for God to do something different (at least not without Him rattling us a bit).

Lists are us, telling God what we want, instead of us asking God what He has.

Lists are nothing more than unattainable expectations which inevitably lead to letdown and possibly heartache.

Lists prevent us from seeing all of the possibilities around us because often, if it ain’t on the list, we don’t want any part.

Lists lie to us and tell us that if we want something bad enough, we can conjure it up, instead of seeking God to bring us the desire of our hearts.

Lists lock us into “no mode” because we feel we can’t move forward, take a chance, break an item on said list, without compromising the whole thing.

Lists are usually a representation of our flesh, not the Spirit.

Lists deny us the magic of love evolving naturally and romantically, the way God intended.

You see, I have known far too many young men and women who have limited themselves, and God, by thinking that unless items 1-23 are met, there ain’t no point. I’ve seen women turn down a date from a perfectly wonderful, Godly man because he didn’t have the “right job” or he wasn’t a bonafide hottie. I’ve seen men fail to ask a woman out because she wasn’t flirty enough or she was too flirty.

My husband and I have often joked when hearing about such instances: “What are these ladies looking for? Brad Pitt with the heart of Jesus?” And “What are these dudes looking for? Angelina with the heart of Jesus?”

So often women (especially) and men think they know exactly what they want, but have never stopped to consider who God might have waiting in the wings.

My husband didn’t fit everything on my checklist. He’s tall, but not 6’3″. He’s an entrepreneur, meaning there’s no such thing as a “normal job.” He so wanted kids. He isn’t responsible for my spiritual growth, rather he encourages me in it. He has strong opinions about home decor. He is not my whipping boy and he doesn’t like martinis. But is he perfect? Well, perfect for me.

I’m glad I ditched my list. Otherwise, I might have missed out.

Do you have a checklist? It’s okay if you do. No judgement. Let’s hear what’s on it? Did you once have a list, but you threw it out? Why?

image props, yo.