Relationship thoughts: Prepare for a wise spouse choice

Image by .michael.newman. via Flickr

Are you single and struggling?  Are you challenged by the emotions you feel and the wisdom you hope you have?  Are you fed up with failing to see partner flaws only to find yourself flailing about like a fish who dreams of being tossed back into the water?

In my daily blog read, I adore the writings of Donald Miller.  He wrote the book Blue Like Jazz and has a blog which intrigues me.  Today, he announced his engagement and shared how his future spouse created a list of what she dreamt a husband would be.  Apparently, Donald fit the bill.

My heart did an Irish jig as I read.  I made a list too.

My husband of 14 years and I met when I was 28 years old.  The dating scene had shown me its pitfalls and I became frustrated.  On the suggestion of a friend, I made a list of who I hoped to meet and live out the rest of my life.  That was a tough task.

The idea of making a shopping list for a guy kind of weirded me out.  I don’t like being pinned down or put into a box.  Keeping options open has become a major past-time, but I ventured into list-land.  While writing the list, my emotions wrapped themselves around the guy of the moment I chose to date.  The challenge I faced involved being true to my thoughts in spite of my present emotions.

After finally penning my dream, I folded it and tucked it away.  I feared it didn’t matter, it couldn’t really happen anyway.

But, the list helped give me wisdom.  When I dated the next guy and found my emotions becoming stirred, I brought out the list.  He fit a few items, but not the whole, not some specific elements that really mattered to me.  It gave me courage to not continue the connection.

I assumed I’d need to water down my thoughts, but held tightly to those most precious.   Again, the list lost itself in a book which rested on my shelf untouched.

Then came Tim.

We dated more wisely than I had previously thought I could.  We grew as friends.  I respected him and his thoughts while not agreeing with everything.  He appreciated my unique idiosyncracies and I truly enjoyed his presence.  Time to check the list.

I figured he didn’t fit everything, because my expectations were unrealistic.  But it had provided wisdom earlier, so I sought it.  When I unfolded this unpretentious piece of paper, my finger went down my 34 items ( I think it was 34 items but on a recent household hunt I couldn’t find the list, so this is going from memory.)

He filled every one.  Fourteen years later, he still does.

What I imagined as an exercise in futility, became a flashlight switch in the dark tunnel of my life.  It gave me pertinent feedback I desperately needed to realize the vitality of the man before me.  Never could I have dreamt anyone would fit all my dreams.  But the man of my life did, and he was worth waiting for.

I’ve known men to make spousal lists too.  Michael Hyatt, another blogger I often read, made a list before meeting his bride Gail . They’ve celebrated 34 years of marriage.

If you’re on the hunt and want a path worth pursuing, a list is a great starting spot.  As Donald said in his post today, “Why not create a list?”

My choice today:

Think ahead on who I want to married, and be as detailed as I can.


3 thoughts on “Relationship thoughts: Prepare for a wise spouse choice

  1. Great article, Paula! I have observed relationships over the years and several times I see people choose to date others who aren’t a good fit. Because we have an innate desire to be loved, this intense emotion often overrides logic – hence the saying “love is blind.” I believe that we can save ourselves a lot of heartache by taking it slow, developing a friendship, and listening to advice from loved ones.

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