Category Archives: Dating

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.


The danger and beauty of thistle people

Milk thistle flowerhead
Image via Wikipedia

Have you seen a thistle up close?  They are nasty looking.  This green spined weed visually displays its ability to defend itself from one and all.  With a tiny wisp of purple rising above the flowered spines, one can image inner beauty but why investigate more? When other flowers hold outer beauty and wonderful smells, it would seem silly to waste time on a thistle.  But maybe not.

Thistle people

Sound like anyone you know?  Thistle people throw barbs at others effectively creating a distant relationship.  You know the type, any time you get too close, it’s as if a spear pierces your heart and you back up, relationally speaking.

Sometimes their rough exterior holds people back.  They don’t dress a certain way or talk appropriately.

One great image of a thistle person came in Murphy Brown.  Do you know or remember the show, circa 1980 something?  If not, allow me to inform you.

Murphy Brown worked as an investigative reporter.  She rose to the top of her profession.  No question too tough for her to ask, no topic to difficult to cover.  Her work environment contained a variety of personalities.  Ultimately these people served as her only real friends and yet they described her this way, “The first time I met Murphy, I thought she was beautiful.  Then, she opened her mouth.”

Another thistle person shows up in George Lopez, savez que, you know what I mean?  A thistle person could be someone like Lady Gaga.  Her outward appearance can be off-putting to some people.

Do you know a thistle? 

Maybe you know a thistle person or you are a thistle person.  Your very demeanor screams, “Don’t come any closer!”

Why would anyone want to do that? Why hold out barriers to friendship?

What is it protecting?

I wondered about that uninviting weed.  After research, I discovered what it was protecting. Milk thistle helps people with multiple ailments.  For years, it’s been used by various practitioners to help treat liver malfunction, hepatitis C, gallstones, high cholesterol and cancer.

I’m not advocating a medicine, but examining a plant.  With so much potential contained within its highly protected body, maybe the thistle knows what it’s guarding.  Ignoring any hippie dippie thoughts, something of value is worth protecting.

Steps to know a thistle person

Thistle people guard their true self carefully and cautiously.  They know the value they hold, on some level, they know.  Perhaps they’ve been damaged previously, but the inner beauty remains.

What can we do?  Exercise caution.  Spines hurt, no matter what beauty lies within.  As a snake handler knows the pain of the bite, so those of us who want to see the inner beauty of a thistle need to use caution and respect.

Seek the beauty and let them know you see it.  Maybe, with each kind word, with each positive action, the spines can shrivel and show the true beauty within.

For those patient enough to appreciate a thistle, the reward is great.

The great weed lover 

Jesus did that for us.  He sought us out and didn’t let our spines push Him away.  He took everything we could dish out at him because He knows and sees our beauty.  He took a beating because He saw our beauty and wanted to give us friendship.  He died at the hand of people like ourselves.  Yet, He knew we were worth the trouble.  So are all the other thistle people. 

He told us how to react and treat the thistles in our lives:

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19


If you have a story of a thistle person you love, please share it here.  Don’t forget to anonymously rate this article (thumbs up or down).