Okay, ladies. It’s time to address the elephant in the room. Most of us have made a list at one point or another. You know what I’m talking about. The list of all the qualities your future husband should have. Don’t deny it. We’ve all made one. Years ago, I took it to a whole new nerdy level… I had a spreadsheet. It had a weighted scoring algorithm and everything. I could rate a guy I was seeing and it would give me a compatibility percentage. Don’t judge.
I read a book once that walked me through how to think through and write out the ultimate husband list. We’re talking wishlist on steroids! Physical appearance, personality, sex, finances, etc. Nothing was untouched. So a list in the form of a personal ad (cuz it’s just funnier that way) would read as follows:
“SWF seeking tall, ridiculously good looking, intelligent male. Must love dogs and children. If you like long walks on the beach while holding hands and talking about the future and feelings, keep reading! If you like dancing in the rain and are wildly hilarious, we should talk. Volunteering whenever possible while being career driven is necessary. ‘Scrubs’ and freeloaders need not apply. Singing, dancing, and a great sense of humor are highly desired. Cooking, cleaning, and auto repair are a plus. Must be light-hearted and fun while also grounded and practical. Open communication and sensitivity are a priority. No issues, exes, or bad habits. If you want to save my day, contact me for more ideals you’ll never be able to meet.”
I hate to break it to you, girls, but we’ve set an impossible standard. The guy described above (and on most of our lists) doesn’t exist. You’ll be a bachelorette until the rapture with a list like some women have. For starters, some of the items are contradictory or unimportant. Expecting a man who is both career driven and volunteers regularly is highly unlikely. And good luck finding anyone with any amount of life experience that comes without and issues, exes, or bad habits. The truth is we need to be a little more realistic with our expectations.
Research shows that the number one quality women look for is a sense of humor. That’s just plain embarrassing. First of all, if that were true, comedians would be the most attractive pool of men. Typically speaking, that’s not the case, though. Even so, it’s sad that our society is so superficial that the thing we value most in a partner is the ability to entertain us. Don’t get me wrong. A sense of humor is a great bonus. It can make getting through the tough stuff bearable. But good luck getting through the tough stuff with laughter alone and without resolve or persistence.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times, character is what we should be looking for. So if you must make a list, make it about things of substance like integrity, honesty, fortitude, self-control, and a love for Christ above all else.
But with any list, we must be careful not to set the bar so high as to expect perfection. Remember that we are all human and in process. No one man will have every godly character and spiritual fruit evident in their life. You may meet someone who is self-controlled, slow to anger, and compassionate, but still struggles with patience. If he acknowledges that area and you see that he is actively working on building patience, give the guy a break! No one is perfect. Not you, me, or any potential suitor.
Prayerfully consider which items are important and which are not. Things like gentleness, faithfulness, and peace should far outweigh tall, dark, and handsome. Deal breakers should be things like lying, cheating, and any form of abuse. Take an honest look at your list and pray for God to show you any blind spots or superficial desires. Make sure you’re not waiting for Superman to come sweep you off your feet. Cuz that ain’t gonna happen, girlfriend.
However, there are good men of godly character out there. I promise! I’ve even met some of these elusive unicorns in real life. But God can’t bring a wonderful, godly man into your life if you aren’t 1) focusing on Him and 2) keeping realistic expectations.
As a bonus hint, a man who is developing these fruits and character traits is going to be looking for the same in his woman. So seek God and grow in Him before you start wondering “where have all the cowboys gone.”