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    The List

    Thursday, February 21, 2019

    The List.

    This was such a big thing when I was in middle and high school. “The List” was comprised of characteristics that we wanted and longed for in a future husband.

    I just dug my list out of my crate of journals and oh my . . . part of me was like “Wow, such insight, 7th grade Lauren” and the other part of me was like “Lauren, you definitely exhibit the mind and emotions of a 7th grader.” There were over 90 things on the list. NINE ZERO (and we find the 10 commandments hard to keep! Lord have mercy on my future spouse!).

    On the list I had everything from the insightful 7th grade Lauren [willing to admit when he’s wrong; honest; has God first in His life; growing in Christ] to the emotional and hormonal middle school Lauren [dresses nice; can cook (am I trying to make this too hard for myself?!); has good hair (I’m lucky if any have hair at this age); smells good; etc.].

    My friends and I were just talking about this list and how when we were teenagers, we were all encouraged to create “a list” of qualities and attributes that our future husband should have. We were debating the value of it. As I started to think of “the List,” my initial reaction was to do away with it all. This is probably because I think about how ridiculous most of my characteristics were.

    But then I look at my middle school self and applaud what God was doing. He was instilling in me His longings for me to have a man who resembles Christ and who will lead me.

    What I see now as a 28 year-old woman in this season of singleness is that marriage is not about the extra things that I think I need - those things that I want so I can fulfill my desires and my longings. It’s ok to have preferences and to be attracted to certain things, but I think we need to realize these are not deal breakers. I also believe our concept of what we want is so far different than what God wants for us and what He knows we need.

    Society and movies set up “The Perfect Man” who is supposed to waltz into our lives with roses and a charming smile. But as my pastor Nick Person says “Unrealistic expectations always lead to disappointment . . . Lofty expectations are premeditated resentments.” We meditate on what the movies tell us guys should do (those flowers, those chocolates, those shopping trips, those mushy words) and what guys should look like (tall, dark, handsome). Then, when God brings a godly guy - one who pursues Jesus intensely - into our lives, we either dismiss them because we’re not interested and they don’t look like what we thought they would look like or we start a relationship with them with a small bit of resentment towards them because they don’t meet our unrealistic expectations.

    I also see women who tend to start knocking important things off their non-negotiable list as they get older and their desire for marriage intensifies. Thabiti Anyabwile from the Gospel Coalition says, As women grow older, the sense that it might not happen for them grows increasingly strong. Baucham reckons that age 14, young girls are looking for ‘the total package’ and are unwilling to settle. By age 24, their list is widdled down to “a good godly man.” And by age 34 they’re happy if “the man knows where a church is.”

    I think we do need to have a list. A list of biblical non-negotiables. And with this list, understand that no one has arrived. Pastor Nick also says “Marriage is made up of two people still in process.” Understand that this man that you may be dating or considering dating is in a process. The test should be - where is that process heading towards. Is it headed towards himself? Is it headed towards ambition? Is it headed towards the world? Or is it headed towards Christ? Is it headed towards dying to himself daily? (See my Instagram/Facebook post a few days back on Stop looking for a John Piper) As Ben Reaoch from Desiring God says, “Dream and pray and seek counsel about the characteristics you should be looking for in a potential spouse, and then resolve not to settle for less.” This List must be God-focused and Spirit led.

    So pray and ask God for guidance in this. Marriage is ‘til death do us part. It is serious. But it is also a free-will decision from God so we have freedom in the choosing.

    And be open. God loves to surprise.

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