Making a list is one of the main things I did in my search for love. And I’m here to tell you the results. But before I elaborate, let me back up.
I'd gone through a devastating divorce after twenty-five years of marriage. Some people, after a similar experience, vow to never marry again. Others want to immediately fill the void, jumping into another relationship with someone they barely know.
Not my first rodeo
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I had been divorced by my first husband in my mid-twenties and learned some important lessons. After my second divorce, I decided to refrain from dating for a year and to focus on my personal growth. In that year I became better acquainted with myself and what was important to me. Having read the book, *“Finding the Love of Your Life,” by Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony, I determined to remain celibate until marriage. That meant, of course, I might never again has a sexual relationship. Why was remaining celibate important? Warren explains it this way: “Sexual intercourse before marriage is a clear act of commitment! Once you have become sexually involved with a potential mate, your ability to think clearly and objectively becomes impossible.”
I had a talk with God, telling Him my heart’s desire was to have a loving husband someday. I trusted that He would bring the right man for me if that was His will. “No substitutes,” I said. “Only someone who is ready and right for me.” Then I made a list … a long list … of the kind of man whom I could love and with whom I could happily live.
What I Want in a Husband
1. He is spiritually grounded. He is an integral part of his church. He has an active prayer life. He studies the Bible and trusts God as a wise and loving Father.
2. He is willing to stay celibate until marriage.
3. He believes in mutual submission of marriage partners; we honor each other.
4. He listens and hears me. He is interested in what I say.
5. He enjoys play. We take turns initiating fun activities to do together.
6. He is self-confident. He knows his strengths and weaknesses and continues to grow in wisdom.
7. He accepts other people for who they are but is not afraid to express his wants and needs when appropriate.
8. He is financially stable. He is wise in spending his resources.
9. He is engaged in his professional work, but it does not rule him.
10. He is a good communicator. He lets me know in non-blaming ways how my actions affect him. He shares his dreams and fears with me.
Does that cover everything that’s important? No! The list grew to thirty attributes! So, what were the results? Three years after my divorce, I met the love of my life while ballroom dancing. My husband fits all but one of those thirty attributes. Thankfully, it was not the most important one. We’ve both adapted and have had a wonderful marriage for almost twenty years.
I shared the memoir with my pastor who had gone through a divorce. Later, when he had remarried, he shared that he, too, had made a list and how well it had worked for him.
Five Major Moves
If you’re looking for lasting love, my advice is to first take time to find yourself. Consider the wisdom of remaining celibate. Make a list of what kind of person is right for you. Be patient. Continue to trust that the Lord will bring the right person to you.
Note: You can read the rest of the list in my memoir, “God, the Devil, and Divorce,” Chapter Four “Dating.”
*Neil Clark Warren, Finding the Love of Your Life: Ten Principles for Choosing the Right Marriage Partner. 1998
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