Saturday, June 07, 2008

A Day Late

So I just wrapped up my week of blogging about men, women, and relationships, but I failed to answer one of the questions that someone sent in to me (Sorry, Anne!) and am making steps to remedy that. Here we go:

“How do I know what to look for in a man? What if some of my expectations are too high/low?”

I’ll try to answer that question for both sexes here. My policy has always been that I want to marry a man who will be my best friend for the rest of my life, so I try to think of the qualities that are important to me in a best friend. Here are 15 questions that work well for me when thinking through this kind of thing:

- Do we like to do the same things? (not all the same things, of course – it’s important for you to have individual interests that you can explore on your own)
- Do we like to talk about the same things? (Again, not all the same things, but the big ones. For example, it is an absolute deal-breaker for me if a guy can’t expound upon his thoughts about spiritual matters. Being in ministry, this is too much a part of my life to not be able to discuss it with my best friend.)
- Do I respect this person? Even when he/she fails? And does this person respect me?
- Do we have fun? Do I enjoy being around this person?
- Does this feel natural? Is it easy to be around this person or does it require a lot of effort?
- Do I trust this person with my heart?
- Does this person make wise decisions? (For marriage, you will be making decisions with this person for the rest of your life. If they don’t execute wise decisions, it will affect you forever.)
- Am I able to be my true self around this person without fear of rejection?
- Does this person understand me in a way that even I don’t understand myself? (This is important if you are looking at marriage as a means to become holier and more sanctified, because this person will be able to help you develop your strengths and reduce your weaknesses.)
- Can I welcome the “hard truths” from this person when they challenge me?
- Does this person help me become all that God has called me to be? Am I developing into a better version of myself because of his/her presence in my life?
- Does this person encourage me, lift me up, and make me feel alive? Or tear me down?
- Could he lead? Would I follow?
- Am I this person’s biggest fan? Do I think he/she is awesome?
- Does he/she make me love Jesus more?

These 15 questions are just a starter kit. There are tons of other things that might be important to you, but those would be more specific to your situation and your desires. And as for your expectations being too high/low, all I can offer is this: pray about it and ask God what He wants for you. Ask Him to put His desires in you so that you will want the right things. And ask for His eyes to see those things when they come along.

Hope this helps!


Anonymous said...

One thing I have found throughout my nearly 23 years of marriage is that though my wife and I agree on the big things, we are so very opposite in many other ways. It's like the Amy Grant song "Good for Me." God has designed the universe so that opposites attract and because of that, the individual worlds of each partner in a marriage grow to experience things they never would have experienced before and they become more complete because the person they are in love with is different than they are. That's why love, trust, and commitment are so important and vital. Without these, the "opposite things" about the other person lead to resentment and alienation and the marriage suffers. But when you love and trust the person God has joined to you, and see His sovereign plan to complete you, embracing the differences you discover about that person as you walk out the marriage together, you will experience things that you never would have known without that other person in your life and together as one, you and your spouse will be more than the individual selves you would be without the marriage. Just some thoughts...

jadunham said...

This is such a great list. Thank you!

sarah said...

i know im a little late, but i was wondering if i could pose one question.
i know you semi went over this (or maybe you fully went over it and i just overlooked it- if so feel free to direct me to said entry) but, i was wondering about beauty from the womans perspective.
that is, what if you met a guy who seems to have it all together- smart, christian, etc- but, in the physical realm, not so much.
i recently asked a group of girls this same question and they tore me down and actually made me feel guilty for not wanting to date a guy i thought was unattractive. (i was actually told "leave him alone and find someone who appreciates him"- it really upset me.) of course i could date him knowing how i feel, but that would just hurt him, and i dont think thats right.
i assure you, i am not a shallow or vain person, i just, i dont know...
there is nothing "wrong" with this guy, there is just nothing physically there to attract me to him.
ultimately, is it so wrong i want a handsome husband one day?

i know this is long. im sorry. this is just something that has been weighing on my mind for a long time.


Meredith said...

Hi Sarah -
I'm sure that TLC will get back to you on this one but I felt deeply for you when I read your comment. NO! If you aren't attracted to someone don't try to convince yourself that you are. That's like trying to convince yourself that you are something you aren't. AND if you were to do that you'd be denying the wonderful creation God made you to be. We are talking about the rest of your life here.

Please know that I'm not saying God might not change whether or not you are physically attracted to this fine man as you become better friends but if you don't find him attractive at this point, own those thoughts. They are a good measure of now.

TLC said...

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for your question! That sounds like such a rough situation, and I'm sorry that your pursuit of wisdom for this situation has left you wounded and frustrated. My thought is this:

Pray about it. Ask God what He wants for you. I don't think there's a solid rule here like, "Yes, you should always get over it and go out with the guy" or "No, stick to your guns... attraction is vital." I think it should be addressed on a case-by-case basis. In some situations, you may feel like God is saying, "Give this a chance... i can bring the attraction later." And in other situations, He may say something to you like, "No, this isn't the one for you." Ask Him. Only He knows.

And while it could be the case that this matter is weighing on your heart because you're supposed to
"grow" in love with this man instead of "falling" in love with him, it could also be the case that you're living under false guilt about needing to give him a chance. Each situation is different. I might write more about this later in a separate blog, because you're asking some good questions. But for now, does this seem to help?

Grace & peace,

sarah said...

thank you both SO much. you have no clue how much i appreicate it. [yes tlc, is does help!!]
im just stuck in the rut of trying to do the right thing.
this whole situation reminds me of the part in "passion and purity" by elizabeth elliot where shes trying to convince a girl that God cares more for our holiness than our happiness, and that there might be a less than par guy out there praying to God earnestly for a beautiful wife (no, im not calling myself beautiful).
im trying hard to make myself availible to God's hand... i tell Him all the time, "lord, im not willing, but im willing to be willing" (one of the greatest phrases ive ever heard)
you're right all i can do is pray and wait and see what God does, and i look forward too it, because i guess no matter what happens, we're both going to win. : )

thankyou for your willingness to imput.
again, i appreciate it.

amy ellen said...

Good stuff, Tara Leigh!! I'm saving this one. Maybe next time, I actually will ask these questions. :)

Leslie said...

Alright, so I'm 100 years late in reading this, but oh, does God have perfect timing. I won't share my current situation here, but suffice it to say that not only was the post helpful, but your comment to Sarah about "growing" rather than "falling" in love pierced my heart. I'm certainly in the painful growing in love process in my relationship, and I can see God's hand in it, but you know, deep down I WANT to FALL in love...