First of all, if you are looking for a blog post about having super high standards for your future spouse, there are plenty of those out there (and I fully back them). However, this is something that has been on my heart to write for a while and I hope it offers a different perspective.
I see articles floating around Facebook about “Wait for the one who will…” and “If you ever fall in love…”, etc. I actually think those articles are great! I even see several from a Christian perspective about finding a super Jesus spouse on earth. Once again, I think setting high standards for your future spouse is ultra important. I happened to be married to a God-fearing, wonderful husband who treats me really well! I feel like all of these articles are wonderful, but don’t actually prepare you for marriage.
After seeing three or four of those on my newsfeed once again today, I felt like I had to share something on my heart. I even saw one that said “If you ever fall in love, fall in love with someone who will hold you so close just to hear your heart beat.” After almost seven years of marriage, I would laugh if Charlie came up and held me just to hear my heart beat. Sorry!
You see, dating in itself is a really selfish thing. Our culture has designed it to be that way. There are a lot of great things about looking out for yourself and finding the best person. Let me repeat: YOU NEED TO DO THAT. If there is a major red flag or you are not being treated well, walk away.
When I was in college there were popular quotes and articles floating around just like there are today about all the things you need in a future spouse. Maybe they helped me weed out some characteristics I wanted in a spouse, but they didn’t really prepare me for marriage. People are not perfect, and I am not talking about my spouse. I’m talking about myself. You get to be selfish while you are dating, but in marriage you have to selfless. Marriage will show you exactly how selfish you are, and you slowly see that you didn’t exactly bring a perfect person to the table either.
Maybe, instead of just talking about what we want in someone, we have to take a hard look at the person we are. I see young girls getting their hearts broken and making the same mistakes over and over again because they think the next person will fulfill them. One of the best things I have heard about dating in a while comes from one of my favorite preachers, Andy Stanley. In The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating (which you can find on his podcasts), he talks about how people treat others and how that affects your future spouse. He asks if you are kind to the guy on the date that talks too much. He asks if you actually listen and treat other people with respect that will not be your future spouse.
If you cannot be kind to the guy (and/or girl) that you go on one date with and don’t see it working out, then you are not preparing yourself to be kind to the right person. When I was dating, I didn’t always think about how I treated the guy that I wasn’t all that interested in and went on a few dates with. Was I kind and honest? Was I respectful of others? How you treat someone on a first date may reflect how you treat your future spouse. He points out that we could all use more kindness. He says that there are people with divorced parents, friends, grandparents, etc. in their lives that they wished would have been kinder to each other while they were together.
You don’t just meet someone and automatically become the best version of yourself. Andy Stanley says over and over again, “Be the person that you are looking for is looking for.” Take a minute to think about that one.
I love all of those articles about finding the right one, but I just wanted to throw something out there from a different point of view. You will find that people are not perfect (including yourself). Look for the person that exudes the right qualities, but in the mean time, work on harboring those qualities within yourself. If you want to prepare yourself for marriage, start by being kind to those around you and look for ways to be selfless in tough situations. Marriage is wonderful when you are married to someone who does this too, but it has to start with you (and boy am I preaching to the choir).