I’ve had a list in my head (okay, and in my journal, like a teenager) of what I was looking for the second time around, if God were to so bless me with a second time around, that is.
It started with a prayer that I made up and prayed sometimes many times a day on my lonely, lonely post-divorce days, rehearsing it almost like a mantra.
God, please bring my future husband and me deeper into healing, deeper with you, and to each other when we’re both ready, if there’s even one out there for me, Lord willing. Amen.
Now, my list started off – umm, borne out of much pain – with things like, not mean to me, and no addictions pretty please.
But it began to evolve over time once I realized how abnormal those things were. I raised my bar. And amended my list.
With things like he will read my writing and he will love Jesus more than he loves me and so on and so forth, filling up a page.
But you see, what I was doing in that list-making of mine is what I had done all along in my marriage. I had created this image in my head of what a Christian couple is supposed to look like. And when it fell short, I criticized and nagged and lamented and tried to jam us into that self-made image.
And then I started dating. And after each first date, I thought, “Hmm, turns out that fill-in-the-blank characteristic isn’t all that important after all,” or, “Umm, yeah, I super want such-and-such…who knew?”
And then I met Tall-Shadow. And he and I are pretty different. And it is wonderful.
I thought I wanted a partner in ministry. And what I meant by that was someone to write and speak with. But having a man who I don’t have to compete with, who doesn’t criticize my work, yet completely gets and admires what I’m trying to do and reads most of my stuff and likes it all on Facebook, and prays me up before a speaking gig and will pick me up at the airport afterwards and make me dinner while I unpack because he knows I’m a freak about that kind of stuff? Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. (Tall-Shadow is that kinda man and it’s so much better than I could’ve dreamed.) Plus – and this is a huge plus – who knows what God has in store for us together ministry-wise? Anything from Africa (he wants to go on a mission trip with me) to leading a small group to just loving each other and our kids and friends well? Ministry is anything you do that brings light.
I also thought I wanted someone I could spar with but why in the world would I want another lifetime of conflict after going through the ringer for twenty years? Having a man who will absolutely tell me how he’s feeling about something but for the most part just gets along with me and is agreeable and wants me to be happy and prefers kindness over rightness…overflow of blessings.
And I thought I wanted someone with the same temperament who will take all the things seriously that I take seriously. But you know what? I take WAY TOO FREAKING MUCH STUFF seriously. The whole first half of my life was so dang serious. But now this man? This man calms me way down. And makes me laugh. And thinks I’m fun. (Fun, as it turns out, is not overrated.) He helps me loosen up and let stuff go. We can be serious when we need to be (we have a code word so he knows when I really need to talk) but having a man who says, “It’ll all work out,” and means it, is both unnerving and freeing all at the same time.
So my point today is this: you may think you know what you want. And you might be right. But you also might be just a tad off, or completely wrong. So if you’re dating, pray for God to bring the right person to you when you’re both ready, and for a wide open heart and mind. Because you never know how much better what God has in mind for you, how much better the God-led-to-you man will be.
If this post resonated with you, consider supporting my ministry here.
SO HAPPY to know this. But honestly, it’s still a bit painful to read, because well, I want that too, and I’m afraid I’ll never have that chance. I know…God is so much bigger than all of my doubt. But what you describe is SO MUCH MORE than anything I’ve ever known. So I guess that’s why I can’t wrap my head around it! 🙂 Thanks for continuing to share your heart.
Wise and timely words, Elisabeth! I have a list, too. One of the items on it was that any guy I dated would have to be of my religious denomination. At the time I made my list I had no intention of EVER dating. In fact, my prayer was to the effect of, “God, if you ever want me to have a relationship again, you’re going to have to do a good job of convincing me.” Well, He called my bluff and every unexpectedly I found myself in a “more than friendship” with a guy. And he is of another Christian denomination, not mine. However, the night we discussed our “non-negotiables” about dating, even before we had that discussion, we got into a discussion about faith. I quickly realized that he took his faith so much more seriously than my ex ever did…and our 15 minute discussion was about 14 minutes longer than ex and I had talked about faith in years.
What I thought I wanted…and what God had in mind for us, were very different things! Thanks for sharing!