Guest Post by Author Lydia Thomas
The list of those qualities desired in a mate, that is.
Most women have one. A lot of guys do, too, even if they won’t admit it.
I had one. Well, no, that’s not entirely accurate; I’ve had four, at least. I made my first list after my first breakup, in an attempt to avoid the mistakes I’d made in that first relationship going forward. I made my last list after my last relationship, trying to feel a little less broken about having to part ways with someone whose calling was different from mine. The lists in between were reflective of personal growth and change.
That last list would have been three years old this month, but this past November, I ripped it up and threw it away. It’s not that it wasn’t a good list – in fact, it was my best one yet; it was just time to let it go.
Now, I am a list-free woman. (Sort of. I kept the first list I ever made because I am highly entertained by what was important to my nineteen-year-old self.) In the months since I let go of my list, I’ve discovered I’ve let go of some attitudes that have been counterproductive to healthy relationships, too.
I’ve let go of the checklist mentality that evaluates every available man for eligibility. My lists – especially the earliest ones – were full of must and must not statements. While most of my desired characteristics were at least spiritual-sounding, they placed an invisible burden on the men who came into my life. I have started just enjoying guys for being themselves, not how they measure up in what I think I need.
I’ve let go of the compatibility mentality that insists a mate must be on the same page as I am in everything – the page across from me at most. One of the reasons I’ve kept my very first list is because second to following Jesus, I wrote, “Must not be a Calvinist,” which made me fall of my seat laughing when I re-read it recently. While I’ve long since rejected that particular trait, all of my lists have been chock full of qualities that would make my future husband be my mental twin. I have come to value different perspectives, not just in my guy friends, but in all of my relationships.
I’ve let go of mentalities keeping me from growth and change. Most of the qualities that were once of utmost importance to me mean very little or nothing. For example, the older I get and the closer to Christ I grow, I am less interested in having a man to lead me and more interested in having a man who walks with me and with whom I can walk in mutual support and encouragement. The more rooted and grounded in Christ’s love I am, the less I need care from other sources. I have stopped pursuing people because I need them, and have started pursuing them because I want to spend time with them for them.
Now, please hear me: letting go of my list is not letting go of standards. I still watch my heart and who’s occupying it. Letting go of my list isn’t letting go of vision. I still have a calling and ultimately my mate has to match it. Letting go of my list isn’t letting go of my worth. I’m still a catch and deserve to be treated with admiration, respect, and love.
Letting go of my list hasn’t lessened me at all. It has just helped me find different kinds of love in unexpected places.
Meet the Author:
Lydia Thomas cannot dance or snap her fingers, but she can sing and write and is great with kids, so most days she feels pretty good about herself. And Jesus loves her, so she’s got that going for her as well.
She enjoys DIY projects and crafting, and spending time with family and friends, playing board games and watching movies.
She is a bibliophile, cinephile, and pluviophile, and is fascinated with everything from history to science to theology. She is unapologetically opinionated, and loves good discussions with other opinionated and thoughtful people.
She’s lived in both Michigan and Texas, currently resides in Oklahoma, and fully expects to live in both Seattle and Kenya sometime in the future.
You can follow her on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Amazon, and Pinterest for content that promotes critical thinking, wellbeing, and creativity, or connect with her via email at email@example.com.