04 March 2015

Just Because He Loves Jesus Doesn't Mean He's the One

When I was 13 I made a list of all of the traits I wanted in my husband. He had to play guitar, be smart, love my family and love Jesus. As I've gotten older my list has evolved. He doesn't really need to play the guitar or do yoga. Those were negotiable. However, some of the others stuck. He has to love my family and care about me and be intelligent. And, the biggest one of all: he's gotta love Jesus.

A lot of my friends have similar non-negotiables - whether they are Christians or not, they have the things that they know they can't live without. For me, faith is a huge part of my life and the way I operate - both in big moments and in the day-to-day. I can't imagine building a family on anything but the foundation of Christ and I know I want to do that alongside my husband.

Sometimes, though, I think we get so caught up in checking the boxes that we forget there is more to it. Just because a guy loves Jesus doesn't mean he's my husband. And the same goes for if he is Jewish or a Democrat or wants to travel to Africa, just like you. Love and relationships are not about a series of checking the boxes and  just because someone meets my minimum criteria doesn't mean he is meant to be my life partner.

What I've learned is that the negotiable items - the things that I didn't really know I wanted or needed - are important, too. They are the pleasant surprises. Love isn't about meeting a baseline. It's not about maintaining control. It's about finding someone you want to have as your partner and grow alongside.

Someone might meet your checklist at first glance, but that doesn't mean you should marry him. For about a year in my 20s, I dated a guy who met all the criteria I wanted on paper. But as we got to know each other better, it became clear he wasn't the one for me. Why? He was pretty guarded and rigid and those are traits that come very naturally to me, but I've worked really hard to break free from. So dating him was like dating myself a few years prior. He may have met my criteria on paper, but emotionally, we weren't aligned.

Melissa and I were talking about that relationship this week and she said: It was like you could never relax with him. And she's exactly right. I wasn't the fullest, most vibrant version of myself around him.

Checklists don't tell you that. You have to learn by trial and be willing to set the list aside. Even though I know I need to marry a God-fearing man who loves my family and ice cream, too, I hope the man I marry is more than these three things. I hope he is someone who brings out the best in me and helps me to be the fullest version of myself. I hope he is more than a checklist; I hope he is my partner in all I do.


  1. I can't tell you how true this is. I dated a guy for four years and at the time everyone commented on how we were meant to be or would be the first to get married. It took me a really long time to realize that I was truly happy anymore. I finally just walked away. Everyone was stunned, but shortly after my friends and family told me how much more alive I was. You are the one in control of your happiness. I am now happily married to someone perfectly perfect for me. He checked some of the "boxes", but there are so many other things about him that now I cannot imagine being with someone different. Looking back, I have to wonder why it took me so long to realize...

    1. thanks for sharing! it is crazy how long it takes us to learn things sometimes :) but that is life!

  2. I love this Whit! It's so, so true and I can 100% relate to just checking boxes. Someone who seems perfect on paper isn't necessarily perfect for you.

  3. absolutely love this! just because someone is perfect on paper doesn't mean that they're right for you. sometimes the best connections are with people who seem like an unlikely match!

  4. I totally agree with this!! Often time we feel we found the perfect person and as we get to know them more and more we may soon realize that maybe not so much. The tough part is being honest with ourselves and realizing that if something doesnt feel right, is probably a smart idea to walk away.

  5. Ohh I absolutely love this-- I've definitely been a checklist girl before and it just didn't work-- I dated the guy who fit the checklist but we didn't have any chemistry... then again I dated the guy who I had crazy chemistry with but I was never happy because we didn't have similar values. I always say too that I want a guy who makes me the best version of myself and hopefully, that I will do the same for him. And of course have a strong relationship with the Lord and his family... haha if you know anyone like that in CA, feel free to send them my way ;)


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