Although we all think we know exactly what our ideal life partner will be like, in reality we can be so completely wrong about it.
Talk to any married couple, and the chances are neither of them will have matched up perfectly to the other’s check list.
In fact this would be a good exercise to do if you have a check list which you are unwilling to let go of.
Start talking to all your married friends, or people you meet at work or socially, and ask them what their check list was before they got married and whether the person they married matched up to it. Chances are that most people have married someone who is very different from all the things on the list.
And that’s because our lists are often totally inappropriate for what is really good for us in marriage, and what we are subconsciously drawn towards.
Having a list massively compromises your ability to meet and get to know other people.
Supposing you think that you have to marry someone who loves gardening as much as you do. Friendships with people who actively dislike gardening will not develop in your life as a result – even though those very people perhaps had a hatred of gardening because of a childhood experience of it. But if you’d had a less fixed view and got to know this person, perhaps your love of gardening would have spilt over to them and they’d have supported you in it.
Or take another example of a good friend of mine. As a single man he was mad keen on politics. He lived, breathed and slept it. Now many a woman might have thought that if she married him, she’d be living a life full of politics – perhaps her husband would even become an MP.
As it turned out, this man met a wonderful woman and having met her, his interest in politics (which perhaps was just a phase – or perhaps something he pursued because he was single) massively waned – so much so that he is hardly interested in politics at all now and is far more interested in doing up their house and starting a family. The transformation is phenomenal – none his friends would have believed it possible – yet that is what has happened.
So don’t assume that the way people are when you meet them, is how they are going to be. Having your list, and assuming that people must match up to it here and now is extremely limiting for your future. People change. People are influenced by others. People’s past are not necessarily their future
This applies to so many things including our faith. That changes for many people too.
Sometimes when we meet and get to know another person, we find they have qualities and/or interests we didn’t even appreciate at first and these can become a great source of attraction to us. Sometimes the things we think we really dislike aren’t in fact such a big deal in someone who is in all other respects right for us.
Don’t judge people on any criteria when you first meet them. Give them a chance to let you know who they really are. And if you do this, you will find yourself pleasantly surprised about how many more eligible people there are around you than you might have originally thought.
So, chuck away your list and keep an open mind!