A few weeks before my life changed forever, I attended a women’s retreat through my church. By that point, I was already hollow inside. I had spent the drive up listening to the girlfriend of the guy I was in love with gush about their relationship. I wanted so desperately to move on.
On the last night, one of the speakers rose to talk about how she got together with her husband. She had been stubborn, insistent that a man must have the qualities that she needed in a relationship. Her mother gently told her that ultimately, the only thing that mattered was if he loved Jesus or not.
I shook my head at this. No! It matters if he compliments your strengths and weaknesses. It matters if you like to do the same things together. I was on the verge of tears. She was wrong.
About a year and a half later, I found myself in a community group where the group leaders talked about making a list of what you’re looking for in a spouse.
I set to work making my list. Loves kids, give grace easily, not easily upset, strong-willed, etc. The list went on.
Every man went through this filter. According to the church I was attending, I was doing the right thing. I was being wise.
Do not be wise in your own eyes… – Proverbs 3:7a
Something began to shift in me. My heart began to harden. I became hyper critical. I avoided intimacy at all costs. I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t just let things happen.
I checked things off my list as I evaluated each potential mate. I was looking for perfection. I was looking for someone that met my needs.
I was exhausted and unhappy. I got to a place where I just decided I would focus on my job, my dog and my friends because dating made me so frustrated.
I was lying awake late one night, unable to sleep.
The only thing that matters is if he loves Jesus.
I felt my heart heal in that moment. Did my list even matter? What do I know about what I need? Every other aspect of my life was held with open hands. I willingly followed God wherever He asked me to go. But dating was different. I had always been so wound in my own thoughts and feelings about what I needed.
What do I, a mere human, know of God’s will for my life?
Everything changed in that moment. I held my dating life with open hands.
All he needs to do is love Jesus. And maybe coffee. It wouldn’t hurt if he loved coffee.