I made the list when I was, oh, 14-years-old or so.
With cramped cursive letters, I wrote in my journal:
Things I Want My Husband to Be Like
Because even then I was neurotic about list-making.
I was spiritual about it, of course. I prayed before making the list and then again afterward.
Even though I can’t find the list anymore in my pile of teenage journals, I still remember most of the items on there.
- Not just a nominal Christian, but someone who is passionate about God and His Word and is actively using his spiritual gifts to praise God and minister to others.
- Someone I can respect intellectually.
- No substance abuse issues.
- Hard working.
- Calm without problems controlling his anger.
- Please, God, can he play the guitar since I play the piano?
- I kind of like blue eyes.
Fourteen years ago, I married this blue-eyed, guitar-playing man who was everything on my list and so much more.
He’s the only guy I ever dated. The only man I’ve ever kissed or held hands with or told, “I love you.” After all, not many men would live up to “The List.”
And I’ll confess it.
I still get all weepy every….single….time he weaves his fingers through mine and prays with me.
I’m still his biggest fan whether he’s on the stage acting in a play or grabbing his guitar and stepping up to the mic to lead worship at our church.
And when he reaches out and places his hand on mine when we’re driving around town in our minivan with four kids (possibly screaming, singing, fighting, or laughing) in the back seats, my heart totally stops for a second or two.
I pretty much still have a teenage crush on this guy.
Back when I was making my ‘husband list,’ I was thinking things like:
What kind of guy would I want to spend the rest of my life with?
Who do I want to date forever?
Whose eyes do I want to gaze into when sitting at a candlelit table?
But I wasn’t thinking this.
Who will give me grace when I’m grumpy?
Who will see the ugliest parts of my heart and dare to love me anyway?
Who will watch me push a baby out of my body or see the surgical scar from a C-section…or see me on days when I’m covered in baby spit-up, child-vomit, or other bodily fluids from my kids and still make me feel beautiful?
Who will crawl under our house multiple times in January during a massive plumbing failure to make sure our pipes aren’t clogged and then call the septic guys and take off a day of work so he can be there to talk to them as they drain out our clogged and filled septic tank? (True story).
One day you just wake up and you’re the one with the minivan, the mortgage, a few extra pounds, gray hair, and four kids.
So, I’m so thankful I didn’t marry someone I could only do romance with, but someone I could do life with, as well.
After all, you can do beautiful with most anybody; it takes someone special to plow through the sludge with you.
In his book, Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas writes:
Marriage can be that holy place, the site of a relationship that proclaims God’s love to the world.
Paul said it this way:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-27 NIV).
So, maybe this is what should have been on my list all along: At the end of the day, people should see my marriage and say, “Wow, look at the faithful, unselfish, sacrificial, gracious way that God loves the church!”
And here on my 14th wedding anniversary I’m remembering this: marriage isn’t just a secondary something I do while I minister to God elsewhere. Marriage is my ministry, my sacred calling, the workshop God uses to make me more like Christ, and the way He can use me to show God’s love to my husband, my children, and to the world.
If you knew a young woman who was making “a list” of qualities to look for in a husband, what would you suggest she put on that list?
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!
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Copyright © 2014 Heather King