When I was sixteen, I made a list of traits I hoped to find in the partner of my dreams one day. Nearly a decade later, that list looks a lot different now. It grew up. It learned what really matters.
I did not understand the value of the traits below when I was a teenager dreaming about falling in love one day. It took both some positive and painful experiences to mature my standards and to teach me what really matters.
No, I don’t believe my standards are too high. They are actually really simple and common-sense, but they are difficult to come by in this swipe-right, infatuation-driven, butterflies-seeking dating culture we live in now. Nevertheless, I know that the kind of love I’m after still exists, and it’s well worth my patience. So here are four traits I’ve learned to look for and traits I aim to reciprocate.
1) A person with whom I can be myself. I am waiting on a relationship where I feel no need to elevate myself for fear of not being good enough, nor discount myself for fear of being intimidating. I want to be with someone who respects me as the high-value individual that I am and accepts the flaws and quirks in between.
We make each other better by lending strength, encouragement, and support. But we don’t aim to fix or change ourselves or each other in disingenuous ways to make the relationship work.
2) Someone who only has eyes for me. Faithfulness and commitment seem harder to come by these days, especially in a dating culture where an online presence gives people the illusion that they have unlimited options of single men and women out there. Many people never seem quite ready to commit… because there just might be someone better out there– one click, one swipe, or one party away.
Call me extreme, but I would actually like to be with someone who quits trolling the internet or strolling the city for another prospect once they are with me. I want a relationship in which I actually feel safe to share who I am, because I know this person will not fall off the face of my world by next weekend. I want a partner with whom I feel safe to have a disagreement, because I know a dispute will not trigger their quest for someone else.
3) More than an “infatuational high”. We live in a society where many singles are constantly searching for their next infatuational high. Their commitment goes as far as their excitement and enthusiasm. Once that dissipates, so does the relationship.
The painful truth is that our broken modern-day dating culture breeds a handful of relational toddlers. The second things do not go their way, they call it quits. Delayed gratification is not really worth their hassle. And being considerate of other people’s feelings is not really worth their consideration…
I read a silly dating article the other day which said, “You know you’ve found the right person when the fireworks and butterflies never ever go away.” Um, what! Talk about impossibly high standards!
I’m not looking for mere sparks and butterflies. I am looking for a person who will decide to love me on days when sparks fade and butterflies vacation away. I want to be with someone who will choose me, even when they are not completely infatuated over me… And I want my partner to expect the same treatment from me.
4) A partner who appreciates and shares my faith… and has not missed the entire point of it all. I want to be with someone who is devoted to their faith and spiritual growth, regardless of me or any other outside factors. I do not want to be with someone who pretends to care about God or church just to check it off the list or just to appease me.
At the other extreme, I am not set on finding a super-Christian with all the answers. I don’t have to be with someone who is a walking theological textbook with 10+ years of ministry experience and a Bible school degree in “The Lord”… Some people know all about the Lord, but they never actually talk to Him. Ample knowledge about God is wonderful, but knowing Him is pertinent. Because when life hurts, I need someone who will pray with me and for me, not someone who will merely give wise-guy answers and a theological diagnosis.
I want someone who chooses me because we can likely accomplish more for God and for others together than we could apart. I do not want someone to choose me just because I’m a nice little Christian who goes to church and meets some moral check-list.
All of that to say, it has nothing to do with legalism and everything to do with not missing the entire point of a relationship with God and sharing that spiritual journey with someone else.
Yes, I am single- not because my standards are too high, but because I won’t sacrifice my heart, dreams, and time to chase infatuational highs, superficial flings, and emotional rollercoasters. My relationship standards are NOT too high if my goal is to find a life-long commitment and faithful love.
If marriage is in my future, then a real commitment with a compatible partner who loves me for who I am is worth the wait! My time, my calling, and my life are too valuable to settle for anything less. And, Dear Reader, the same is true for you!