Deciding who to enter into a relationship with is one of the most important decisions we’ll ever make (and because we ain’t perfect, it may be a decision we have to make more than once!) and this is because, even if we don’t notice it’s happening, our relationships shape us.
They just do.
Being in a relationship will either lead us to become more and more ourselves, the people we were always meant to be, or they won’t. They’ll either give us courage or take it away from us. They will make us feel loved and valued just as we are, or they’ll make us feel like we constantly need to strive to be enough.
When relationships are right and healthy they can be bundles of heart-warming joy and loveliness, even in the inevitable not-so-easy times. But when relationships are wrong, they can really hurt us.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that choosing who to be with is a big old deal.
So I made a plan for myself, because I totally know how hard this decision can be to make. It’s a plan that may help you out too. I have made myself an A-list and a B-list, basically the A-list is the things that are non-negotiable must-haves in any guy, and then the B-list is things that I have decided that I can let go.
This little way of making sure that I’m firm in what/who will be good for me has been the most helpful tool everrrrrrrr. If only I had done this years ago…ohh the heart-ache I would have dodged!
But to make sure we’re not just being super picky for picky’s sake, there has to be guidelines on how to make these lists with the very best intentions, here are three ground rules for your A-list:
1. Keep it short! Your A-list should be no longer than five points long. Otherwise we’ll just be asking for the impossible and that’ll get us nowhere.
2. Be really honest with yourself. We really need to know ourselves well in order to know what we’ll need in another person. So keep it real!
3. Pray it through. This is perhaps the most important one. If you’re anything like me (a little picky and indecisive) then this really isn’t a list that you want to be making on your own, you have to be making it with the God who knows you better than you know yourself and loves you more than you could ever understand.
So, with this in mind feel free to be firm in your non-negotiables, you have full permission to be careful about who you’re going to let into your life, especially in such an important role.
Here’s a sneak peak at what my A-list was:
- Whoever he is HAS to love Jesus, otherwise it would pretty much be a non-starter.
- He would have to love people, my extraverted ways would be the bane of his life otherwise.
- He would have to be someone that makes me want to grow into a better person, because that’s kind of the whole point, right?
Everything else, I had to decide was on my negotiable B-list! So my dreams for him to be a beautiful, pro-surfing, cooking extraordinaire have to be let go. That A -list is all I need to have figured out, the rest is an exciting journey of discovering that God knows exactly what I want and need far better than I ever will.
And that’s the whole point of this plan, to tune into what God would want for us so that we’re able to say no to anything that isn’t it, and yes to anything that is it but doesn’t look quite how our B-list was expecting it to.
If they tick your A-list, go for it with a brave, wise and expectant heart. Don’t take it all so seriously, and remind yourself that you have a God who has everything in hand.