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Have you ever made a list of requirements when it comes to your future husband or wife? I definitely used to have one, and it ranged from “important” to “not important at all” in terms of content.

I used to have things like “plays the guitar” and “is taller than six feet.” Under more important things would be “is a Christ follower” and “loves my family.”

Somewhere along the way, our culture adopted the practice of making a list of “must haves” when it comes to dating. I think this has been a detrimental practice that has led to people missing out on someone who God may have picked for them to marry.

I was listening to the “That sounds fun” podcast hosted by Annie F. Downs last weekend when she touched on this subject as she sat down with a newly married couple. The bride pointed out that while the groom checked all of the boxes on her hypothetical list, she didn’t technically check all the boxes on her groom’s list.

The groom went on to say that if he had been so close minded to only look for a woman who met every single requirement he made, he would have missed out on the woman God planned for him to marry.

This is something I see so much in people my age. We’re told to have high standards when it comes to dating, but some misunderstand that as having impossible standards that people cannot meet.

It’s almost comical to me that we, such flawed people, think we know what’s best for ourselves.

Don’t get me wrong, there are things of which you should not compromise when looking for your future spouse, such as being equally yoked, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14)

But all too often I see people my age, in their mid-20s or older, absolutely mystified as to why they can’t find anyone that meets ALL of their requirements.

This is hypocritical behavior. Take a look at yourself and ask yourself, would you want to be held to such a standard? When God sent his Son to the earth to die for our sins, did he say, “Only under these conditions will my Son die for your sins?”

No, he poured His grace out on us, an undeserving human race. I’m not saying you need to date someone who isn’t good for you, don’t misunderstand me.

What I am saying is that maybe you should take a look at your list of “requirements” and evaluate for which reasons you made the list. Are some of your requirements superficial and fleeting?

Will some of these things matter 20 years down the road when you’re nearing retirement, and you’re looking at spending all of your time with this one person? Will they matter when it’s three in the morning and the baby is awake again and you’re exhausted? Will they matter when it comes to life’s big moments?

We need to simplify. There is one thing that should be of the utmost importance to you, brother or sister in Christ, and that is: If you look for Jesus in your future spouse and there is evidence of Him in their life, you’ve already met the single most important requirement of all.

Proverbs 31:10 says, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

This passage of Scripture is usually only used in reference to women. I think, however, it can be applied to men as well. No one is going to be their cute, 20-year-old self forever. However, their heart and what or whom they serve will remain the same.

I encourage you in this time of your life to remove the blinders that you may have worn until this point and look for whom God has chosen for you, rather than what you’ve imagined for yourself. He knows what is best for us. Trust Him when it comes to your future.