Since I was thirteen, I had a list of qualities I would like in a husband – just so that I would recognize a good match when I saw one. I went through and rewrote it a lot over a decade’s time, and got rid of a bunch of silly negligibles, and phrased things better. But for the most part, the deal-breaker ones stayed the same. I’ll post the list sometime.
Now I met someone who matches up so well to the list, and I’m finding myself in a situation where I need to make a list of deal-breakers that would necessitate an end of the dating relationship. (if we were married, it would be different again from this.) So I wrote down what was really important to me.
And yes, this sounds really stringent and harsh. I’m not expecting him to be perfect. But the times when he is dishonest or un-respecting of me or disloyal should be exceptions – things that go against his true character. And he should be always working to starve out and crush those things.
Christianity: This is a given. Sure, everyone struggles, but if he’s not spiritually healthy, then this is too close to one of those missionary relationships we hear so frequently damned. (And rightly so.) He must be the spiritual leader. I have to cast in my lot with him, and I must be sure that means us both fighting tooth and nail for God, on his side.
Honesty: If he is not completely honest and open with me, there is no relationship. Anything apart from honesty is like going down under the foundation of a relationship and dynamiting it. I can work on forgiving sins and being patient and being gracious. I cannot spend my whole life doubting and second-guessing and navigating in uncertainty. I refuse to do that. We must have openness and sincerity.
Trust: I can’t function if I cannot trust him. Sometimes it’s going to be really dreadful, scary, tightrope-over-the-grand-canyon trust. But he has to be as worthy of that kind of trust as anyone else is; he has to essentially truthful.
Integrity: This could really be included under the Christianity heading. This is living out Christianity. There must be good sound principles at the very core of his being. To know what’s the right thing to do, and to do it. Or knowing the wrong thing, and working against it and hating it with his very bones and soul.
Respect: He must respect me as a person – on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level (I could really elaborate on each of those three individually, but maybe later). He must respect me and my concerns and wishes. It does not mean he has to agree with them and act on my opinions, but if he loves me for who I am, he ought to care what I think about things, and how stuff will affect me.
Loyalty: Loyalty to God first, loyalty to me next. Loyalty means showing love, devotion, dedication and commitment (in a healthy way, of course) to an Only (or, to the best in them). Standing with me; having his allegiance to me. And of course this is mutual loyalty. Even when he doesn’t appear loyal, I have to be loyal to the best in him. Also, loyalty to himself – the person he is trying to be, his ideal.
Stability: This isn’t a deal-breaker, but instability is very very hard to work with. In with this, I’m grouping emotional break-downs, wishywashyness, and unpredictable outbursts of different behaviors.
I think that’s all. It’s a lot as it is, even if it doesn’t seem like a long list. Working on just those things is going to take some super-human dedication and hard work. This means we must have prayer, lots and lots from both of us and anyone else possible.
Okay. That’s the foundation. If I can’t trust him, if he doesn’t respect my requests and self in general, if he’s really spiritually unstable, then I ask him for a year’s time out. Or maybe a six month time out, and then a check in, and then the next six months if there’s no decision after that time. I’ll give it some thought.