Step #1: Make a list of non-negotiables
Make a list of non-negotiable characteristics for a future spouse. It is important to know what you want in a spouse. However, do not place 21 items on your list!! Newsflash, that person probably does not exist! Also, be thoughtful about what you place on this list. Characteristics like tall, dark, and handsome are not really non-negotiable items. This is my list of non-negotiable characteristics:
- She loves Jesus deeply and genuinely
- She likes to engage in thoughtful conversation with me
- She has some idea of her life trajectory (i.e. goals, ambitions, etc.)
- I am attracted to her overall personality and appearance
Notice that my future wife could look like anyone and be a range of personalities, but she had to have these characteristics. Note that there is nothing ungodly in praying for your future spouse to be attractive. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that is how God wired us!
Step #2: Make a list of your personal priorities
Make a list of your personal priorities in life. What are your priorities in life? What do you value? When you meet someone, that person should have similar priorities. If they do not, you will live in silent resentment, constant conflict, or be forced to rearrange your priorities. Search deeply in your heart. Spend time praying (and journaling). This is what my list of priorities looked like:
- I desire to love and honor God with my life
- I want to love and care for my family (even my extended family, etc.)
- I will work hard within my profession and/or ministry aspirations
- I will make time to invest in my close friends
If these were not on my future wife’s priority list and not in the same order, then I would move on to the next person. I know that many couples have difficult fights and some separate simply because they have a different view of how life should be lived out. Our priorities shed light on our worldview. Make sure to match up your priorities before moving forward.
Step #3: Answer these 8 questions
Yeah, that was kind of tricky – step 3 has 8 smaller steps within it! My bad. I suggest that if you are already in a relationship, then answer these questions separately and then compare answers. Be honest and specific on your answers. All is not lost when you have different answers, but it will definitely indicate a course correction in your relationship. If you are not in a relationship, then use these questions before entering into it. It will save you a lot of heartache!
- Have you made room for God in the decision-making process? How?
- Has God’s Word confirmed the decision to pursue one another? When?
- Has your decision been affirmed by mentors and Godly community? Who?
- Are you ready to put character over outwardly appearance?
- Do your life plans fit together without drastic compromise? How?
- Have you considered the practical aspects of living life together? Explain.
- Are you the right spiritual maturity for one another? Why?
- Are you encouraging one another to remain sexually pure?