Should You Ditch “The List”?

The Future Husband Checklist.

Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Some may call it by a different name, but many of us have one either mentally or physically written out.

From a young age, we hear:
“Have standards!”
“Don’t settle for less!”
“Write down exactly what you want and pray that God gives it to you!”

It sounds like a good idea (and a romantic one). So is it?

Here are two reasons to ditch the Future Husband Checklist.

1. You’re not letting God lead.

God created us and knows what is best for our lives.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13).

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Letting God, not a checklist, lead your life is the best way to operate your dating life. He knows what you need without the list. Trust Him rather than telling Him what you think is best for your future.

2. You limit your focus.

Even if the checklist is rigorous and expansive, it limits your focus, causing you to only look for the characteristics on the list. Someone might meet every criterion on your list, but deep down you may feel it’s not right. Because of your belief in “the list,” you may stay in a relationship with him anyway because he checked all the boxes.

Having a list can cause you to ignore negative behaviors. You become so focused on looking for the characteristics that meet the list that you become blinded to behaviors that are red flags.

Keeping your eyes and hearts open to God’s plan for our lives is vital.

Also, God may surprise you with the kind of guy He has in mind for you. He might not tick any of the boxes you have in mind and still be a good and perfect gift (James 1:17).

Keeping your eyes and hearts open to God’s plan for our lives is vital. Don’t limit your focus so far that you miss something (or someone) God has in store for you.

A New Kind of List

I learned this lesson the hard way. I got so focused on “the list” that I blinded myself to a guy’s negative behaviors. After our relationship ended, I tore up my list and started over.

Having standards on a list is not bad. However, the list overall needs to contain broad characteristics and behaviors on which you will not compromise based on God’s Word. For example, number one on every list should be “Christian.” As you make your new list, start here.

From there, it’s personal preference. Are you okay with alcohol? Smoking? Rough family situation? A non-virgin? Video games? Keep it short and simple. Ten items or less is a good goal. Remember, we’re going for broad. Instead of making a long list of personal preferences and qualities you’ve imagined your dream guy having, search in God’s Word. What do you find about being a godly guy? Put it on the list. (To get you started, check out this post from our archives: “I Found Your Perfect Man in Tennessee”).

Pray about your list, and let God be the final say. Ask for His help, and He will lead you!

Do you currently have a list that needs to be redone?

If you kept it simple and used God’s Word as your guide, what would be on your new list? Let us know in a comment below.

About Author

Sarah Garrett

Sarah Garrett is a passionate educator and founder of the Transformed4More Ministries that she runs with her identical twin sister. It is her desire to reach struggling teenagers and tell them about the transformative power and love of God. Her book, "So, You Think You Are Ready to Date?" released in October 2017.

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  • Avigail

    Great post! I really agree I never liked the idea of writing lists of charctaristics that I want in a future husband I feel like it’s almost saying to God the man you have for me isn’t good anough unless he can mark all these characteristics. I think the quistions we should be asking are- is he a strong beliver? Is he willing to grow closer to God and to keep seeking him? And will he build you up and help you have a closer relationship with God?

  • Tiana

    Great post! I read in a book that you were supposed to write a list with all the characteristics you want in your future husband (e.g. honest, trustworthy, patient, etc.) and that’s what I did. There are also some other characteristics they must have though. Like being a Christian, as the author said. Thanks for the great post!

  • Grace

    I love this. I had written a list several times growing up, and I got to the point where I entered a new relationship and began worrying because, although I really liked him, the guy I was dating didn’t have everything on the list, and they were things that, really, didn’t matter. What does matter is that he is seeking a deeper relationship with Christ, he is kind, and we are best friends. And I really believe with that, everything else has fallen into place. Although he is different than “my list” would specify, I am so thankful. My advice is this: trust God and relinquish control. Let him surprise you in the most unexpected ways 🙂

  • I always had trouble trying to compile a list. I appreciate the idea of having it as a sort of self-accountability when you’re in the heat of the moment, so to speak, and aren’t viewing things as objectively as you could wish. But, as was written here, narrowing your focus to a selection of things that aren’t really that important just didn’t seem helpful. I agree a shorter list of things we won’t compromise on would be much more useful. Thanks for the post 🙂

  • Deena Maga

    Thank, you!!!. My question is how do you entrust someone to God as being someone that you have in mind to potentially date or court in the future???

    • Transformed4More

      Hello there! I am the author of this post. I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking. Can you rephrase the question? I would love to answer!

      • Deena Maga

        My question is How do you give to God someone that you have feelings about and you feel you might end up with?? Like how do you give to God someone you have feelings for and you feel you might end up with as in a couple.

        • Transformed4More

          My best advice is to cover the relationship/person in prayer. Turn over the relationship to Him and don’t worry about if it will work out, if you’re keeping your focus on God, He will let you know. I hope this helps 🙂

  • Abigail

    Okay, this isn’t completely fair. Many of my gal friends could relate, I’m sure. However, I find myself waiting for the “perfect man”. The man that God wants for me. Yes, some have preferences with hair, eyes, height, body build, well physical appearance. BUT that’s not the list we need. My list is •Christian, and God approved• that’s it. Life doesn’t go as planned. God has a greater plan that we can’t even fathom. I understand, and yeah the title is “Should” but you must give EVERYTHING to God.

  • Michaela Douglass

    Does anyone have ideas or ways to bust being boy-crazy? I always feel like I need a boyfriend because of some personal things that I have been through with my bio dad and all? I am open to anything!

    • Transformed4More

      If you search “boy crazy” on this site, many posts will show up!