Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Against lists

We like lists. I like lists. I like to-do lists, I like lists of books I own, books I want. Lists keep me organized and keep me sane.

But there are some things that should not be listed.

One of these, I believe, is our opinion on what our husband should be like. I know we’ve all heard the stories, right? The ladies who in their youth wrote down what they thought of as the ideal husband and lo and behold he showed up! I don’t at all want to denigrate their experience. But I do want to say that lists can be a way for us to fall into a trap. If our ideal man at 15 or 20 or 25 has brown hair and loves cats and fine art, we will inevitably, consciously or unconsciously, go around measuring every man we meet against this level. Brown hair? Check. Loves cats? Check. But, oh no! He doesn’t like art! Never mind then.

I’m not saying we all do this so blatantly. But if we’re honest with ourselves, I think we’ll admit that we do it far more often than we mean to.

You might be wondering what the problem is. Doesn’t all of that just mean that we have standards? Well, yes that’s true. On the other hand, I think that it can all too often lead to our limiting what God wants. If we have the cat and art loving brown haired guy in our heads, it’s harder for us to hear God when He says, “Hey! Dog and car loving black haired guy over here!” It’s hard for us to see beyond an image of our own making.

We should certainly know what we cannot compromise on, whether it’s theology, political beliefs, etc. But we should also know what is less important, what in the end is trifles. I believe that by doing this we will open our hearts to God’s will.


Catherine October 30, 2008 at 12:28 AM  

Quite true. I've been thinking about that this week :)

Krista October 30, 2008 at 11:46 AM  

Omaine! I once made a list, but thankfully it never stuck. :-) I do have a mental list of 'musts' as far as beliefs go and a corner of my mind does admit to certain apsects, physical and otherwise that attract me to a guy, but...

No real list. And I love lists! I'm a chronic list maker.

Fabulous post, Maureen.

Pam H. October 31, 2008 at 8:20 AM  

Well said, but God can do anything. I know people who went into marriage without bothering whether their beliefs and their fiance's coincided and their marriages are miserable. I was blind, too, but my marriage is a good one, after an initial trial of quite a few years (7?). God has brought my spouse to Himself - I know it wasn't me who did it! Now our beliefs are essentially the same, and our home is peaceful and loving. Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ.

MaureenE October 31, 2008 at 11:43 AM  

I know people who went into marriage without bothering whether their beliefs and their fiance's coincided and their marriages are miserable.

That I am NOT advocating. We should certainly find out if the person we're interested in has the same essential beliefs as we do. I'm thinking more on the lists which get caught up in externals.

Laura Ansley November 1, 2008 at 3:42 PM  

I have a list, and it is made up of musts and wants. That said, musts are musts, wants are whatever, and that list is just me being real with myself about who I am, what I want, and taking it to God and being real with him. He made us to have preferences, and its okay to prefer something as long as you stay open to anything God has for you. =) Good post.

Ana November 7, 2008 at 4:18 PM  

Wonderfully said. Very, very good thoughts! Thank you!

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