May 8, 2021

The Problem of the Marriage Checklist

I don’t think that any young man or young woman of marriageable age does not have a checklist. Sure, it may not be one that’s written down on paper or digitally stored in your phone where you evaluate each person that walks by you according to the score, but internally you know what you’re looking for.

How many points of the checklist does this guy have?

It’s said that a woman can tell within minutes, if not quicker, whether or not she’ll be attracted or want to talk to you. I’m sure with a man it’s often faster. We have primary, secondary and even other checklists to get to certain stages.

But are these checklists healthy?

For one thing, attempting to find a life partner without some kind of checklist is foolish. I mean, you need to find a partner that is alive, for one thing. But in all seriousness, the question could more succinctly be worded, how long of a checklist should you have?

What Types of Things are On The List?

Likes walks on the beach and looking at the sunset… Check!

While it would be amusing to say “14” is the ideal number of items that should be on the list based on a scientific study, that would be as wrong as saying that all dating leads to fornication or the only way to find a spouse is online.

The true questions are what types of things belong on the list for a potential mate, and not how many things there are.

Some items that I have heard on some people’s list include height, eye color, hair color and weight. More recently, I’ve read that a potential future husband shouldn’t be into video games.

There are multiple problems with these types of lists.

They Can Be A Crutch

These types of lists are great for weeding out someone you’re not attracted to, but often disappear when someone you are attracted to shows up.

The guy that has the list where the girl that he wants to marry is a night owl will quickly overlook that item when he meets the attractive girl at youth group. The girl that has on his list where the guy has to be six feet tall will take five eight when he has a nice car.

So the list becomes a crutch, a reason to say why we won’t do something with someone we don’t find attractive.

They Minimize Our Faults While Maximizing Theirs

Most of the things that we place on these long types of lists are items that we would like out of the perfect person– someone that does not exist. Well, we’re probably smart enough to rationalize this, and allow for some flaws, but trying to get all of these things is like the chance of winning the lottery.

Worst of all, these lists usually place your value higher than it may be, and therefore get you frustrated when someone that makes a majority of the items, or that you find attractive, is not attracted to you.

Your list reflects your values, it reflects your desires, your worldview and moral compass. It also reflects what you value, and you believe that if you value them, then the person that would fit your list must value them too.

This just sets you up for disappointment.

The List May Keep You From Ever Getting Married

If you do manage to keep to your list, without compromising because of attraction, you may find that person never comes around. You may believe you should get married but no one fits your list.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7 that it’s good to be single, but marriage is not bad, and that marriage is preferable to falling to sexual temptation– which means that this is a good reason to get married, even early in life.

Wishing to have children, and be a mother, is a positive thing, and this is better done earlier in life than later. This is a noble calling.

Marriage was intended to be for a lifetime, and a list should not keep you from marrying someone that is a good man/woman.

The Key Is To Have a Short List

It’s not wrong to have a list. It’s inadvisable to have a LONG list. Here’s some items that should be on your list:

  • Regularly practices the same religion as you
  • Loyalty– Believes that marriage is a long lasting covenant that should not be broken
  • Does not have a reputation as a striker/complainer
  • Treats others well
  • Has a profession or life goals that compliments your own

After that, you’ll want to gauge attraction and compatibility.

What do you think? Do you have a list– how long is it?

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