The Chick Flick Future Spouse List for Singles

Donald Miller posted a sweet story about a list his Paige shared with him during their engagement. Here’s the list:

I want someone who…

– loves God with his whole heart.

– wants to talk to me everyday, 30 times a day if that’s what I need that day.

– can’t wait to see me again

– is always thinking about me

– surprises me, in good ways from the little to the big

– plans dates for me

– follows through on what he says he’s going to do

– is consistent in his actions and behavior

– doesn’t disappear

– reassures me of his feelings for me with his actions and words

– wants the whole world to know how he feels about me, isn’t afraid to show it or say it

– puts me first, after God.

– is not afraid of my sensitivities, scars and wounds but wants to be a part of healing them

– always makes time for me no matter what else is going on.

– pursues me

Many a girl (and a growing number of guys) have these lists. So this push back is not a snipe on Paige, but on the general misguidance we give Christian singles on the “perfect spouse list.”

Take a look at that list again. Hayley and I call this a “Me List.” Outside of the first entry about wanting a godly man, it’s all me, me, me. Which is the opposite of 1 Corinthians 13. Sort of. Most singles when making these lists say, “I want to be loved by someone who loves sacrificially like in 1 Cor. 13.” But at the heart of that request is a receiving heart, not a giving heart. Or at best, a heart that says, “I’ll give if I receive.” And that still is conditional love.

When doing premarital counseling, I would always ask to see these lists. In this case, I would ask, “Don, after reading that list, what does the list imply will happen when you don’t do these things? And Paige, if Don’s list says ‘wants to have sex with me everyday, 30 times a day if that’s what I need that day,’ do you see anything wrong with that?”

In short, these “Me Lists” work out to be the basis for “falling out of love;” what more and more divorces are based on.

If you must make a list, here is a short one (I’ve even thrown in a bunch of me’s to make everyone think they’re still getting stuff!)-

Resolved: God’s Word says not to be unequally yoked, so finding a Christian spouse is on me. Beyond that, here are my heavenly requests:

1. God, give me someone that will drive me closer to you.
2. God, give me someone that will help advance your kingdom.
3. God, give me someone that can be unloveable, so I may love them the way you love me.
4. God, give me someone who can also love the unloveable, for that is me far too often.

This list is virtually divorce-proof. It’s not a chick flick list, but it is a 1 Cor. 13 list.

Here’s 1 Cor. 13 from the ESV. Note that this chapter is about having love, not getting love or feeling loved. And check out the the first three verses. They’re not “me” verses, they’re “I” verses.

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

14 comments on “The Chick Flick Future Spouse List for Singles

  1. Michael, good stuff. While I’m not single anymore and haven’t been in a while, I do still recognize that most of us are looking for someone to love us but not looking for an opportunity to love someone. This is more problematic than we would like to admit. I personally did not understand the concept of marriage being a covenant vs. a contract until after I was married. There’s a big difference obviously! However, when constructing a Biblical list of characteristics, I think scripture would have us add a few other things. For instance, a woman should be looking for a man who is financially and emotionally independent from his parents (Gen 2:24). If he has not established his own independence, he simply is NOT ready to take on a wife period. While it might sound selfish for a woman to make that a requirement, I believe God put it in His word as a safeguard for us, and it is only wise for us to heed that advice. Another example: a man should probably be looking for a woman with a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4). Obviously, there are tons of scriptures about men and women’s roles and character, and no one can expect their spouse to have mastered those before they’re even married. It takes lots of time, but these things seem to be pretty foundational to me.

    As a side note, God was gracious enough to me to work beyond my ignorance and give me all the things on your list above.

  2. OK, so I’m assuming this is the blog that Don Miller is accusing of “attacking him.” I found it after your twitter exchange. I don’t get it. How are you attacking him? I can see him feeling uneasy about you calling his fiancee’s list a “me list”, but it is! And he not only posted it, but asked “why not make a list?”

    Thanks for putting yourself out there to respond. I had never thought about those lists that way!

    • This is true more times than I wish. But how’s my take on lists? Do you think it rings true or did I miss the mark?

  3. Michael,
    I understand your point about a “Me List,” but the reason Don Miller is upset, is because you are predicting his divorce in this post. This is too personal.

    IF you wanted to make a point about wanting Godly spouses (NOT saying Miller+wife are unGodly, anything but), you should have said “this is a list a woman made about her future husband.” Or perhaps you could have commented on the trend of making these lists. It was completely unnecessary to spotlight Miller and condemn his marriage like that.

    It’s rude and unkind. Biblically: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Matthew 7:12

    • Thanks Abigail. But I didn’t condemn or predict his relationship to divorce. And I have commented about these trends in both our book for teens called “B4UD8 (Before You Date)” and a book for adults called “Cupidity: 50 Stupid Things People Do For Love.”

      I was mistaken to think Miller wanted any dissenting answer to his question: “why not make a list?” As for someone doing to me what I’ve done in this situation; yes, I’d want someone to point out I’m encouraging singles to create and cherish a self-centered foundation on love and marriage!

  4. Wow, I had never thought about these lists that way. You’re totally right. There are a lot of things we do like this that seem innocent and Godly, but really aren’t. Great post.

    • He asked “why not make a list?” All I did was answer that question. I’m guessing you agreed with his take? Since you’re quoting scripture, can you help see where my take on lists was less biblical than his, and where the list he shared on his blog will help singles more than mine? I’d really appreciate it!

  5. Hi Michael

    I totally get what you are saying, and I am glad you said it. I don’t think you were attacking Don at all, just looking at the “list” differently…

    I wrote this to his blog:
    I think the notion of a list in theory is nice and sweet, especially when you’re the one that ticks all the boxes, but I think in reality it errs on fantasy and Idealism. That’s not say God can’t answer idealistic prayers, all I’m saying is a list can sometimes set you up for failure and place way too much pressure on you if you’re on the receiving end. What if you can’t live up to a point in someone’s list? I read a list of an ex once, I matched all of her points, but in the end as you find more and more about the person, I didn’t match up to everything, and I’m sure I helped her add a few more points to her list for the next guy she’s looking for. A list is nice to have, but Don when you wrote in your latest book A Million Miles… You talk about a couple you knew, they were authors, or psychologist or something and I remember you saying that when you talked to her about the relationship with her husband, she boilded it down to “just a guy she loves” and she’s “just a girl he loves”. And you talked about the simplicity of how they saw their relationship. Not making each other out to be “Jesus”, but just loving them warts and all. I think when you can love someone for things that aren’t on your “list” then that is way more powerful than loving someone for the things that are on your “list.

  6. Hi Michael
    First off, I don’t think what you wrote is attacking Don Miller. I totally understand what you are saying and I agree. You’re merely looking at it from another perspective.

    I replied to Don’s blog with this comment:

    I think the notion of a list in theory is nice and sweet, especially when you’re the one that ticks all the boxes, but I think in reality it errs on fantasy and Idealism. That’s not say God can’t answer idealistic prayers, all I’m saying is a list can sometimes set you up for failure and place way too much pressure on you if you’re on the receiving end. What if you can’t live up to a point in someone’s list? I read a list of an ex once, I matched all of her points, but in the end as you find more and more about the person, I didn’t match up to everything, and I’m sure I helped her add a few more points to her list for the next guy she’s looking for. A list is nice to have, but Don when you wrote in your latest book A Million Miles… You talk about a couple you knew, they were authors, or psychologists or something and I remember you saying that when you talked to her about the relationship with her husband, she boiled it down to “just a guy she loves” and she’s “just a girl he loves”. And you talked about the simplicity of how they saw their relationship. Not making each other out to be “Jesus”, but just loving one another warts and all. I think when you can love someone for things that aren’t on your “list” then that is way more powerful than loving someone for the things that are on your “list”.

    Steve

  7. Good writing. Think you said it all. Both party got a part to play not 1 end receiving all the goodies. God bless you

  8. Great post! I totally see what you’re saying. I think a list based on Biblical character can help people look for a Godly spouse. But most lists probably just set people up for disappointment. I’m thankful for a leader at my college church who encouraged me to hold out for a Godly man, instead of settling for an immature “boy.” I didn’t have a very specific list, but I did have a few Godly characteristics I prayed about. Thanks again!

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