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.