As you look at this LIST, you'll notice that I have encapsulated everything I want in a man into nine very broad categories. I include some specific applications within each category, but the root qualities that I desire are in no way specific or particular. The reason why I do this is tied to what induced me to share this list in the first place. The other day, I had a conversation with some friends at a bridal shower. We got to discussing a certain apartment-full of bachelors and discovered that each of them possessed a distinct likable quality. If all four of these qualities -- brains, brawn, endearing charm, and dashing good looks -- could be combined into one person... Aw, man, the guy would be superman! Every girl's dream! But, sadly, God doesn't allow for such flawless gems to roam the earth. There is no Mr. Perfect. Everyone has weaknesses and flaws. And that's the attitude I'm trying to approach this LIST with. This LIST is in no way a LIST of dealbreakers. Sure, there are a few things I won't compromise for, but in regards to "type," I consider myself pretty open in terms of looks, tastes, careers, and other details. I've liked blondes, brunettes, redheads (OMG Jake Gamauf). I've liked them tall, I've liked them short. I've liked them young (three or four years younger), I've liked them old (I've piqued at age 52). I've liked Asians, Blacks, and Mexicans. I've pursued men from every lifestyle... potheads, closet-gays, college grads, musicians, military men, hippies, self-proclaimed vampires, twins, returned missionaries, current missionaries, ex-missionaries, college professors, long-lost cousins, bishops' sons, high-school dropouts, institute teachers, the list goes on. I consider almost every single man I meet to be an opportunity for a worthwhile relationship.
You can call me desperate, but I prefer the term open-minded. I shouldn't put all my eggs in one basket. Truth is I change my mind about what I like frequently. Matter of fact, I'm sure this LIST changes on a daily basis based on my mood and the men who are particularly present in my life. If anyone reading this has kept track of my love life, the man described in this LIST may seriously resemble some specific men I have known (or do know) in my life. That's no coincidence. The more men I meet, the more solid my standard becomes based on what is realistically available, but the standard is far from set. As I meet people and as I date, I learn about what I like and my expectations change. I'm not flaky. Just fluid. Flexible.
You may be laughing by now. I understand why. But please understand, parts of this LIST are very serious. I really do care about the man I eventually select for a husband, and while I joke about the prospect, I do believe that when the time comes, my decision will be made with much prayer and fasting. And when I make that decision, I'll make it for good. In my opinion, there's no going back on eternity. I'll live with the choice I make and I won't flake out with some stupid divorce. In making such an eternal decision, I know the Spirit is the best tool for making the right choice, and I say that its affirmative prompting will trump any other requirements on this LIST.
So without further ado, here it is:
1. Passion -- I'd like the man I marry to have a passion for at least one thing in his life. Something he really cares about. It doesn't have to be big; it doesn't have to be something I'm passionate about, but it has to be something. And he needs to have a desire to share his feelings with others. Whether it be a soft spot for old black-and-white films, a love of cycling, a rock collection, a sincere devotion to the gospel, or maybe just an obsession with a sports team, I want to know that my husband is capable of feeling for something, allowing something outside of himself to affect his emotions and behaviors. It's something I can relate with -- me and my crazy Gaga, gummi-loving self -- and it's something that further ensures that the man will continue to have a passion for me.
2. Spirituality -- The man I marry must -- must -- have a sound relationship with his Father in Heaven. And this relationship must be something I can at least somewhat understand. In my book, that means the relationship must be founded on the doctrines and principles taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I want a man who believes he's a son of God with a divine purpose and destiny. I want him to know that he has a responsibility as a priesthood holder in the church. I want a man who prays often. A man who receives revelation for himself and his family. A man who reads scriptures, talks about them, bears his testimony, fulfills his calling. A man who goes out of his way to do what God asks him to do, even if it's unpopular or difficult. In short, I want a man who is "steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works."
3. Family first -- The man I marry must have family as a priority in his life. This is yet another reason why I wish to marry within the church. The man I marry will want to marry for eternity, and that can only be done in the temples of God. I will marry a man who lives up to his covenants so that he will remain worthy to live with his family forever.
In everyday life, I want a man who will make sacrifices for his wife and children. He'll put his own needs on hold to spend time with his kids and be a father in the best way he can. The man I marry will want children, but he doesn't have to be a "kid person." I'm not looking for a guy who's "good with children." In my opinion, that quality is not a trustworthy one in measuring a man's capabilities as a father. Just because you're good with kids doesn't mean you'll be a great dad. Kids don't stay kids forever, and I'd like a man who will remain a loving and caring father to his children for always, even in adulthood. He just needs to love them. Besides, I'm no good with kids at all, and it doesn't feel right to expect more out of my husband than I can give myself. We can endure the child-bearing process together.
He'll be a man who calls his mother and father often; a man on good terms with his siblings; a man who respects his in-laws. He may not be perfect in expressing his love for his family, but as long as the desire is there, that satisfies me.
4. Respect -- In regards to how the man I marry will treat his wife, there are two words that I will use in describing my expectations: Trust and respect. I believe love -- true, pure love -- must contain both trust and respect. In a way, respect and trust go hand in hand. In a respectful relationship, trust is fostered and love grows.
Respect is vital when it comes to communicating needs, establishing expectations, and making decisions as a couple. I hope to feel confident in freely communicating with my spouse, knowing that even if he doesn't agree with everything I say, he will at least try to understand me and take what I say seriously. If there are needs that I have, he will respect them. If I need to talk, he'll let me talk. If I need time alone, he'll give it to me. If I don't have time for dishes, he'll try to make time to do them so that I don't have to. If I need a new pair of shoes, he will abstain from just saying no and try to figure out why I need them before placing a judgement on my materialism and foolishness. And if he can't find a good reason, he'll tell me in as respectful of a way possible that I'm an idiot for wanting such a silly thing and that I need to wait a few paychecks before splurging it on footwear. And after the constructive criticism, he'll tell me he loves me and the marriage will continue without grudge or bitterness. There won't be yelling or name-calling or backbiting; there will be open, respectful communication. A couple can disagree all it wants as long as respect is shown when disagreements do come up. Respect is the fastest route to solving problems.
5. Trust -- Trust is invaluable in a relationship like a marriage where everything is shared. When my husband says he will do something, I want to have confidence that he will do it. I want to be able to trust him with my children, my money, my loyalty, my secrets, my insecurities. If I'm going to give my everything to a person, I must be able to trust him. I must be able to trust him when he tells me that he's not sleeping around with short-skirted coworkers, or that he's not gambling away our nest egg at the local casino. I need to trust him when he tells me I shouldn't be so stern with the kids. I need to trust him when he tells me not to go out and buy that cashmere pantsuit. I need to trust him when he tells me not to fiddle around with the newly-installed anti-virus software, because he knows I won't be able to figure it out without erasing the whole hard drive. I need to trust him when he says I sound like a dying cat when I sing along to Celine Dion. I care so much about this concept. If I can trust my husband, I will be confident that he will do nothing to intentionally hurt me.
6. Patience -- coupled with the values of trust and respect, I must include a caveat. I understand that no one is perfect. No one can be completely flawless in showing love and respect at all times. There will be moments when the environment of the home is not as loving as it could be. But I trust that, nine times out of ten, the source of the contention will not be my husband. It will be me. That in mind, I hope that my husband understands that I am far from perfect. I hope he'll forgive me if I don't show him the trust and respect he deserves. If I walk out of the room kicking and screaming, hopefully my husband will understand that it's probably my time of month and that I'll be completely fine in just a few minutes (because I will be...). If I'm not as neat as he likes, hopefully my husband will forgive me and trust me when I say I'm doing the best I can. I hope he treats our children the same way. Even in situations that aren't directly pertaining to my idiocy, I hope I find a man who knows that good things come to those who wait. He won't do brash things on impulse. Instead, he'll save and invest some time and work into things that will be more lasting and beneficial in the future. Thriftiness is an aspect of patience that I would love to see in a husband. Patience is a virtue I greatly desire in a man. It's a Christlike virtue.
7. A Desire to Learn -- I'd hate to say that I must have a scholar for a husband, but I want a man who has a hunger for learning and education. I'd like him to be well-read, have a high vocabulary, and enjoy conversations about subjects that involve a lot of thinking and understanding. I'd like him to enjoy researching new topics. I want him to not shirk away from learning how to fix a lawn mower or making an educated decision in who to vote for in an election. I want his mind to be open to different cultures, customs, and languages. I want him to like crossword puzzles, help kids with their math, and use good grammar. I want him to appreciate puns and experiment with new recipes. Almost needless to say, but I expect my husband to have earned a sound college degree and to be knowledgeable about a particular line of work that helps him be successful in employment. I couldn't care less what career he had, but I just want him to continue to progress in whatever field he chooses. I hope my husband will share his vast stores of knowledge with me. I want to learn from him. Not just secular things, but spiritual and social lessons as well. I just want a smart guy.
8. Appreciation of Music -- This should be a given. After all, if I'm going to be a music teacher, I'm going to need a man who understands and appreciates music. He doesn't need to be proficient, but it would be nice if he played an instrument or sang a killer tenor line. If he read music, we could practice and play together in sacrament meeting or teach our kids how to appreciate learning a musical skill. However, if he lacks musical talent altogether, that's okay. He just needs to tolerate my incessant vibrato and my love of contemporary minimalist phenomenons like George Crumb and Philip Glass, as well as my obsession with a capella jazz and Gaelic folk music. It would also be nice if he were knowledgeable of popular music as well. I listen to a lot of Lady Gaga, P!nk, Taio Cruz, Disturbed, Rascal Flatts, Rob Thomas, MGMT... I'd like to be able to listen to my ipod on random without any incessant complaining from the adjoining room, thank you very much. Bottom line: I want a musical family, and my husband must be okay with this.
9. Spontaneity -- While there are a lot of things in life that require a lot of thought and preparation, some of the best things in life come in the moment. I'd like a man who milks life for all it's worth and who uses his free time in a sort of "in-the-moment" kind of way. I'd like a man who appreciates the little things in life. A good song on the radio, pancakes for dinner, a deep conversation with a ward member, a fun checkered bowtie, playing in the sprinklers, lying in a field, elevator make-outs, stupid youtube videos, walks in the rain, a game of scrabble, a date to the movies, smelling cologne samples, celebrating national talk-like-a-pirate day, a new sex position, a pet fish, chocolate parties with neighbors, a trip to the temple, planting some bean seeds in Styrofoam cups on the windowsill, writing letters, salsa dancing, diaper changing, gummi worms, weekend road trips, hand-made gifts... I hope my husband won't take himself too seriously to forget that there's more to living than just sleep and work. There's a whole slew of adventures we could experience together, and some are right in front of us. I want to share these little moments with my husband. That, I think, will be the sweetest part of our marriage.
Listening to: "You" by Amy Lee
Things Going on Today: Lots of Arrested Development
Learned: How to play Words with Friends
Blessings: Men. In general.