Recently I was talking to my friend about wanting the perfect family, like we’d always dreamed of. Our conversation inspired this post.
On Writing a “Perfect Husband” List
We were taught this: ‘If I write a list of what I want in a man or a family, God will make it happen’ but you know, this isn’t Stepford, where men are created in a factory based on a list of criteria. There are very normal guys who want to date you, but probably won’t fit your list. Maybe you’ll like one of the guys who likes you or maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll date the guy you think is perfect for awhile and find out that even though you’re deeply in love, it isn’t working. I know we were taught to make it work, regardless, but it’s okay to let go. Maybe you’ll fall deeper in love at 50 than you were at 20. The point is–love and family isn’t as predictable as our pastors taught us. Some people are “unlucky” with love. Others get lonely and want a relationship. Neither person is wrong. Love never works out like we want and this is the reality of life; when it comes to love you can say what you want all day long but that doesn’t mean the List Guy will come waltzing in and rescue you from being lonely. In fact, this mentality sets relationships up for failure because we have all these expectations of how men and women should act (we think men should ask us out or they aren’t a “man”; and men think we shouldn’t be emotional because they put it on their list; or fill-in-the-blank with all the expectations we have from society, religion and culture and you have a big mess). We asked for it on a list, so we should be able to demand it from that person, right? Wrong. Our pastors were wrong.
Not that you can’t have what you want to some degree. I mean, you get to choose your partner and you can settle down anytime you want to with whomever you want to. It’s just that life isn’t a bed of roses and neither are relationships. Even the Perfect Guy is going to disappoint you from time to time; not because he’s a bad guy but because he’s a human.
At one point in time, being a wife was our number one priority. I have a feeling that your creative dreams are much more important to you now, and your ideal guy is probably very different now than it was then. Now, it’s probably more important to you to have a partner who supports you for your creative side and for the strong, determined woman you’ve become. Sometimes women who fit your profile (and mine) don’t settle down as soon as other women simply because we dream of making a living off being creative and that’s a hard thing to make happen while we’re supporting ourselves at our day jobs. That’s not to say our life choices are more important than women who choose to be mothers (and VICE VERSA); but it will explain a lot when you find yourself like me, 32 and your life looking a whole lot less traditional than you expected it to be. It’s okay. You will make sacrifices for your art and your career that other people won’t make and you will stay up all night rehearsing or learning new skills or working on your own projects without pay. The hard work will pay off one day, though, and even though your life won’t look anything like what you expected it to look like, it will in many ways look better than you could have planned and you will be more content because of that. Even if you don’t have the List Guy or his babies.