Of lists and marriage

Some time after posting about the Marital Rating Scale from the 1930s yesterday, I remembered making my own list when I was dating (not in the 1930s! More like the 1970s). It was kind of a popular thing to do when I was in college, to make a list of what you would look for in the guy you wanted to marry.

I don’t really remember what was on mine except for the first two items. I think I may still have it in a trunk out in the shed where other things from that era are: I am hoping we can clean the shed out one of these days and get to that trunk, and I hope everything survived and isn’t mildewed or eaten by bugs!

But, being a Christian, the first necessity on my list was to marry a Christian. Secondly, he needed to be a Christian not just “in name only,” but a genuine, growing, active Christian who lived out his faith.

I think probably the rest of the items had to do with general character qualities: kindness, even-temperedness, etc. I think such a list was a good thing in that it got girls’ minds off of just hair and eye color and height and all the physical attributes and on to character and personality, the more important things. It would be interesting to compare my original list to one I made for my sons about what Christian women want in a man.

The only problem with making a list, though, is that we might not be aware of what we need. For instance, somehow I didn’t realize at the time that I was a pretty tense person. I don’t think I realized it until after we were married a while and I saw that Jim was fairly laid back. If we’d both been as intensely tense as I was, we’d have driven each other crazy. But where I can get tied up in knots about something, he can deal with it clearly and calmly, and that’s such a blessing. Of course, it can be a source of conflict — if I am all stirred up about something and he’s not, it can seem like he’s not taking it seriously or he just doesn’t understand. But by this point in our married lives –we’ll celebrate our 30th anniversary in December — I know we just approach things differently. And I think we’ve balanced each other out some: I think I’m more relaxed now, at least in some areas. But I never would have thought to put something like that on a list.

I wrote the rest of our love story out here a few years ago.

On the other hand, we have to be careful not to be overly picky and fault-finding. I believe in settings standards high, and as someone once said, it it wise to keep eyes wide open before marriage and half-shut afterward. But, as I said yesterday, no one is going to be perfect.

I had written most of this post last night, then this morning at the end of ivman‘s post on Mergers and Marriages was a link to “What she wants in a man.” I should post it separately as it is long and this post is already long (and believe it or not, I am trying to write shorter posts ), and with two posts on marriage this week I don’t want to add a third and have it look like “marriage week” here. But this just fits too well. 🙂 Enjoy!

What She Wants in a Man, Original List:

1. Handsome
2. Charming
3. Financially successful
4. A caring listener
5. Witty
6. In good shape
7. Dresses with style
8. Appreciates finer things
9. Full of thoughtful surprises
10. Imaginative and romantic

What She Wants in a Man, Revised List (age 32)

1. Nice looking
2. Opens car doors, holds chairs
3. Has enough money for a nice dinner
4. Listens more than talks
5. Laughs at my jokes
6. Carries bags of groceries with ease
7. Owns at least one tie
8. Appreciates a good home-cooked meal
9. Remembers birthdays and anniversaries
10. Romantic at least once a week

What She Wants in a Man, Revised List (age 42)

1. Not too ugly
2. Doesn’t drive off until I’m in the car
3. Works steady – splurges on dinner out occasionally
4. Nods head when I’m talking
5. Usually remembers punch lines of jokes
6. Is in good enough shape to rearrange the furniture
7. Wears a shirt that covers his stomach
8. Knows not to buy foods I don’t like
9. Remembers to put the toilet seat down
10. Shaves most weekends

What She Wants in a Man, Revised List (age 52)

1. Keeps hair in nose and ears trimmed
2. Doesn’t belch or scratch in public
3. Doesn’t borrow money too often
4. Doesn’t nod off to sleep when I’m venting
5. Doesn’t retell the same joke too many times
6. Is in good enough shape to get off couch on weekends
7. Usually wears matching socks and fresh underwear
8. Appreciates a good TV dinner
9. Remembers your name on occasion
10. Shaves some weekends

What She Wants in a Man, Revised List (age 62)

1. Doesn’t scare small children
2. Remembers where bathroom is
3. Doesn’t require much money for upkeep
4. Snores only lightly when asleep
5. Remembers why he’s laughing
6. Is in good enough shape to stand up by himself
7. Usually wears some clothes
8. Likes soft foods
9. Remembers where he left his teeth
10. Remembers that it’s the weekend

What She Wants in a Man, Revised List (age 72)

1. Breathing
2. Doesn’t miss the toilet

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10 thoughts on “Of lists and marriage

  1. When I married at age 17, I was not a Christian and just wanted “a good guy,” whatever that means. How blessed am I that God provided Johnny and that years after our vows, we found Christ. A Christ-centered marriage is a better marriage, and I can vouch for that.

  2. Wonderful list. I love your 52 #1 and 2…I’m amazed that Doesn’t have the plumbers pants syndrome didn’t make the list somewhere. I really enjoyed this. You know I could see this just being for boyfriends and girlfriends or just friends looking for what they want in other friends. Excellent my friend 🙂

  3. Oh.my.word! My husband and I are dying laughing here, Barbara!!! These lists were hilarious!! Thanks so much for sharing them! And as we have it figured, Ed is doing a great job at his age, 67!!! Thank the Lord! *whew* LOL

  4. Reading your list, I think you’ll agree with me that it is a good thing God was in charge. Funny how things work out. Part of His plan. My husband and I are opposites to you & yours. I was and am the laid back person, although with age he has mellowed some. Long ago, I knew my daughter would need a mate more like me than her father as she is his daughter in temperament.
    We didn’t meet in church but were together in church before we dated. My daughter did meet her spouse in church. Honey Bear says he wanted a girl from a similar background. I had a boyfriend whom I was quite fund of who attended a different type church than me. I’m sure glad God steered me in the other direction. I think it is vitally improtant for us to be from similar backgrounds with faith that is also similar. Honey Bear didn’t use to believe so much in God’s plan and things happening for a reason but he’s changed his tune.
    I liked the second list and I’m glad you included it. I would wish for # 4 after age 62 but I’m afraid it isn’t happening for me. Thank God for sound machines to drown out the noise of a snorer. I like the one about the toliet seat too. That was a pet peeve of mine which thankfully is no longer an issue. We both have little habits that annoy the other but after 42 years, we’ve adjusted. He still holds my hand and wants to spend most of his free time with me. If he’d married a girl closer to his own age, he could retire earlier but he never wanted me to work outside the home except for a hobby type job so I guess he’ll have to work until I am eligible for medicare. God sure blessed me with a good man. I hope I deserve him.

  5. As I told you, I had such a list. I didn’t make it until I was in my 30s and had a failed marriage behind me. I not only made the list. I dedicated it to God, and I prayed over it — not that the man would materialize, but that I would be patient and wait until I was the kind of person who would make a deserving mate for the kind of man I wanted. Then God and I went to work on me.

    Truthfully, God began working on me long before I made the list, but together we fine tuned a lot of things. I am a better person because of that list, and I have the exact man I needed.

  6. Pingback: Blog year in review: « Stray Thoughts

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