This is part of the “being a girl in nyc” series by Gracie and I for our Community Group at Liberty Church. These posts are based solely on our own thoughts, opinions, and experiences.
As I mentioned in the previous post – last year, Gracie and I both read “Date or Soul Mate?”
by Neil Clark Warren. The group as a whole agreed that the “self awareness” section and the “must have, can’t stand” section were the most impactful – hence why we are sharing it now.
Creating a simple must have/can’t stand checklist can help you to get clear on things you feel you can or can’t live without in a future mate.
The book explains making a top 10 list. A list of your top 10 must have’s and your top 10 can’t stands. Upon initial reading – I thought this was putting me in a box. I thought instantly this would close every door to actually finding a real person in NYC.
However, the list completely freed me to date – and date better.
I believe that many times we may miss out on a great person because we don’t even know what we are looking for. The list forces you to narrow down to 10 must have’s and 10 can’t stands. You may think “I don’t have a list and I wouldn’t want to judge someone based on some list.” However, every single person perceives people through a filter of judgement that we have. You could subconsciously be judging if you should go on a 2nd date based on 40+ qualifiers in your head. Narrowing down your list will actually help you to be more open to possibility, and not waste time on someone that you clearly would not match with.
The way I explained to my group last time – and the way I created my own list – is a bit different from the group. I suggest creating a very very large list of “Must Have’s” that include any/everything you would possibly look for in a person. Then I would do the same for the “Can’t Stand” list.
Filter: Now I would begin ranking the list in order of importance.
For example: Someone that loves God was more important to me than someone that has great style
Make sure to distinguish your needs from your wants and your preferences from your absolute deal breakers. You may prefer someone who is more than 6 feet tall but realize you have more important characteristics that you “must have” in a partner such as being a leader or good with finances.
Then do the same with your can’t stand list. These are ABSOLUTE deal breakers. This mean, if this person has this quality – then you will not continue dating them.
For example: Without a shadow of a doubt, I couldn’t be with someone that went to strip clubs or didn’t believe in me.
Example of a List:
Must Have / Can’t Stand
• Generosity / Self-centered
• Sense of humor / Unmotivated
• Loves God / Thinks he is God
• Good with finance / Infidelity
• Self-awareness / Arrogance
• Family values / Sense of entitlement
• Attractive (I want to kiss him) / Argumentative
Use your list:
For me, this was the hardest part. To be honest, I had a history of dating non-christians because I just felt hopeless. Once “Loves God” was on my non-negotiable Must Have list, I decided that dating someone that didn’t was just a waste of time for me. I believe that after 3-5 dates – you should have a pretty clear idea if someone is fitting the list or not.
I wouldn’t ask you to do something I wouldn’t do myself. After years of dating and long term failed relationships – I decided to really give this a shot.
Did I go on a few dates with people that didn’t fit the list – of course. However, it helped me realize that I shouldn’t keep dating the person, it helped me to have standards for myself and create appropriate boundaries to actually be with the person I would want to spend my life with. After dating Parker for about a month, I decided to check the list. I was ecstatic to see that Parker was every Must Have and NO Cant Stand. Even now being married, he is still everything on the list – and even many things on my really long list.
I just want to reiterate what Jessi said about these lists being more *freeing* than anything. For me, they have really helped me get over the idea of having a “type.” It forced me to decide what is truly important to me to the core, and that actually removed myself and others from boxes.
I also want to agree with the fact just making the list is not enough – you have to use it. While you should always seek guidance from God before all else, if you’re dating someone that is doing things the opposite of what you truly desire, don’t make excuses for them. Remember that you really do deserve and are worthy of the things on that list.
What is a non-negotiable must have for you?