I remember going to some kind of retreat in high school where I was asked to make a list of qualities that I wanted in my future husband. Years later I ran across that list and laughed at the mythical creature that I envisioned God was crafting for me. Strong, but sensitive. Commanding, yet gentle. With unending patience. Funny, but serious when I want him to be. A man of total integrity, grit, personality, warmth, someone who is always fun and who never gets angry or frustrated, whose first reaction in any situation is prayer, whose second reaction in any situation is putting his arms around me, who wants 10 kids, who has a disposition that will make me understand what it must have been like to hang out with Jesus Himself.
So many times I prayed that God would take some man out there and turn him into a perfect Christian who intuitively knew how to meet every single need I could ever have, like God is a sort of Fairy Godfather who is out to mold the ultimate man for me. I would present my list of demands to Him on a regular basis, with complete confidence that the mythical man I was praying for was the man I deserved.
Never did I have the thought that I might need to spend less time praying that God was crafting a perfect man for my future and more time praying that God would make me into a godly woman.
There is always something missing from the lists that you see on social media. The posts, with titles like, “To My Future Husband” or “What I Want in a Husband” are completely devoid of any admission that maybe, just maybe, we women aren’t the perfect marriage material either. We never stop to think that our future husband may be out there praying for some mythical creature to become his wife, and we don’t meet the criteria.
Women who are waiting, who are longing for marriage and companionship and who have visions of what it will be like, pray for your future husband. Do. Pray that God will protect his heart and mind. Pray that when he faces hardships he will turn to Christ and know Him more. Pray that God will be glorified in his life. But, don’t pray for perfection. Even in your prayers you are establishing expectations that aren’t real life. Pray for your future husband knowing that wherever he is, he is most definitely flawed, most definitely plagued by sin.
But, don’t forget to pray for yourself. Pray that God will grow you and stretch you and make you into a woman of great faith. One who is prepared to be yoked to another sinner saved by God’s grace, pulling your weight, being an instrument of sanctification in your marriage. Pray that God would give you spiritual eyes and that He would give you patience, a kind spirit, and a forgiving heart. Pray for God’s transforming work in your life, knowing that you, too, are far from perfect.
Some women pray for a lifetime for that mythical man only to find that they have been called to singleness. So, even as you pray for your future husband, pray as Jesus instructed: not my will, but yours be done. Pray that Christ will be sufficient, that you will have a special and deep and abiding relationship with the God of the Universe, and that He will show you all of the ways that He can use you in your singleness to further His kingdom and bring Him glory.
Years after I wrote that list as a starry-eyed high schooler, God did send me a man. He wasn’t perfect. He didn’t meet all of my criteria. He came with some baggage and some spiritual confusion and some bad habits. And so did I. And, despite all of my prayers that God would make Chad into a unicorn among men, I quickly realized in year one of marriage that I should have spent much more time praying that God would turn me into a different woman. There is no such thing as perfection in a future partner. Pray that God will give you a love for each other so deep and so real that no scheme of hell can tear you apart. And if He does send you that man someday, know that neither of you will love perfectly or behave brilliantly. Marriage should be a picture of grace. One of the most gracious things you can do for a future mate is put away your list of Fairy Godfather-sponsored perfection and pray sincere prayers that God would change both of you to be more like Jesus.