Have you ever craved something so badly you could actually taste it in your mouth? You knew exactly what it was supposed to look, taste and smell like. You could even determine how that one thing would make or brighten up your day. Well, weirdly enough, that is how I felt about my future husband!
Now let me explain…. I had this craving for a husband with an image in my mind of what he should look like, how I would feel around him and how he needed to treat me. I knew exactly what I wanted in a guy, or so I thought. I had this list of things he needed to tick – he needed to be taller than me, needed to have a relationship with Christ, needed to be a gentleman, bigger than me, self-confident, funny, clever etc… This list was basically set in stone.
Now, if I ever had to pinpoint a confusing, seeking and uncertain time in my life, then 2005 and 2006 would definitely be it. When I look back at the self-doubting person I was when I was younger, I actually feel sorry for myself wasting so much time worrying about and doubting God’s plan for my life. The Caterpillar Perspective and The Check List will give you some background.
So here I found myself in July 2005, single, 26 years old, between jobs (after a sudden decision to make a complete career change) seeking and a bit desperate, or rather very desperate, with a clear list of what I wanted in a guy. I was definitely seeking God’s will for my life, but I still had so many issues and an idealistic picture in my head of what I thought my future should look like. Especially concerning the men (or rather lack of a man) in my life.
Now let me mention that there was however one very good friend in the picture – Louis, a buddy from Varsity who I met in 1998. We kept in touch when I went overseas and when he was part of a performance art ministry… So here both of us were back in the same city, often being in each other’s company, loving spending time together. BUT he was shorter and smaller than me, definite NO-NO’s on my list. So instead we had the greatest friendship!
Friends without benefits…
We talked about what we wanted and didn’t want in life partners, what our weddings would look like and what dreams we had for each other’s futures. The greatest of all was that there were no pretences, we were brutally honest with each other about literally everything. We could completely be ourselves in each other’s company.
I will never forget the words my dear friend Ursula one day shared with me – “Pauli, I often pray for you and your future husband. I feel that God is telling you that you and your husband will be like blue cheese…” Blue cheese? What on earth could that mean!?
During 2005 and the beginning of 2006 God walked an incredibly path with me – when I decided to surrender all and also started believing in myself, my worth and beauty in Christ, He took me on a journey of self-discovery, healing and acceptance. My prayer journal was almost therapeutic and I poured my heart out in it. But I kept on clinging to THE list…
23 September 2006: “Lord, please help me to see my future husband as You see him. I really want him to be taller than I am, please open my eyes, forgive me that I only consider guys that are bigger and taller than I am. Please give me assurance about who my husband is one day, that I will know when I meet him.”
2 October 2006: “Lord, I want to dedicate my future husband to you, protect and bless him and shape him into the man of God You want him to be. Heal his pain if there’s pain and answer his questions. Help us to look at each other through your eyes. Please let us meet at the right time and open our eyes for each other in order for us to know, without any doubt that we are meant for each other. And please let it come from him”
During this time I went on a desperate search for wedding dates and asked everyone who knew me to organise blind dates with taller nice guys. I had lots of weddings and formal functions coming up and I definitely didn’t plan to go alone. I enjoyed how these taller men made me feel when standing next to me, but that was about all! I missed someone who could make me laugh, who would treat me like a princess, who could have a conversation with not only me but anyone, and most of all someone with whom I could completely be myself! My employer and friend at that stage, Jeannie one day sat me down and told me to open my eyes as my future husband was literally already in front of me in Louis! I immediately burst out laughing and shot it down as we were just friends! I even went back to my list and there were two big ticks missing – he needed to be taller and bigger than me!
17 October 2006: “Lord, Louis is such a special and amazing friend. Thank you for him, but I can’t feel more for him than just a friend. Please open my eyes if I need to look at him differently.
During the following weeks Louis and I just grew closer together…
21 December 2006: “Lord, I need your wisdom! It feels as if Louis is slowly starting to open up. I pray that if he feels more for me than just a friend that he will have the guts to tell me soon. I can’t go on like this and keep on wondering! Please give us both wisdom and let us appreciate each other for who we are in You and what your plan is with our friendship.”
So one day I visited Ursula and her husband Raphael again. I will never forget what he told me when I complained about being confused about Louis in my life. He said that we sometimes have lists of things we want, and we don’t want anything other than that on our list – let’s call it our non-negotiables. (It sounded a lot like my tick list!) On the other hand we have negotiables, things that are not set in stone. He said that sometimes we miss the amazing things God has planned for us as we are not willing to delete some of the items on our non-negotiables list. He asked me to consider moving some of my non-negotiables to my negotiables list…
That night I realised with a shock that if I removed “taller and bigger” from my non-negotiables list to my negotiables list, that Louis was actually more than the perfect guy for me! Not only did he tick all the boxes on my new non-negotiables list, but he also had so many more amazing qualities. All the blind dates combined could not compete with this giant character of an awesome guy.
23 December 2006: “Lord, You must have an incredible sense of humour! I think you’ve been sitting and smiling up there for a while now about what was going to happen tonight! It feels unreal! I really can’t believe that Louis opened his heart and declared his love for me! Please guide us on the road ahead and give us wisdom and insight. Thanks for knowing that he respects me. Please protect our hearts and help us to go into this relationship with integrity. Please make me blind for the opinions of others concerning our sizes. Thank you that I can know that You are in control.”
A month later we knew we would get married. On 14 December 2007 Louis proposed. This year 13 December will mark our 8th wedding anniversary. I remember saying the following during my thank you speech on our wedding day “I am so incredibly thankful that God didn’t give me what I asked for, as I would not have gotten Louis!”
Do you maybe have to revisit your negotiables and non-negotiables lists? Maybe God has just the perfect partner…. job…. dream….life in store for you if you just dare to change your list…
It took me a while, but some days after our wedding I realised – It took years before Louis and I were ready to see each other through God’s eyes, our relationship had to mature first… a lot like blue cheese…
May you revisit your lists and “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
13 December 2008
Married to my best friend!