Have you ever made a list of the characteristics you are looking for in a man? I am sure most of you have put some thought into the partner you would like to marry one day, but have you actually written down a list of those characteristics?
While I was single in my late 20’s, I was encouraged by my friends to make a list of the kind of man I wanted to marry and pray that God would give me a man who has the characteristics on my list. I can still remember sitting in conversations with my friends and hearing their own lists…
“I want someone athletic.”
“I want him to be a musician.”
“I want him to be a youth pastor.”
“I want a man who has his own business.”
“I want him to know how to dress well.”
“I want him to love football.”
So, I made my list too. But what I realized was that some of my “I wants” came from a place of insecurity.
At 34, a few months before meeting my husband Matt, I revisited my list and made lots of changes. I changed my list from what I want to what I value. This new list became my anchor while Matt and I were getting to know each other, and then it became part of the foundation we are now building our marriage on. This list is what my friend and mentor, Viviane, calls a “Non-negotiables List.” It is not a list of physical attributes or hobbies you want in a man, but it is rather a list of values you will not compromise - values you will build a future on. Looks fade away and hobbies change, but values are foundational.
I’d like to share more about this list that changed my thinking and the way I prayed for my husband. I hope this blog encourages you to write your own Non-negotiables List, or if you already have a list I hope to encourage you to reflect on what you have already written down.
At the end of the blog I have provided a link for a worksheet you can use as a guide to make your own Non-Negotiables List! Let’s dive in!
Viviane kept me accountable while I was getting to know Matt. Some of the best advice she shared with me was to create a list of non-negotiables. Viviane went on explaining that when you meet a man and you are getting to know each other, your feelings can be all over the place. You will feel excited, giddy, anxious, nervous, energetic, etc. And it may not be a good idea to rely on your feelings for making important decisions in the relationship. But when you have already written down your non-negotiables list, a godly man and godly marriage isn’t an abstract idea in your head anymore. You can now see what that looks like. Making this list will have you reflect, pray, and prepare with God.
So what do you actually write on a Non-negotiables List? Below is the list I wrote before meeting Matt…
My Non-Negotiables: A man who (with)…
Loves the Lord.
Loves the church and honors church leadership.
A Growth Mindset.
Humility - heart of a servant
A calm personality.
I was open about meeting someone with a different denomination, as long as his relationship with the Lord was genuine and consistent, and that we had similar viewpoints. I was raised to love Jesus, not a church system. I was raised to have a personal relationship with Christ, not with a denomination. I was also open about relocating, having kids or not having kids, marrying a non hispanic, and marrying someone divorced with kids. I took time to reflect on all of these things and it was really helpful to have made decisions on these topics before meeting Matt.
Making my Non-negotiables List was one of the best things I did. It did not leave me wondering if I was being selfish, picky, or insecure because it wasn’t about appearances. This was a list I was making with God for my marriage. And you know what, Matt also had a list of non-negotiables! When I learned that he had one, it made me feel like he knew who he was, what he valued, and that he was intentional about getting to know me.
It’s ok to ask God for physical attributes you want in a man because you should be attracted to your man and God is in the details, but He also sees your heart behind what you are asking. At the bottom of my list I made a second list titled “Extra’s” where I asked the Lord to give me a man with specific physical attributes and qualities. I did tell Jesus that I was ok with not having them but if He really loves me he can give me those too. Lol! You want to know something…Jesus really loves me. He gave me everything I asked for plus the extras I listed and so much more! So, yes girl! Ask for the extras and it’s ok to be specific, but realize that those are not your values. Don’t be fixated on things that are not a foundation to build a marriage on. Make your non-negotiables your top priority.
This list is not a step by step plan or roadmap to marriage. Let God plan that for you. Your role is to prepare. The way you get there is God’s unique plan for you. This non-negotiable list is a tool for preparation. Make your Non-negotiables List, read books, go to conferences, work on your mindset, your health, your finances, etc. Prepare. That’s also our role as Christians, right? We are His bride preparing for His coming. Preparing is holy.
I am so thrilled to be able to provide for you a "Non-negotiables List" worksheet you can download, print, and fill out! Get your girl friends together and make it a “Non-negotiables party!” Click here to be directed to my Etsy shop to download your worksheet. Go ahead, girl!