Christian Singles & Dating

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Is it Wrong to Look for Someone Who "Checks All the Boxes"?

Is it Wrong to Look for Someone Who "Checks All the Boxes"?

I believe almost all of us dream of eventually finding “the one” who matches us in every way…one who naturally “gets us” and complements our strengths and weaknesses. We dream of finding our person who cannot imagine living the rest of their days without us, nor us without them. We see this portrayed in books and movies, and we often find ourselves waiting impatiently for the magical moment to happen when they realize they have found the one their heart has been searching for. In real life, we have listened to our friends recount their stories of when they “just knew,” and we have had a front-row seat to watch their relationship grow.

But as time passes and those around us continue to find their matches, it can become more confusing trying to figure out why the same opportunities are not coming to us. We begin to question ourselves. Is there something wrong with us? Have we somehow missed some life skills we were supposed to have learned along the way? Many of us have also heard comments from others that seem to confirm these inner doubts.

  • Maybe we are being too picky.
  • Maybe we need to expect less of “the one.”
  • Maybe we need to somehow make do with the options that are available to us.
  • Maybe if we change enough about ourselves, someone will discover we are the one their heart has been longing for!

So, is it wrong to look for someone who “checks all the boxes”? Is it wrong to want to look at the person you are to spend the rest of your life with and see the qualities you find attractive? I believe the answer to this question is a resounding “no, it is not wrong,” but it is important you have included the right kind of boxes! Our lists are allowed to include things that we desire but are still negotiable, but we must also hold fast to items that are non-negotiable, no matter how long we are left waiting. Yes, we should hope to enjoy the person we have chosen to spend our lives with, but we should also make sure we are looking for qualities that will hold up under the pressure life can bring. While it is not wrong to have expectations or to look for things that draw us to a specific person, there are some important considerations to include as you are making your list (and checking it twice):

1. Belief in Christ should be the first “box” you are looking to check off. 

If you are a Christ-follower, finding someone who shares your belief and faith should always and forever be the first quality you are looking for in a potential future spouse. While this should not be the ONLY qualification you need to discover, it is something that should be on your non-negotiable list. Building a life and, hopefully, a family with someone requires total dependence on God. If you are not both fully devoted to Him and walking daily in His grace and strength, much of the foundation for building your marriage will be unstable. The Bible warns about entering partnerships with unbelievers and gives a clear picture of fruit that should be visible and character that should exist in a person who has true faith. Look for these signs, ask the Lord for guidance, and do not falsely believe that their many other wonderful qualities will make up for missing this most important one.

2. Before you make your list, do some introspection!

Who are you? Where is your life headed? What has God called you to do? What do you value in a relationship, and how do you enjoy using your time? It is often easier to examine those around us than to dive deeper into how we are wired and what strengths and weaknesses we bring to the table in our relationships. It can be tempting to hold someone else to our ideal standard while not realizing we do not possess the qualities we expect of someone else. Be honest with yourself, be willing to work on things you know are your weaknesses, and ask God to grow you into the person He created you to be.

3. Everybody changes over the years.

You will not remain exactly the same year after year, and neither will the person you marry. When building a life with someone else, you cannot assume that all these qualities you found initially attractive in the other person will remain unchanged through all the phases of your marriage. Age changes you, parenthood changes you, life changes you! Sometimes the things you face together will work to deepen your relationship and help you both bring your best selves to the surface; other times, you will cling to the vows you made and the love you pledged, “for better or for worse,” and “in sickness and in health” as your relationship to the person you said these words to looks very different than you imagined.

4. Do not rule out surprises.

I am a strong believer in first impressions. When I walk into a room, I often find myself immediately drawn to certain people and find myself avoiding others. Over time though, I have learned that it can often take meeting someone in several different situations before their true self shines through. Sometimes it can be tempting to think we know everything we need out of life and other people, but God made us all with unique and interesting attributes that make us who we are. As much as we may wish for the “love at first sight” experience, we also know people who have deep relationships and healthy marriages because they gave someone a second or third thought. Be willing to look for people to checkboxes you never even considered!

5. Take “red flags” very seriously.

While you may have a lovely list full of completely realistic and God-inspired items, stay vigilant in watching for personality traits and characteristics that are potential warning signs of deeper issues that could make marrying this person not only wrong but also dangerous. Does the person perfectly fit your type but lack integrity or lie when facing simple interactions? Do they treat you like you always imagined when you are out in public but change into a completely different person when you are by yourselves? Are you consistently trying to convince yourself that something about their life or character will surely change as soon as you are married? Do family and friends often caution you or express concern about the person you are building a relationship with? Please, please heed these red flags! Lean into what people you trust say as they observe your relationship from the outside. Listen to the Holy Spirit. God promises to give us the Holy Spirit to help us navigate this life, and He warns us because He loves us.

God created marriage, and if it is something He calls you to, He wants you to enjoy your partner rather than just enduring them. The world around us is loud with opinions and full of options, but not all of them are right for us. Learning to navigate dating apps, blind dates, singles church groups, or chronic “datelessness” can feel hopeless and never-ending. While we may be filled with many wonderful qualities that could help build a deep and meaningful marriage, the truth is, it still may never come our way. If God does not open this door for you, singleness is not a sentence to perpetual loneliness. Single is only one part of what makes you who you are. You have many other qualities, and your life is full of different experiences and opportunities. Trust Him to lead you, seek community, build community, and stay in community!

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Ralf Geithe
Stephanie M. Kozick has lived and worked in Europe since 2008. She spent her first nine years abroad working with various ministries in Dublin, Ireland. For the past five years, she has served outside Athens, Greece with both ministry to nationals and the refugee population. Currently, she enjoys teaching English, connecting internationals with ministry opportunities, and learning to cook foods inspired by all the people groups who cross her path!

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