Hey friends! Happy Monday!
Yesterday, I asked y’all to submit some questions through IG stories for this weeks’ Ask Alyson Haley and I thought I would use one of them as inspiration for today’s blog post:
“You said you are picky when it comes to men so I’m curious what you are looking for in a future husband?”
I’ve gotten a lot of messages from y’all over the last week about singleness and dating after telling y’all about a recent date I went on while I was in London a few weeks ago. I saved this story to my Instagram highlights called ‘THE DATE’ in case you missed it and want to catch up! Being that y’all were so interested in this topic and so many of you fellow single ladies reached out in response to it, I thought it’d be fun to share what I look for in a future husband [I’m 33, y’all, so I’m not dating to just find someone to date, you know?] and tips for my fellow single ladies!
If you didn’t know …. singleness as you get up into your late 20’s and especially in your 30’s and beyond … is really, really tough! It’s not all bad but, it can be hard.
It often feels like you’re looking for a needle in a haystack. It’s easy to loose hope and feel like finding someone to do forever with is just not in your future. You also start to get really used to being single and doing everything on your own. You get used to not having intimacy, romantic love, and a teammate in your life and, sometimes, you kind of forget about your desire for those things. You become your biggest cheerleader and make your own dreams a reality.
It can feel isolating at times, as well. I remember I had found a church home a few years ago and I was meeting all of these really sweet girls my age who all seemed to connect a little more with each other because they had significant others. I’d see photos from barbecues and beach days of a bunch of couples together on Facebook and, while I didn’t take personal offense to it, I did feel a bit like my singleness was holding me back from community. More than that, you’re seeing engagements, pregnancy and birth announcements, baby and bridal shower photos, etc. that inadvertently remind you of what you don’t have. You should experience joy and happiness that so many people that you know and love are experiencing those really special moments in life, and you are, but as the years go by, it does get increasingly harder, especially as the people sharing those updates are much younger than you. You start to wonder ‘will I ever have one of those? .. a bridal shower? an engagement shoot? … will I ever experience the joy of seeing a positive pregnancy test?’
It can feel lonely at times. Tinges of jealousy can creep up when all of your friends have plans with their significant others on a Friday night, even though you truly are so happy for all of them. As you get older, your interest in going out – where you could potentially meet new people – lessens and can only make feeling like you’ll never find someone deepen.
I’m really making it feel like singleness in your 30’s feels like being at the bottom of a hole you really have no chance of getting out of, ha! But, honestly, y’all … it feels like that sometimes! You can be the most positive person, who typically has a very cheery outlook, but it can still be really tough, especially as your longing for it grows and grows over time.
But, despite all of these feelings, I’m learning that it’s important to be picky. You should know what you’re looking for. You should have your list of non-negotiables. You should know what you’re not willing to compromise on because forever is a long time to deal with aspects or traits of a person you weren’t wanting in your life to begin with. I do think that you will ALWAYS be pleasantly surprised, when you find your person, to find aspects / traits of their personality that you never knew you always wanted. But, for me, I can’t imagine living a life where it’s the other way around … where you allow something you’re not okay with into your life just for the sake of having someone.
If I have any advice for those of you who are also single, no matter your age … sit down and be honest with yourself about what you want, what you don’t want, what you could be okay with, what your hard boundaries [non-negotiables] are, etc. It will ONLY make finding that person all the more exciting.
Furthermore … and a point of clarification … do not live and die by every single item on the list. Staying hard on the non-negotiables is encouraged, for obvious reasons, but I’ve never been someone who has a long list of things my future husband HAS to have but, over time, I’ve seen the value in having a clue about what I’d like and what I won’t budge on. I hope that clarifies the point of this ‘list’. It’s important to not create a unicorn here, okay, ha! No one is ever going to be perfect. Everyone has flaws but, regardless of that, I think this is a good exercise for singles!
So, what are some of the things I’m looking for? What are some of my non-negotiables?
• Someone who is passionate, loves what he does, and is financially responsible. I am drawn to people who have an excitement and passion over what they do. It’s inspiring to me. I love what I do and I want to be with someone who shares that same love and motivation to get started everyday. More than that, I want someone who is mature in his spending, diligent about saving and pays off his credit card when it’s due. I have seen what financial irresponsibility can do to me, personally. It’s stressful. I can’t imagine what it would do to a couple. I want someone who shares the understanding of how important financial responsibility is.
• Someone who shares the same faith and core values as I do. This is something that I compromised on in a previous relationship and it put a huge strain of our relationship. I want a man who believes in God, isn’t afraid to show it, lets his faith guide him, and someone who wants going church to be a part of his life and our future relationship. I’m not saying this is a pre-requisite for success in a relationship. I know there are many couples who love each other and have very happy inter-faith based homes, and I think that’s great. For me, though, I really want my faith to be something I share with my person.
• Someone who believes in the sanctity of marriage. I was actually talking about this yesterday with my London gentleman. I want someone who only wants to get married once, whose also not looking to date for fun, and realizes that love stretches beyond an emotion. It’s a choice. Entering into a covenant of marriage shouldn’t be done lightly and it should be understood that life is a beautiful thing but there will surely be struggles. Consciously choosing to walk through those struggles, no matter how messy, with your person is extremely important. [PLEASE NOTE: I know it’s easy for the girl whose never been married to have this as something she hopes for. To some, it may seem too idealistic. Please know this isn’t something I say to make anyone feel ashamed of what they’ve walked through. I have friends who are divorced and I know they’re better off. I understand that most people don’t enter into marriage thinking ‘yeah, I mean, if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just divorce them’. So, please do not think this is me thinking less of people who have been divorced. That is most definitely not my stance.]
• Someone who wants kids. I cannot wait to be a Mom one day so being with someone who doesn’t want kids would not fly with me.
• Someone who doesn’t smoke. Huge non-negotiable for me. I cannot handle cigarette smoke. Smoking is so unattractive to me.
• Someone who loves dogs. I mean, because … duh. Fish and Chips also have to sniff him out first. Their approval, especially Fish’s, is everything to me 😉
• Someone who wants to date me for me [and not for what I do] and who understands and accepts that my job is very unconventional. So many bloggers out there have grown their blogs and Instagram’s, and seen success in this industry, after having already established a strong foundation with their significant other. Some of these significant others have played key roles in helping their wives rise to the top, which I think is so cool and inspiring when, historically, it’s the men who are wanting all of the success. Having experienced my own success in this industry all on my own is something I’m proud of but, it’s made me pretty weary of attracting the wrong person for the wrong reasons. I want to be with someone who thinks what I do is cool but isn’t super fussed over it. I definitely want someone who doesn’t mind helping me with a photo for Instagram from time to time, but, I mostly want someone who is more impressed with me as a person, not the person I share with you all on Instagram. That person is me but it’s the me that I am with my girlfriends. There is a side to every blogger that is reserved for their loved ones, their significant others, etc. There should be that special side that not everyone sees, you know? So, I want someone who is more interested in peeling back the layers and finding out who that person is. I also want someone who is understanding that my job is unconventional. I will be up early to cover sales, sometimes. I’ll have to put in hours on the weekends from time to time. I’ve dated someone where this didn’t fly so well. He expected me to be off when he was off work but, sadly, that’s just never going to be my life. Will I certainly protect our relationship by putting work away when I can? Absolutely. Y’all know I’m not that blogger that is ‘always on’ [I think that’s extremely unhealthy, actually … where literally from the time they wake up to the time they are in bed with their husband they are on IG stories; when did being an blogger / influencer become running your own reality TV show on IG?] but I do want someone to realize that sharing my life is part of what I do and I want him to be okay with unconventional hours and being a part of what I share from time to time. 🙂
• Someone who sees me as an equal. Call me a bit of a feminist [I may just say thank you if you choose to do so] but I want to be with someone who is okay with me working throughout our entire lives, doesn’t make me live within gender constructs around the house, is the biggest cheerleader of my dreams and helps me see them through, and is an active and equal teammate in all aspects of our lives. I have never been a woman who wants to let the man lead and run the household. That may ruffle some feathers as it’s not a traditional Christian outlook but, that’s okay for me. We all don’t have to agree. I’m looking for my complement, my teammate, someone to tackle this life together, and who believes we are equals.
• Someone who can talk openly about hard things. I think it’s the challenges one experiences in life that molds ordinary people into beautiful people. It sharpens compassion and kindness. I want someone who is fun and loves life but who isn’t going to shy away from talking about hard things and being open to see how those hard things can impact their lives. Being with someone who isn’t afraid of their feelings is something that is really important to me.
• Someone who is genuine, kind, honest and has a heart for ALL PEOPLE. This one speaks for itself. Some women want humor over kindness, and I love to laugh as much as the next person, but I think if I had to choose, I want someone I never have to question the validity of the words that are coming out of their mouth or be disappointed in the way they treat other people. I have been heartbroken and devastated over my first love lying and deceiving me, time and time again, and I’ve always wanted to be with someone whose behavior never makes me question their words. ‘Words of affirmation’ is my love language so the words people speak to me can weigh really heavily and I have a tendency to believe the words that come out of peoples’ mouths very quickly. That relationship taught me that words can be empty and untrue, so I need to be careful with who I let into my heart. So, I want someone who respects me and my heart by always being honest. I also want to see that they love people regardless of age, race, sexual preference, nationality, religious affiliation, etc.
• Someone I am attracted to and feel a strong connection with. So, this might be one of the most important ones! If I’m honest, I’ve dated men who are really good looking, that I trust completely, and that I get along with, but there is just ‘something missing’ and I know it’s the attraction and connection. I feel like it’s rare to have an unexplainable draw to someone and that’s what I want. People always say ‘looks aren’t everything’ and that’s true. I agree with that. I believe you can be attracted to a lot of different things about a person so, don’t misunderstand me here, hah!
• Someone who feels like ‘home’ every time I’m with them, like my soul is at rest and I can be completely myself. I actually had an experience recently where I was talking to someone and I just felt nervous the whole time. I didn’t feel like I could be myself and was later shamed for something I ordered at a restaurant. I literally felt so ashamed over something I wanted to eat … like, what? No. I will not be with someone who doesn’t just let me be myself and accepts me for who I am. Am I perfect? No. Do I expect the person I end up with to be perfect? Absolutely not. I think there’s always a loving way to say something or an sweet way to encourage someone you love to be better. I have recently been reminded how good it feels to be in the midst of someone who makes you feel so comfortable, adored and genuinely liked for who I am … and it’s a really good feeling.
This list is getting long so I’ll end it there but hopefully all of this isn’t too much to ask! Ha! 😉 I’m confident it isn’t. In case you’re wondering, I am still talking to the English gentleman that I mentioned I went on a date with when I was in London. Things are going well. I won’t tell y’all much about him yet. Time will tell how things will go but he definitely ticks all of these boxes and I’m really excited about him.
If you are currently single and have been for quite some time, here are a couple things to remember:
• Stay hopeful and confident that that person will come along. Don’t let your singleness cause you to hole yourself away. Get on dating app’s and cast a wide net! Swipe right on a variety of guys. Go on dates. Say yes to social events and opportunities to meet new people. I am horrible at this. I’m not going to even lie. I am such a homebody but, I do think there is power in saying yes to more things you typically say no to. It’s actually my New Years’ Resolution. And, actually, I only ended up going on a date with the guy I’m talking to in London because I reached out to HIM on Hinge. He had ‘liked’ one of my photos but I agreed to match and sent the first message! So, if anything, say YES to something than normally makes you really uncomfortable. You never know!
• Look for your complement, not your unicorn. In other words, don’t live within the confines of your entire list. Keep your non-negotiables as non-negotiables but allow yourself to just enjoy dating and discovering the beauty within the person in front of you. Maybe it won’t be fully obvious on the first date so also give them a couple more dates so you guys can figure it out. And, if you aren’t super excited about them, then let them go gently. I firmly believe you know whether you can see a future in about three dates. I’m sure someone may disagree, and that’s fine, but I think it gives you plenty of time to make a decision on whether you want to continue getting to know that person, especially if you’re dating to find your future spouse.
• Don’t be afraid to focus on yourself! Make this a season you look back on fondly! The only way you can be someone who is fun and pleasant to date is if you have made it a point to enjoy the life you’re living and have exciting things to share! It’s important to not rely on a new relationship to make you happy. You are responsible for your own happiness.
• With that said, realize your significant other is not going to complete you. It’s important to remember that relationships aren’t going to make all of your troubles away. Work on being the best version of yourself. Work on that happiness I mentioned above. Find contentment in this season of life and realize that finding a significant other that is a complement to you is just an added bonus! Knowing your worth doesn’t lie in another person will only benefit the relationship that is on the horizon.
Last year, I shared this blog post that Whitney wrote here on the blog and so many of you loved it. If you’re new around here, give it a read! She has such a way with words. It will really encourage you.
This was such a fun post to write! Hope y’all enjoyed it! This outfit was what I wore the last day Victoria and I were in Amsterdam. It had been gloomy most of the days we were there so you can clearly see how happy I am here, hah! It may be warming up for some of you but if you’re still needing to sport some layers, it’ll hopefully give you some inspiration! I’ve got a few travel posts coming your way over the next couple of weeks – travel bags, travel shoes, Amalfi Coast, and hopefully where to stay in London during your first trip! So, be sure to subscribe to daily posts so you don’t miss anything!
If you are married or have been with someone for a long time, I think it’d be so fun if you could leave your tips for us single ladies in the comments! What are some qualities that were on your non-negotiable list? Or, what would you recommend adding to this list? We’re all ears! xo.
I’ve been married to my husband for 8+ years (I’m 31). When we first met, there were definitely things about him that I didn’t think were marriage material. But, we didn’t let that stop us from getting to know one another. We changed each other for the better and compliment one another so well. I could never imagine marrying someone who was so much like me. I love learning from him and he loves learning from me. The main thing….don’t have a checklist. People evolve and change. Once someone meets you and gets to know you, their view on things may change. Go into a relationship with an open mind. Don’t expect perfection or you’ll end up single forever…
Hello there, so my non negotiable was RESPECT. I always knew I wanted my husband to respect me a a woman, wife and mother. I hear so many stories of men belittling their wives and that’s the one thing that I said I would never tolerate. I’m a stay at home wife and mom and my hubby has ALWAYS made me feel like the money and decisions are both of ours. I’ve been happily married for 16 years (tough moments but always salvageable).
Haley, you deserve all of that and more. I shared a lot of the items on your list, including faith requirement, which I, too, compromised on in the past. In 2016, I was 30 and SUPER single. I got serious about praying for this amazing man and I asked for everything I desired. Then, I met my husband that December, we got married a little over a year later, and we’re expecting our first child this fall (because love doesn’t take that long). I feel like my husband must have secretly read my prayer journal because he is everything I wanted, and then some. I wish the same for you! Thank you for you transparency. We love being included on your journey.
This makes me so hopeful! I’m 30 and SUPER single!
My husband and I are coming up on 5 years of marriage and I still feel so stinking lucky he chose me! My advise is to put more effort into seeking God than a husband. It’s always been my dream to be a wife and be a mom. I was never career driven as much as I was family driven. Months after I decided to give up “hunting” for a man and put my focus on God, I found the man of my dreams. The best part? He cherishes marriage as deeply as I do. He’s a career man but family comes first for him. This is why I know our marriage will last forever.
Want me to secretly forward to the mystery London man?! Jk! Love this and so hoping you find the love you deserve!!
I totally agree with everything you listed…and with the first commenter said. Someone who is kind is for sure my number one. I haven’t been married for very long…married for two years and together for five, but my husband’s kindness is something I treasure every day. I think being attracted to someone and having a great connection is necessary for sure, but someone who is just kind and respectful in their nature is what I think will help with the longevity of a relationship. I know I’m able to talk about anything with my hubby bc he truly cares about my feelings. And I think it makes me always respond to certain annoyances with a kinder, lighter approach as well. A good heart and kind soul is a must ❤️
My biggest dating rule of thumb was to always go on 3 dates before you decide they’re not a good match. If they were nice, you enjoyed yourself, but there wasn’t necessarily fireworks, it’s worth testing out a few more times. Caveat – unless of course they were awful and you know it will never go anywhere. But, it took my husband and I three dates to really find our groove/feel a true connection and start getting to know each other past the superficial first few date questions.
Yes! I totally agree with this! Sometimes you know right away if you want to go on a second date but some people take time to open up! Thanks for sharing!
I have been married to my husband for about 7 1/2 years along with dating him for around 5 when we were younger. We were apart for about 8 yrs and found each other again, once we grew out of the immaturity of our twenties. My husband is honest almost to a fault but I appreciate that knowing it comes from a loving place especially since I am such a realist and do not like being humored. For the most part though, we are very opposite. He has more patience than anyone I have ever met, me on the other hand am fairly short tempered and have zero patience. My high strung personality keeps him motivated to go out and enjoy life (he is very much and introvert and I’m and extrovert). Knowing and accepting these difference with respect is how we are able to get along so well and still can be so different. We very much see how one balances out the other. Also we both love to learn and intellect is important to us. Most of all find someone who loves you and accepts you for who you are and do the same for that person. We all have our flaws but good communication will help you almost anything.
Aww love this post! My non-negotiable was a strong Christian leader. I wanted a decisive man who could lead our future family and center our relationship on Jesus. It’s so encouraging when someone can pray with you, for you, & encourage you with scripture! When we dated, we prayed together every night to keep everything in perspective. Life throws all sorts of lemons at you and I knew I could trust my now hubby bc he trusts God 🙂 I had dated all sorts of guys before but having someone so strong in their faith made the difference in the world! <3
I do want to preface this with the fact that I am a strong independent woman who owns my own business, travelled the world before getting married, believe in womans rights etc…and I didnt want to waste my time on guys who didnt know what they wanted In life/didnt have goals/cant make decisions! A leader doesnt mean someone who doesnt respect my space, my opinions dont matter, or that we arent a team and I dont have a voice 😉 I just felt a little misunderstood by someone’s comment below and wanted to clarify xo
Hi love! I would never want you to feel misunderstood so thank you for sharing more of your heart. I certainly don’t think a Christian man with strong leadership qualities is synonymous with an overbearing patriarch who doesn’t allow their spouse a voice so please know that. I’m so glad you found what your heart was yearning for. 🙂
My non-negotiables were were all very similar to yours and found my fiancé 2 years ago. Best advice (2) things I have learned in all of my dating are:
1- Of course we want someone that checks all if not most of the boxes, but there isn’t a perfect human out there. Be sure to soul search within yourself so that when the right guy crosses your path/the timing is right, you are ready and open to new things!
2- Don’t be too quick to judge! Unless a complete train wreck, always try and go out with a guy minimally 2x. Usually the first date you both are nervous or on best behavior. Second dates are much easier to gage if he’s the right guy or not and you may see qualities you love even more (or not) the second time.
Hey Jamie! Thanks for the advice! I hope this post didn’t come across like I was saying you should have a list and the person you end up with should tick all the boxes. Definitely not and I’ve made some additions to underline that’s not the point hah! I definitely agree that no one is perfect and you shouldn’t look for a unicorn, but instead a complement. And, I love the advice on giving the person more than just one date. Great tip!
To me a very strong non-negotiable is respect for others, that being people and animals. I’m on a path to becoming vegan and I don’t expect my future partner to be vegan as well but I’m way too tired of people making fun of me and even provoking me so I definitely want someone who respects me and my views and doesn’t feel the need to belittle me because of my views on animals. And I’ve gone on dates with people who were racist, sexist and homophobic and it’s a major turn off, I can’t respect someone enough to have a relationship with them if they don’t respect other people’s existence just because they’re different from him. I’m currently 22 and I have a big fear that I’m never gonna find anyone and I was just talking to one of my friends about this who is in the same situation. We feel like guys our age don’t want what we want in a relationship. I have no hopes of finding a “forever” person this young but I also don’t want just something casual, I want a bit more than that but without the pressure of “we’re gonna be together forever”. Did you ever feel like this in your 20’s? What advice would you give me and my friend?
P.S. – I’ve been on dating apps and haven’t found anyone interesting, didn’t even go ONE date, yeah… and I’ve already swiped on everyone around me, the closest people are too far away now.
Love this SO MUCH Haley!! I always thought growing up that I’d meet my future husband in college. I graduated in 2016 totally single… now here I am 3 years later and still very single, with only a string of bad first dates from the past year to show. 😉 One thing I’ve been praying for often is that if it is God’s will for me to be single through all of my 20s, into my 30s, or maybe even my whole life, that I would seek His contentment still each and every day. With that said- I still do pray for my future husband!! Loved the characteristics that you’re looking for- and hoping for a happy update about the new guy soon. 🙂
Loved this Haley! You deserve all that and more! Never settle! I’ve been married for almost 11 years (we got married in our very early 20s). My husband is my very best friend. I can honesty say that. He’s the one I want to tell and talk to about everything big or small. I think having your spouse as your best friend is so important. Liking them is just as important as loving them. The simplest things are still fun and enjoyable when you’re with your best friend. I hope you find yours!?
I was single for a very long time before meeting my husband. I had always had this list of things I wanted in my future spouse down to what I wanted him to look like. I learned that sometimes what we want is not what we need. Yes, it is important to share core values and belief systems, but I don’t think you need to agree on everything, we sure don’t! I too have found respect to be key in a marriage, as it is in any relationship!
Sure, my pickiness helped me in many ways, but I finally got to a point where I had to in a way let that go. My husband is opposite of what I ever thought and he is the perfect man for me.
Love this post! I’m married (newlywed still ?) and I agree with you 100% about being picky and not settling. I thought I was going to marry the man I dated in college and thank the Lord that His plan was way better than I could ever imagine. My husband now is exactly the kind of person I prayed for. It’s scary how I look back in my prayer journal of specific asks that I prayed for in a husband that mine has! Be patient, prayerful, and use this time to make yourself into the kind of wife you want to be.
My husband and I make each other our first priority. We have six kids and two grandkids, parents, in-laws, grandparents, friends, jobs, etc. We spend 95 percent of our free time together. We don’t vacation apart unless absolutely necessary. Also, we are madly in love with each other.
I love everyone else’s comments..one thing I will add is I wanted someone who truly believes in the sanctity of marriage. We will have ups and downs but threatening divorce or even mentioning it is a no-no! We’re a team and it’s important to always act like one. Even when you’re in a rough patch!
Yes. Yes. Yes. I actually added this into the post because I was talking to the London gentleman about this the other day. It’s so important. It’s a choice to stay together, not an option.
I was once told there should never be a “but…” when you’re describing the person you’re dating. Like “I really like him but…” if it’s the right person for you, while they will never be perfect, you won’t see their flaws as something you need to bring up in conversation when describing them. I took this tip to heart and then met my person soon after.
My now husband and I both dated a good bit and did all the dating apps before we met. We were both tired of the games and really wanted to meet someone and settle down. We both lived on our own and had a lot of alone time before meeting and I honestly think that helped a lot. We knew what we wanted and we weren’t playing around. Pretty much everything you have on your list was on mine too. I’ve read through the comments and the one that i dont agree with is looking for a “leader” in a husband. I wanted a teammate, not a leader. I wanted someone who respected me and was a feminist in the sense that they believe women are equals and that we can do anything we set our minds to. My husband is my biggest cheerleader and he is also just the most genuinely happy and positive person I have ever met, whereas I am not. Your person is out there, absolutely. Don’t settle. And yes-you will have all the joyous things: the showers and engagements and weddings and babies. But you can’t look at the pictures of those things and assume total happiness either. Some people get married for the wrong reasons or struggle to get pregnant..you really just never know. All the more reason to find a true teammate and best friend.
I LITERALLY SAID ‘PREACH’ WHEN I READ THIS COMMENT. I recently was talking to a girlfriend about this. I used to say ‘but..’ about every guy I’ve dated over the last ten years until recently so I completely agree with this. And, I’m a bit of a feminist, as well, so I agree with you about the team mate thing!
OMG, loved this post so much. I never comment but I have been following your blog for some time. Thank you for being so open and honest and putting it into perspective for us single gals. Be picky, love on yourself and KNOW WHAT YOU WANT!! Great advice!
I met my husband right before I turned 21. I’m not sure I even thought about non negotiables at that age. While I couldn’t articulate what I was looking for because honestly I wasn’t looking for a husband then I did know that respect, honesty and trustworthiness were key for me. Patience and non smoker were also huge for me. I would say my biggest piece of advice is to not ignore or disregard your feelings for someone based on a single characteristic and to also trust your gut. My husband smoked when we first met and I despised it (still do). As you said, it’s incredibly unattractive and the smell is awful. But, he never smoked in my presence and never smelled (breath or clothing) of smoke. The fact that he respected my distaste for it spoke volumes and he quit completely a few months after we started dating. In the almost 10 years since, he has never again picked up a cigarette. Also, look for someone that you can grow with and always wants to be equal with you. While I didn’t know it then, someone who thought of us as partners and equals in the relationship was/is a huge non negotiable for me. It’s vital to me that we share everything – financials included – and know that we make all important decisions jointly. I could keep going but I’ll it here for now 🙂
Everyone finds their person at different seasons of life and I surely would have been the same way if I found mine at 21 but I think it’s great that y’all have grown so well over time. And, yeah, I definitely think it’s important to keep an open mind. For me, smoking is a non-negotiable. It’s a hard no for me but it’s okay that it fell on your list of things you don’t like but are willing to budge on A LITTLE. That’s so sweet that he respected that distaste enough to quit 🙂 I think that’s really sweet. And I think that’s the beauty of those lists. You can be honest with your person about them and, if it’s meant to be, y’all can work through on some compromises 🙂 Appreciate you sharing!
I’ve been married for almost 5 years and a lot of your non-negotiables are the same as mine. They were 1. Have a relationship with God (and pretty much all of your specifications under that section ha), 2. No drugs/smoking because ew., 3. Be driven and good with money (not that money is super important, this one was more about if stuff hit the fan, could he take care of his family?), 4. No pressure when it came to intimacy (this goes along with the faith section).
I probably had a few others, but these were the big ones! And I did find someone exactly like this so they do exist!! Don’t settle, God will bring him to you in His perfect timing!
Yes, that’s exactly what I mean in regard to number 3. It’s not about how much money they make, but they are a good steward of the money that is coming in. Does he consistently put money in his savings account? Does he live within his means? etc.
Glad you found someone like that! 🙂 xo.
I was engaged to another guy when I met my now husband – I moved away for 8 months, broke off the engagement for personal reasons, moved back to CA and our friendship from that one night turned into us dating for 4 years & getting married (it’ll be 3 years this August). Trust the timing of your life & be excited that you can meet that special person at any time, somewhere you’d never expect! While I don’t think it’s ever bad to be picky when it comes to choosing a partner, I think its important to give grace – understand & accept that they can (and will) mess up now and then. We are only human. But with the right person, these slip ups can strengthen you. You learn from each other. You grow. You become better together 🙂
Hoping it all goes well with this mysterious man & that Fish & Chips approve! Lol
Great point! You’re right. No one is perfect! xo.
I think having the same religious beliefs is obviously one of the number one thing a good relationship should have. But I think it’s also really important to find someone that likes doing the same thing you like to do. Eventually looks will fade, and what you’ll have left is someone you genuinely have fun with! If you marry someone that is first and foremost your friend, marriage is a lot more fun. No matter what happens or what arguments we get into, my husband and I always end up laughing together at the end of the day. And laughter is something we can definitely count on to last through the years.
Absolutely! Of course laughter and enjoying each other’s company is important and should be a part of the equation 🙂 This list isn’t a hard list. Just picked a few things I’d like but didn’t want to share every single thing for fear y’all would think I’m psycho hahahah! But yes, agree! You should definitely have a good time together!
“When did being an blogger / influencer become running your own reality TV show on IG?”
THIS!! Love it. ?? I’ve hit unfollow SO many times in the last few weeks because of this. It’s absurd. Thanks for not being like that!
My husband and I will celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary this summer and we’ve been together for 12 years. I think he’s an incredible guy and I feel extremely lucky to have him. That said, he wasn’t my usual “type.” So, my advice is to be open minded to different guys. You mentioned in your post that you want to be attracted to a guy and I absolutely think that’s important. I just think maybe be open minded about what qualities you find attractive. Does that make sense?
Also, I feel like the relationship shouldn’t be hard. No, you won’t agree on everything but being together should be easy. As I mentioned in my initially comment, my husband and I have been together for 12 years. I could count on one hand how many legitimate arguments we’ve gotten into. Of course we’ve had disagreements, but we very rarely argue and we never raise our voices at each other. I know different people communicate differently so maybe yelling works for some, but this is my experience and I’m so happy with it.
Yeah, I don’t know if you maybe understood what I was saying but I didn’t mean that life gets hard with your spouse. I just meant … you’re going to go through hard times so making sure that you’re in a committed relationship with someone who you can face those hard things with in a way that is complementary to each other. I didn’t mean that like … you’re going to fight from time to time hah 🙂
It definitely does! People always get a little defensive of this point on my list but it doesn’t necessarily mean that I have a list of physical features I want my person to have. Absolutely not. My London gentleman has tattoo sleeves on both arms and I’ve never thought those were ugly, by any means, but I never thought I would date someone with that feature. So, I definitely agree. You need to be open to what those attractive features are.
I wasn’t making my comments to counter any of your points. I very much agree with the points you made… just adding my two cents to them as well. I do think you should be attracted to anyone you date and I think that’s an important point to include. My advice from being with my husband for as long as I have is to also be open to guys outside of what you might initially imagine. As for relationships not being hard, again, I’m not disagreeing with what you said. It was a piece of advice I was adding that I learned from my mom in two ways. When my mom was married to my dad their relationship was hard and they fought a lot. Her marriage to my step-dad is so different. Their relationship is easy. Seeing them together helped me with dating because I knew I wanted a relationship like my mom and my step-dad, not like my mom and my dad. I apologize if my comments came off like I was criticizing anything! That was not my intent at all. I was just trying to add to it and include my opinion/advice.
This is so inspiring & wonderful to read. What a positive approach to, in my opinion, a “taboo” topic for some reason. I think you have an amazing foundation to some day bring home the man God intends for you! I married my best friend 5 years ago, we’ve been together since high school but we love spending time together. We are partners. That is most important!
Thanks, girl! xo.
When the right guy comes along, all of a sudden the list gets tossed out! It’s so so important to be supportive of each other, let the little things go, and making sure you’re being true to each other’s love language x
Ha, maybe! Everyone’s experience is different! But, yes, all about love languages!
Find someone who treats their mother/grandmother well! Not obsessed with them and wanting to live with them forever or be dependent on them!! But talks respectfully to them and doesn’t mind doing for them. If he can be patient waiting on his grandma he can probably be patient waiting on you for getting ready or whatever!
Of course attraction plays a role but find someone who can make your heart happy whether that is with keeping you laughing, little surprises, or kind words regularly (like still after the 6 month mark.)
Think back to middle school/high school and that crush you had. How you had to “act cool” or not do anything weird/embarrassing. Find someone who you can be comfortable doing all the weird things you do/say in your head without worry they’ll bat an eye.
Date someone who knows your Chick fil A order by heart.
Don’t be afraid to go after what you want! (Don’t take someone else’s man lol) but I messaged my guy on fb and it was awkward but we’ve been dating for 5 1/2 years now! He’s not perfect by any means but we push one another to be better and can lean on one another in difficult times.
Most importantly- learn to be happy with yourself and your life. Find some friends who love you and enjoy your life! Mr. Right will come into your life at exactly the right moment!
OMG! I almost put that first thing about how he treats his mother / grandmother on the list!!! I very much look for this, too!!! And the doing things that you normally wouldn’t around most people thing … definitely! That’s kind of under ‘wanting to feel at home with someone’ in my book 🙂
Thanks for these, girl!
I’ve been in your shoes! I was always the single friend in my group and I’ve been the third, fifth, heck one time the thirteenth wheel! I’m now happily married and honestly, I’m thankful for those hard single years. I’m also incredibly thankful I didn’t get married in my twenties. It’s made me appreciate my husband every single day and not take him for granted. My best advice, don’t settle and find someone you can talk to about anything and I mean ANYTHING. Being able to trust someone enough to be vulnerable and communicating with each other is key. We’ve only been married three years, but in that short time we have faced serious health and financial issues that very well could have ruined our marriage. However, we started our relationship with open communication and there’s never been a difficult conversation. We haven’t had a fight despite going through some pretty tough obstacles. To me, that’s incredible since I dated men for only a few weeks and we’d argue over things we didn’t see eye to eye on. So be patient and just know the right guy is totally worth the wait!
Wow I love this post, Haley! I relate to you on so many levels. I too was a happy single girl with her life together. I’m a nurse with great friends and was in no rush to find my mr.right. I went through enough mr. wrongs to find out what I wanted and I’m so greatful for all those experiences. I can very happily say I found mr. right and reading your post made me realize so many of the same non-negotiables I had too. A year before I met him I was on a plane thinking about my life and jotted down in a notepad things I knew I wanted in a guy. After months of knowing and dating my bf now i happened to stumble upon that note and realized he checked all those boxes. It’s so important to know what you want and also be strong enough to few you deserve that person. I can’t wait for you to feel that way towards someone. Thank you for all that you do!
PURSUIT! That Colton Underwood “jump over a fence for you” kind of pursuit ? Nothing will stop the right guy from pursuing you. He will pursue your heart like that forever!!
Love this word!!! I very much agree with that! xo.
Beautifully written and great advice – love following you and wish you all the best! My best advice would be to marry the one who you can be best friends with first; The other one is to find someone honest, loyal, and puts you first, no matter what. Happy times are easy, but I’ve found these qualities to be what gets you through the tough ones.
Love this! xo.
I’ve been with my husband for 10 years, married for 5 and we just had a baby recently. I looked for someone that I could be completely myself around, felt like home, and open communication. People can grow and change as well though, but in a good way! Seeing my husband become a father and how selfless he is, those aren’t necessarily things that would have been clear 10 years ago but he is the best husband and dad. Look for those core elements but know people also can flex and change based on life and the situation and you might not see it all up front!
You know always growing up, I had a vision in my head of my life. Husband, 2 kids, white picket fence, dogs, the whole nine yards. I let go of those expectations and now I’m married and a full time stepmom. NEVER did I think I would ever start being a mom by raising my husbands child, but it has been the hardest most rewarding thing I have ever done. It has brought my husband and I closer and only makes me love him that much more watching him with his son. Don’t close yourself off to men or women that have existing children. Yeah it’s TOUGH and not for the faint of heart, but you could find so much more love and joy than you could ever imagine.
Um excuse me but when did you start READING MINDS??!! The whole first part of your blog resonated with me SO MUCH. I’m going to be 36 soon. It is hard. But I do also sometimes love my singleness! A lot of the things on your list are on mine as well. I find it really hard to balance trying to find a connection in online dating and be selective to just trying to date as many people as I can in case I’m surprised (Spoiler: so far I have not been surprised). I might just focus on myself for a little while! I look forward to coming back to this post though when I need a bit of inspiration!
I’ve been with my husband for six consecutive years (although we’ve been married for less a year), and the secret is communication. If something is bothering him, he tells me; if something is bothering me, I tell him. There’s no passive aggressive pouting or unrealistic expectations that one of us is a mind reader. Our feelings are not a secret and we always make sure the other person feels validated in what they’re feeling even if, in the moment, they’re being less than reasonable. We’re all human and no one can be rational 100% of the time, so developing that understanding is key.
Love that! I so agree. Communication in any relationship is so important!
The most important thing I’ve learned is to find someone who adds to your life and happiness- find yourself, be true to yourself, and most importantly always love yourself, there’s someone out there looking for YOU. In previous relationships I lost myself and thought I needed to be more than what I was but that was wrong. Now my husband is my biggest supporter and I’m his. We accept each other as we are, not expecting anything from one another because we came into this knowing we needed to be happy individually to really enjoy this journey we’ve chosen to live through together. We became more than just a couple, we really are best friends and a team, too.
Love love love! I’ve been married for 2.5 years and 10/10 would recommend. My husband is my best friend and favorite person in the whole world. I remember two weeks into dating him thinking, “this is the exact relationship I always dreamed of being in”. I’m able to be 100% myself with him and that’s such a wonderful feeling. I don’t have any more tips to add, but for sure don’t settle for anything less than you deserve!
I love your list Haley! I think the traits you are seeking are so sincere and important!
I know everyone is a bit different but the one non-negotiable I’d offer up to single ladies is to look for someone who is humble or has a humble heart. In other words someone that sees needs and meets them or can sit with you in the trenches as well as celebrate joys. I don’t know if I actively sought this quality but boy does my husband have it in spades. It is something that makes our marriage and life together so much more meaningful.
I have been married for about a year. I think it is so important to be open minded because If you would have asked me on the first date if I’d marry this guy, I would have probably said no. Yea he was nice, but he wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned for myself. So if I have any advice, it is to keep an open mind. You may not know what you need until you have it!
I definitely agree, keeping an open mind is important! xo.
I loved this. I’ve been married almost 9 years and I have to say, I think you’re list is great. The key for myself and my relationship was prayer. I prayed for my now spouse. I can tell God heard my prayers because as time passes I see more and more traits or quirks that I know I prayed about. I think praying together with your significant other is huge. Praying through the hard stuff, glorifying God in the good stuff, praying for each other and their walk with Christ. Just putting God at the center of your relationship truly sets it up for success!
I am so excited about your London gentleman! Praying for you and this new relationship! Can’t wait to read more!
Connection is so incredibly important. If you have that I think you can learn to accept a lot of things. I swear by Gottman for marital advice. I think they have some books on dating, too. They truly are the experts on what makes for a long lasting fulfilling relationship!
Agree! I’ve dated guys that I thought were really nice and got along with but our relationship lacked a connection that have made other relationships work so well so I do definitely think connection is a MUST.
Everything you listed is spot on! I met my husband at 19 so I didn’t know much but he encapsulates everything you just said. We are married only 9 months but together 10 years. He is my BEST friend & I can’t imagine doing life without him. We have matured and grown together over the years & I can be comfortable with him 100% and with expecting our first baby soon, I need to be comfortable (no one mentions the weird and embarrassing things your body does and how your partner witnesses it ALL! Haha) One thing I would say that is important is how he is with his family especially his mama! It says so much about a man and I am beyond blessed! Your fairytale is just waiting for you! Wish you and Mr.London the best!
This is a long list 😉 ha! I’ve been with my husband for 7 years and your point on your person being “home” is spot on. There is no one I’d rather be with 95% of the time (I’m human 😉 ) I can remember traveling together and I said to myself, I’m not sick of him, that must be a good sign!! I would also say that we’ve both grown and learned from one another. We have shaped our morals together as we’ve had experiences and truthfully as the world has changed. My point in saying this is things I could have written off as a non negotiable have totally flipped! So try not to be too too firm 🙂
PS: a friend of mine who met her husband online and did quite a bit of online dating would ask potential suitors what they would do if they won $25,000, if they said “pay off cc debt” it was an automatic no ?
Hahaha, that’s funny!
Haha wellll, to be fair …. I’ve had plenty of time to think of them hah! Thanks for the advice.
Girlfriend I love this! As someone who is married and has been married for almost 10 years (holy crap!) I have just a couple pieces of advice. I can’t lay claim to these as they are advice given to us but I can say they ring true! Find someone who fights fair. When I say this I mean as a believer there is a right way and a wrong way to speak to someone and to fight with them. Guilt and the always and nevers aren’t fair. Second – find someone you can pray with. That way when you hit the valley you can go to the throne together. When you hit the mountain top with tears of joy you can go to the alter with joyful hearts. And when big decisions come you know you can find each other on your knees. Praying for your journey!!!
I love all of these Marquette!! Of course the praying one is super important, but loooove the fight fair one!! Thank you so much for sharing!!!
Marquette, I love this and couldn’t agree more! I don’t go a day without thanking God for handpicking my husband for me. Through some of our darkest days, praying with him has been the only thing that has gotten me through. Loved your words!
Met my husband when I was almost 32, and we got married when we were both a few months shy of 35. So I get the frustration and can empathize with you being single and 30+ (and it’s worse in the South). I PROMISE when you find him, he will be worth the wait! I agree with a lot of the items on tour list, but make sure you can be yourself with that person. That means – your best self, your ridiculous self, your worst self. You will find true freedom being accepted in all forms of your humanity. One of my favorite things about our marriage (of only 2 years) is how I don’t have to hide my silly/nerdy side and in fact, my husband’s personality compliments it, and we can laugh at ourselves DAILY. Find someone who will appreciate every angle of your personality and spirit.
Hello! I think this post is really nice to get to know you more. I have followed you for a while and have read about your singleness but was wondering what exactly you were looking for. Now I can see a better picture and can tell you everybody has their own “lists” of what they want in a significant other but for me ( married twice being my second marriage the longest/12 yrs and completely in love with my husband) I can tell you that it’s very important to know that the person you are with only has eyes for you. Try to know / investigate if that person is faithful to their relationships because it literally is the most heartbreaking thing to give your heart to someone who likes you and others as well ( get what I’m saying?!) I trusted and loved someone who betrayed me and there’s nothing more painful in a relationship than that. So always go into a relationship with eyes wide open so that you can trust your partner and they can trust you. Hope you find what you’re looking for!!!
Hi Arlene! Yes, I get what you mean. I mentioned in the post that an ex-boyfriend of mine deceived and lied to me over and over again so I certainly know that pain you’re talking about and am, therefore, looking for someone who is faithful and trustworthy 🙂 Glad you found that person for you! xo.
Married lady here ??♀️ I got married “later” than a lot of my friends…30, almost 31. It took me a long time to find my person and I struggled with this. But, I found him after I learned many lessons, and grew emotionally through a few relationships that when they were ending felt tragic. I felt each time I would never find love again. You will. The first love you’ll find, is the love you have with yourself. (#1!). It sounds so cliche, but mine came along when I was trying to be the best part of myself and just doing my thang! My married friends all love their mates, as I do mine, but they always told me to enjoy a few things. Ladies, cherish the girls nights when you don’t have to find a sitter. Or, explain what to make for dinner or pinch hit while you are out for a few hours! It’s great to run the house, the office, all the things, but often we forget what it’s like to be alone and/single. Savor the evenings you wander into Target or Homegoods for hours, then end up eating a bag of popcorn and call it dinner. Sleep in. Have no schedule or agenda! Chat with your girls whenever you want, not just after your babies go to sleep or your husband is busy. Read a book. Take an art class. Volunteer to go cuddle babies or animals. Enjoy your time to be single, and your other half is around the corner! ?
I’ve been married for 14 years and have 3 children (2 boys and 1 girl) and I just turned 38. We have been through a lot with traveling for work, job losses, parents dying, etc. The biggest recommendation I can give is to continue to date your spouse. It’s so hard when you have little kids and work full time. However, I firmly believe that our relationship comes first, and that will in turn teach our children how they should feel and be treated in a relationship. Sending light and love to all you amazing women!! ?
Love that!! Thanks Lindsey! I think that’s great advice! xo.
Love all of this
One thing I was so surprised when I went to London – SO many people smoke! Glad you found one who doesn’t ? I can’t really believe how many people still smoke regularly!
When looking for your future spouse, pay attention to people’s patterns, not just their potential. People will continue to show who they really are (good and bad) if you give them time. This has helped so much in not only my dating relationships but also in friendships / working relationships etc!
Love that piece of advice! That’s so important. I mentioned above that I’ve been deceived before and how actions are huge for me because, while words of affirmation are my love language, I’ve been taught they can surely be empty, meaningless words so actions are super important!
My non-negotiables were: non-smoker, stable job + aspirations (we all dream big, right?), adores his family, and wants children. The way he loves his parents, siblings, and nieces made me fall even harder. I, too, have been deceived in a past relationship & it took me quite some time to trust again. Words of affirmation and quality time are my love languages. My husband’s are physical touch and quality time. Since the beginning of dating, Tuesday nights have always been our date nights.. that’s still true in our marriage. That’s just one of the little things we do. 🙂
I loved this post & think it’s a great read for all ladies (and gents!). Oh, and that feeling of “home”… I totally get it! I never knew what that felt like until I met my husband. I knew I loved him when we were sitting on the couch in his apt (on a Tuesday), and I was helping him prep for an upcoming interview. It was the most simple evening, yet I didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world.
I’m so happy for you! Can’t wait to continue reading more London updates! 😉
So sweet! I remember that past relationship you’re talking about and, while I didn’t know details, I am so happy you found the best person for you after all of that because I know it must have been so hard! Also love your mention of simple moments … love things like that. And, yeah! I’ll keep y’all updated on London, for sure! 🙂 xo.
My husband and I have been married 8+ years (9 in June) and together for 12. I love what you said about love not JUST being an emotion but a choice. There have definitely been days, and even seasons if I’m being totally honest, where we didn’t like each other very much but we chose to love each other. That cliche about “the 7 year itch” is true. Years 5,6 and 7 were growing years for us and some of the hardest times I’ve gone through. We kept moving on, sometimes trudging, and made it to the other side. Year 8 has been our best because we’ve grown and changed as people and a couple and came out better for it. I think your list is robust and very mature. I thought I had a “list” of things to be checked off but my husband isn’t what I imagined. We couldn’t be more different and yet that’s what makes us work. We compliment each other’s differences and push each other to see different points of view and grow past ourselves. I would say that religious denomination would have been a non-negotiable for me and yet when it came down to it, it wasn’t. So I think your comment about the list not being hard and fast is a good one. But having a list is definitely a mature way to handle it. I would add communicated well. That was a hard one to learn and if you’re upfront from the beginning it would be helpful. Also, knowing how to “fight fair” is a good tool to have. I’m rooting for you that you find the guy the checks all your boxes and can have all those special moments with, both big and small.
Thanks, Cassie! Really enjoyed reading your insight and experience. I think the person you end up is never ever ‘exactly’ how you imagine. I think that’s the fun of it. 🙂
I have been with my husband for 8 years (married for 2), and the biggest thing I can say is keep your list in your heart but keep an open mind! I will admit, I rolled my eyes at the thought of a “list”, but as I read this I loved each thing you chose. Nothing about my husband screamed marriage material when we first started dating. In fact, the first line of his letter to me on our wedding day was “I never knew I wanted to get married until I met you”. Ha! We both embodies things on each other’s list we didn’t even know we needed. We created our own relationship, and I think that is so important. Now, I could not imagine fitting him into the list I created when I was single. He is his own person (without any deal breakers of course), and I know now exactly what I never knew I needed. Lol!
Hey Lauren! I totally understand what you mean about the initial thought of a list. I haven’t had one up until about a year ago when a friend encouraged me to really think about it. While, as you said and I said in the post, it’s important to keep an open-mind … I don’t think there’s a harm in identifying what those things you absolutely 100% want, especially at my age when loneliness can creep in with some fierce aggression. I hope I can also say later that there were some things about my person that weren’t on the list but that I love. I think that’s likely the case with everyone 🙂 xo.
Happily married (basically all the time) to my best friend, high school sweet heart for five years (been together 10+ now). One of the things I knew I needed and have been so grateful to have over the years is a partner I can disagree with. My hubs and I debate things (politics, food, semantics) often, but I couldn’t tell you the last time we fought/argued. And we often end our debates with agreeing to disagree but appreciate seeing the other person’s POV.
Love this!! Yes, so important! xo.
Love this whole post, and I wholly agree with your point that someone should feel like “home.” I’ve been with, and been living with, my boyfriend for several years and I think the one thing that is so so important for a strong relationship is that I feel like I can be 100% myself, can tell him everything without being judged, and genuinely can’t wait to talk to him about my day when I get home. Also, he makes me coffee every morning – that might be the most important quality of all 😉
Such a cute post … love ♥️it!
??ROSES FOR FRIDAYS ??| by mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog
1. Has a heart for the Lord
2. Has a heart for others. Family, friends, less fortunate, animals etc.
3. Understands marriage is sacred, a gift from God and a choice you make every day.
4. Positive outlook on life!
5. Driven and ambitious.
What I found in my husband that I did not find in previous relationships (and a broken engagement) was the feeling of security. Trustworthiness. Knowing his eyes were only on me. Feeling protected and taken care of. Knowing that at the end of the day, no matter what happens, he is my “home”.
I think you are just the absolute sweetest soul and I know you will find someone who you can’t wait to spend a lifetime with. Xoxo
I’ve been married to my husband for 19 years and your list is great! I think the best indicator on that list that all the others fall into is marrying someone you can be completely yourself with! Faith, kindness, nonsmoker, kid-wanter, etc. if those are all things YOU are and continue to be with the person, it’s a good match! Also, and you didn’t mention age and kids, but even though I was married at 24, I didn’t have my kids until I was 32,34, and 36 (almost 37). My sister got married at 32 and started having kids right away. I think sometimes our biological clocks inadvertently put subconscious pressure on us to hurry. I say this because I want some of you to know that being an older mom has been such a blessing and I’m glad I didn’t have kids until I was in my 30s. I was a fur baby mom for years before my kiddos came around and there are several blessings to being an older mama. Just floating that here for all you single ladies hearing the tick tick tocking.
This is such an interesting post! Thanks for the read Haley, I hope you find the man of your dreams!
I hope you have a great Tuesday,
What a sweet post!!
Do not hold your past relationships against your current partner. For example, if God forbid, your ex was abusive or often caught in lies, do not hold that against the man you’re dating. Choose to see the good in him. Tell him everything you love about him. This will make him feel loved and allow you to feel more relaxed.
Also, show him love. Men thrive on physical touch, even the G rated touch! Hold his hand, rub his back or play with his hair while y’all watch a movie. It’s so simple but goes so far. On that same note, NEVER change your morals and values to fit what your boyfriend/fiancé wants. If he truly loves and respects you, he will respect your values.
Embrace your families but don’t be afraid to say you need some alone time. Our first Christmas as a married couple, we just really wanted to be with each other on Christmas morning. We were nervous to tell our families but it ended up being the best little memory and they totally understood.
PRAY TOGETHER. Hard times WILL happen. New jobs, new houses, babies, family drama will all leave a little mark on your relationship. Allow the struggles to leave a good mark and use them to grow as a couple. On the hard days or the days you just seem to keep butting heads, hold hands and pray. God wants you to grow together and He will guide you more than you’ll even realize.
I have a wonderful son who is single at 46, never married but a long relationship, and he is finding it a nightmare to find someone. I think both parties have to think of not only of what they want but the other persons needs, also. The older the two, the more set in their ways. He is a pilot for a major airline and has an unconventional job but I would consider him a major catch. Girls, have a common sense approach, life is not perfect, it takes work and a lot of give and take.
Thank you for the insight, Judy! With social media, I do think the message of marriage taking intentionality and work is becoming more wide-spread, which is a good thing for singles’ to be aware of.
I got married really young-21-not knowing what my non-negotiables, wants, and needs were. So those are REAAALLLY important in finding your best friend. And that’s what I really think it’s all about. I knew on our first date that my now fiancé was the one. It was a blind date-our mutual friend set us up. We initially went for coffee and it turned into lunch and then turned into drinks because we were there for over FOUR hours just talking and enjoying each other. My non-negotiables were that I needed someone who was okay with how close my family and I are. Someone who wasn’t a partier and didn’t mind that sometimes I’d just want to stay at home if they went out because I’m a huge homebody. I needed someone who appreciates and supported all my volunteer work. Someone who loved dogs AND cats (we now have 5 animals) and just someone who could have discussions rather than arguments. My biggest key to a successful relationship is to always talk it out. People are going to have flaws. It’s a part of life. But as long as you can discuss everything together you’ll be set!! I think the one discussion we have multiple times is what is the right way to put on the toilet paper. I don’t care and he thinks it goes a specific way. ??♀️?
I loved reading this! As a newlywed, I completely agree with so many of your points. Finding your complement is my favorite. This is so true. I feel as though I have found the perfect man to complement who I am and vice versa. We have random strangers tell us this all of the time too. It’s so special when you find your person, he IS worth waiting for. I was perfectly happy and content being a single dog mom when we met, which was a very organic meeting through my friend/his cousin. Neither of us were looking for anyone at the time, but it just happened. Staying true to yourself if also something I agree with. As we all get older, we change. But don’t let your significant other be the reason you change. Grow individually and grow together, that’s super important to me anyways. I think everyone has their own “list” whether they admit it or not, but having an idea of what’s on yours will definitely help when you are checking out potential suitors. These days, there is no perfect age to meet, perfect age to get married or perfect age to have kids. Everyone’s timeline is different and that’s okay, just remember that. I remember thinking I would be married with kids by age 26. But here I am, 31 years old, a newlywed and we are expecting our first child in July. Yes, this timeline is different than what I thought it would be and that’s okay because my life has turned out MUCH better than I could have ever imagined. A simple saying I love is “everything happens for a reason”. In due time, you will find the perfect man for you and he will be worth the wait!!
Loved reading this, and I share a lot of the same feelings! @gretchcannon
This post was exactly what I needed to hear. Being 26 and single, I’m getting ready to enter a new career and stage of life and it’s scary! Thank you so much for always being so open and honest with your readers. I feel like we just had a great heart talk over coffee. 🙂
My husband and I met at 18 and have been married for two years after 6 years of dating. Growing together from young and in college, graduation, jobs married and now starting a family has not been easy, but has been so much fun – I still learn about him all the time (something I have to remember – we are both still growing up, so don’t count anyone out).
The biggest thing I learned is that life (and marriage, especially) is not a rom-com. It’s a lot of dishes, grocery lists, logistics and very mundane things. Also, TELL THEM what your expectations are. No one is a mind reader and most men want to make you happy, but have no idea how. When my single friends are ready to bolt because they don’t have a whirlwind, romantic date every weekend, I try to point out these two things. If you can have fun folding laundry together, you’re doing pretty well. And, if you want to go on more/ different dates, TELL HIM THAT. If he doesn’t do what you’ve asked, then it’s time to reexamine. Be clear with your partner about what you want and give them the opportunity to do the same. Most people are doing what they did in a past relationship, which obviously didn’t work. IG, movies, tv, etc. have all led us to believe that a good relationship is all magic and butterflies, which is just not true. The real magic is when he finishes cooking dinner because you’re too tired or checks the oil on your car before you take a trip without him. Don’t let huge expectations or a lack of communication on your part miss out on something really great.
I loved everything about this post!
Thanks, Roxanna! xo.
Hey Alyson, new reader here, and really loving your blog! 🙂 Very curious, since i’ve never heard this phrasing before but, what does a ‘bit of a feminist’ mean? Thank you 🙂
What a beautiful post! I will be married 15 years this coming October. Find someone that really sees you as an equal. We are a team in every sense of the word. Always respect one another and communicate, communicate, communicate! We can talk about anything. Marriage isn’t easy all the time so if you can’t communicate it will definitely be more difficult and maybe even impossible! While I love your checklist have in it in the back of your mind he may not meet each one. My husband and I are quite the opposite in a lot of things, but I have NEVER been more supported in my life. While it’s a good idea to know what you’d like in a partner, don’t be surprised if it’s not all there. There might be things you can teach him too along the way and that’s how your bond can grow. Just last night we were cracking up at how different our taste in music is. Sounds silly, but for some that could be a deal breaker. He introduced me to country which I now love and he finally got into Coldplay. Lol! That’s a very light hearted example but, I think it’s relevant. Sometimes the differences are the most fun part! Much love to you! Xoxo
Awww, so fun! Yes, I love that advice! I certainly wasn’t trying to imply that I think everyone should find the person that is just like them. That wouldn’t be fun. Finding a complement … who has strengths you don’t and different interests than you … is what makes a relationship fun and interesting so, yeah, definitely agree with that!
One other thing to mention to the singles… do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT compare your journey and point in life with another’s. You are on your (and God’s) own timeline. It is special and unique to you. Almost all of my friends have been married for years and with children. Too often I compared my journey with others and it really altered my once great self- esteem. When I stopped caring/comparing and focused on myself and my journey— I accomplished so much… and then found someone to share that all with. I’m a much older bride, but I am certainly more stable in life and more confident in who I am because I allowed myself to reach and achieve my goals.
I definitely think this is important! Everyone’s relationships and stories are going to be different.
I’ve been married for a year, and I was with my now husband for 9 years before that. Every relationship is so different, so what works for us might be all wrong for someone else! But one thing that I tell anyone starting out in a relationship if they’re trying to figure out what the future might hold is that you should be with someone who makes your life *easier*, and vice versa. Sometimes people (mostly younger people but even some of my friends now that we’re in our early 30s!) confuse mixed signals and drama with chemistry, but you can be intensely attracted to someone without that kind of stress. Marriage lasts a lifetime, so you can’t be with someone who makes you feel like you need to keep score – there are going to be seasons of life where one of you might be going through a lot more than other, and you need to be able to trust the other person to help pick up some of that slack! My mom always told me growing up that a good long-term relationship isn’t 50/50… it’s 100% from both people involved. And when in doubt, talk it out. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! There is a ton of great wisdom for all of us, married and single alike, to take from the dialogue on this post 🙂
Love your insight, Jenn! That’s great advice! Thank you!
I actually shed some years reading this.
I am a divorced single mom in my 40’s. I never made this “list” so I compromised the wrong way with the wrong person. I love the kids I got out of it and the lessons that marriage taught me but now I’m lonely. Not in an alone way but in a “I realized I never really been loved”. So I appreciate this blog as it forces me to make a “list”. I may never find him at my age (harder than in your 30’s) but I wasn’t willing to compromise myself anymore and stay in an abusive marriage in so many ways.
Congrats on being so smart and responsible and thank you!
Ugh, I just want to give you a huge hug. Please don’t loose hope. People get remarried at all different ages and it is possible for you to find someone who will love you in a true and beautiful way, a way you deserve. I’m not trying to be a walking billboard for all of these dating app’s because I do think there are downsides to them but, I hope it encourages you to know that my Dad met my stepmom on a dating app when he was almost 60 so just know that it can happen and don’t beat yourself up over the past. I only just recently made this list and there are plenty of people who have gotten married without a non-negotiable list so it’s okay. Sending you lots of love and hope for a bright future!
Thank you so much for this as a 30 something single who just attended a planning meeting for a baby shower with all other women who had babies. Sometimes it feels like it will never be you that the planning is happening for! Such a good reminder you aren’t alone in those feelings of loneliness but also to embrace the season.
Gosh, I know that had to of been hard … as happy as you are to celebrate your friend. It really can feel like something you sort of don’t even think will ever happen for you anymore. Hold on to hope, friend. I know that sounds so cliche. Believe me, I know. Sending you big hugs! I totally get it.
I have been married for 13 years and there hasn’t been a day that we haven’t laughed together. A sense of humor, for me, is critical because life gets hard…and smiling and laughing through the hard times makes them not seem so overwhelming.
This is certainly an interesting post! A little background…
I met my now husband in college freshman year, I knew he was going to play an important role in my life but waited until we were juniors to start dating. I didn’t realize I’d end up marrying him. I made a point for us not to live together out of college and get married right away. We got engaged at 24 and married at 25 and have been married 15 years now. We didn’t have kids right away which I think helped because we were able to establish a strong foundation as a couple first. Learning how to fight and work through challenges like losing a job, where to live, etc. we did before kids. Mainly, what I can say is – don’t make a list. Lol. You gravitate toward certain people as it is, no need for one. My husband was a smoker when I met him and HATED it. I used to say I’d NEVER date someone who smokes. And He did quit in college but if he were to have a cigarette now randomly, I wouldn’t love it but you know, he’s his own person and I can’t control him nor do I want to be made to feel like I’m his mom. Anyway, partnership and respect are SUPER important, and values, too, but that you only can tell the more you get to know someone. Marriage will have its ups and downs but the person better be someone you want to through the downs with. Be willing to make a commitment to keeping the relationship going (this is especially important after you have kids) and most importantly communication. That means from both of you! Realize if you’re both independent you’ll better respect each other but if one of you is more needy, it can be complicated. Anyway, I could go on and on. Most important, is that in the beginning, the relationship should be easy and natural! There’s someone out there for everyone.
Thanks so much, Renee! I definitely can understand how your experience can encourage us singles to not make a list. I think it’s a great exercise for those who have been waiting for awhile but, it’s certainly not for everyone. xo!
I absolutely love your want of someone who feels like “home”! My husband and I started dating when we were both 15 and neither of us had any intention of making it stick – we even both made comments that 6 months together would be a stretch – but that “home” feeling is exactly why we’ve been together for 13 years and married for 6. He didn’t meet that many of what I thought were must-have’s at the time, but God has an amazing way of giving you just what you need regardless of what you think you want. He’s the complement that I continue to need and the safe haven that keeps me striving to improve myself each day. He makes me feel comfortable to be myself and is always there to give honest advice and build me back up when I need a little help. My advice would be to being open to new anything – experiences, people, activities – because it might just be exactly what you need even if you don’t realize it.
“Marry the type of man youd want to raise your son to be like” I actually got this advice from a poem by Rupi Kaur.
Love this quote!
Really, truly adore this post! I’ve been married for almost 3 years, but didn’t get married until I was 32. I almost didn’t even agree to go on a date with my now husband because I was so hung up on an ex. One date with him was enough for me to leave the other guy in the dust, regardless of the outcome, because I could finally see I deserved more. I knew I needed someone who would never question my love, my commitment, or my independence, and would have a lot of patience for my impatience and anxiety haha. I ended up finding all that and more after I learned to trust the journey. It’s so uplifting even to a non single gal to read this post and to know you’re trying to trust your journey as well ❤️
I agree with you it’s so important to stand by your values. I met my husband when I was 18 and we became the best of friends. We dated for 8 years and have been married for 3. Reading through the other women’s replies are so positive but I’ll also tell you marriage is hard. For me I want the same values as you – God first and to only be married once but sometimes people change in your relationship into a different person than they were before once you get married or sometimes even years later. We are still working through the changes and I won’t go into specifics but just know that a key will be that you both have to really want it to work no matter what.
Hey there! Yeah, totally! That’s why I mentioned that just because I want to only get married once, I totally get how it can happen. I have a friend whose husbands literally turned into a completely different person – it was actually really scary to hear her story as a single – and they got a divorce. So, I totally know it happens and sometimes there is no option for salvaging what’s been built, which is sad but I totally get it takes two to tango. You both have to want it and be in the right mental state to do. I hope you and your hubby will be able to work through this tough patch! Sounds like y’all are a great pair, xo!
I’m not on track and after I read intro, I had to watch THE DATE series before I continued. I am really happy for you! You’re probably my favourite blogger because of the way you speak openly about your faith and search for God in every aspect of your life. I’m going to admit that I’m also very picky but now I feel relieved ’cause I know my time will also come and it’s easier when you see that others struggle finding signifficant other especially when searching for a faith in other half. You are such inspiration and I hope you will continue sharing your faith and love-life with us!
Pray and trust in the Lord he will bring you exactly what he knows you need just he open fall in love with you and your life and before you know it he will be around the corner and smitten like lightning . All my friends and family were married and had family before me , some of us take a little longer to get to that place but life and the adventures in life are awesome so enjoy every minute ???
I think this is wonderful, Haley, and I wish I had really sat down and done this before I married. I’ve been married for 17 years and I was young when I married so perhaps it was not knowing even who I was to really know how to put together some sort of idea of what I might need long-term that held me back from doing so. What a wonderful advantage you have in that you DO know yourself! At any rate, my main suggestion would be to always be friends first. This sounds really easy and somewhat obvious, but boy does it get tough when things get rough around you! This means being able to have those tough conversations you pointed out on your list whilst still maintaining kindness and really coming from a place of love for the other person…which can also be challenging when he is NOT your favourite person at that moment! Haha. Having an attitude of being friends first also means the expectation that he will do the same for you and being open to hearing that feedback. Of course, this also is a great thing because it means you legitimately ARE married or with your best friend, creates a safe space and is your “home”, as you’re looking for. Just my two cents for whatever it’s worth. You are wonderful and I hope you find someone who is equally so.
Great post! I’ve been married for 5 years. I agree with ALL the qualities in your list. I laughed at your comment on whether or not these were realistic and I applaud you for being aware but I can confidently say my husband meets all of these! The person for you does exist! I’ve been following for many years and enjoy your perspective in life. Keep up the great work!
Alyson, I love this post so much! Thank you for being so open and honest about this journey. I’m only 23, but I now what I am looking for and don’t want to settle. I agree with you and don’t want to date just to date. I’m searching and praying for my future husband. I sometimes feel so impatient, but I know if it’s meant to be, it will happen. Thank you for your post ❤
I really, really resonate with this post! I was single for most of my life until recently when I was lucky to connect with someone special. I had my own list of “non-negoticables” and I am happy to say that he fits my check-list 🙂 Love is not an easy thing to find and I am constantly working on improving my relationship with him to express how thankful and grateful I am for our time together. I know you will find someone who fits your “home” feeling. Especially if he’s British! AHHH! 😉
XO Amanda || http://www.affordablebyamanda.com
Catching up on your blog, I finally got around to reading this post. As someone who will turn 30 in about 3 weeks, and forever single, I found great beauty in your words and outlook. It resonated with me and reflected much of what I would wish to say. There is always an undercurrent of joy and light in your posts. I enjoy following your “very unconventional” career.