Please, Put Down Your Dating Checklist Already

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checklist
A Christian woman discusses how to keep from settling, yet still be open minded.

4. Shift your focus outward, rather than inward. Instead of spending mountains of time and energy daydreaming of what you want and can possibly gain from a relationship, why not shift your perspective a bit? "The thing with lists is that they're so selfish and one-sided," Kari explains. "When I hear women going on and on about their lists, I just want to say to them, 'Have you ever given any thought to what you might bring to the relationship?'" 4 Selfless Actions That Reveal You're In Love

Point taken. Once again, ouch.

5. Practice letting your guard down. This goes for women of all stripes, but is especially helpful advice for Christian women, who, in my humble opinion, tend to throw their guards up whenever men are within the premises.

For example, I know many Christian women (and I am one of them) who get hit on a lot by men who aren't Christian, and who therefore do not fit within the confines of their lists. They want a man who shares their faith, and it is frustrating that they often meet amazingly wonderful men who don't. They don't want to fall for these men, so they put their guards up whenever they meet them. They do this over and over again until it becomes a habit with every single guy—because even the ones who claim to be Christian might not be strong enough Christians, and they don't want to risk falling for them, either.

Experience has taught me that men can tell when you're being guarded and when you're being open. And they usually don't ask out girls when their guardss are up, so practice letting them down—even if the guy you're talking to doesn't seem perfect off the cuff. Just try letting him in a tiny bit, and go from there.

6. Stop searching for "Spiritual Superman." What do I mean by "Spiritual Superman?" I'm talking about your Christian fantasy man—the one you dream about who is so amazingly in tune with God that he raises his arms in praise during every worship song, he volunteers on mission trips, he prays boldly, he wears a purity ring, and maybe even plays guitar during Bible study group.

If you've grown up in Christian culture, you've likely been taught that the man needs to be the "spiritual leader" in the relationship, which then makes you question whether the men you date are actually capable of this. Is he spiritually mature enough? you wonder. Should You Stop Looking for Mr. Perfect?

Meanwhile, all this questioning and anxiety has multiple drawbacks. It puts a ton of pressure on men, and it asks the women they date to judge them prematurely. Rather than searching for "Spiritual Superman," why not try meeting men wherever they're at in their spiritual walk by asking the following two questions: 1) Is God working in his life? 2) Is he receptive to it?

If the answer is yes to both of those questions, try pushing point number four a little bit more. Try letting your guard down just a bit further. Start getting to know him. Acknowledge his humanity and the fact that he's probably going to make mistakes. He's going to have questions and doubts about his faith, just as you will too.

And lastly...

7. Don't take yourself or your dating life so seriously. Creating a massive list that draws a detailed portrait of everything you want in a mate is a sure-fire sign you may be taking yourself too seriously. You're letting your vision become larger than life, and potentially even assuming you know what's best for you.

Newsflash: You probably don't.

I know I sure didn't. I'm in my thirties, and I am still in the process of figuring it out. Once I stopped taking it all so seriously, this process actually became fun. It became a game of sorts—a game I only sometimes win. But that's OK; I am almost to the point where I've stopped keeping score.