“God’s Best” and Relationship Non-Negotiables
Updated: Jan 7
Way back in 2014, my friend Tricia gifted me with a small notebook that reminded her of me. It had the love chapter emblazoned on it in pretty fonts. She knew that I was a Christian, but I was also boy-crazy and was maybe excessively a hopeless romantic. I was just turning 24 then but I had been working for 5 years already. Being in a serious relationship is not anymore a whimsical thought when you’re at the stage. It becomes more of an expectation, to be honest.
Armed with cute supplies, I did what any normal single Christian lady would do — come up with a list of my relationship non-negotiables for my “GB”! That is God’s Best, for those who don’t understand Christianese. :P
When I wrote down these relationship non-negotiables (a.k.a. qualities of my "God's Best"), I had in mind my end goal, which is to be married. It wasn’t a “boyfriend qualification” list. It was basically answering the question:
What kind of guy do I want to marry?
I had 8 items in my relationship non-negotiables list, which was written in 2015. It’s pretty simple and not so specific, yet I know that the standards I set were pretty high.
Christ-lover and Christ-follower – It’s not enough that God's Best is a Christian or that he “goes to church”. He should really love Jesus and have an intimate walk with Him and also have a heart that seeks to follow Him.
Hardworking – No problem if God's Best is not filthy rich, as long as he works hard and is not a lazy sluggard, as he will for sure find a way to provide for our family.
No issues with commitment – Done with men who “play games” not just in relationships but even in their commitment to their personal goals and ESPECIALLY to their ministry.
Conversationalist – I would prefer not to talk to a rock.
Able to lead me, correct me – This may look simple, but this is a pretty tough ask for someone who will have to deal with hard-headed little miss me. God's Best can’t be intimated by me, but can lovingly lead me like Jesus does.
Able to appreciate my interests – God's Best does not need to have EVERYTHING in common with me, but he should at least be willing to take some interest in my stuff.
Open to mentoring and counselling – From aaaaall the stories that I’ve heard from friends and people around me who have partners who DO NOT WANT to go for counselling, it is a hard requirement for me that God's Best is open to the idea of community, and to be corrected and guided by trusted mentors.
Secure and trustworthy – God's Best is someone I can trust, with the assurance that he will not use his knowledge of me against me. God's Best is one who will fully know me yet fully love me.
I was dead serious about everything that I wrote down about my ideal guy. Yet, on the inside, it scared me. I was so worried that either:
I wouldn’t find someone who would meet what I wanted, or worse,
If I indeed meet someone who ticked off all the boxes, then he probably would be sooooooooo out of my league. He’d be perfection, which I didn’t deserve.
And because “we accept the love that we think we deserve”, I settled for less. I knew that I was a mess and that if God's Best met me, he probably wouldn’t like me. I was such a work in progress. That relationship non-negotiables list remained to be an IDEAL.
I fell in utmost like and infatuation with men who ticked off maybe 1 or 2 things from the list, but who were waaaaaaaaaaaaaay off the mark for the rest of the items. Despite all the red flags, I didn’t make a big deal out of it as I knew that I didn’t deserve God's Best — second best will probably do.
I had a tough season in 2018 though, and praise God because I got fed with truth and became a bit more hopeful again for God's Best. I started seriously praying for my God's Best that year. But eventually, as I grew closer and closer to the Lord, the cry of my heart changed. My prayers shifted from “please prepare God's Best for me” to “please prepare me for God's Best”. I learned something so important–something that I’d probably share in every relationship talk that I get invited to speak in:
I need not focus on LOOKING for the right one, and instead prioritize BEING the right one.
As we look at the relationship non-negotiables we expect from our life partner, we should check if we ourselves would meet the same standards. If, for example, you want to marry a king, then you better prepare to be a queen. If you desire to be a guy who’s so in love with the Lord, can the guy even find you in church? The tables have turned and the question is now:
What kind of girl would my future husband be marrying?
Christ-lover and Christ-follower – I needed to have an intimate walk with the Lord myself. I once heard someone say that you are to run your race, and then the right one will be able to keep up. If I wanted to be with someone who was serious with his faith, then I better start running.
Hardworking – While God's Best will be the main provider of the family, I want to be a wife who also does her part — doing well in my career, and of course, managing the household well.
No issues with commitment – I hate to admit it but I used to have commitment issues. I had multiple crushes at a time, and got easily bored and distracted. I remember even having one guy in my life who I ran away from the moment that I felt that he was becoming serious with me. If I wanted someone who commits, then I better be one who does so too.
Good listener – I have no problems with talking as I enjoy engaging with others, but I better be a good listener if I want my God's Best to enjoy conversing with me.
Submissive – If I want to be led and corrected, then I needed to SUBMIT! People take offense at this word, but I believe that God intends for the man to lead the family and the woman to submit. For more details on this, check this article out.
Able to appreciate his interests – While I want God's Best to be interested in my stuff, I also need to be interested in his.
Open to mentoring and counselling – God's Best should not need to drag me to the coffee shop or to the pastor’s office where our mentor awaits. It’s something I should also be able to initiate.
Secure and trustworthy – God's Best should also be able to trust me and be secure that he can be himself with me without any judgment and full acceptance.
Have I already perfectly met those 8 items? Nope. I remain to be a work in progress, but at least there is a goal and I am slowly getting there! Even now though, with a loving boyfriend (now husband - as of April 2020) already in my life, I have learned not to look for perfection in him or to demand for him to meet my relationship non-negotiables. He thankfully meets all the items in the list, albeit not perfectly, but my focus has shifted from expecting the best from him to BECOMING “GOD’S BEST” MYSELF and PREPARING TO COMPLEMENT the qualities that I know God will help mold in my future husband. Instead of expectations and disappointments, we are now bringing the best out of each other — and I know that’s what God wants.