“Help!” the email started. “I need some words of encouragement for my 43-year-old never been married friend!”
Of all the pleas this forever-single columnist thought she would never get, that probably has to be it. When you don’t get married for the first time until you’re 49, you hardly think you’ll be the one to be giving out advice on how to find a husband.
Yet, as I close in on my first wedding anniversary, I look back thinking there is something I did that helped me find a fine man.
The simple truth is I settled.
Whoa! Hold on. I know those are the two words anxious single women around the world dread to hear. Nails on a chalkboard.
Please, hear me out.
My journey to finding my husband started with making a three-part list.
List 1 was all the things I was hoping to find in my dream man. I tossed out criticism like, “You’re too picky.” Height, weight, what he does for a living. One blue eye, one green eye. I went to town. The more specific, the better.
I’d heard of doing such a list before in magazines and talk shows. “Dream Up Your Dream Man!” However, I think it was the other two lists that really made the difference.
List 2 was “What will my guy and i look like as a couple?” This is where I pictured things like how much time would we spend together, how would we support each other? What would we do for fun? Again, the more specific the vision, the better.
And then came List 3: “What will i look like as my best self when i’m in this loving and supportive relationship?”
That’s where the magic happened. Who did I want to be in the world? How did I want to give? How was I going to make myself happy.
As I worked on that third list, I realized I didn’t have to wait for the guy to become her. I could start right away.
That’s what I mean by “I settled.” I finally settled into the woman I wanted to be. I think I’m more down to earth, less driven than the woman who spent many years chasing men I now look back on as bright, shiny pieces.
The Three Lists took the sting out of what could be considered bad dates. These were no longer tragic, disappointing events, just simply information that the guy didn’t match my lists, as I chose to believe that The Guy was on his way.
And now, as I look over at my husband snoozing in bed as I write this early in the morning on my laptop, I’m reminded why he’s such a gift. More than any man I’ve ever known, he loves and supports my best version of me, the woman I envisioned on List Three. It’s who he sees even on the days I’m not her, which, let me assure you are plenty!
I passed along my journey of The Three Lists to my friend, and now to you, realizing that it was important to do all three lists, but for far too long I’d been focused on the wrong thing.
I’d spent countless hours and angst of my single years looking for him. When really, the person I needed to be looking for was my best version of me.
Single gals, you up for the challenge? Get your lists going.
You get to start today and there’s a good chance it will lead you to a version of yourself and to a man different and better than you would have expected before.