Not long ago I was serving with the 16-18 year old girls at my church. One particular Sunday I was with them the topic for the class was preparing for serious dating and marriage, as well as creating a best future marriage now. For these teen girls, that translated into boys—a favorite topic among many teen girls.
The purpose of the exercise in this class was aimed at empowering these girls to establish high standards in dating and therefore in a future marriage companion. Toward the beginning of the lesson, the girls were asked to each to write down a list of the things they wanted in a future husband.
The girls were thrilled to do so and giggled and occasionally collaborated as they thought about their dream companion. As I sat there feeling the excitement of these teenagers and hearing some of their silly and serious ideas, I decided to write my own list.
My friend gave me a puzzled look as I asked for a piece of paper as well. “Don’t you already have your dream guy?” she asked.
I was happy in my marriage and knew Logan was a great fit for me, but she had reminded the girls of something that stood out to me, “don’t forget that we need to be the kind of person we want to marry”. This struck me and gave me a desire to write a list.
For me, it was a chance to take a personal assessment and see how I was doing on my end to build my “dream marriage.” While our marriage was great now, it had had a rocky start and I’m sure there were times when we had both questioned if we had married the right person, but we had come a long way together since that rough beginning, and still had lots of room for growth.
I wrote down the things I loved about my husband and had fun realizing just how many really high standards I could come up with that he fills (obviously, I had hindsight to help me see the things that matter most to me now and clearly see how awesome he is for me). I also imagined what his dream marriage list might include if he wrote one and what I could probably work on to adjust my part in it.
This personal exercise that I applied to myself as an already married person provoked feelings of hope for things we could change, gratitude and joy for the things we had, and ideas for how I personally could help fulfill our goal of a dream marriage forever. It was easy to see things that I could change right now and steps I could take toward creating my “best future marriage”.
I went home and share with Logan the story of how I had a desire to write a “dream” list and how that renewed excitement and vision inspired me to want to be my best too. I also shared my feelings of gratitude for the traits on the list that he fulfills and we both felt closer as we were inspired to try a little harder, and be a little better together.
The exercise was hopefully a reminder to the teen girls, as it was to me: “We cannot start over, but we can begin now and make a new ending”
While at the time, my friend might not have understood my intent for making a list while happily married, I am glad I could check my dream marriage progress and make sure I was being an active participant in creating and renewing its ending.