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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Valentine

Open Letter to the Next Husband

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

Lao Tzu

Let me clearly state, I am very happy as a single woman. I can come and go as I please and that level of independence definitely agrees with me. If the truth be told, I really do a lot of the things I would be doing if I were married. I still maintain a regular cooking schedule (I think home cooking is best.) If I want to go see a movie or a play, I just make it happen. Sometimes I get a group together to go, but I don’t have to have someone with me. The truth is that I have very little alone time between work and caring for the people that God has placed in my life. I often have to remind myself to take advantage of downtime. It is intentionally designed for relaxation.

With that said, I wrote a prayer list of items I would like in my next mate back in June 2006. This was a month after my oldest graduated from high school and it was then feasible to think that I could meet someone to spend time with. (My definition of spend time: go to a movie or play, grab a meal, go for a walk, bike a trail.) While the guys were growing up, I was very protective of the balance and trust we’d established. If someone came into our lives and could contribute to that, they would be under consideration. If someone disrupted that, I would have had to kill them. There would be no room for negotiations — that is just how protective I was of our home life.

The funny thing about dating as an adult is that I find myself so out of practice. There is a little switch you have to turn on from being a mom to just being a woman. I really put every ounce of energy into parenting. Yes, I maintained my lady like manners and sensibilities. I am more talking about the “I’m a Woman” lyrics by Peggy Lee. The other thing is, what does he look like? If he came walking down the street, would I recognize what I am attracted to at this age? When I was younger, I could sort of describe what was good looking to me. You come to learn how non-essential looks are when you need to build a life with someone.

Back to the list, I started out with the intention of writing down 10 things. I have the list in a Bible I keep by my bed side. I ended up with 12 things and loving me ended up being number 11. Items 1 – 10 are natural expressions of number 11. Since this is something that I hold dear and precious before the Lord, I won’t share the entire list, but here are a few of the "non-negotiables." If Mr. Right comes along, I may write a post that aligns all of his wonderful qualities with my list…so pray with me.

  1. He has to be confident about his relationship with Christ, know how to pray and keep a healthy balance. Sometimes people are so heavenly minded that they are not earthly good. I need him to be able to speak intelligently about his faith and be able to be silly and impromptu.

  2. Must accept my sons as if they are his own. I am a little bias, but I think my sons are fun to be around. I will not, I repeat, will not tolerate anyone trying to disrupt our mother son relationship. You are not in jeopardy of being killed any longer, but you may be asked to excuse yourself. At the end of the day, I have to have peace!

  3. Fun-loving, secure, ambitious, health conscience, educated, cooperative and well-spoken . I think confidence is the best quality a man can have. I have supported sales teams most of my career and when I hear someone confidently negotiating or conveying information, I find that an awesome quality. Can you pull me away from my busyness? Some things have to wait. If you remind me of this, I know you are looking out for my best interest. You already know my thoughts on how people present themselves verbally. If you don’t care to know how to communicate, I don’t either…especially if English is your only language.

Finally, this person needs be in constant pursuit of knowing me…this is not on the list per se. This requires time and experiences. Do you know what my names mean and how I am living my names, the things I am passionate about and what curls my toes? Find out my favorite flower, my favorite color, my favorite movie, my favorite thing to do when I have free time. What books do I like to read? Which side of my face dimples when I smile…KNOW ME! I can’t promise you breakfast in bed twice a month, like I did with my first husband, but I’ll make sure you are well loved and cherished.

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