Are you thinking about dating? It can be a fun time to build a friendship with someone and to lay a foundation for a strong and healthy relationship. However, dating has the potential to lead to heartbreak when we dive in head first. What if there was a way to be more intentional with finding someone that had the qualities and characteristics we hope for in our future spouse? There are a number of things that can be done; spend time with people who share similar interests, form supportive relationships with both guys and girls, and create a list of attributes we hope for in a romantic partner.

The list could look something like this:

  • Trustworthy
  • Kind
  • Funny/good sense of humor
  • A leader
  • Generous
  • Athletic

List making employs our minds to think and reason. Waiting until someone comes along and says they are interested is dangerous because emotions can get in the way. Excited emotions tend to bully our minds into disregarding reason and logic. It is more than likely you have had a friend at one point that was dating someone, and no one could understand why. It may appear obvious to everyone else that they are unmatched, but they gloss over it or rationalize why it is okay.

So what types of things should be added to this list? The most important items to include are character traits. Everyone has character traits, both good and bad. Character traits are often shown with descriptive adjectives such as honest, brave, compassionate, etc. Take time to think about characteristics that are important to you. Here’s a link to get you started!

Another thing to consider while creating your list is how they treat others. How they engage with others is a reflection of their character, but it is also important enough to mention on its own. Some people are very good at acting pleasant when it is to their benefit, but observing how they treat their parents and siblings is a good indicator of how they may treat you. Are they honest with their parents, or do they frequently hide things? Do they treat their siblings unfairly or unjustly? These are signs of disrespect, dishonesty, and disregard for the feelings of those that love them. There is no romantic relationship that will change that.

Religion would be an additional beneficial component to consider. Faith may not play a crucial role in your life, but strive to date someone with the same core beliefs and value systems. Major challenges can form when this area is neglected.

What about physical characteristics? Although physical attributes should not be the sole focus of your list, attraction does play a role in a romantic relationship. Perhaps you hope to be with someone with kind eyes, a sweet smile, someone who is athletic, or taller than you. Focus on what is important to you, and not on what your friends, culture, or society says is attractive.

Creating a list allows you to take the time to truly contemplate what you hope for in a future partner. Focus on the majors, and revisit your list from time to time. As you continue to grow and mature, you may find that there are things you no longer view as essential. Or maybe you will end up adding characteristics to your list as time goes on. As you create and edit your quality list, remember to continue developing your own character and personality. Strive to be the type of person that is able to enter into any relationship with maturity, compassion, kindness, and good intent for others.