Essentials and Potentials

When you reach the age that your parents have decided you can date or be courted, it is time to determine exactly what you are looking for in a mate.  Knowing the necessary qualities, as well as the variable ones, will help you when you must decide whether to enter a relationship with someone or not. 

I have divided these qualities into “Essentials” and “Potentials”.  Essentials are those character traits that a man must have in order to enter into any kind of committed relationship.  These are not give-or-take virtues — these must be part of who he is.  The Potentials are those traits that are altered by the man’s personality and your own — those things that are subjective, like a similar taste in music, dress, hobbies or sports.  These things are important as well, but they differ with each couple.  The Essentials are universal, while the Potentials are individual.

So what are some of the Essential qualities a man must have?  They are rather self-explanatory, so I won’t expound on them much.  First and foremost is spiritual maturity.  Just saying he is a Christian does not qualify him to be considered for a lifelong commitment, or even a temporary one.  Does he walk the walk, or just talk the talk?  Carefully evaluate his spiritual life, since this is what will determine who he is down the road. 

There are several other qualities this man must possess.  He must be honest to both you and your family, especially your father.  He must be kind, faithful, considerate and affectionate (to a point).  He must be ambitious and prudent with money, as well as tithing faithfully to his church or a Bible based ministry.  He must also be gentle and tender, willing to listen and willing to learn.  He must, perhaps second only to being spiritually mature, also be a leader at heart.  He cannot be a follower.  And lastly, you must respect him, and he must love you. 

What about Potential characteristics?  Well, with each girl and guy these will differ, and some will even change.  Perhaps you love to hike.  Most likely, your mate will like outdoors activities as well because you have a connection there — it is something you both enjoy.  For instance, I like to horseback ride.  Maybe my boyfriend someday would like to do that too.  Perhaps he will be willing to learn.  But maybe he had a bad experience as a child and is terrified of horses.  Do I disqualify him because he won’t ride a horse?  No.  This ‘quality’ is not essential, it is just something that would be nice if it was possible.

It is easy to get caught up on potential qualities once you have accepted the good character aspect.  “Yeah, I want my man to have all these great virtues — but he HAS to be 6’2″ and have brown hair and green eyes! I can’t marry anything else!”  Potential characteristics shouldn’t be put on a pedestal above the Essentials, because the latter is what lasts.

Lastly, this little bit of information is just to remind you girls to keep your standards high, but just as you have a high standard for a future mate, have a high standard for yourself.  Many women and men have a laundry list of things their mate must do to ‘earn’ them, when really, they aren’t even worthy to be ‘earned’!  Focus on developing your own character in Christ.  The day will come, the Prince will ride in — but don’t focus on it.  Let’s get to work.  There’s character to be built!


5 Responses

  1. Thank you for your post today… it really made me think about what I deemed my ‘essential’ list. Methinks some of those should be moved to the ‘potential’ list:) Thanks Phy!

  2. You forgot to add cute, hot, and or handsome under the essentials list. Just Kidding. 😉

    Another great post Phy. ❤

  3. Thanks for sending these out Phy. They’ve been a nice addition to my day. 🙂

  4. I am very impressed with all your posts. I am a happily married person of over 13 years and find it refreshing to read your blog. This post is important because you will not change your mate. You will be married to the man you choose. I’m not saying people don’t change, because God has grown my hubby and I, but really, to expect something different is a fool’s errand. It is wise to know what you want. Be honest with yourself. I have loved my hubby from the beginning and love him more every day just the way he is.

  5. […] now, for prep before I begin, here is a post from Quill and Inkwell on “Essentials and Potentials” when “making your […]

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