By: Katie Taube
On October 15th, Dylan and I will have been married 10 years. As many say, it's gone by in a blink. We've done some reminiscing at how it feels like we've been married two years, as we look at our now-six year-old son!! I started remembering how I knew without a doubt Dylan was my soul mate and my thoughts fell upon "The List." I thought maybe someone else could use the same encouragement "The List" provided me....so I'm sharing that story here. While I know there are many successful marriages and relationships out there for couples who are older or younger, have kids, have no kids - this is simply my story of how it happened for me. And Dylan, of course.
Before I met Dylan I was at one of the lowest points of my life. At 29 years of age I'd moved back home to live with my parents (thanks, recession of 2008), with no job and no boyfriend - let alone husband. The guy I had been dating and thought I would marry turned out to be a total loser. It just wasn't where I'd planned to be as I approached my monumental 30th birthday. With all the time in the world on my hands - I headed up to visit a good friend of mine in Chicago. Her boyfriend (maybe fiancé at that point, I can't remember) was taking the Illinois bar exam and while we waited to pick him up - we ended up at what I think was Oak Park Beach. At one point she likely got tired of listening to me complain about my woe-is-me life and gave me some advice that would change my life.
"While you're waiting to meet Mr. Right, why don't you make a list of the things Mr. Right needs to have - so when you meet him, you'll know it?!"
Sure - great idea.
"No, like make that list now."
Seriously - it was much easier to sit and complain.
"Take that pad of paper out and make a list!"
OK, OK! So I started writing. There were deal-breakers and non-essential preferences. It was a list of what I wanted. Someone who's a good dresser, has great hair and is a born-again Christian. Someone who could hold their own in social situations, who enjoyed being outdoors and didn't mind trying new things.
I filled up about three small legal pad pages of what exactly it was that I was looking for in a soul mate.
"Now," my friend told me..."the next time you date someone, make sure they measure up to this list."
The List proved to be very helpful. A couple of guys-who-weren't-it (sorry if you're reading this) later and I met Dylan. We hit it off right away. He gave me flowers on our first date, opened every door and car door, we enjoyed marathon phone call sessions. We lived 4 hours apart the entire time we dated and it never became an issue. Who cares about a 4-hour drive when we knew we'd get to see each other! A few months into our whirlwind romance, my friend asked if I'd checked the list.
"Oh yes - where is that?!" Kidding - I knew right where it was. I ran down the pages of items I was looking for in Mr. Right and would you believe he met every single trait I'd written down. Well, except one. The great hair. Dylan is bald!!! I mentioned that one to him as I chuckled. He paused and asked, "Does it help if I was voted best hair in high school?" HA!!!! So he DID have great hair - he just lost it before he met me!!! (Just as well, he would have lost it after meeting me anyway!) Dylan really did meet every criteria I wrote on that list. I had suspected it before, but now I was certain. He was the one for me.
Fast-forward a year and that friend who gave me the great advice was a bridesmaid in our wedding (and I was one in hers!). Fast forward TEN years and Dylan and I have built a wonderful life. When people tell you marriage is difficult, that's a lie. Marriage should be easy when you're with the right person. It's easy to choose Dylan everyday, and I like to think I make it somewhat easy for Dylan to choose me, too. Never settle, and always give 100 percent (none of this 50/50 junk you hear about)!
While I don't promise The List will get you everything you want in life and more, I will tell you it is a great way to stay true to your overall goal of what you're striving for. Whether it's a soul mate, a dream job, a new house - when you make a list of what's the most important about those things....it helps you avoid the average that forces you to settle for less than you want. Life will throw lots of average at you, the "nice enough" guys, the "ok" job - and if you let it, you'll end up with a life of mediocrity and regret. I encourage you to know what you're looking for and stick with it. No one wants to waste time on regrets. Dylan I have talked about what our lives would be like had we settled earlier on for "good enough." It's not a pleasant thought for either of us.
So, take some time and write your list! I'd love to see it. Like I said - it doesn't have to be a list for Mr. Right. Maybe you have a big goal in your future, a dream home, a dream job - whatever it is you want....write it down. Write down exactly what you want, then share it with me. We can cheer each other on and help each other stay true to what we truly want.