My Husband Isn't the 'Man of My Dreams' & I'm Fine With That

Sarah Hudson photography

Sarah Hudson photography

It was a Friday night and my husband and I were having a super sexy evening. Dinner, dancing, wild romance -- just kidding. I’ve been married for 13 years. We were watching TV and cleaning out storage boxes from the basement, which is how I found the list.

The list was tucked into a box filled with pictures and papers from college. It was three pages long and contained the 44 characteristics I thought were most critical to have in my future husband. I started reviewing the list and, to my surprise, I started to realize that my husband was totally not the man of my dreams.    

  • The good news is that my dreams have totally changed.

    Wendy Robinson

    Now, I was all of 18 or 19 when I wrote the list. At the time, I was going to a conservative Christian college and had never been in a serious relationship. The college where I went was the kind of place where it felt like everyone got engaged before graduation, so my biggest fear was that I’d end up an old maid at the ripe old age of 22. I’m pretty sure the list was basically a prayer, a way to tell God exactly what I wanted in the hopes that the universe would treat it like a grocery list and get me everything I was sure I would need a man to have to be happy.

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  • If I had stuck to the list, I’d never have married my husband.

    Wendy Robinson

    The 44 items on the list include things that are essential (“Never hits me or yells at me”) and things that were breathtakingly shallow (“At least 6’0” with “really great shoulders”). There are items I still stand by now (“Makes me laugh”) and ones that seriously don’t apply (“Loves country music” -- I haven’t listened to country music in 15 years!). Mostly I’m struck by the fact that I was SO sure that I knew exactly what I wanted. 

    Altogether, my husband checks only 11 of the 44 boxes I thought I wanted. I would never have guessed when I was 18 that my dream guy would end up being a 5’10" divorced dad who hates Disneyland. I had no way of knowing that, in the long run, ending up with the guy who makes you laugh turns out to be way more important than how broad his shoulders are or whether he goes to church every Sunday.

    When I was 18, I was certain that soulmates were real and that if I wrote a list so that I knew exactly what I was looking for, I’d be sure to find him. I’m 40 now and I know life and marriage are far more messy and complicated than I could have planned for.  

  • I’m not sure if I believe in soulmates anymore. 

    Wendy Robinson

    When I was 18, I thought meeting the right person would make me whole. At 40, I know that I'm whole all by myself. At 18, I couldn't have imagined a happy life without the perfect guy. At 40, I know that there are lots of ways to have a happy life and marriage isn't necessarily a sure-fire way to find one. 

  • But I’m sure that I’m married to the person I’m supposed to be married to.

     He drives me crazy sometimes and has broken my heart a time or two along the way. But he’s also made me a better, stronger, and more confident person. He made me a mother and a stepmother. He makes me think and want to make the world a better place. It turns out he is exactly what I needed, even if he wasn’t what I thought I wanted.

    I think my 18-year-old self would really like where she ended up, and I’m happy to put the list back in the box of memories, right where it belongs. 

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