I was having a conversation about dating and relationships with a good friend. And when I say having a conversation, I mean I was fussing. I was fussing at myself and my friend. We complain about being single but have this ridiculous list of must haves we didn’t consult God about. We’re so quick to holler out, “I’m not lowering my standards for anyone!” Baby, those aren’t standards, their preferences.

Standard: a rule or principle that is used as a basis for judgment

Preference: a greater liking for one alternative over another or others

If you look back over your life and go through every individual you gave the time of day, have you always kept your standards? Have you traded standards for preferences? I know I have. And if I keep looking back, I’ll also see some individuals who met the standards but not my preferences and I barely looked their way. In some situations I spoke to God but I didn’t really listen to what He said. I wanted what I wanted, and God’s stamp of approval would be nice but too often, I didn’t make it necessary.

How can you tell the difference between a standard and a preference? My coworker once told me to throw away the list of my dream man… (::in my Soulja boy voice:: throw away???). She told me to start a new list and only include things that I could support with scripture. The Word of God is our standard. It’s what we use to guide our daily lives, so why not use it to guide our happily ever after? After I wrote my scripture based list, I had much less on it. If I measured up the guys I dealt with to my current list, all but one wouldn’t make the cut. My preferences were getting in the way of my standards. I didn’t even notice these guys weren’t meeting the standards because I was overjoyed to be entertaining my preferences.

Your standards may look different from mine but they should be rooted in the Word. Yes, God will give you the desires of your heart and if you spend enough time with Him, you’ll find your desires mirroring His. There are people in your circle of friends that haven’t spent nearly as much time as you have, talking to God about their spouse and their dream person just magically appeared. Everything they prayed for, they got, preferences and all. Are we doing this wrong? No, we’re not. I wish I had more evidence to prove it but I’ve decided to have faith instead. Once you reach a certain age, you realize things aren’t always what they seem and even if they are, you realize it took a lot more than you may be willing to give to get there.

Why does liking them on the dark chocolate side seem like a sin? Who wants a wife who can’t cook? Who wants to be with a man shorter than them? You like a natural girl; why is that bad? No one is asking you to lower your standards (some of y’all, need to get some, period) but you may have to adjust your preferences. The standard is the prerequisite to having a chance. Either you meet it or you don’t. There are no waivers, there are no exemptions. Preferences are optional, bonus points, if you will. It’s what you notice AFTER the standard has been met. If they have them, great; if they don’t, it doesn’t disqualify them. Make sure you’re measuring people by standards and not preferences.

1 Kings 3:9 “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?”

Be like Solomon; ask for wisdom concerning your standards.

January 2019