Written By Ronnie Parsons...
I've always enjoyed freedom. I've never been comfortable feeling confined or restricted. I have had a lot of priorities in my life that I have devoted my time to, whether that be to work, my studies, my relationship with God, friends, or time with my family. All of these things were important to me, and still are, but I never wanted my life to be compromised by a commitment to a girl. Relationships were never my forte. Sure, I liked taking girls out here and there to pass the time, but I never let any of them walk past my front door.
I've always taken pride in my accomplishments. In the months leading up to meeting Jonni, my thought process was "why settle down now and be forced to sacrifice important areas of my life?". And this is the same thing all of the guys I know say.
"I don't want to give this part of my life up"
"I don't want to settle down yet"
The stereotype that has permeated this culture is that settling down in your early 20's is difficult, therefore it shouldn't be done. Clearly, I was impacted by that mindset too- But who said anything worth having was easy? Who said that "settling down early" meant giving up who you are or sacrificing your goals?
But I only learned that when I met Jonni.
Though I was adamant on remaining single and getting married way later on in my life, everything changed on one night in April.
There were 3 things I looked for in a girl. As I met different girls, they each had either 1 or 2 of the qualities, but never all 3. This resulted in me never pursuing anything further with anyone and primarily shrugging off relationships as a whole.
And before I get to what those 3 qualities are, I will tell you this...
Just because a girl has these qualities, and just because you know she is the one, doesn't mean you won't have to sacrifice. It doesn't mean you won't need to get your strength from God and work every day to be more like Christ. It doesn't mean that you won't have to exercise patience more than you ever have. But hard work pays off.
Here are the 3 qualities I looked for in order to know she was the one:
1. She loves God. I met a lot of girls through church as I grew up. And in my specific experience, they typically used God as an excuse to justify their actions, and they were more distracted by the boys on stage than concerned with actually worshipping.
The night I met Jonni, we sat across from each other at the Cheesecake Factory and talked about her testimony, my testimony, and where God was leading us in our lives in that present moment. She was giddy when talking about God. She had a light in her eyes when telling me about when Jesus saved her. The whole time I kept looking away, shaking my head, and saying "I haven't seen a fire like yours for a long time" and she would just smile and keep talking.
I'm pretty sure it was our third date when we went to Starbucks to read the Word, and I left for a second to make sure my car was locked. When I came back, she was telling the man next to her about the Gospel.
She loved God... Check.
2. She treated me with respect. I was always certain that my goals would be completely overlooked or undervalued when I was in a serious relationship. Of course, things change when you have a significant other, but she made sure the dreams I had would be fulfilled. She valued my time and my goals, just like I valued hers and in many situations, Jonni always proved that she cared more about me and my well being more than hers.
I put Jonni through a lot when I had to study like crazy for the CPA exams. I have a pretty demanding job and I work a lot of hours. In the beginning, it was definitely a tough adjustment. But it has been so worthwhile going through that difficult time because now, Jonni completely supports me in my career and gives me time and space to focus on the things that I need to focus on. When I talk to her about taking on a new opportunity or pursuing a new goal, even if it means less time together and more time studying or working, she is behind me 100%.
Man. She definitely treats me with respect. Check.
3. She is beautiful. I always tell people that the moment I saw her, the first words that went through my mind were "I don't have a chance". So physically, she was really pretty to me.
But as I got to know her, she was actually beautiful from the inside ,which made her even more stunning on the outside. Not only was I attracted to her as soon as I saw her - but as I got to know who she was as a person, I saw all of the small details that made her...her.
Her compassion for people I'd have a hard time having compassion on. Her fearlessness for anything new. Her determination for anything she put her mind to. Her drive to be successful. Her creativity in her words. There were so many unique features rolled into one person.
She was definitely beautiful to me. Check.
Definitely strive to find a girl with all three qualities or you will forever have a voice in the back of your head taunting you about what could have or should have been.
And when you find this kind of girl, make her yours.
I sure did.