I never got the man of my dreams
I never got the man of my dreams. I got someone better.
When I was about 16-years-old, I remember being at church sitting in class with my cohort of young women. During that particular lesson, we were learning all about how to choose the best life partner (or “eternal companion” as we called it).
I grew up Mormon, and Mormons put a lot of emphasis on marriage. In fact, Mormons put so much emphasis on marriage that they marry for eternity. The rest of us, well, we just marry until “death do us part”. Getting married is one of the biggest milestones in a Mormon girl’s life.
During class, our teacher had us write down a list of attributes that we wanted to have in our chosen mate – the man of my dreams, so to speak. It included a laundry list of quintessential Mormon-girl desires. He had to be:
- a worthy priesthood holder (basically, man who is blessed to use the power of God, as most Mormon men strive to be)
- a returned missionary (basically the only real option for a good Mormon girl)
- a good provider (so I could fulfill my divine duty of motherhood, of course)
- spiritually pure and good (whatever that meant to me at 16)
- well-educated (because, of course)
… and so on. Our teacher counseled us to keep that list with us and review it regularly. It would serve as a reminder of what we deserved in a life partner.
Well, that didn’t happen. (I thought it might have one time, but that’s another story).
When I was 20, I met Mike. A goofy, flirtatious, cute trumpet player I knew from school. We’d know of each other for a year or so, but hadn’t really spoken until January of 2010.
It was around that time that we started getting to know each other, and eventually started dating. We fell in love quickly.
I was crazy about him (and he knew it). He was crazy about me too (and I knew it). The problem was that he wasn’t Mormon. I was raised, both in church and by my parents, that the only way to be truly happy would be to fulfill all of the duties as a good Mormon.
This gave me serious doubts about continuing our relationship just a few short months after we started dating. And that list that I wrote as a 16-year-old was one of the main reasons I doubted at all.
Just like my teacher had advised, I held onto that list. I kept it in a safe place where I could read it periodically. And I did read it periodically after I started dating Mike.
Some time in June of 2010, I actually broke up with Mike. I felt, at the time, it was the sensible thing to do. And I told him why. I read him my list – the list of things my dream man would be. And I effectively told him there was no way he could ever be that for me.
I cringe now when I think of that. How insensitive could I be?! But I also cringe at that memory because I know now how wrong I was.
Lucky for me, Mike is very tenacious. He knew we were good together, and he knew that I loved him, even though my brain and my heart were not on the same page.
The breakup only lasted 2 weeks – and it was a measly 2 weeks at that. The first week was maybe like a real breakup (kinda). But the second week, Mike set forth on a plan to get me back, and it worked. (It involved going to Six Flags, movie marathons, and kissing in the rain).
I look back on all of it now as a sweet, naive, and silly experience we went through together. But then I think about that damn list. “The Man of My Dreams” list – it couldn’t have been further from the truth. And I couldn’t be more glad.
The thing about dreams is that they’re not real. And this dream man of mine was definitely not what my heart (or my life) wanted. Sometimes dreams are better off left as dreams, because real life has something better for you. Mike was not the man of dreams. He is so much more.