Whether it is limited to dressing up as a child or extends into an adulthood obsession with Pinterest planning, every girl has dreamed about a magical wedding day. It comes with a lot of expectations, especially for the bride, and you can never start preparing too soon, right? Some of those expectations, though, aren’t just for that one day, but are for that one man who will be waiting at the other end of the aisle. I made a list of things I would not compromise on in future relationships (if I ever had any) when I was 12. I have been incredibly blessed with a boyfriend who easily met every one of my requirements and has far surpassed any expectations I had. And while I’m so very thankful for that, I’ve been challenged recently to create a different list of expectations. This time, instead of writing down what I want in a husband, I’ve written down what I want in myself as a future wife. If I have expectations for him, I should hold myself to the same standards, right?

This is my list of 10 things I’m going to start praying for in myself as a future wife. As a side note, the first item on my list is first for a reason, but the others I rank as having mostly equal importance. So they are not ordered by how important I find them, but more as just a flow of my thoughts.

1. God-focused.

As a Christian, I fully believe that I need no one but God. While I love my boyfriend, I don’t need him. I love my friends and family, but I don’t need them either. Clothes, money, food, shelter…everything the world’s standards say I need, I truly don’t. As long as I have God, I’m set. For if I have God, he’ll provide what I need, though it may not necessarily be what I want. That doesn’t mean I can shirk all responsibility and expect him to hand me my next rent check, but it does mean that I am ultimately dependent on him and him alone.

2. Faithful.

Ultimately, I want to always be faithful to God, and by default I will always be faithful to my husband. I know that there will be days when we will both be frustrated and hurt and confused, but marriage is an eternal vow and commitment. There’s no going back. And with God’s faithfulness to love us, I know we can be faithful to love each other even when we don’t necessarily like each other.

3. Respectful.

I’m stubborn. I always have been, and I probably always will be. It can be hard for me to let things I want go, but I pray that I will be a wife that respects her husbands decisions (as long as they are respectful ones), and is faithful to love him even when I don’t agree.

4. Peaceable.

When we argue, and we will argue, I want to have a heart that is full of God’s peace, a heart that does not get easily angered or frustrated. I want a heart that will fight to love, not love to fight.

5. Communicative and honest.

I’ve combined these two because honesty is an essential part of communication and communication is essential to any relationship. A marriage without communication will fail. A marriage without honesty will fail. So I pray that my words will be often, easy and true.

6. Wise.

Wisdom is something I’ve started constantly praying for. As Proverbs 9:10 says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” I pray that I will be wise not by the world’s standards or my standards or any other standards but God’s. Sometimes wisdom means being practical, and sometimes wisdom means going with your gut and following your dreams. It’s not about head knowledge or facts. Wisdom is discernment of what to do with that knowledge. It’s being attuned to God’s heart.

7. Patient

Patience is a virtue…a virtue I don’t have. Too often I dwell on future possibilities, hopes and dreams, which results in present discontent. Too often I get frustrated by having to wait for something or by the stupidity of the world in general. I want to be a wife who can sit still and listen, someone who knows when to keep quiet and when to speak. I want to be a wife who can wait without worrying. I want to be a wife who is patient, who is full of God’s settling peace.

8. Joyful

I can be a pessimistic person. It’s my default. And knowing it’s my default, I know that finding joy in God is something I have to fight for. As a future wife, I want to be a woman whose joy reflects the heart of God and encourages my husband to have the same hope I do in our unfailing Creator.

9. Flexible.

Not physically. I don’t think I’ll ever be physically flexible. I want to be a person who makes plans (because that’s part of my nature), but is easily able to give them up in favor of something else, if need be (because that’s not part of my nature). My boyfriend has no trouble making plans on the fly, going with the flow. I, however, constantly fear getting caught up in that flow and dragged under by the current. I pray that I would be a woman who is not afraid of uncertainty, but rather sees the freedom and opportunity in lack of or change in plans.

10. Strong.

I have never been and likely never will be very physically strong. Injury is my constant companion. But, I pray I am a wife who is strong of character. I don’t mean bossy. I mean strong of heart and mind, full of the strength of spirit that can only come from God. Truly, I have no strength of my own. It is all from him and only him. I pray for his sustaining strength in all my constant weaknesses of heart, mind and flesh. I pray that I will not look for fulfillment in my husband. No, my husband will be just as broken and bent as I am. While he can support and encourage me, only God can fully satisfy.

This is not a perfect list because I’m not a perfect person. These are my desires, and you might have very different ones. And I know I will never meet all of these expectations for myself. I am human. But I pray that my desire for these qualities will teach me to pursue God first and my future husband second, to give myself grace when I mess up and to find my worth in my Creator, not myself or anyone else.