I’ll admit, I never saw it, but there was a show on TV that ran in 2008 called “The Ex List.” It’s about a woman who discovers that she has already met, dated, and broken up with the man she was meant to be with. Trouble is, she has met, dated, and broken up with a lot of men, and she has no idea which one was The One. So she has to go through her “ex list” and re-date all of her old boyfriends to find the gem she passed over the first time.
It makes me think about what I’d want my ex list to look like someday. How many names would I want written on that page? Maybe I could rack up social points by going through a few dozen boyfriends. Maybe I could practice for marriage by getting into a serious relationship long before I plan to actually commit. That’s certainly how some people think. Not me, though, and I hope you agree. I’d want as short of a list as possible. Is ten a good number? How about five? Maybe I’ll do really well and only break up two or three times before I make a lifelong commitment.
Maybe my husband will only be the second or third man I give my whole heart to. I’m sure he’ll appreciate that.
But then I have to ask myself: What’s the ideal? If I could write the perfect love story, what would it look like?
If I want to keep the ex list as short as possible, then the ideal would be to keep it at zero. No breakups whatsoever. I’d spend years waiting for my prince to come, and then when I finally met him, I’d let him win my love slowly. Then at long last, I’d marry him and stay married forever. He’d be my First and Only One.
Seriously, how romantic is that? Can you imagine what it would be like to be in a relationship without the clutter of past boyfriends? To be able to give your whole heart away, without any pieces broken off?
Hopefully you’re already committed to the idea of saving your virginity for your wedding day. That’s amazing, I commend you highly. But how often do we think that way about our emotional purity? Do we guard our hearts the same way we guard our bodies?
When I get married, I want to be able to give my husband everything: all of my body and all of my heart. I don’t want him to be the second or third or fifth or fifteenth man I say “I love you” to. I don’t want to give my heart away until I know he’s the one to keep it forever.
This is why I’m not dating. Not because I’m afraid I may “go too far,” and not because it doesn’t sound fun, but because I want to keep every last corner of my heart for the man I will marry.
Don’t you think he deserves that? Don’t you think you deserve that?
For the record, a number of my dear friends whom I deeply respect have gone through breakups before. That’s ok. Sometimes the guy you thought was right turns out to be not so perfect after all. But I know they would agree with me that breakups are not part of the ideal picture. And it is possible to achieve that zero-count ex list. I have some other dear friends who have done it, and I am in awe of their love story.
As Amy March said in Little Women, "You don't need scores of suitors. You only need one, if he's the right one."
Ok, so I know you all have strong reactions to what I've just said. Please comment and be heard! I don't want to be the only one talking here. Let's figure this thing out together! :)
COMING UP: What if we took this idea to the next level? Part 2 coming Wednesday, December 2!