There's a running joke among my family and friends: I, K.Marie, cannot cook.
Now, let me clear up that fallacy. I can make a few dishes and I specialize in baking; however, I don't like to cook. While some chefs can step into a kitchen and birth works of art (S/O to Bammy Dy), I'm just left feeling like that time could have been better spent reading a book. Maybe even a book about cooking. I'll look that up in the Kindle store.
Every once in awhile, I am invited to dinner parties. Whether a casual potluck or a four-course epicurean delight, I never ring the host's doorbell empty-handed. I may have a bottle of Moscato or a bag of ice; if I forget to run by the store, I volunteer for kitchen duty, making sure the pots are spic and span in appreciation for a meal well done. Call it my Southern roots, but I just believe in bringing something to the table.
You know I'm going somewhere with this, right?
Have you ever dated someone who had a list of the most rigorous demands?
Your credit score can't be any less than 720; you must be within the average range on the BMI chart; your car must be newer than 2008 AND have less than 75,000 miles...and I'm going to need a letter of recommendation from your current employer, your Little League baseball coach and two degreed family members.
Weird, but it's okay. We all have our opinions and standards. However, what makes me roll my eyes until only the whites are showing is when you ask the aforementioned person a very simple question: what are you bringing to the table?
*sucks teeth* Don't worry about what I'm bringing to the table. You're just supposed to love me for me!
They came to the dinner party empty-handed.
I'm not saying anyone needs to be perfect. We all have flaws--even the fabulous and talented writer of this blog has a few skeletons in her closet. Hopefully, we all find that person who is willing to overlook our habit of drinking everything but the last corner of milk and putting it back in the fridge.
I mean, there might be a recipe that calls for a teaspoon of milk.
In the process of seeking, we must be honest not only with our potential partners, but also with ourselves. Sometimes, the qualities we see as must-haves have nothing to do with the person and everything to do with our own insecurities. How do I know? I've been there.
When I was about twenty-two, I made a Husband List: four handwritten pages of the things I thought I needed in a life partner. I tucked it in my bible (next to the passage about God granting us the desires of our heart) and prayed that God would allow this man to come into my life.
Fast-forward a few years, to the moment when I met Mr. Looks Good On Paper. He said all the right things; he met so many of my "requirements" that it seemed like he had written the list himself. And I fell in love...
...with the way people looked at us when we were together.
What I really expected was for him to change my life--to make me thinner, richer and desirable to the whole world. No one can bear that weight. When he ended our relationship, I couldn't even be surprised. I knew I had to work on me. I set about changing the things I could change and accepting myself for where I was in the journey. I dated; I had fun. I made mistakes. But more than anything, I learned to let go of the list. For me, love is more than a set of qualifications; you just know.
You've just received another invitation to a dinner party; this time, love is the host. Please, please, please bring more than your appetite. If I may, I'd suggest a gift basket of the following:
It goes with everything.