About ten years ago, following a friend’s advice, I wrote a “My Ideal Partner Wish List.” I still have it. In those eight pages, I had created this Frankenstein prince who would sweep me off my feet and heal all my wounds. That was not what I had intended to do. But that’s what I was looking at.

As I was sitting in my bed, reviewing my wish list from years ago, I felt a little embarrassed. I couldn’t help but notice traces of a little girl’s tantrum in it. The items on my list sounded more like demands than requests or desires. It seemed as if I was ordering a custom healing balm to soothe my inner wounding. I guess I wasn’t ready for a partner to explore life with who would help me grow. I needed a healer dressed up as a superhero, so I wouldn’t have to face my own pain. This attitude only delayed my growth.

Being a willing participant in your expansion requires awareness and courage. I did not have either back then. No wonder my relationships ended in heartbreak and with a pile of resentments I didn’t know how to sort through.

I put away my list. I had to. Relationship after relationship I kept experiencing the same scenarios with different leading actors.

Eventually, I realized that they were my lessons. They had nothing to do with them other than to play the perfect part I needed for these lessons to be revealed to me.

We don’t come to this planet with a how-to manual. We discover our lessons in the form of difficulties and painful experiences.

I now treat my relationships as spiritual assignments and see my partners as my teachers. I understand that a lover is not a miracle cure for all of life’s problems. He is not responsible for adding a skip to my step. He is only responsible for his happiness and his choices. I am responsible for mine. What a concept!

This single change in attitude alone removes that self-created disappointment trap that shows up in relationships. No ‘ideal man’ list, no drama. No expectation, no disappointment. Who knew my love story would come down to a simple mathematical equation?!

Who is an ideal partner?

An ideal partner is someone who pushes us to be a better version of ourselves, forgives our shortcomings, celebrates the small wins of the day with us and gives us room to make mistakes and learn from them.

Everything else is a matter of preference. Preferences change over time.

Those lists we make can help us understand ourselves better if we choose to treat them that way. They could reflect the cries of an unhealed part of us for us to become aware or they could give us clues about who we need to become to attract a partner like that. Like attracts like. It’s the law.

Whoever your ideal partner is, trust that he/she will be perfect for where you are in your journey. They will push your buttons the right way and the right amount. They will know your vulnerabilities and where not to go or how far to go.

You may find out that you will enjoy loving your partner when his/her actions are the not what you expect. The effort it takes to entangle your ego and to sacrifice it for the relationship may give you deep pleasure. It may make you. It may help you grow. It may take constant practice, and that might be all right.

If you decide to write and keep an ideal partner list, consider that healing can come in many different packages and in the form of unexpected connections.

Some people come into our lives to give us a piece of the puzzle of our inner world, and sometimes our task is to keep walking our path after we receive it and leave them behind. Sometimes they stay for a while, and they enrich our lives in more profound ways. Some are there for a lifetime. Each one is a divine encounter designed to support our personal and spiritual growth.

Viewing relationships as anything other than spiritual assignments lead to a feeling of failure, and it breeds resentments.

Viewing our partners–past, present or future–as saviors, as distractions from our own pain or as the knight in shining armor prevents them from having the freedom to show up as they are.

The ability to accept people in their mess is a massive component of loving someone. Loving a perfect prince would be easy- if they existed.

People are evolving beings. Just like you are, they are looking for someone to grow with and have fun doing it- even if this is not a conscious choice.

The comforts, the annoyances, and the joys will all be woven together. There is nothing wrong with making a list of desired qualities in a partner. I say, let’s review it with realistic eyes and do our part in becoming a matching partner to this new person.

Lastly, remember to make room for divine magic to take place in your life. There is a silver lining in everything. We have to learn to trust life as it shows up if we want to allow our hearts to take in all the joy that is available to us. Putting parameters on what can make us happy will cause us to miss what could be blissfully surprising experiences.

May you find your blessed match.

May you love yourself like you wish to be loved.

May you find the perfection in yourself that you look for in another person.