real life

"I wrote a shopping list of everything I wanted in a husband. And then he walked past my desk."





If you want to be married or in a long-term relationship, but find yourself attracting Mr. Won’t Commit, or, Mr. I Don’t Believe in Marriage, I’ll tell you why — it’s because you’re not being upfront.

Yes, you heard me, you’re not being honest with yourself or the person you are in a relationship with. It’s pretty bold of me to come in here and say that, but I am an authority on the subject. I spent almost a decade of my life compromising and bullshitting to myself because I thought that the person I was with was going to change.

What a bitch, right? Why should someone else change for me?

I didn’t see it like that then, I played the victim — you know that friend who is always crying and complaining about the relationship she is in and never does anything about it? The one that you all get sick of because you have told her about a gazillion times to move on, he’s not the right guy for you, blah, blah, blah, falling on deaf ears!

During that time of compromising, I did things that I cringe about today and would easily say no to. I became a vegetarian for a while to please him (I have nothing against vegetarians); I fasted for 10 days in a row (but hid in the pantry and fridge stuffing my face with leftover pizza and any other food I could lay my hands on so he didn’t see). I hiked for six hours in the bush with two little kids and my brand new, never-worn-before hiking boots, and still have scarring on the back of my heels some 10 years on from the festy massive blisters I developed. I promised not to talk about marriage or moving in together despite my every fibre wanting to get married and to live with my soul mate… but he wasn’t my soul mate, I was forcing him to be. I was controlling that person, that relationship, trying to secretly and manipulatively manufacture my desired outcome; to get married and live happily ever after.


Why did I do that? Well I suppose from the outside looking in, it was because I didn’t want to be alone, so Mr. You’ll Do was enough. Also, my first marriage failed and I just knew that there had to be someone out there who believed in happily ever after, so poor Mr. You’ll Do was getting pushed into being Mr. You’ll Do As I say!

And to be brutally honest, I didn’t love or respect myself.

So what happened? Well I’ll tell you what happened.

I wrote a list.

One night I was sitting with my kids whilst they were watching TV, and in part as a joke and something to dream of, I wrote out a “shopping list” of what I wanted in a husband.

The List. 

I asked the kids to call out a few things so I could add them to the list. Then I folded it up and put it away, without thinking about it again.

I met Mr. I Want to Marry You Because My Life Would Never Be Whole Without You at work. It was his first day, and as soon as he walked past my office, I heard a voice tell me as clear as day that I was going to marry him; I hadn’t even spoken to him! I just watched him walk past my office. I turned to my friend and told her, “I’m going to marry him” — she laughed her head off, and so did I.

Even after hearing that voice, I didn’t really think twice about it. I dated other people and so did he. We got to know each other just by working together. Then one day (as fate would have it) I broke my foot and went to hospital for major surgery and spent seven days in there. He came to visit me.


Then out of the blue, some weeks later, he told me that he wanted to be in a relationship with me! I was shocked to say the least. I was scared. I didn’t know what I wanted!? Yes, believe it or not. Was he for real? I hadn’t actually visualised this part of things! Then for the next two or so weeks, he convinced me to at least try; and boy did I battle some severe doubts and fears during that time. But do you know one thing I didn’t do? I didn’t compromise. I told him right at the very beginning, at point-blank range, that I wasn’t interested in dating someone if they weren’t interested in getting married. He didn’t run and I didn’t care if he did, because I knew what I wanted.

Then we got married!

At our wedding my friend and I again laughed our heads off as we reminisced about that day when I first saw my husband walk past my office.

Keyon and her husband.

And when my husband and I were moving into our own home, whilst I was unpacking, I found the list I’d written… he is everything on that list and more.

It was our seven-year wedding anniversary two months ago.

The moral of this story is to believe in your dreams; visualise the life you want to live, use lists to clarify exactly what it is you want and most of all, don’t compromise and be honest with yourself, even if you don’t like what you hear!

Here’s to finding Mr. or Mrs. Happily Ever After!

Keyon is co-founder of Strut Your Stuff Entrepreneurs, an organisation that teaches entrepreneurs to push perfectionism, limiting beliefs and fears aside by just getting out there and doing it now. Follow her on Twitter here.