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I’m not talking about Santa’s Naughty or Nice list, or even the list many men and women carry around in their heads of what they want in a potential mate. I’m talking about a different kind of relationship list, one in which we get to look at ourselves.

A long time ago, I mentioned to Mr. Perfect that I wouldn’t marry me. This caused a lot of discussion, because he took this to mean that maybe something was wrong with me. I had to explain that I didn’t mean “who would want to marry me?” but that two of me in any relationship is one to many.

Being honest, there are things about me that drive people up the wall and down the other side. There are probably things about you that are that way as well. But being forewarned is forearmed, in my opinion. So I’m taking the opportunity this Thoughtful Thursday to share this relationship tip: Know your list of attributes and deficiencies.

Maybe I was a little to straight to the point in my early discussions with Mr. P., but I wanted to be sure that the expectations were kept realistic. While I wasn’t old, I didn’t like to waste time or waste anyone else’s time in a pointless relationship. I would say right away “I’m a Christian. I go to church every Sunday and Wednesday and on random other days when we have events. There will be no sex going down. I am not a drinker. I hate smokers (sorry, to anyone that smokes, especially Mom; I think it’s gross). I like being on time and early, even if I know the event won’t start on time. Oh, and I’m looking to be married. If this doesn’t suit you, well you know what you need to do.” I didn’t just say it, either. Be prepared to meet me at church or miss out on hanging out with me. Don’t be surprised if I call you incessantly or leave without you if you’re late. Trying to persuade me into your bed or seeing me as a challenge left plenty of men frustrated and giving up, just as planned. I was aggressively single. You have to make it worth my while.

“They were too cool to run my race/ You kept the pace with a smile on your face/Go head, baby/ Then I knew he was you…”- Solange Knowles

As I have homework to write a list of my deficiencies, I won’t share them until I’ve shared them, but suffice it to say, being the self-introspective person that I am, it was easy to list my undesirables. It was a little depressing, too. But the point being made from the previous exercise is to decide what areas might be a problem for you in a relationship so that you can be equipped to deal with them, or decide if you want to deal with them at all.

For the longest time, my least favorite job interview question was “What are your weaknesses?” How do you answer that question? If I use a weakness that isn’t really a weakness (I work too hard or I become too invested in my work) I can be seen as someone who is trying to get a job but can’t be realistic about their room for growth. If I admit a weakness in an area critical to the job, I might not get the job. Many of us feel this way in relationships. If we say our flaw is we love too much/too hard, people will question our honesty or ability to self reflect. If we say we cannot commit, don’t do well at supporting another person emotionally, don’t have time for another’s shortcomings, or like to have our own space, we aren’t relationship material. In the end it doesn’t matter what you say; if you get the job, it will be shown soon enough where your strengths and deficiencies lie. At that point, the other person can decide that you just aren’t what they are looking for. Better to know going into the situation what you are and aren’t capable of at this point in your life. Leave room for growth, but don’t admit to growth you haven’t achieved.

Mr. Perfect and I were watching a couple once and began to discuss how the couple dovetailed together; this one kept up with that one’s glasses, and that one made sure this one looked both ways before crossing the street. Why did it seem that couples grew to be so dependent on each other? I think that what looks like dependence to us is just two people who have decided to hold each other up where they are weak. If you aren’t good with finances, I can take over the budget and pay bills if you’ll help me look on the bright side and not always be so dejected when I encounter a setback.

Knowing where you would be an asset and where you would be a liability, where you can contribute and where you would need to be contributed to, is important. It’s important to know the worst of each other and see if you can deal with that before you list all of the good (yes, I’m a bad news first kind of girl :D). The reason my advice is to know your deficiencies is that unlike me, most people seem to have no problem knocking out a list of other’s deficiencies, but struggle with coming up with their own. This isn’t to make you feel bad or be a blow to your self-esteem, but for you to know yourself and get real about yourself before you start trying to be one with someone else. How are you going to fit together?

That’s my two cents, anyway. Leave yours in the comments section