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What are the primary traits women want in men? Intelligence, physique, selflessness, faithfulness, financially stability? Someone who is a good communicator, career/goal oriented, loving, respectful, family-oriented, honest, physically attractive, God-fearing, and with a sense of humor?

Many women create a certain type of perfect image for a mate that we have to meet, fall in love with, and marry. But more often than not, the person we have designed in our imagination may not be of our own image; meaning that the traits and characteristics people desire in someone else may not be reflected within the person who created the image.  Most women have an idea of the type of man she wants to spend her life with.  We know what we want him to look like, dress like, sound like, and act like.  We even know what we want him to have in his bank accounts.

But are the things we want, expect and sometimes demand realistic?  Do we have the things we want in ourselves that we want and require from men? I recall an elaborate list of traits and characteristics I devised of things I wanted in a mate. The list was compiled of more than forty adjectives that described the perfect man just for me. After I created the list, I placed it in my Bible, and every night before I laid down to sleep I would grab the list, read over it to be sure I wrote down everything I wanted and would start praying for this man I created. I repeated this regimen for about a year, until one day a powerful question ran across my mind: was I a reflection of the man I was praying for?

This was a very convicting question that made me take a long look at the list I created. Not only did this question make me look at the list I created, but it also made me look at who I was as a woman. So I examined the long list of traits and characteristics I wanted in a man and quickly came to realize a few things. First I realized that no one in reality existed like this; next, I discovered I was not a reflection of who I was praying for; and, third, I needed to know why I created such an elaborate list.  After realizing these things I came to the conclusion that I needed to take some time to reflect on who I was, and find out what it meant to be a reflection of someone else.

When I began this journey of self- reflection, I discovered a lot of things about myself.  I learned a lot about who I am while in and out of a relationship, I learned about my different personalities, I learned how to set realistic standards and expectations for myself and the relationships I encountered, and I learned that while I do deserve a good man, no man is perfect. I also realized that I created an elaborate list of traits and characteristics because I wanted a man to complete what was missing within me.

After this discovery, I took some more time to get to know who I was thoroughly and prayed to become a better, stronger woman rather than praying for a man who did not exist. In addition to learning who I was on this journey, I learned what it means to be a reflection of someone. To reflect or to be a reflection of a desired mate is to be able to relate to them, have the ability to be in a relationship with them; it is to be a comparable, compatible, and complementary individual to someone and share an identity with them. This simple, yet profound definition made me realize that my focus for a mate and a relationship was all about me and having my needs met. It also made me realize that while I am a good woman with a lot to offer a man, I must keep in mind that I must be a reflection of who he is in order for the relationship to be balanced, for it to prosper and for both of our needs to be met. At some point in our lives, we have created a list of things we want in a man, be it mental or physical. But before we begin searching and even diligently praying for whom we have created in our minds, we have to ask ourselves if the things we want are realistic, and if the things we want in someone else exist within. Are you a reflection of the man you pray for? Would you want a relationship with yourself?

Liz Lampkin is the author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.

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