Dear Donald,

First of all, I'm a fan. I'll admit I'm not young enough or hip enough to have discovered you on my own, but the college students I teach help me to keep up with the times, and they introduced me to your work some years ago. I love it all, especially A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I wish I'd had your books when I was languishing in youth group hell many years ago.

I'm thrilled to learn of your recent engagement. As someone who's been married for 26 years—to the same man, no less—I can fully rejoice with you and Paige in your anticipation of the blessings, challenges, joys, pains, and memories this covenant relationship will bring.

In addition to two and a half decades of marriage, I bring the second-hand experiences of a fair number of hook-ups, break-ups, engagements, broken engagements, marriages, searching, longing, and questioning on matters of love and marriage: when you work with college students, you get to live through a lot of this with them. I've had the chance to watch a lot of young people make good decisions and bad. (And I made a few of each in my day.)

So when I heard about your recent post, "What are You Looking for in a Spouse? Why not Create a List?"—I was intrigued. It's a good thing to know one's self well enough before entering a lifelong partnership to be able to identify in a potential mate a handful of deal-breakers. For the Christian, of course, the first of these non-negotiables is being equally yoked. There are likely a few qualities that are essential to one's being and therefore non-negotiable. One such non-negotiable for me would be a love of animals. Not an abstract kind of love, but the kind that turns pets into family members who share the furniture with the ...

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