The fifth quality that I had written down was I wanted a wife that had a healthy soul. If I forgot her birthday, it wouldn’t destroy her self-worth, if I went out with a bunch of friends and didn’t get home until 2:00 am she wouldn’t be upset with me, if I didn’t notice her haircut or new dress she wasn’t going to pout and declare that I didn’t love her. I wanted to be married to someone mature and grown-up, not a child who threw a fit whenever she didn’t get her way. I wanted a cheerful, happy wife, not prone to fretting about the future, open to change, willing to try new things, not afraid to try scary things, and wouldn’t know what it means to be embarrassed. That is a lot of words to describe one character trait, but I was sure I would recognize it when I saw it.
I fully intended to love my future wife like Jesus loved the church and make sacrifices to do so. I knew that whoever I married would have basic needs that I would need to meet as her husband. I was committed to loving her, honoring her, and protecting her, but I wanted to do that in an environment of freedom.
I had two friends who were older than me and were married. It seemed to me that they were always in trouble with their wives about something. Their wives weren’t partners or friends; they were jailers, mothers, Kate Brown. I often thought to myself when around them, it would be better not to be married than in the marriage they are in. They walk around on eggshells whenever they are with them.
A story that I have told a thousand times about Patty but I love telling it because it was the key event that cemented in my mind that she was going to be the perfect wife for me, if I could just convince her to marry me. Though I am telling this story last this was the first close encounter I had with Patty and that got everything going.
I was on our College’s basketball team, and because we practiced when everyone else was eating, we ate by ourselves. Patty worked in the cafeteria as part of her financial aid package so she was usually working behind the counter while we were eating. One evening our coach came in while we were eating and excitedly declared that he got us free tickets to the “Far West Classic” at the Memorial Coliseum. This was a major college basketball tournament with some of the best teams in the nation playing, and the seats were mid-court and just up from the court. We all got excited and were talking about the event and the players we would see when Patty loudly declared that she should be able to go with us because, after all, she fed us every night. The coach rolled his eyes and said “Only guys can go.” She borrowed a suit from a guy who was a friend along with a hat, put it on stuffing her hair up into the hat, and showed up at the team bus as we were loading up to go to the first game. Patty was intending it to be a joke and planned that after everybody had a good laugh, she would head off back to the girl’s dorm, but coach talked a couple of guys into grabbing her and hauling her onto the bus with us. So Patty went to the game dressed up in a man’s suit that was way too big for her, tripping over the pant legs as she walked and looking very, very ridiculous. At first I was disgusted with the dumbness of this whole thing, but as I watched her through the evening I thought, “most girls would be dying a thousand deaths right now, but she is actually enjoying herself. At first I thought it was because she was the center of attention, but as the evening wore on, I could see that all the attention she was getting from the guys wasn’t really that important to her, she was just having a good time amid a unique experience.
I thought to myself, “there is one secure, confident, lady. “ It was about a week later when I asked her out on our first date.