I was not exactly Ado Annie from Oklahoma, but in my earlier years I did have trouble saying no. So when John asked me to go with him to “The Valentine Friendship Banquet” I said yes, before I even thought about it. And then it struck me. Oh great. I’ve only known this guy for a few days. I’ve only been going to this church for a few weeks. And I agree to go to a singles’ “Valentines Friendship Banquet” with him! What have I done?
In the first place, I was pretty sure that “friendship” was a misnomer. And if I showed up with a date we would be automatically linked together as a couple. I fretted about it all that Sunday, and later when I went back to church for the evening service, the first thing I did was look for John. I needed to tell him I would enjoy hanging out with him at the “banquet” but I didn’t think I should go with him. I awkwardly tried to explain my reasoning and he was very understanding, so I suggested that we might go out and have coffee (an undate) just to see if we would even like to date each other.
About two years earlier I had underlined 1 Timothy 5:14 in my bible: “So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households…” I compiled a list of attributes I would look for in The Man I Would Marry, and wrote it inside the back cover of my bible. I determined that I wouldn’t seriously date anyone unless there was some promise or possibility of marriage. I wanted to write my list while I was singularly unattached, because it needed to be a list of what was really important and admirable to me – unadulterated by concessions I might have made after I met some hot guy or got into a relationship.
And believe me. No attractive man paid the slightest attention to me for all those months after I wrote the list. I even wondered why I had bothered to write it since I seemed to be destined to be single for the rest of my life. I waited and prayed and got very frustrated…and waited and prayed some more.
On February 15, with my list fresh in my mind, I went to Marie Callender’s with John for our should-we-date? date. And we sat there and talked for three wonderful hours.
We went to the Valentine Friendship Banquet, but not together. I watched John, and admired his easy grace and the friendliness he showed to everyone. At the end of the evening, as we both stayed late and helped clean up the hall, he asked me to go to a Dallas Holm concert with him the next day. And I said yes. I had come to the conclusion that I didn’t mind if everyone in my new church linked our names together!
To this very day I encourage single women to pray and make a list of what they admire most in a man. And make it at a time when they are not interested in someone. Don’t misunderstand. It’s not that I was giving God my order, but I needed to have it written down so I would remember what was important to me when butterflies and hormones entered the picture.
I wrote my wish list (prayer list) in the back of my bible on August 24, 1981, and did not meet John till February 4, 1984. It was hard to wait all those months, but God was faithful to give me a pretty darn good fit to my heart’s desire!
1. Loves Jesus first and foremost in his life
2. Sensitive, kind and nice
3. A good father to Matthew
4. Able to have more children
5. Doesn’t smoke
6. Doesn’t drink, but is not legalistic about it
8. Nice looking; big and tall
9. Good manners
10. Makes eye contact
11. Not a TV addict. Likes Scrabble etc
12. Likes to sing. (playing guitar would be a bonus)
13. Not financially poor