I came upon my wedding picture recently, taken June 7th, 1980. My husband Randy and I were 23 years old. Thirty-five years ago we knew nothing much except we loved each other. But looking at this young bride, I give her kudos for one thing. She knew how to select a mate. To that end, I have 8 thoughts for any women out there not sure if their guy is husband material...
1. Pick a funny man. This is important. The first time I met Randy we were 19 and sitting in our college cafeteria. He made me laugh... a lot. That was my first impression of him. Almost 40 years later, he still makes me laugh... a lot. He's always the funniest guy in the room. You'll need this sense of humor. It will sweeten the good times and soften the bad.
2. Pick a sweet man. The first time Randy arrived for a date he gave me a little bouquet of yellow chrysanthemums. Decades later I still can't see or smell these blooms without thinking of that day. Even now, Randy still brings me flowers. He knows how much I love having a fresh bouquet in my Connecticut kitchen. I love that he does that.
3. Pick a man who loves music. Our marriage has always had a great soundtrack. In college we'd drive around listening to Steely Dan's "Aja" and the Who's "Quadrophenia." Over the years Randy has filled my life with music he not only plays on his bass, but has turned me onto -- Hendrix, Zappa, punk in the 80s, Grunge in the 90s, Outkast in the 2000s, and of course, always (sound of heavenly choir) the Beatles.
4. Pick a smart man. One of the things I love about our marriage is the snappy dialogue. Sometimes we're Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in "Bringing Up Baby," all fun, witty banter. Other times we're Ralph and Alice Kramden from "The Honeymooners," fast zingers and deadpan sarcasm. Sometimes the dialogue is from "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," with George and Martha's high, toxic melodrama. Whatever our mood and circumstance, we always have interesting conversations and that keeps life intriguing.
5. Pick a good man. While I can be prickly and snarky, Randy always takes the high road. He sees the best in people. He never holds a grudge. He's sympathetic. He treats everyone with dignity and respect. From the Chairman of the Board to the taxi driver, Randy wants to know everyone's story. He could strike up a conversation with a mailbox. I wish I had his openness. I'm working on it.
6. Pick a strong man. For the past 35 years Randy's risen countless mornings and gone to his corporate job with aching joints and a body that doesn't always feel great. Some years he's taken 100 business flights in every kind of weather. I'm always awed by his toughness and the skill needed to provide for a family year after year. What a great example to our two sons. What a great example to me.
7. Pick a passionate man . Randy has many interests like music, wine, and alas...collecting. Anyone who's read my blog knows my "enthusiasm" when it comes to the newspaper, baseball card, political memorabilia, and coin collections. Oh well. Randy loves life. What can I say? Things could be worse. He could also enjoy amassing snakes or antique surgical equipment.
8. Pick a good father This is most important. A man can be many things, but if he's not a good Dad, that's a problem. I knew Randy would be a good father by the way he treated our first cat Floyd. (Full disclosure: I adopted Floyd to jumpstart Randy into wanting kids. It worked like a charm). I saw how much he loved this goofy feline and knew he'd be an affectionate, loving, patient father. I was right.
And that's the list. That's what you look for in a husband. I got lucky and I know it. I found my best friend early in life and we got married and somehow kept it together. Life isn't perfect, but it's almost always beautiful.
Did I miss anything? What makes your marriage work?