So here's what it took to win my heart:
1. She was beautiful--and she still is. Some will say it's shallow, but it's reality. I was instantly attracted to Barbara from the first day I met her. If her beauty inside hadn't matched her gorgeous outside, obviously that attraction would have faded. But her inner beauty shone through and complimented her sparkling eyes and bright smile. I can still her picture her sitting on my couch at the Sabbath potluck when we first spent time together and she was hot!
2. She was smart. I quickly learned that Barbara was sharp, a quick study. Already more educated than me when we met (she'd finished her bachelors in Public Relations and Marketing, and was just starting.) I found her to be more than merely educated. She was knowledgeable, interested, curious about things. She wasn't bored by politics, world issues, or other cerebral topics. While I confess I can fall into "mansplaining" Babs always makes it clear that such condescensions are neither necessary or welcome with her.
4. She was spiritual. The first Friday night after we met we had our first Bible study together with a small group a friends. I think it's important, if you're going to spend your life with someone, that you not only be on the same page spiritually, but also that you're headed in the same direction. That was the case with Babs. She loved Jesus and wanted to know Him better, just like I did. At the same time, she wasn't overly enamored with orthodox Adventism. She wasn't a blind foot soldier in the church army, and was prone to question and make her own decisions, just like I was.
5. She had just had that something. In every one who wins your heart there is something--a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Taken individually, or together the previous four can't create chemistry. That's just there. It was there between us when we met, and still there today. The Beatles tried to articulate it, but even their song expresses a sort of speechlessness. "Something in the way she woos me, I don't want to leave her now. You know I believe and how. . ."
Oh, and one more thing. In order to win my heart, my heart has to be available. And it was that fall day that I met the love of my life. You see I believe there are probably thousands out there that have all five heart-winning qualities. Yes, even #5 (I'm not at all a believer in The One). But once I made my vows to Barbara I took my heart off the market. It can't be won anymore. And that I believe, is one of the keys to a successful marriage--Recognizing there will always be people out there who can win your heart, but only if you make your heart available. Mine is taken.