When I was a young man, I was searching for the perfect woman. She needed to look like a runway model, be willing to get married and look forward to having children. I wanted it all, and I was determined to find her no matter what it took. My wife doesn’t exactly fit into all those categories, but I’m still happy I met her.

I was working at a large company, and a young woman had dropped a batch of printed brochures in the hall outside my office. Being raised a gentleman; I helped her pick them up. She was pretty in a girl-next-door way, and we chatted for a few minutes. I ended up sitting next to her at lunch, and we talked a bit more. I was pleased that a friend had fixed me up with a beautiful woman, and I told her all about my upcoming date. She wasn’t too impressed, but she asked me to let her know how it went.

My date that night was a disaster, and I told the girl about it. She told me I should be looking for someone who would be a friend first, and I should understand that looks were not a priority. Feeling bad for her, I mumbled the expected line. We began meeting for lunch on a regular basis, and I continued to share my dating tales of woe.

After about a year, I went to work for another company. It didn’t take long to realize how much I missed those lunches together, and I called her to see if she would go out to dinner with me. There were a few long minutes of silence, and she finally asked me why we couldn’t meet for lunch. I told her I wanted to go on a date with a woman who was a friend first, and I asked again if she would go to dinner with me. That was the start of our journey through life together, and we’re still happy after more than two decades.