"I created my wife." It's the comment my husband Mugge uses to explain how we
met. He gets a laugh but he does not mean to be funny. He really believes he
created me . . . and our ideal eighteen-year romantic marriage.

How did he do it? When I tell you, you'll know how to create the perfect
partner for yourself. In fact, you'll know how to start making every one of
your dreams come true.

It was the year 1982. My husband had just lost his first wife in a car
accident. He had been married to her for nineteen years but it had not been a
happy marriage. She had had two affairs, had left him twice, and had returned
each time promising things she couldn't deliver. One of her promises was
honesty. Bob was willing to forgive her for the affairs, but he believed with
all his heart that he needed to hear the whole story in order to do so. She
believed it was best to put the past in the past, and she wanted Bob to stop
bringing it up. Consequently, when she died, Bob was left with a well of anger,
hurt and grief . . . that he didn't want to repeat in another relationship.

"How can I find someone who will be totally honest with me?" Bob had no idea.
As a salesman, though, he had used written lists to achieve his goals . . . and
he wondered if the same thing would work with a relationship. "Can I simply
write down what I want and get it?" he asked.

"Honest. She has to be honest." He took out a yellow legal pad and that's the
first thing he wrote on it. He added: Warm, caring, willing to share,
insightful, intelligent, a quick thinker. She has to be worldly in the form of
experience, but not so worldly that she needs other men. She has to be willing
to know that her past experiences have made her the woman she is, and not try
to repeat them. She has to be willing to settle down in a one-person
relationship, be very committed to me, good with children, and she has to enjoy
being a woman. (He didn't want much, did he?)

On our first dinner date, Bob asked me a question that made me want to get away
from him as quickly as possible. He me how many men I had been with. I'll
sketch the scene for you. Before me sat a very handsome, very available man
that every woman in our town desired. He was financially secure, loved
children, and had a reputation as a devoted partner. He was articulate, warm
and funny. Why on earth did he want to know how many men I had been with? Was
he a closet pervert?

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I wanted to bolt, but something in his eyes kept me from doing it. There was a
hint of pain and sadness that made me think his question had a perfectly
legitimate foundation. I asked, "Why do you want to know?" and his story of
betrayal, hurt and unrequited desire poured out.

With tears in my eyes I answered his question and when I finished, I blushed. I
didn't have a lot of men to tell him about, but I had long stories to tell that
explained each relationship. "I hope I haven't talked too much," I said. I had
been criticized so many times for talking too much, for knowing too much, for
being too insightful, for being too analytical.

"Oh, no!" Bob cried. "I want a woman who's willing to talk about herself" and
he was telling the truth. After eighteen years of marriage, he still wants to
know what I think and feel. Yesterday, for example, he played golf for the
first time in a month. When he returned, he took me to the park. "I know you'll
have lots to talk about," he said. We had just spent four days together
watching the U.S. Open, reacting and talking, and yet he still wanted to know
more about me.

We spend most of our days together now, since we're both authors and work from
home, and Bob has never outgrown his original list. He still wants all of the
things he wrote on his list that day in 1982, and all I have to do to please
him is . . . be myself and talk too much.

What qualities would you like in a husband? A career? A home? Just grab a
yellow pad and a pen and start writing . . . and you'll create them.

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