When I was dating, I had several "trials" that the woman I would eventually marry would have to pass.
Separate from a long list of spiritual and family considerations which were key, and certainly most important, there were several light-hearted but valuable tests.
These included, in no particular order:
1. If we went on a formal date, did she wait for me to open the door for her, or did she do it herself? (Did she want to date a gentleman?)
2. How did she do on a date at The Magic Castle? (Could she behave with style and elegance in a formal setting?)
3. How did she do on a date to Medieval Times? (How well did she do eating messy food with her hands while knights jousted below)
4. How did do on a date sailing on my boat with only 20 minutes notice? (Could she have spontaneous fun or did she need 2 hours to apply make-up first?)
5. What did she think of eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese on a date? (The only kind in my book. This was a test to see if she could be satisfied with little and with much.)
6. How did she do with children? (Being a kindergarten teacher gave her an easy "Pass")
7. What did she think of the movies "The Princess Bride" and "The Count of Monte Cristo?" (Need I explain?)
Finally, was her father the kind of man who would allow me to ask for his daughter's hand in marriage? (He was and he said "yes." Then I asked Kathy and she said "yes." I'm glad that she did.)
Kathy was unaware of these trials at the time. However, she had a list of her own expectations which I was equally unaware of. I am happy to report that my wife passed all trials. Fortunately, I passed her long list too. (Going to Disneyland was just one item on her list)
While life has certainly thrown us many challenges in our marriage, finances, and family life, our faith has been the unifying factor.
All of the secular criteria above have helped to allow us to laugh and have fun together during these times.
The theme of "The Princess Bride" played a big part in the nonreligious part of our wedding and my bride really got into it. At our wedding rehearsal, our pastor opened the evening in a very serious tone, with the statement "Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethaw today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam..."
At our wedding prior to my entrance in the church, the organist played the traditional "Pachabel Canon" followed by the Disney classic love songs including "Once upon a dream." I entered the sanctuary during "Someday, my prince will come." When my bride came down the isle, my heart melted. It still does just thinking about it. The audience cheered when we kissed. A beautiful hand-blown glass sculpture depicting a Minnie and Mickey bride and groom graced the top of our wedding cake. The wedding ring which Kathy gave me, has the words "As you wish..." engraved inside the band.
For our honeymoon, we traveled to the South of France where we stayed in rented castles and palaces while we toured the chateaus of the Loire Valley. I took Kathy to the Chateau D'If off the coast of Marseille. We retraced the steps of young Edmond Dantes. But that is another story.