Making a List for the Perfect Wife…or Husband


Are you a list-maker?

Pen and InkA wonderful friend of mine, when she was young, made a list of qualities that she wanted in a husband. She wrote it on purple paper with purple ink (The color purple is kind of her thing. Her house is varying shades of lavender…along with her garden…her clothes…and her Christmas tree decorations.) She put the list away and forgot about it. It survived through many years and several of her moves.

A few years ago after she’d been happily married for more than fifteen years, she came across her list. Lo and behold, the man she married after meeting him on an internet dating site turned out to fulfill all the qualities she’d long ago written on her list. I thought that was pretty amazing. And I decided to use the same idea in my book that is coming out in late December.

As you may remember from some of my other posts on the Oak Grove Series, the Betterment Society of Oak Grove has been busy sponsoring mail-order brides for the many lonely bachelors in the area.

The Prairie Doctor’s Bride, takes place in the spring of 1879 in Kansas and the good doctor is in need of a nurse. Nelson Graham figures that by marrying a smart, resourceful woman, he’ll get both—a nurse and a wife. It’s a win/win situation, or so he thinks. The first train-load of women have come and married men in the town and he sees that they are all quite happy. So, with the second train-load of women, he is set to make a play for the perfect woman for him.

Here is an excerpt ~                      

Left to himself, Nelson considered the notes he’d made earlier that day and withdrew the paper from his vest pocket. It was a “wish list” of sorts. Likely, no woman would meet all his expectations, but perhaps it would help him stay on course as he considered each of them.

  • Amiable.
  • Biddable.
  • Able to take constructive criticism.
  • Skilled in the domestic chores: cooking, laundry, cleaning, sewing and gardening.
  • Willing to work by his side as his nurse.
  • Quiet. He didn’t want a woman who disrupted his research or his daily habits.
  • Willing to put another’s needs ahead of her own.

He’d added the last as a cautionary point, remembering his fiancé. He’d thought they were compatible in all things, but then suddenly she had broken off the engagement, unable to accept the numerous times he’d been called away to help someone who was ailing.

He wouldn’t let that happen again. What he needed was a practical woman as his wife. She didn’t need to be a raging beauty, but like any man, he wouldn’t mind if she was pleasant to look upon.

He tucked the paper back into his pocket and headed to his office. Now, all he had to do was interview the ladies, one at a time, and see which one came closest to fulfilling his wish list.

I hope you enjoyed that short passage. As for list-making, I think there are those that are prone to making lists and those who keep everything in their head. I tend to be someone who has a list for everything – shopping, daily chores, books I want to read, goals for the day, the month, the year and on and on. Then of course there is the infamous “bucket list!” Even though I don’t always meet the goals I set, they are at least in front of me (making me feel guilty!)

What about you? Are you someone who makes lists and if so—what are the things on it?
What type of qualities would you list for the perfect mate? 

For those who comment, you will be entered into a giveaway drawing for a copy of
Mail-Order Brides of Oak Grove

Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove

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49 thoughts on “Making a List for the Perfect Wife…or Husband”

  1. I do make lists and then sometimes lose the lists. Grocery lists, things to do list, Christmas present lists, etc. I use them more as a guideline and to not waste time.

    If I were to make a list for the perfect mate, a good sense of humor would top the list, followed by a good listener, caring heart, a twinkle in his eye and maybe several more. I found them all in my Husband!

    Cindy W.

  2. I do make lists and it helps me to get things done.
    For a wonderful mate I would want someone who is reliable, loving, kind,and protective to name a few.

  3. I am dying laughing at this list, Kathryn! Isn’t that a hoot??? And while we can all envision a young girl writing a list about her future dashing husband… it’s so much funnier to have a pragmatic MAN do it!


    I’m still giggling!

  4. The only list I make is a grocery list. I would be totally lost without it if I forgot it when I was at the store. I am a stinky note maker though. I have sticky notes all around my desk to remind myself of things to do.

    • I love sticky notes, Janine! And I love the story of how they were invented (by accident!) I use them often when I am building my plots–pink for female point of view and blue for male point of view.

  5. I make a grocery list, but no others. I only shop once a month and I would forget what I needed if I didn’t have my list.

    • Hi Estella,
      Shopping for groceries is not my favorite thing 🙂 I try to hold it down to once a week, however. I don’t think I could make it an entire month without going for groceries considering the grown men in my household (husband, sons, and a grandson!) I often ask myself “How did women on the prairie feed everyone out of a garden and through the winter? It just seems like an insurmountable task–and considering the larger families back then, impossible! But they did it!

  6. Loved your excerpt, Kathryn. And I loved the story about your friend’s matrimonial list. How fun for her to find that 15 years later and see the fulfillment of her dearest wishes. I love that you are using that list element in your story. Sounds like a great one!

  7. OH YES, I do make lists. I write out my to-do list. I have printed copies of my favorite authors books so I can keep track of what I’ve read.

    I keep a mental prayer list.

    I enjoyed the excerpt.

    • Hi Caryl! I’m the same with going to the book store–always a lists. Otherwise I would get side-tracked and end up buying other books instead of the ones I came for. I have prayer lists too–written out because I need the reminder!

  8. For many years I listed all of the books which I wanted to read and buy. I have never made a list for the qualities of a mate.

  9. Oh, yes, I’m a list maker and have even used lists in a couple of my books. Now you’ve got me really curious to find out if Nelson finds what he’s looking for. I’m thinking maybe not. LOL

    The one thing I required of a husband is that he share my values and that’s what I got–big time. To me if a man shares your values, that covers all the bases.

    • Hi Margaret,
      Thanks for popping in! You are so right about shared values. I think the fact that my husband shares the values most important to me and makes sacrifices to see them through, is what has enriched our marriage too. You and I have both been fortunate to have that in our lives. Hugs…

  10. I do make some lists. Grocery lists because I no longer am in town every day and just can’t pick up an item or two. Buying groceries is now a weekly, or sometimes, biweekly event. I also make lists at Christmas to help keep me on track. I didn’t make a list of qualities for my would be husband but my husband certainly fits a list that I might make now. He is loyal, hardworking, a good provider and best of all, he is a wonderful Christmas man who loves God, me, and his family. Thank you for this giveaway.

  11. Making lists is part of who I am. I live with lists daily and need them. I write them out in order to make sure I do everything that I want to for the day and week.

  12. Other than my grocery list, my biggest “list” is a portable spiral notebook of books I’ve read, books I already own waiting to be read, and the dates of new releases coming out that I’m looking forward to, like “The Prairie Doctor’s Bride” on Dec. 19! I just loved the initial Oak Grove book (that I read as soon as I got out of the hospital the month following its release) and also Lauri Robinson’s follow-up book, so of course I have been anxiously waiting for your new Oak Grove book! I really hope the series continues on with more books from you and Lauri, Kathryn! (Can you tell I’m a fan?)

  13. Thanks Eliza! Lauri and I have come to love our fictional little town and all the inhabitants. Several more stories are in the making and will be released through 2018. I’m so glad that you are enjoying them!

    • Hi Denise! Thanks for stopping by! Sounds like you are fairly organized. My daily to-do list always starts out with the number of words I hope to get down for my work-in-progress manuscript.

  14. I am not really a list maker unless it might be for groceries. Qualities I wanted to see in a mate…Love of God, family and friends, truly faithful and honest.

    • Hi Melanie,
      Nice to see you here. You must be able to keep thinks organized in you head well! Not me. Even my writing has lists within it (and I’m not talking about my new release.) I mean–lists of character traits, a listing of the plot that I’m following…things like that.

  15. When I was a young mom (with energy to match)raising 7 children I had all kinds of lists, for drs, school events, grocery lists etc etc. Now that they have their own families,the only lists I have are for the book store/library and supermarket. 🙂
    Carol Luciano

    • Thanks Cheryl! I’ve seen the “list-making” premise in other books I’ve read, so I cannot take credit for it. But my friend’s experience did encourage me to give it a try myself (in a book).

  16. Hi

    Hi! What a great post. Must admit to making lists, too, but only so I don’t forget things — never thought of making a list of attributes — what an interesting thing to do. : ) Loved the post.

  17. I am a list person. I used to keep them in my head, but those days are long gone. I have lists all over the house and in my purse. Unfortunately, they do get lost. I have been known to make a list then add things I have already finished just so I can cross them off. My bucket list is still in my head. My husband and I discuss it, but haven’t put it to paper. Some of the things I want on the list he doesn’t know about. I just plan them and sneak them in when I can. One was a trip to New Orleans. I did mention that one and he did not want to do it. After several years, I made reservations and gave the trip to him for a birthday present. Rather self-serving on my part, but we had a great time and have been back twice.
    I never made a list of what I wanted in a husband. Didn’t really think about it. I ran into a friend from high school that I hadn’t seen in 7 years. We visited for a few hours and discovered we had a lot in common. I had hopes for getting better acquainted when I returned from a job overseas. He didn’t wait. He came half way around the world to propose. No dates, just lets get married. We have been happily married for 45 years, so I guess we fit each other’s unwritten list. What I do love about him is his honor, caring, reliability, he is not afraid of hard work, he is a great father and grandfather, considerate, a good cook, and flexible. Most important of all, he loves me and puts up with my crazy ideas.

  18. I’m totally a list maker. My children even know this and write down their desired items on my grocery list, Amazon shopping list, etc.
    As for a mate….I pray for a kind, compassionate, and God-loving spouse for each of my children. My husband is a great role model.

  19. The give-away portion of my post here is completed, however, please comment if you wish! The name that I “pulled from my Stetson” for the give-away is Denise! Denise– Congratulations and please contact me at kathryn at kathryn albright dot com and let me know if you would like an ebook or a print version of my book ~ Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove!

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