Humanities Chair Marty Trammell remembers the beginning of his love with his wife, Linda.
Adapted from a transcribed interview.
Linda and I traveled on a ministry team for the university, singing in churches, camps and Christian schools.
She was dating my RA who was on the road with the 13 of us who traveled together. They had broken up a couple of times, and I talked them both back into the relationship because I thought they were well-matched. During that conversation, he and I became better friends and she and I became better friends. Of course, they were dating each other so I never allowed myself to become interested in her.
I didn’t think she would ever be interested in my anyway. I was simply a listening ear when she needed to talk .
We were headed toward the West Coast when she and her boyfriend had broken up for the last time.
He told me, “You really should date Linda. You two are so compatible.” And I was thinking , “Like that would ever happen but thanks for the good thought.”
Linda and I did keep talking but mostly about what we were reading in our devotions (group-related, ministry-related conversations). Little by little, our relationships changed. Our conversations began to be a little more about how she felt about growing up and how I felt growing up.
I knew I was starting to like her a lot.
I was very impressed when she told me how she was hoping to truly understand what God wanted for her after the breakup. She said, “I don’t want to just date someone new to try to deal with the pain that way.”
I thought that was so noble. We continued as good friends and she started getting letters from guys around campus who now wanted to take her out.
She didn’t know that telling me about their letters was hurting me because I hadn’t expressed my interest yet, but I also knew I just needed to be a friend.
Guys continued to ask her out and she told me one time, “You know what’s weird? If I wasn’t in the singing group and I wasn’t up front singing, these people never would ask me out.”
I said, “That’s not true. You’re hard on yourself. If I were in the position where I could ask you out, I would.”
She immediately got up and left the table and I was so afraid. I thought, “Oh no. Why did I say that?” I was honestly just trying to say to her, “You’re a neat Christian woman! Why wouldn’t guys want to ask you out?”
Obviously, I didn’t communicate well.
We headed through California on our next singing trip and headed East a bit. There were a couple of churches around the Grand Canyon that we were going to sing in. We pulled off at one of the Grand Canyon State Parks.
We were in our tour bus and the heater had gone out. The whole group was sitting under blankets and we were rotating who got to play card games with the rest of us sitting on the sofas. I ended up sitting next to Linda – by choice, I’m sure. We’re all having a great time. Everybody’s laughing and having fun as a team but then my and Linda’s hands touched under the blanket. I forgot what I did but I reached over to get something and accidentally touched her hand.
I thought, “Oh, great. That’s going to be the worst,” so I quickly pulled my hand away.
Then she placed her hand on top of my hand. She looked at me and asked, “Do you want to go for a walk?”
Of course, I said “Yeah!”
We left the bus and starting talking. We’re both very honest people, so I asked her, “What is this about – the hand thing? I just need to know what it actually means.”
She said, “It means I don’t just want to have you as a brother in Christ who cares for me and prays for me. I really like the friendship we have and I hope that it doesn’t end as soon as this tour is over.”
And I said, “Well, I feel the same way.”
So there we were. Walking along the Grand Canyon, how could it be more romantic? The sun was setting, we held hands and I just told her, “I have to tell you that I never dreamed you thought of me this way.”
That’s what I call our first date.