Dr. B.J. Fratzke’s office is spacious and open. One side is covered with windows, the other with books. Pictures of her husband and family hang above her desk. Her husband, Dr. Mike Fratzke, the division chair of human and health performance, is running late to the interview.
B.J. Fratzke, the division chair of behavioral sciences, said she met her husband at LeTourneau University more than 40 years ago. She was a professor, and he was an upperclassman. As she was asked how she first met her husband, Mike Fratzke joined the interview. B.J. Fratzke looked at her husband and told him to share his first impression of her.
Mike: “I knew she was the one. I saw her walking across the gymnasium – I was on the far end playing badminton – and I said that is the one right there.”
B.J.:“I was wearing a white tennis outfit, and I was pretty nicely tan at that point in time.”
Mike: “She had an Indiana farm tan, [and] white blouse, white shorts, white socks, white tennis shoes.”
B.J.: “Everything white.”
Mike: “Long hair.”
B.J.: “Long dark hair with white teeth showing up.”
The Fratzkes looked at each other and laughed at the memory. Though Mike Fratzke knew immediately that he had found “the one” it took his wife a little longer to notice him.
B.J.: “Gosh, I don’t remember the first time I saw him.”
B.J. Fratzke said that even though it took some time for her to finally meet Mike Fratzke, she had already heard of him.
B.J.: “The real truth of the matter is the secretary of [my] department said to me, ‘Did you notice so and so?’ And I said, ‘Uh yeah.’ ‘Well, he’s single,’ [she said] and from there on she pushed. She thought she had made the match.”
Mike: “A lot of people like to take credit for it, the baseball coach.”
B.J.: “The baseball coach likes to take credit. The brother-in-law said, ‘Well, if it’s going well, I will take credit for it, otherwise…”
They both laughed at this comment. Mike Fratzke’s brother was partially responsible for B.J. Fratzke getting hired at LeTourneau.
Born and raised in Indiana Fratzke moved to Longview, Texas, to take a job as an instructor of physical education. Mike Fratzke was finishing up his undergrad work. In order to begin dating, the Fratzkes asked for special permission.
B.J.: “I got permission from the president of the university to date this young man – well, because I was a professor and he was a student.”
The Fratzkes went on their first date in October, though they couldn’t remember what exactly they did.
B.J.: “We went bowling.”
Mike: “I thought we went the football game first.”
BJ: “We went on the second [date].”
They got married the following June. The Fratzkes stayed at LeTourneau for the next 14 years, with Mike Fratzke joining the faculty two years later. During this time, the Fratzkes welcomed their two daughters. When they finally decided to head back to the Midwest, B.J. Fratzke was not excited to move.
BJ: “I didn’t even come with him to the interview because I was not interested to moving back to Marion. I was happy in my nice southern, warm climate, but as it turns out, the long and short of it is it was God’s place for Mike. So, I came along dragging my heels behind me, I’m quite sure at the beginning.”
Eventually B.J. Fratzke got on board and soon started working at Indiana Wesleyan University too. The Fratzkes said they have never had a problem working at the same institution.
B.J.: “Because we’re in different departments we have totally been OK with it.”
Mike: “You talk about working at the same place… I won’t accept term papers from her. [We] maintain that separate identities.”
The Fratzkes talk about how the keys to their marriage are communication, giving and admitting you are wrong… sometimes.
B.J.: “I would [say] you really have to have a connectedness between the three of you: the two of us and God. Marriage is work and marriage is a lot of giving, but it’s joyful giving.”
Mike: “To remain teachable.”
B.J.: “That’s a perfect one: Remaining teachable is important, and having a sense of humor, and honestly being able to on occasion admit that you are wrong.”
Mike: “I was going to say on a rare occasion.”
B.J.: “When you really, really are [wrong], admit it and move on grow from it. Relationships are a lot about communication.”
Mike: “And spending time together.”