Today is January 29th, 2018, and today is my husband’s birthday today. Shawn and I have been married for a little over 3 months now, so I can safely say that I’m still in the rose-colored glasses phases. Like, even when he’s pooping with the door open I still think he’s the cat’s meow. I love him. I still gush about him to my mom and I follow him around everywhere. He’s my favorite person in the entire world. Seriously.
But, last night, something happened that made me realize that this really fun and loving feeling doesn’t last forever. Not naturally.
We went out to eat for Shawn’s birthday with his family living in Alpharetta, GA last night. It was a really fancy steak-house in the middle of Avalon, the high-end shopping center. Oaks Steakhouse was magical. It has a beautiful interior, with a very woodsman-feeling to it. It just smelled expensive in there, and I hadn’t even looked at the menu yet.
Once we were all seated, I saw that each steak was around (or above) $60. This was literally the fanciest place I had ever been in my entire life, I didn’t know what we had done to deserve this. But I was excited and seriously so grateful that Uncle John was footing the bill.
Everything about Oaks Steakhouse was perfect. The servers were really kind, the beer was delicious, and the food… There aren’t enough words to describe how great the food was. Once I started to eat, I was just obsessed. I didn’t pay attention to the conversation around me. I mean, I barely even said two words to Shawn at that point. I was enthralled. It was legitimately the best food I had ever tasted in my entire life. I really think that I’ll talk about this restaurant to everyone I meet if they ever ask me for a recommendation for a special event. On the way home, Shawn and I left G+ reviews. I mean it when I say we are obsessed.
However, while I’m sitting there having my mind blown by the perfect of their brussle sprouts, another family comes in and sits close to us. It’s a mom, dad, daughter, and son. Nothing terribly special. The son, however, is wearing a hoodie and blue jeans. Shawn and I aren’t ones to usually dress up for things. If he could, he would’ve worn gym-shorts and Chacos to this restaurant if he could. But he didn’t, and I thank him for that.
But, back to this kid. He’s wearing a hoodie and jeans and has headphones in pretty much the entire time. He barely interacts with his family and he only takes one headphone out to order his food and then immediately goes back to whatever it was he was doing. And when he finally got his food out, it didn’t seem like he was having the same magical moment that I was having just minutes ago. He ate it like it was a normal meal. I didn’t see him mouth “wow” once. Not. Even. Once. I was astonished.
Now, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t an attack on Millenials and their use + abuse of technology. I’m not ragging on this kid because he obviously has no people-skills. Literally, I don’t care about any of that (that was all of us when we were 15– attitude + sas.) The reason that I bring this kid up is because it made me have this weird revelation.
Our experiences at this same restaurant with (almost) the same meal were drastically different. And, somehow, this made me think of marriage.
When you first become married or first start to date, we all know what happens– you get swept up in the honeymoon-phase. It’s fun, loving, and new. It’s always rainbows and butterflies; it seems like you’re just floating through life as a princess (or prince). We all know that feeling. It’s a lot like my experience with Oaks Steakhouse.
I was love-struck. I would swear up and down that there is not a better restaurant in the entire
city state. And I mean it. I couldn’t focus on anything else but that food. The rest of the world melted away and I focused, almost entirely, on the feeling this food gave me. I was obsessed.
And this kid, a table away, was eating it like he was at O’Charley’s and it wasn’t even free-pie-Wednesday. He was kinda like the post-honeymoon phase. When you get into the rhythm of life and you’re not as impressed with them as you once were. It’s not longer charming that “your bond is so strong” that he will poop in the same bathroom that you’re showering in. His hot-headed nature won’t be seen as passion anymore. The onion is peeled back, layer by layer and you see it all. And now Oaks Steakhouse isn’t this magical experience anymore. You’re not salivating at the thought of it and you’re really not that impressed with their broccoli. It was kinda salty. Honestly, you’re bored.
What I’m trying to say is that sometimes your marriage isn’t this boring, run-of-the-mill relationship that you’re portraying in your mind. Maybe you’ve just become used to the 5-star restaurant and you’re finding yourself unimpressed because you’ve noticed what goes on behind the scenes. You’ve been there so many times that you know that the third booth along the wall has a small rip in it and they still haven’t replaced it. You noticed the mismatched silverware (gasp!) and today there was a chip on your waiter’s shoulder.
Being in any long-term relationship is bound to bring this out in us. We’re no longer searching for the best in our marriages. We aren’t obsessed with one another. We think that this spark is gone and fail to realize that the only thing that has changed is the way you’re looking at the relationship.
So I really do encourage everyone to take a step back and look at your spouse as if it were the first time. Put more enthusiasm into your relationship and slow down and enjoy the moment you’re in and who you’re with. Like many (smarter + more experienced) people before me have said: love is a choice.