Mike and I are celebrating 23 years of marriage by focusing on the ordinary things that have become extraordinary to us simply because we are doing life together.

“Ordinary” Celebration #2 became Food Night.  Appleby’s is far from the most romantic restaurant in Gig Harbor, but everything seems to feel a little more luxurious in the quaintness of Gig Harbor. Besides, as this is a week for the ordinary, our focus wasn’t on what we were eating, but rather that we were eating together and have had the privilege of doing so for over two decades.  During this celebration, a thought came to me that simplifies the mystique of marriage:  Marriage is simply finding a life-long eating partner.  Okay, it’s not that simple, but I don’t think I’m too far off.

Think about it.   How much of the wedding planning went into our future of eating together? So many food-related decisions had to be made: a dish pattern, goblets, kitchen utensils, cooking appliances, cookbooks, spices, staples, the discussion about who will cook ( and who will clean), what we will eat, when we will eat, can we afford to eat out, what kind of kitchen will our home have  …

Marriage is simply finding a life-long eating partner. 

I think of the debate we had when it came to picking out our dish pattern.  Mike had some bone-colored plates with a blue and gold rim.  He wanted more of the same, but I wanted a China pattern with flowers.  “I don’t need an every day set AND fine China,” I tried to persuade him with only wanting one set of dishes, “but I really want the floral pattern.”

“Hmmm…,” he was reflective, straining to be polite. “Well, I just don’t see myself eating a steak on a plate all drenched in flowers.”

I was thinking that he was very optimistic to imagine eating steak at all on our budget, but I wisely said nothing.  Actually, that’s not true. I’m pretty sure I said plenty, because, wanting to please his bride, he gave in. How interesting that he has been richly rewarded over and over again throughout the years as guest after guest has commented on what a beautiful dish pattern we have.

“Yes,” he always grins, “ I had a lot to do with picking that out.”  And I always kick him.

plate pattern
What about this plate DOESN’T beg “Steak!”?

No one knows your food habits like your spouse.  Think of what you share together: the indulgences (Little Debbies, cheesecake, decadent brownies), the favorite recipes, the experimental dishes, the dreaded foods that one hates but the other loves (i.e. lima beans) … the diets!  I’ll destroy my word count if were to get into all the diets and food fads we’ve eaten our way through, so I’ll summarize by saying that we can categorize seasons of our marriage as “the low carb years,” “ the low fat years,”  “the don’t-mix-food-groups but eat-endless-vegetables” years. (I can’t remember the name of that particular diet … must not have included blueberries.)  There has also been the “healthy-food-only years” contrasted with the “ice-cream-after-dinner-every-night-years,” “the frozen yogurt years,” and the “I-won’t-tell-if-you-won’t-tell lemon bar and pie years.”

Just as laughter with others has strengthened our marriage bonds, so has food with friends. (Sounds like the name of a game show, doesn’t it?)  Memory after memory …  after memory …  is laced with scents of taco soup, spaghetti, french bread in the oven, color-burst salads, rhubarb cobbler laced with ginger and cinnamon, grilled turkey (our Thanksgiving specialty), roasted chicken, pucker-until-your-face hurts lemon cheese cake …

A table full of food – a room full of laughter – room full of bonding.  The conversations, the faces of much-loved family and friends, stretch as long as the food list. In particular, our friends Dick and Sue Speer come to mind.  Mentors and dear friends for the last 15 years, I’m reminded of how much marriage and parenting wisdom we easily gleaned, simply gathered around tuna fish sandwiches or with cups of coffee in our hands.

Mike with the Speers
One more Starbucks stop conquered with some of our favorite coffee drinking friends.

We met up with the Speers recently (for coffee, of course) and interestingly, as we reminisced about some vacations we took together, the first memories that came up had do with food:  Bubba Gumps, several amazing breakfast places that involved coconut pancake syrup, those tuna sandwiches again, and something chocolate after each meal.  We also remembered how often we would push back from the table, our stomachs in pain, and start to plan for when and WHAT the next meal would be. Then we’d be horrified that we sounded just like our aging parents had.

We even have a food fight stashed in those memories … it had something to do with guys grilling salmon and being bombarded with grapes from a balcony up above.  You know what else we remembered about those years?  Challenges each couple was working faced in those seasons  … the encouragement we offered … prayers God answered.  Food and fellowship led to deeper stuff like relationship …. marital support … good stuff.

Food.  Who would have thought it would be such a marriage-staple. Here’s to 23 years of food bonding … and to 23 more of chowing down.  Bon appetite, Honey!