Her ring sparkled as they walked in. He was tall, with a bearing and a haircut that spoke of service to our country. But they were decked out in the official “country” garb around here: Carhartt jeans and Cabelas hoodies. Everything about them was new, even to the relationship, it seemed.
“Do you like Honeycrisp apples?” she was asking him, as they discussed food likes and dislikes in a way that betrayed the few autumns they’d been together.
I looked away discreetly as they kissed in the middle of our store. And I smiled. It seems like only yesterday, the delight of discovering all the ordinary details of day to day likes and dislikes. Yes, of course, she got the sweet onions, “sweet just like you,” she announced for all to hear.
I’ve been cooking for my husband so long that I know his food preferences almost as well as I know my own. But there are still the days we discover a new shared taste for some random food, or discover yet another vast difference between us (we’re proof that you can be happily married even if one of you loves tomatoes and onions and the other doesn’t).
We can finish each other’s sentences and order dinner for the other person. I can tell when he’s hungry and he usually can read my mind better than I can read it myself. He knows my faults so well he lovingly adapts to compensate for them. We laugh because I squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle and he rolls it up carefully with a clip. Yes, we could use separate tubes of toothpaste, but he takes care of my toothpaste just like I take care of his laundry.
After seventeen years of friendship, seven of those as man and wife, there’s a lot more ordinary than new to our relationship. Yet neither do we know anything of the endurance and commitment required for the sixty-plus years of marriage our grandparents are celebrating.
But we’re learning the rewards of cherishing the ordinary even when the newness of discovery is past. Because the more familiar the ordinary, the more precious it can become. And the more we know of each other, the more we realize we want to learn.