Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wedded Wednesday: Dry Toast

Gina wrote: I love the line in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" where Costa is comparing the Millers to dry toast. I love it because sometimes (a lot lately) I feel like my husband and I are just two pieces of dry toast rubbing against each other. How do you guys combat that feeling?

(This is Meredith)
You know, I think that sometimes dry toast is the reality. I think back over the course of our marriage and there have definitely been times when that would describe us. But dry toast is just dry and boring and gets really old after awhile. Who doesn't love a little cinnamon and sugar, jelly or jam, or even a layer of Nutella?

John once told me about a husband-wife band (Over the Rhine) that purposed during a "dry toast" season of their marriage to sit down at their kitchen table each night with a bottle of wine and talk until they'd finished the bottle. Now I know some of you (mostly my Southern Baptist friends) cringe a little at the thought of a bottle of wine sitting on your kitchen table. That's really not an important detail. What is important is that they set aside some time for each other each evening. They talked. And they lingered.

I love that idea, and I love the word linger. It means to: stay in a place longer than necessary, typically because of a reluctance to leave. You can linger over a pot of coffee or a glass of iced water. Again, the details aren't as important as the verb.

Lingering isn't easy. It's much easier for us to sit on the couch each night with our laptops and get lost in the world wide web. We may be side-by-side, but we're really miles apart. But what if we... Turned off the computer. Turned off the television. Brewed a pot of coffee. Shared a dessert. Talked. And lingered.

I think sometimes as couples we forget how to really talk to each other. Our conversations revolve around our days, our kids, and our calendars. Sometimes when John and I go out, we make it a rule to not talk about our kids. It's hard because so much of our lives revolve around them and we love them to pieces, but it forces us to find other stuff to share. Not too long ago, we went to dinner and we each prepared a list of 2-3 questions to ask each other while we ate. We ended up affirming each other's strengths, and sharing some goals and hopes and dreams for our future. It was really, really good!

Talking. Lingering. Laughing. Cooking. Dating. There are so many things you can do together. You just need to find what works for you and your spouse. One friend of mine surprised her husband with an indoor rock-climbing date because it was a connecting point for them--something they both loved doing. She told me after their date that she'd forgotten how much she loved doing adventurous/athletic things with him.

The great thing is that YOU get to choose your toast topping!

BTW, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a great movie. I'm adding it to my queue right now!

(This is John, the husband)
Dry toast?

We’re all dry toast from time to time, that’s a given, it just is. You can try and avoid dry toast days or weeks or months, but doing so is avoiding life, and that’s never a good thing. The goal here is perseverance, endurance. And there is a beauty there you only know after you’ve persevered, endured.

But, if you are, from time to time dry toast, how can dry toast become palatable, even enjoyable? Jelly it up…in other words, what little thing can you add to a moment or the day to make it sweeter? Being sweet has fallen on hard times; that makes me sad. Sweet can be saccharine, but it need not be. Those old couples you see and say my, my, aren’t they sweet? I believe we all want that, all of us.

I want to mention my two favorite books on marriage.There is a sweetness to these books. They are not highbrow moral, christian superstar marriage books built on appearances. No, these are stories of earthy men and women, struggling, failing, and forgiving…seeing what for better and for worse can actually mean and because they endure, well, you can read for yourself. One is by a male author, one by a female -
Wallace Stegner – Crossing To Safety
Annie Dillard – The Maytrees
Stegner’s book is my hands down favorite, but I read Dillard’s last year and she runs a close second. Don’t look for Love & Respect tips; these books are fiction. And why do we write fiction? Stegner said, ‘To tell the truth.’


adrienne said...

I really liked this post. Both sides. I am going to look into those books. Thanks for the tips! And the questions at dinner is a good one I will try. I too sometimes find I don't know what to talk about when I try not to talk about the kids or work or complaining about something that happened during the day. Why is that so hard??

Angie said...

I totally agree with the toast analogy. Some days are just dry, some weeks are dry. Then like John said, you learn how to sweeten them up. Then you learn that it's really yummy to put nutella AND peanut butter on warm toast. Those days make it all worth it.

Emily said...

I'm adding those books to my list! Recommendations from an editor *must* be good, right?

Lori Harper said...

LOL..this Assembly of God friend would probably linger over diet Mt Dew, although I have been known to tell my pastor husband that my youth kids are going to cause me to drink!!! LOL Great post and very good points on both sides!!! Going to write the books down on my wish list!

Gina said...

Hmm, I must be a bad Baptist...
Thanks for the fresh perspective!

Melissa Stover said...

i'm admitting my ignorance here, but i totally did not get the maytrees and i love annie dillard. maybe i've been out of the academic classroom too long. he left her and ran off with another woman, didn't he?

Janet Lea said...

I'm so glad you posted this. Dry toast is an excellent way to explain how I feel. Especially since we have had kids.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of deliberate conversation. We do it with our kids and with our Bible study group; why not with our spouses?

Gretchen said...

Lingering and jelly. Lurve.

Mollie said...

HA! I'm with Gina...when we were lingering on our vacation I forgot other people can see where you have used your debt card...can be harmful to our baptist image back home!! HA!

I totally agree- LOVE the questions idea...that is great!!

And yes, putting down the computer & turning off ESPN... in our house needs to be more often!!

Loved your story about Will's hair- bless your heart!! Looks like he is over that baldness stage now?! HA!

Amber said...

I love this post. Oh so much.

And I love the dry toast analogy. Because though the toast does need some sweetening every once in awhile, sometimes there is just comfort in good ole dry toast. It's constant. It's consistent. And you know that when all else still have the toast. I love that.

His Girl said...

promise me you two will work on something to publish together.

I'll promise I won't be the last person in the world to order it.

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

*carrie* said...

I'm half-way through Crossing to Safety, and seemed to recall a mention of it on your blog, so I just did a search to find it. Love that it was on *this* post.