Situated twenty-seven stories high in downtown Grand Rapids is a sophisticated restaurant with expansive panoramic views of the beautiful Grand River and the surrounding cityscape. It is appropriately deemed fine dining and delivers an upscale, yet romantic, intimate atmosphere which makes it a perfect choice to celebrate special occasions. I have lived in the area almost my entire life but had never been until a few months ago when my husband and I decided it was time to do something special. We were excited to go somewhere new that wasn’t our typical go-to chain restaurant which made the anticipation quite palpable. Upon our arrival, we gave our name to the hostess and then followed her to a table which had an amazing view, but throughout the entire evening I couldn’t help but stare at the couple seated next to us instead.
They looked to be about late 50’s and were dressed up like it was supposed to be a special occasion but she had her iPad out the entire time and was reading what appeared to be a novel, not paying one bit of attention to her husband who, with slumped shoulders, had his head down and just stared at his food. I know it’s not right to judge by appearances yet I couldn’t help but form ideas in my head of what their relationship must be like. My mind filled in the missing pieces with bits of a storyline that went something like this…they started out starry-eyed, like many of us, young and in love. She worked as a nurse to put him through law school then life happened and the late nights preparing for court cases and the busyness of working 12 hour shifts and raising three boys took its toll. Now, here they are, celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary, while she has grown independent and indifferent and he wonders why their marriage has as much taste as the lettuce left on his salad plate. When I came to the “the end” of their story – I felt sorry for them. I wagered that the story she was reading must have been more exciting than the story she was living.
Our lives tell stories and so do our marriages. We may not write our story on paper but the life we live, the marriage we create, will leave a legacy for future generations to read long after we are gone. If I had to give a chapter title to the couple next to us, I think I’d write “From wedded bliss to coexist” because from all appearances they looked like they were committed “til death do us part” but the death part was all they had to look forward to. So maybe my imagination is getting way out of control but as I reflect on what I observed that evening, I am determined to write a story with my marriage that is worth reading and I bet you are too!
God, too, desires to write a love story in our marriage so let’s take His advice found in the book of Ecclesiastes 9:9 that says, “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given you under the sun…” Enjoy life together! Have fun and go on adventures! Put down your phones and take time to talk and laugh…maybe even try a new restaurant. Who knows, the couple seated next to you might be inspired to do the same.