Once upon a time, a Texas gal stepped out of the Seattle airport, her eyes scouring the blankets of snow on the towering pines in awe, like a 5 year old’s first encounter with Disneyland. She was used to seeing sun across the flat horizon, but her new world welcomed her with an unfamiliar crispness in the air, a winding, mountainous landscape, beautiful eerie fog in the mornings, and 12 months of green. So much to be captivated by, so much newness.
I couldn’t believe I was there, that this would be my new home.
And that is what a relationship feels like in the beginning. You can’t believe this person, this amazing person actually thinks you’re amazing too.
I know that I will never marvel at the Seattle landscape like I did when I first stepped foot here, being a Texas native, never having seen a snow capped mountain before.
And I know I will never be able to capture that awe that overwhelmed me in high school, when I first laid eyes on Nate, when this boy walked into church and suddenly I couldn’t pay attention to anything else.
Nor can I encapsulate that feeling of newness at the beginning when we walked in the rain and he first grabbed my hand, using some demonstration of how he led a kid at blind camp, while both of us knew he just wanted to hold my hand because when the story ended, he didn’t let go.
And I know I can’t get back that rush of endorphins that accompanied our first embrace in the hallways of the dorm when we ran through a Texas downpour and ended up standing in a foot of water, and didn’t give a damn that we were drenched.
That was young love, that was beginning infatuation, the way it was when I first fell in love with Seattle.
And now I wake up and the “sameness” of it all sometimes gets irritating. I hardly even notice the tall pines as I’m rushing to work; I hardly notice the 12 months of green, the crisp air that first delighted me, the majestic mountains peeking out in the distance.
But the thing is, it never changed. I’m the one who changed. I’m the one who made it common place.
If I’m willing to notice, everything I first fell in love with is still there.
And so it is with long term relationships. Yes, people do change, but for the most part, if we really care to notice, everything we first fell in love with is still there. Just because we see amazingness every day, doesn’t change the fact that it’s amazing.
I wonder if on year 578 of eternity in heaven, we’ll have to remind ourselves of this fact. I wonder if we’ll have to remind ourselves in the midst of paradise to perpetually stay in awe. Can you really get tired of the same ole’ same ole’ amazingness?
I think one of the secrets to a long, happy marriage is just that, perpetually staying in awe of the other.
People who don’t know this fall into the trap of falling hard for someone until it fizzles out, then they go searching for that feeling again in a new person, only they don’t realize it’s not that the new person is any more wonderful than what they’ve already got, it’s the newness that makes that person appealing. But nobody stays “new” forever. And so they break up, and they find that feeling again. And then it disappears, and they look elsewhere. And it will be a cycle that never ends until they realize this.
So that’s why I’m suggesting we take the same person, and we try to build a life where we make an effort to stay perpetually in awe. It’s why when Nate meets up with me somewhere in public, sometimes I’ll open my eyes and look at him from afar, thinking, ‘What would I think of that guy if I didn’t know him?” And somehow, as silly as it may sound, when he does finally come and give me a hug and kiss, I’ll get a little giddy inside, because this man is mine, and everything I fell in love with is still there.
And maybe that’s why one of my favorite bloggers meets her husband at the restaurant on date night instead of going together, so they can still have that date “reaction.” So they still have that chance to stay perpetually in awe.
We are so good at missing people. I just hope we can get better at appreciating the ones that are always there. What do you do to stay perpetually in awe? I’d love to know!