When I said those four, small, life-changing words "I do, of course," I knew there were things about me that would change. You know, things other than the obvious ... like my last name and mailing address.
For example, I figured that I'd end up watching a whole lot more Fox News. Because ... well ... that's what happens when one marries a news junkie and agrees to share the same couch and remote. Suddenly, talking heads and the latest conflict in the Middle East become regular company.
Even so, there was one thing I was absolutely, positively convinced without a doubt would not change. As in, ever.
And that was my feelings about Thai food.
Sure, I might be marrying a man who loved it, but no way was I becoming a green curry and drunken noodle addict. You see, I'd had my share of bad experiences with the cuisine.
All two of them.
The first was at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Van Nuys, California, with a woman my sisters and I had come to call our Jewish grandmother. Let's just say the company was good, but the pad thai, well, I never thought I'd find my peanut-loving self wanting to hose the taste of nuts out of my mouth. I did that day ... and for days after.
The second? It was a few years later at my boss' mother's dinner party on the Big Island of Hawaii. Yeah, complicated. I know. Granted, what I ate that evening was really more Japanese-Thai-Hawaiian fusion, but it ruined me for ever trying Thai food again. (My apologies to those of you who enjoy that trio of cuisines combined.) I determined once and for all that I didn't like Thai food. Not then. Not ever.
Or so I thought. Almost a decade into marriage, I now eat ... and crave ... Thai food regularly. So what happened?
Well, because I love my husband Ted, I decided to share in his "joy" of Thai food by at least giving it another chance. Sure, it took me about six years of marriage to come to this decision, but I finally did. And you know what they say, the third time's the charm, right? I discovered I loved it. Turns out I just needed to find a Thai restaurant that specialized in using quality, fresh ingredients, wasn't too peanut happy, and didn't involve the word "fusion."
Do you know what this change has taught me?
It's helped me learn the importance of stepping out of my comfort zone and being willing to try new things ... even if I'm convinced I'm not going to like them. I've come to see that these experiences not only enrich me as an individual, they go far in helping Ted and me continue to grow together.
And the funny thing is, you could replace the phrase "Thai food" with a number of things. Sushi. Dystopian films. Some talk radio. There are a number of other areas where I've stepped out of my comfort zone and discovered a new "like."
So the next time your husband mentions the hole-in-the-wall restaurant he loves and you'd rather not try, maybe give it a chance. Even if it is a second or third one. What's the worst thing that could happen? You discover you were right all along?
Whether you end up with a new favorite or not, I guarantee you'll find your marital bond strengthened just because you decided to lay your own comfort aside and share in your husband's joy.
I know because I've tried it.
For more practical ways to cultivate and strengthen unity in your marriage, check out my new book, Team Us: Marriage Together.