Five months seemed an eon for a young man contemplating his wedding. In those primitive times—before email, chatting, and texting—lovers conveyed their sentiments via telephone calls (charged by the minute) and handwritten letters. Any day became a great day when the opened mailbox revealed a letter from her. The ring of the phone triggered a mad dash to answer. That instrument, wired permanently to its spot on the wall, might deliver the delightful surprise of her sweet voice.
My bachelor world was predictable and organized. A sturdy cardboard box covered by a beach towel served as a coffee table. Weights occupied one corner of the living room while the electronics lab filled another. I passed my evenings in manly pursuits such as experimenting and reading. The kitchen was organized for maximum efficiency with canned goods parked on the counter in a last-in-first-out queue. Supper was always the next can in line, and a short line indicated the need for grocery shopping. The bathroom sink was adorned with a tooth brush, a tube of tooth paste, and a soap dish.
Marriage ushered changes into my regimented world. The one bedroom luxury apartment with all the amenities (that’s what the brochure said, anyway) was restructured in days. The weights and the electronics lab were moved to a closet. I could no longer navigate the kitchen, and finding the ingredients for a peanut butter sandwich without direction from my bride proved an impossible challenge. Use of the bathroom sink required special care to avoid splashing the bottles and gadgets which had taken up residence.
But my long days in the antiseptic world of engineering ended in bliss as I greeted my lovely wife. With my face pressed into her inviting tresses I inhaled the strawberry aroma which no doubt originated from one of those mysterious bottles in the bath. That scent lasted a few seconds till it was supplanted by whatever masterpiece was simmering on the stove. Instead of struggling to open a can without a spill, I now experienced the true love of dining.
And then there was the chili episode.
Our table was a veteran of many Nichols family camping trips and bore the dings and scratches that wilderness survival awards. The unit folded to a suitcase size, sometimes with no human intervention. Great care had to be taken by the diners not to upset the delicate balance, but any table beat eating on the floor. On the night in question the metal workhorse was decked out with a cream table cloth and place settings for two. Everything matched and trumpeted elegance. A pair of candles flickered romance around the dining alcove. What did the woman of my dreams have planned for our evening?
We asked God’s blessing on the food, a practice still observed in our home, and I retrieved a spoon for the first bite. That chili hit my mouth, two seconds elapsed, and then hellfire and brimstone erupted into my bland and boring life. I jumped to my feet and upset the finicky table enough to splash chili on the table cloth. Gasping for breath with sweat trickling down my face, I chugged a bottle of icy Mountain Dew. A glass of ice water followed as I inhaled raggedly across the ash heap that was once my tongue.
Shawn’s reaction surprised me more than the chili. She erupted in streaming giggles as she restored the table to its upright and locked position. I knew my life had ratcheted into the stratosphere of excitement as she leaned across and sweetly asked, “Is it too hot, honey?”
No, my life needed a little spice.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD.
Proverbs 18:22 NASB