My wife, Ann, turns 30 in 2 weeks. Given she is due with our 3rd child in 4 weeks we decided to have her birthday celebration a couple weeks early.
We booked out her favourite restaurant, Bistro Selle, and supplied them with all of our produce. Beef brisket, beef tongue, pork belly, marrow bones, and eggs.
We filled the restaurant with our nearest and dearest and had a fantastic night. The menu was a delight.
Our pastor labelled us ‘people gatherers’ a few years ago and his comment has never left us. We had been building a reputation for hosting dinner parties, events, sales, open days, and festivals but we had never really internalised that this was part of our identity. Once Ps. Mik spoke that label into us, it gave clarity to us, and made us really understand how we did love gathering people – formally and informally.
One thing that we have learnt over our past few seated events is that people will sit down with the folks that they are the most familiar with. This is fine to get some chatter started – but it hardly achieved our goal of building community.
How to remedy this? I think we have cracked the code! Once or twice throughout the night I get up and announce a seat swap. If it’s someone’s first time doing a seat swap during a dinner event they are generally a little apprehensive and slow to move, but the feedback is always the same. People love it. New friendships are made, connections are realised, support networks are grown, and community is built.
At Ann’s birthday party we did our seat swap just before mains were served and the volume of chatter in the room notably raised. Lots of laughing and hearing as people figured out how each other was connected to Ann and I, what circles they shared in town, and their shared interests. It was lots of fun.
After mains I got up to give a little speech about my darling wife, Ann, who has been with me since 2012 – married since 2014. I covered off everything that I wanted to talk about including how we met, my first impressions of her and her family (all great), our life journey to date, and how Ann and I have both grown over time.
There was one phrase that I wanted to talk about in my speech that I forgot to address, so I’m bringing it to you all now! A few months ago someone asked how long I had been married and I replied that I had just had my 8th wedding anniversary. He remarked, “so you got through the 7-year itch then!”
I didn’t really know how to respond. I was a little bit put off as he was insinuating that there was some sort of systemic reality in our relationship that we were unhappy and bound for turbulence and rocky times during our 7th year. I know it wasn’t a personal jab – more of just a silence filler. But idle words still carry power and I’ve been thinking about his comment since.
The global marketing division for negativity is much better equipped and financed than the positivity team.
“7-year itch” or “you’d get less for murder” are well known quips that denigrate the union of marriage.
Where are the societal truisms about how beautiful marriage is? Where are their positions in our language? I’m scratching my head trying to think of one!
If someone tells me they have just enjoyed their wedding anniversary, I try my best to break this language model and say how happy I am for them. I also mention to long-married elders how much I appreciate their example.
Ann and I have been married 8 years. We have had highs and lows – just like any other life and relationship. For us, I believe that we have really hit our stride.
Next time someone gives me a sideways quip about the “7-year itch” or some other moronic one-liner that is passively attacking our society’s most beautiful union, I’m going to tell them that I couldn’t imagine my life without my wife.