We’ve celebrated almost every wedding anniversary at Rooneys. The outside is nothing to write home about, but the inside captures you with a warm, simple elegance. We like the ambiance and we really like the food. Everything we’ve eaten there is perfectly seasoned: just the right amount of ginger, or cilantro, or sesame. We haven’t had anything we didn’t love. I’ve often thought, this is what separates a good chef from an excellent one: surprising combinations of flavors that work perfectly together. Kind of like a good marriage.
The two questions single people ask me the most are, How did you know your husband was The One? And Do you believe in The One: that there is one perfect mate, or are there many possible good choices? I’ve tackled the first one here and here. My answer to the second is, Yes, well, kind of. I think a good marriage is kind of like a Rooney’s crab cake: a surprising combination of flavors that work together perfectly. I don’t think you can throw just any ingredients in a bowl and come up with that; rather, there are certain ingredients that an experienced chef knows will complement each other. In the case of marriage, God is that Master Chef.
I remember thinking, Who will ever want to marry me? I feared that I was too complicated to be marriage material. I’ve written some about my angst growing up biracial and as a single woman, I simply didn’t know who would understand and appreciate my own twoness: the parts of me that feel white and the parts that feel black. Added to that, my lower middle class upbringing mixed with a swanky, elite college, a love of Classical music and Motown, Conservative and Liberal politics and the ability to stand in front of a crowd incredibly secure and confident one minute and abruptly shrink back, insecure and fearful, the next. Who would get me? I could be super smart and dense all at the same time! Who could complement and not smother me, appreciate and even like such a weird combination?
Enter Marvin: a Jamaican who lived in Europe for 15 years before moving to the States. Marvin is his own strange combination of contradictions (an intuitive scientist; really??), but his funny mixture of flavors complement mine so perfectly, only God could have thought this up. He’s a Jamaican who loves jerk pork and aged brie, foie gras and ackee, Red Stripe and Macallan. Proud to be a Jamaican but most comfortable in London. He’s educated to the max, but he never abandoned who he was amidst the proud walls of academia, and he is both driven and laid back at the same time.
In truth, we are not that special. Every happy couple I know is a blend of flavors that have come together to create a gourmet marriage. And no, I do not think you can throw just any two similar people together to get this. I think it takes the God of the Universe bringing two people together who will taste fantastic together. Is there more than one combination that would work together? I don’t know. I can’t imagine it. I do know that a good marriage is a God Thing, whether two people acknowledge it or not. I don’t credit chance or luck or fortune for bringing Marvin from Rotterdam Holland to Hanover, New Hampshire. It was God and He does things like that all the time.
If you desire marriage, this should encourage you. You may think you look odd or act odd or that your life is odd, but there is someone out there just as odd as you who will find all of that beautiful. And God knows where he is and where you are and can arrange a meeting at any time. Don’t give up.