TGIF: What The Double-Rainbow Guy Taught Me About Marriage

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I.

What’s the perfect colour scheme for two people who suddenly have joint bank accounts, cutlery and toilet paper?

Back in Jan. 2013, Kupa and I were giddy newlyweds, nervously navigating our way through the jungle gym of IKEA. It was quite a surreal experience, making our first purchases as a married couple.

We spent the first hour walking around like zombies: overwhelmed from the sensory overload and the sheer volume of decisions we had to make. Needing to regain our sanity, we regrouped in Kitchen and Appliances. We decided to focus only on our lighting needs.

I careened around the corner, almost knocking over an unsuspecting three-year-old as I zeroed in on a darling white lampshade covered in multicoloured embroidery. I really hoped Kupa wouldn’t think it was too girly or artsy.

So I was all, “Lookit how prettttty!”

He was all, “What’s the diameter and Item Code?”

I exhaled happily.

He trusted me!

I couldn’t wait to get home and assemble our lamp. I just knew that it was going to be perfect in our little apartment. Let there be light, y’all.

II.

Fast forward to Feb. 2014. Our little apartment is quiet. Kupa and I are on opposite ends of the couch staring blankly into the distance.

Every five minutes, one of us breaks the silence and talks, while the other continues to stare ahead. We steal side glances. We can’t look at each other.

It’s too painful.

So I stare at the lamp. ALVINE PÄRLA, Item code: 601.804.42.

It was seven hours of “dialogue”: tears, raised voices, emotional eating, followed by more tears, etc.

You name it, we said it + cried it + blubbered it + ate it.

And for seven hours I stared at the lamp. I watched the shadows falling diagonally across it. I studied the shapes of all the different flowers and the pretty colours of the beautiful threads.

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And then I realized something …

For someone who almost knocked over an infant as she lunged for a lampshade in IKEA … I could not remember the last time I stopped to admire the lamp. Sure, I flicked on a switch to turn it on every day as the sun set. And yes, on some level, I appreciated the function it played.

But somewhere along the way, it blended into the background. It became furniture.

It went from something precious and beautiful to something that was only useful to me because of its function.

I turned my thoughts to the man on the couch with me. The one whom I couldn’t look straight in the eyes. I heard the pain in his voice. I heard the pain in mine. We’re just like the lamp, I realized.

At some point, I’d reduced my husband to his function and overlooked his unique beauty. I’d neglected the nuances of his stories, the intricacies of his pain, the vulnerability of his dreams and the tenderness of his fears. (I imagine he’d admit to the same.)

Sure, we functioned well enough as a married couple but … my heart had become accustomed, numb and calloused to his beauty.

III.

On Valentine’s Day, Kupa and I found ourselves serendipitously invited to a seminar downtown.

My heart stopped when the speaker spoke these words, “Think of a time in your life when your heart was pierced by something breathtakingly beautiful. What do you remember? What did it arouse and awaken in your heart?”

To illustrate his point he played the viral video of the Double-Rainbow guy.

I had quite an unexpected reaction to this video. I’d seen it a bunch of times before, but this time …

I wept.

I wept happy-sad tears just like the guy in the video (1:43). Happy Tears because I remembered what it was like to have my heart explode with love for Kupa and Sad Tears because I ached to have my heart that open to my beloved and to God again.

Confucius said, “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” I would go further to say, Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it for long. Those of us that see beauty still fall prey to the malaise that comes with going through the mundane bits of life in cruise control.

Being open to beauty seems to be yet another way to find ourselves utterly exposed and vulnerable. It’s hard to be dignified when something beautiful pierces and wrecks your heart.

It terrifies me to have my heart that open. I can see it now … I’d be the hippie-dippie mad woman, waving a patterned scarf in the middle of a park, weeping and laughing to myself. No wonder David danced (nearly commando) in the streets to welcome the Ark of the Covenant back into Jerusalem!

Isn’t the whole point of being an adult to reel in all the wild and crazy?

And yet …
And yet …
And yet …

If reeling in THE WILD and CRAZY means I don’t see my beloved’s beauty? Is it worth it?

Am I willing to be a fool in love?
Am I willing to keep my heart open?
Am I willing to jam a doorstop to keep my heart open even if it’s sometimes disappointing, scary and painful?

IV.

A week later, Kupa and I found ourselves sharing some of our struggles with our small group of trusted friends.

We talked about how things had felt uphill lately and how we’d spent nearly 7 hours talking it out one day.

They listened quietly.

And then one of them piped up, “I’m just so impressed that you spent 7 hours to talk it out. It means you care enough to fight for your marriage.”

We couldn’t look at each other.

But this time, it was because we were blushing.

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So, my sweetpeas …

– When was the last time your heart was utterly pierced by beauty?
– What helps you keep your eyes open to beauty?

Love you more than Pad Thai Sliders!

xoxo,
Teen

Image Credit: Nirav Photography

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Tina Francis
My name is Tina. Loved ones call me: Teen. Words are my chocolate. Music, my caramel. Photography, my bread. Girlfriends, my butter. Confession: Some girls dream about Manolo Blahniks or their next Hermes bag. Not me. I dream of freshly baked bread, perfectly barbecued meat & steaming bowls of Pho. My dream lover *cue Mariah Carey song* is someone who would read out a menu to me in Barry White’s baritone voice. I celebrate food, ask for help, interrupt conversations, laugh and cry hard, acknowledge the elephant in most rooms, fight for the underdog and believe in the power of storytelling. I was born and raised in Dubai and currently live in the beautiful city of Vancouver, known for some of the best sushi in the world.
Tina Francis
Tina Francis