Tea and Marriage
For our wedding anniversary this year, Chris sent a bouquet of beautiful roses. Their delicate pale pink petals were classical in shape but opened up to a contempory Naphthol red—all together they made a surprisingly gorgeous bouquet.
I was brought back to the memory of the early days of my marriage when a single rose stem was enough to make our weekend rendezvous an occasion. Ray and I were students living on a very limited budget that consisted of a scholarship and stipend for each of us.
I was at Yale in New Haven and Ray was at New York Medical College in New York, so we only got to see each other on weekends. Often Ray would buy a single rose or some other flower to create a Japanese style arrangement and would prepare a pot of fresh classical Chinese tea--one of the few luxuries we could afford--and we would spend many a pleasurable moment together.
This time, as I sipped a cup of Yunan Imperial Dragon Pearl and looked back to the decades of our marriage, it occurred to me that marriage is sort of like tea. Like the leaves that become tea, each of us are splendidly individualistic, but when we fall in love and marry, like tea leaves in the master’s hand, we must, through artistry and often endurance, accommodate and conform to each other to become one. It is not always easy, yet the reward is great.
In tea, we are first attracted by the fragrance, then the welcoming acridity and finally the enjoyable after taste. In marriage, we are first attracted by love, emotional and physical, then the desired, but burden-filled, task of raising a family, and accommodating each other’s faults and quirks. Decades later we arrive at the sweet reward of a strong bond of commitment, care, and concern.
I had lunch with some friends today and I asked them whether they think marriage is like tea and I got some interesting answers:
“Yes, it must go through hot water!”
“The longer you steep, the stronger it becomes.”
“The more times you re-steep, the weaker it becomes!”
Ha ha! So much for tea and marriage.