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A Married Couple's First Date
by James Clem 
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I will always remember the first date with my wife.

Both our lives had taken some wrong turns to this point, but now we were committed and excited to journey a new road together. Having enjoyed life's adventures and sometimes just surviving for forty-some years, it was a bit scary and thrilling to begin with a fresh slate.

Past mistakes, broken marriages, and hurtful circumstances were nothing more than footnotes in a history that had shaped our characters as we began a new marathon with a tiny first step.

An impossibly short 24 hours ago, this beautiful, vibrant, and fascinating woman had taken a vow before God to stand beside me and walk along with me step by step. And in return, I pledged to seek her happiness above my own.

I stared into her eyes across the small private table as we waited together. Our first experience dining out as a newly married couple was to be so perfect.

Ah but life isn't a magical fairy tale and we were getting a quick taste that although we were lost in each others eyes, we were just part of a routine ordinary day to the rest of the world.

My stomach was growling and a flaring ember of impatience was beginning to fight its way beyond my armor of self-control. This was our first date as husband and wife. I was not going to let it be ruined by a series of disappointing events. But I was losing.

We had chosen a hideaway deep in the Shenandoah mountains of Virginia for a private honeymoon getaway. The panoramic postcard views of mountains covered with lush green ferns and trees dotted with spring flowers in red, white, and yellow provided a breathtaking backdrop of wonder and relaxation. We enjoyed much of our first day wandering among the beauty that God had created.

Our dinner reservations were at a highly recommended local establishment that wanted to be a high society restaurant except that it was surrounded by farmlands and country people that were more inclined to enjoy a slice of apple pie on the back porch. I'd have rather been right there with them.

We had reservations for 6:00 to allow us to enjoy a leisurely dinner and still have time for a quiet stroll before dark. But the place was packed and a table wasn't available. So much for reservations.

No problem, we were newlyweds; it would take more than that to dampen the finish of a perfect day. The place had a pleasant rose garden, so we wandered around while we waited for a table. Eventually we were back inside. Our tiny little table wasn't tucked away in a dimly lit romantic corner, but somehow squeezed right into the very middle of the room underneath the very brightest light in the room. Our good fortune didn't stop there because a large group was seated at tables right next to us. They were boisterously celebrating a birthday or family reunion of some kind. So much for quiet conversation.

I watched the waitress racing around seeing to her guests. The poor girl was doing her best bringing in platters of food. Twenty minutes later, we had not gotten anything besides menus. On another night, in another situation, I would have left. They just were not prepared tonight for this crowd of people. I looked across the table at my new bride and I swallowed my impatience (not that it was very filling.) I placed a hand over my stomach to stifle its rumbling. It had been a long time since we had eaten that morning.

The voices in the room were echoing off the walls. I felt the tell-tale signs of a migraine coming on compounded by the screeching voices, clattering plates, and an empty stomach. I rubbed my forehead and tried to smile and be pleasant company. But I was losing.

Amazingly someone did come by and ask for our orders. My salad didn't live up to my expectations. It was a collection of bitter green leaves that I couldn't identify soaked in oil. No dressing was offered because it was a "chef's specialty". My wife who lives on salads was also surprised at the choice and readily sympathized with my dissatisfaction.

I was becoming disillusioned with this whole experience. My wife was unhappy because I was miserable. I was unhappy because she was now sad because I was not having a good time. This vicious spiral was trying to pull us down into deepest, darkest oblivion. This was our first dinner together. It wasn't supposed to be like this.

Needless to say, it was a memorable start to our life together. We learned right off that each of us was trying so hard to do what we thought the other wanted and the final result was that we were both making ourselves miserable. We were at the very beginning of the road of learning to communicate and being really honest with each other.

Our second night as newlyweds, we found a cozy little diner with simple country food. Large portions and probably a tenth of what we paid the night before. We had no reservations, but we were immediately directed to a table. The waitress was friendly and cheerful and the food was filling and delicious. And sure enough, home baked apple pie for dessert.

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Member Comments
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chandra mathis 04 Nov 2005
I enjoyed your story. Makes me remember the first date my husband and I had. It was a fishing trip. He offered to baite my hook for me and promised to teach me new fishing tricks. I didn't say a word. I went along with it. Then while we were fishing, he looked at me and said "why do I have this feeling that you have done this before?" He soon found out that I was a fishing expert. It was funny, but at the same time made him happy to find someone who loved fishing more than he did. I cherish the memories.Thanks for sharing your story. Blessings,Chandra


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