Torsten and I received a generous gift card to Williams-Sonoma as a wedding gift, and that's when we learned something about high-end kitchen stores. You might receive a gift card in an amount that is very generous in absolute terms, but at Williams-Sonoma? That gift card will give you the option of purchasing three small kitchen implements (say tongs, a serving spoon, and an apron), or subsidizing the cost of something much more expensive.
After some debate, we went for Option 2, and subsidized the purchase of a lovely electric griddle that is doubling as Torsten's Christmas present. Except that, of course, being the non-traditionalists that we apparently are, we aren't keeping it boxed up until Christmas. It's so big and heavy, and does not need to be hauled to a different state just to be unwrapped and hauled home, especially since it would have required the majority of a roll of wrapping paper just to be neatly packaged.
So, since we aren't waiting until December 25 to present it to him as though it were a surprise, we instead opted to get the most use out of it that we possibly can. After all, that thing has a lifetime warranty, so the longer the lifetime, the more you get for your money, right? Does anyone see a flaw with this logic? I didn't think so.
Last night we used it for the first time and made fried rice, hibachi style. I cooked the rice before Torsten got home and then when he arrived he heated up the griddle, scrambled an egg on it, poured on the oil, and we dumped the big pot of rice on top. Torsten started mixing everything up and then I grabbed another wooden spoon to help, and we stood on opposite sides of the griddle, placidly stirring the rice and occasionally tasting it and suggesting additional ingredients to make it less bland.
The rice turned out well, and as we sat at our table next to our Christmas tree, eating the rice we had cooked together on our new plates, I thought about how much I love being married. Because I do; I love it. I never would have expected to love it so much. Actually, I never would have expected it to feel any different than just living together and being committed to each other for life did. Truly, I thought it would be the same except that we would have the security of knowing that we had the legal backup to formalize the union and protect our rights to one another, that we can apply for a green card for Torsten.
But it's more than that. We talked about it in bed. I brought it up first: I said how strange this is, but I almost feel that I love Torsten more now that we're married, and how I never would have thought that could be, I never would have thought that I could love him more than I already did before we were married, my love for him was already unquantifiable then. And it is still. And yet I can tell, my love for him is more than it was, not in quantity but in depth and richness and satisfaction, in my view of our future and our union and our shared life.
I love him romantically, physically, respectfully, happily, utterly. And I loved him like that before. But in a way my love for him feels more complete now. It almost feels to me that you couldn't not love your spouse, just because they are your spouse, no matter who they are. It makes me understand that sometimes an arranged married can be a good one, if it starts off with these feelings of goodwill and anticipation and completion.
It does feel different to be married, and I never thought that I would say that. On a rational level I still see marriage as a social construct, as something that ensures legal rights but doesn't really change a relationship. And I would never say or think or feel that any couple that isn't married has any less love for one another, or that their love is incomplete, just because they aren't married.
And yet, here we are. And I thought I was the only one, I thought it was strange to feel that way, but when I told Torsten about it while we were lying in bed, he said he felt the exact same way.
I love him so much. I could spend forever standing at that griddle, stirring rice with a spoon, as long as he were there too, his spoon from time to time softly bumping into mine.
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