When we arrived in Greenville Monday night, it was with a lot of balls in the air. Those of you who read our newsletter know that the last few weeks have been busy ones for us.
We’ve been working extra hours in our freelance gigs, we’ve had a lot of social events to attend, we’ve been inundated with random emails, the blog went down for a little while, which meant Tim has been spending extra time working on it, and then we’ve been signing up for press trips like this one, all while working on another secret project we haven’t announced here yet.
We’ve wanted to come to Greenville, South Carolina for a while, partly because my friend Holly, who’s lived in places like Africa and Alabama and now Philadelphia, calls Greenville her favorite city and partly because, generally speaking, visiting a new place has always been the sort of thing to slow us down.
But when we finally collapsed into bed last night, after a full night of delicious meals, the two of us looked at each other and said, Anniversary? Who has time to think about anniversaries? And I started crying when I told Tim I hadn’t even written him a card.
Here is something I’ve learned from these first two years of marriage: Marriage reveals you.
When you live your life in honesty alongside another human being, he knows all about your flaws. He knows you can be a perfectionist. He knows you will both push to make everything be a certain way and collapse into tears when you see you can’t. He knows that part of the reason you try so hard not to become overwhelmed by tasks, always shortening your list, always wanting to stay ahead, is because when you do become overwhelmed, you scare yourself with how sharp and short your words become.
Your priorities get out of whack. You’re rushing him to your next scheduled dinner, thinking about the people you could disappoint if you don’t make it there on time, forgetting to slow down and look into his eyes and hold his hand.
He told me at dinner last night he likes to take care of problems for me. When he comes home to a vacuum on the front porch, a garbage bag tied to the hose, hearing my explanation that I tried to vacuum up a locust-like bug in the fireplace and it got stuck, he isn’t frustrated. When I say, “Um, Tim, I think I deleted the entire blog,” which actually happened this last month, he opens up his laptop and studies the situation, barely missing a beat. At lunch on Sunday, we told our friend Lyndsey that I spent four years thinking my camera didn’t have a certain feature, telling myself someday in the future I’d like to upgrade, and then this weekend Tim read the manual, pressed a button and voila! Turns out we’ve had the feature all along.
Writing all these things out into a blog post feels vulnerable and imperfect and embarrassing, but our pastor says if you’re not embarrassed you’re probably not being honest enough. Also, despite how many people will read this and misunderstand us and want to email me marriage advice for attaining the imaginary perfect marriage everyone should seek, I don’t know a better way to fight perfectionism than by confessing openly and honestly that you know you’re not.
Today, writing this from our hotel room where Tim’s still sleeping and we’ve missed our scheduled breakfast, I’m thankful for a husband who knows me and loves me, as I am for the God who brought him to me—who loved me before I loved Him and who is touched by my weakness. Sometimes the only way to let Him fill your open hands with gratitude is to have them emptied, weak and needy though it makes you. What He gives in return is very sweet.
So far in Greenville, we’ve: Shared drinks (my favorite-ever sangria for me and a coffee stout for Tim) and appetizers (caprese salad, figs and goat cheese and honey on toast, a killer cheese plate my former Whole Foods specialty worker husband raved about) at the luxurious Sip rooftop, 103 North Main Street, Fourth Floor; strolled through the Anthropologie across the courtyard; scouted out the local natural grocery store; and shared dinner at Soby’s New South Cuisine, 207 South Main Street, which included fried green tomatoes in a pimento cheese sauce, the sous chef’s special of pan-seared tuna with chow chow (it’s a Southern thing), pan-seared grouper with haricot verts and a vanilla bean creme brulee.
We wish we could have made breakfast this morning at Roost, 220 North Main Street, an eatery known for its focus on farm-to-table fare—but maybe some of you Greenville locals will go there for us and tell us what you think.
Disclaimer: We are currently visiting Greenville on a trip planned for us by the city’s incredibly helpful and amazing Visitor’s Bureau. Our accommodations and some meals are being provided for us; all opinions expressed are our own. An upcoming post (Update: view part two here!) will provide more travel information on the city.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.