A few years ago, I was on a crowded Washington Metrorail car during rush hour when I noticed a young woman do something that caught my attention. She saw a guy at the other end of the car, waved at him and started plowing through the other passengers to get to him.
When she reached him, they embraced each other and began talking as they remained close to each other. She grabbed the overhead rail and let herself swing towards him. He gently touched her side when she drew closer. She smiled with her eyes and his eyes smiled back. And as I looked at them, something occurred to me: My wife and I need to remember to look at each other like that.
Twelve years and three kids into marriage, our days often involve running errands, dealing with finances, caring for children or just washing the dishes — it’s the business of doing life together. And like anyone who’s doing business, our bodies reflect it. Our brows are furrowed, we don’t always look each other in the eyes, we multitask and interrupt and get easily distracted.
I want to do what the young woman on the Metro car did: plow through everything that’s in my way to be close to Raquel. To look her in the eyes and get so distracted by love that nothing else seems to exist.
I don’t want to forget the first time I saw Raquel at that hat party on Capitol Hill when she walked in wearing a red velvet cowboy hat. I don’t want to forget my heart racing when we kissed for the first time, and after we pulled away I said, “I don’t think it can get any better than that.”
I want to remember asking Raquel to marry me on the River Terrace of the Kennedy Center and the two of us laughing for about 30 minutes after she said yes. I want to revisit, over and over again, the moment during our wedding ceremony when she looked at me and said, “Joshua, I trust you. You have my heart.”
At the heart of it all, I always want to remember that there’s a big difference between love growing more mature and love growing stale.
If that couple on the Metro gets married one day, I hope they never stop looking at each other like they did that day among the crowded commuters. But if they’re like most of us, they’ll occasionally get too familiar with each other, pulled away from romance by the distractions of daily life.
When that happens, I hope they’ll do the very thing I did as I wrote this: Take two or three minutes and relive the early days of their infatuation — the day they met, their first kiss, the proposal and all of the romance that happened after the wedding day.
Reliving those memories will stir up those old emotions, the reckless optimism and the infatuation. And when it does and they feel their hearts racing just a little bit, I hope they’ll stop, forget about the dishes, look each other in the eyes and fall in love all over again.