Shiny and new


Man, this is hard to admit.

But it’s oh so true.

I want to remain shiny and new.

In love, at least.

Red and black bow ties on draped golden satin
Red and black bow ties on draped golden satin

New love–the kind where the other person’s heart skips a beat when they see you. And yours when you see them.

Who doesn’t love that feeling, right?

It’s not that I don’t love the silver anniversary. Haven’t made it to one but my parents did. Some of my friends are well on their way to a 25th year of marriage.

Lasting love is great. But flawed. Oh so flawed. Because all of us are. Only human after all.

He snaps at her when she tries to give him driving directions because after 10 years, it drives him crazy.

She looks wistfully at the man who gazed at her with admiring, fresh eyes throughout the cocktail hour before dinner. Her own husband has not seen her in that way for years.

Silver anniversaries come with history. Which is the beauty of lasting love.

And that history is the Achilles’ heel of the same love.

How does familiarity not eventually breed, if not contempt, at least complacency?

I see handsome, kind men dismissed by their wives at dinner parties. Attractive, vivacious women go flat and quiet after one withering look or sharp word from their husband.

I don’t want to sound pessimistic, folks. I love love. I root for the couples who go the distance.

But I wish for the newness, the over-the-moon bit to last—and I know I’m not alone.

A colleague once told me, when I asked him how it was to be married for a long time: “There’s a reason they make you vow at the altar. If it was all sunshine and roses, it wouldn’t take a vow to keep you together. There are times you want to leave. But you keep your promise. And other times, you realize why you stayed.”

At the time, newly engaged, I thought he was being darkly pessimistic. Now, I realize, he was probably just realistic.

Being shiny and new feels great. Seeing someone else as shiny and new feels great.

gold star trophy against blue background
gold star trophy against blue background

The bit no philosopher or marriage counselor in history has figured out is how to keep the shiny and new appeal going.

It is the allure of Newman and Woodward, Bogie and Bacall. They withstood the test of time.

I am sure it is not because they found a way to keep those shiny and new glasses on.

Instead, they found a way to morph their love, to grow it into something different. Something that has a beauty that goes beyond shiny and new. And they had acquired the wisdom necessary to choose each other again and again. Even when other shiny, new options were temptingly placed in front of them.

They saw the beauty in the achingly familiar instead of going blind to it.

I wish it weren’t so hard to do. As I look around, I see most couples struggle with it. Even the ones we all admire. The ones who will hold hands at 80.

I have been in love and lost it. I think that helps. Helps you to realize how precious it is when you find someone who cares that much. Who, in the beginning, makes your heart race. And whose faults, which are painfully human, you can accept instead of sugarcoat. Love instead of judge.

Shiny and new is just that. Shiny and new. It is a rush, a high, but it lacks wisdom. Staying power. And stamina.

A well-worn patina trumps shine for those wise enough to judge true value.





20 Comments Add yours

  1. markbialczak says:

    Part heart and part head, Kay. When the other person makes them both go vroom, that showroom feeling has a chance to last and last.

    1. candidkay says:

      I hear you talk about your dear wife, Mark, and it gives me hope. I know there are some couples who figure it out. And you seem to be one of them. Kudos to you!

      1. markbialczak says:

        Thanks so much, Kay. Second time can be the charm. Yes, my friend, keep the hope.

  2. I always found shiny and new too dazzling to embrace, too dizzyingly passionate to ever fully put my trust in. It never worked for me (which didn’t stop me trying – again and again and again) so I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have finally found something less exciting and far richer, a loving kindness that’s easy and true. It may be a bit worn around the edges but I wouldn’t swap it for any of the razzle dazzle of new love, not in a heartbeat.

    1. candidkay says:

      I love stories like yours. I was married for almost 14 years. I know a relationship can get richer with time. And I know I can hold my end of bargain in deepening love. My ex did also. Can you find that twice? I certainly hope so:).

  3. I love that fluttery rush of new love but the quote about taking a vow is so true. I remember seeing an interview with Patrick Duffy (of all people) who has been married for many years to the same woman. He said that love is like a rollercoaster. If you can hang on through the dips down then the rides up are that much sweeter.

  4. Sometimes I miss the shiny + new. But then I look at our family, and see the payoff of tried + true.

    1. candidkay says:

      Tried and true is beautiful! When I’m with a person who can see it as well as I can, it’s great. But when we falter, as we all do, ouch. So glad you’ve found something steady and solid.

  5. I think if it is true love, it just keeps on going.

  6. And as you have found Kay, that is the key. The wisdom and renewed love you find from the empathy you discover after each ‘event’ in your relationships always gradually raise your awareness to a place where there are less and less expectations, less and less fears and a love for self in where you now give from.
    This attracts exactly where you are at…that is why you were ‘shown’ the Tomato man etc so that you knew you were past those places, had the wisdom to let go and not take a journey that you already have the wisdom for.
    Now it is time to accept you for exactly who you are, after all that you have experienced, so that you now attract whatever is left, whatever still holds your heart in chains…or not.
    It is always given with great love so that you become the one thing all seek, that unconditional love that just accepts…with no more projections of fears or hurts…and be totally free.
    But remember, the more you go through, the less you project, the less you project, the more you will attract someone with very little to reflect back to you. And it will feel like that ‘love’ in the beginning, but so much more profound because of the empathy and wisdom you have gained.
    Enjoy the glow, for it comes because you can give freely. Those early relationship glows become overshadowed only because of those fears and expectations we all have. Look into your heart, feel what holds you at bay, and face it anyway. It will set you free…and a love like no other will find you 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      Wow, Mark. A lot to chew on in this one. I’m going to digest it slowly:). A great Sunday afternoon conversation by the fire!

  7. leeannimal403 says:

    Everyone prefers that shiny newness. But the dichotomy is that we also crave familiarity. We also live in a culture that says if it’s not still shiny and new, and we aren’t receiving the feelings we originally received, that there’s something innately wrong with what we have. The depth it takes to establish a lasting connection isn’t heralded. It’s supposed to be easy or it isn’t real. And THAT makes us want the shiny and new even more.

    1. candidkay says:

      Depth doesn’t come without effort and time, right? And there’s no “easy” button for long-term love . . .

      1. leeannimal403 says:

        If there were an easy button, I would want to find it just so someone else could chip in on the electric bill for once.

  8. The beauty of patina, never thought of this example before. Thank you!!

  9. This was a sad one to read.

    I’m 15 years in (so far) with my second husband and we are very, very aware (see: second marriage, met at 43) that a good, lasting — esp. midlife — marriage is not easy to find or keep. But we laugh like crazy and say thank you and please a lot — people have mistaken us for a new couple in the way we behave and treat one another. We are both very lucky to have found a second chance and are damned if we will blow it through carelessness, neglect or rudeness.

    Couples who take one another for granted can wake up single any day now…

    1. candidkay says:

      I love to hear that! From my friend Molly re: her partner of 14 years: “Maybe the follow up column is called, “Tried and true?” For when the test of time means you know exactly how that hug is going to feel when you need it most, how hard your partner is going to laugh when you get home and tell that story, or how likely she is to buy two cans of frosting for your birthday – one for the cupcakes and one for the spoon. The za za zu is pretty cool, but I’ll take the worn in shoes.” You guys give me hope:).

  10. Shawna says:

    Whenever I feel like that with my husband, or I think things are going stale, I resolve to make out with him hardcore when he gets home from work. It catches him off guard every time and that gives me a flashback of the shiny new thing that we used to be.

  11. Amy says:

    Here’s to wisdom. And staying power. And stamina. Here’s to the well-worn patina that glows with a love everlasting. xox

  12. justme3362 says:

    I’m with you, I prefer shiny and new too!

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