Monica Chan Yip

The pandemic has caused lots of changes in my life, one of which is that it has made eating out a lot more difficult. I am somewhat disappointed, as I can no longer have monthly breakfast dates with my husband. The best thing about eating out is that I can temporarily forget about stuff at home—unwashed dishes, clothes to be put away, cooking, unpaid bills—and just fully enjoy the time talking to my date. There are so many things to catch up and share, as we are busy all the time. My husband also treasures this time, since I can give him my undivided attention as he might feel neglected when I am busy with chores at home.

Years ago, I watched a musical in Hong Kong called “Table for Two.” The plot was very simple. It was about two lovers meeting each other, dating, separating, then meeting and getting back together again, getting married, and growing old together. The dialogue is humorous and light-hearted; it brought me to tears from laughter. The screenwriter of this musical was superb, and the singing and acting were outstanding.

The musical left a deep impression on me not because of what I just said, but because of its message—a message that has been long forgotten in our society. This consistent message permeates throughout the whole musical. There was no preaching, and yet it still touched people’s hearts.

In the musical, I watched as the main actor and actress had the same kind of breakfast every morning. Even though the actress’ dad had passed away, she still insisted on ordering her dad’s favorite breakfast every day.

I watched the actor pay special attention to cooking instant noodles. Even though instant noodles are cheap and simple, he still put effort into making them delicious.

I watched the supporting actor and actress talk about their wedding in a restaurant and end up fighting, leading to their separation. Yet they still treasured each other, and eventually reunited, got married, and had children.

I watched the chef narrate his own love stories. It sounded so romantic. However, after he claimed that, “so many girlfriends have cooked for me,” he unavoidably confessed that he “couldn’t even remember their names anymore.”

I watched the actor and actress bump into each other again when they went out for the same barbeque pork and roasted goose on rice that they used to enjoy eating together.

I watched the actor and actress, in their old age, still fight like in the past. Though their personalities remained the same, you could still feel the warmth and sweetness in their fights.

The message conveyed by these scenes is simple, but completely counter-cultural; it seems obvious, yet hard to grasp, but is worthy to pursue and reflect upon. This is a message of commitment, fidelity, and simplicity in a lifelong relationship. Nowadays, separation is nothing, changing lovers is no big deal, and instant gratification is key. However, eating the same breakfast every day can be a blessing, cooking instant noodles can be an art, and even the most dreaded fight can serve to reconnect a relationship. Just as the chef said in the ending, “Do you remember the last meal you really enjoyed? Was it because the food was good, or was it because of whom you shared the meal with?”

Marriage can be difficult. However, your attitude can make a difference, even with simple things like preparing every meal attentively, treasuring every moment together, and valuing every fight with each other. Go back to the basics; simplicity is a blessing. At the end of the day, eating at home or eating out is not that important anymore, because what matters is whom you eat with—your spouse that you exchanged vows with, both before God and before men, to be one forever. Our Lord Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you.” When you count your blessings every day, you will discover that along the path of a marriage, there are all kinds of blessings from the Lord. Table for two, simplicity is good—glad you are here!

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