Friday Five: 5 things we taught each other to appreciate

Meagan and I love road trips because it gives us time to talk about all sorts of things that don’t really fit into our crazy, everyday schedule.  Many times when I have been driving for a few hours we start to play the newlywed game (or Know Ya Boo…whatever you prefer) together to help me stay awake so on the off chance we end up having to play actual newlyweds for prize money we’ll be set. Although, 9 years, we might not be qualified for “newly” so much…hmmm…

We talk about our all time favorite memories and stories, but when we get into likes and dislikes it is funny how often we have to rethink our answers as we get older.  It took me way too long to figure this out, but one of the most freeing things in life is figuring out you can like or dislike something for yourself and not because of popular sentiment. And when any two people get together, there are certain to be likes that the other has no interest in whatsoever.

So today’s list is comprised of 5 things we taught each other to appreciate, and dare we say, love?

1) Old Country Music (Meagan → Jeff)

Dolly Parton. Patsy Cline. Loretta Lynn. June Carter. George Jones. Johnny Cash. David Allan Coe. Hank Williams Sr. Waylon Jennings. Willie Nelson. These are people I would NEVER have voluntarily listened to until my bride started picking tunes on the radio.

We spent 3 years working at the same school and our daily commute time was between 45 mins to an hour and a half depending on if we had work AND a church event so we spent tons of time riding together and sharing music we loved.

To be completely honest, she didn’t even really have to wear me down.  I “protested” at first (and still some even now – but she knows she won), but I grew up on a steady diet of George Strait, Clint Black, and Garth Brooks so my ears were trained – it was just my attitude that had to change!

Now I happily turn on old country while we drive and sing along.  As I have gotten older my music tastes have gotten really diverse but I’ll always be thankful that Meagan pushed me to keep listening to old country – I love it.

2) Food (Meagan ← Jeff)

Jeff taught me to enjoy the diversity in food! On our first date, I ordered what I had ordered at every restaurant for every meal ever. Chicken tenders with french fries. Nothing against this selection, chicken can be awesome, but did you read that? Every meal I’d ever ordered at a restaurant EVER (*disclaimer, I was also only 15, but still…branch out). I never used condiments, gravy or sauces (bbq included), salad dressing, and nothing with too much flavoring. My argument was that I loved food pure and unadulterated. If you need extra “stuff”, it must not be that good, right? WRONG!

He is always the adventurous one in trying new things and new flavor combinations. Jeff taught me that condiments and sauces weren’t “ewwy” and actually enhanced the natural flavors of excellent food. I learned to LOVE salad dressing (and now I don’t hate salad as much…go figure). I use condiments (certain ones, sorry ketchup…never gonna happen). I use BBQ Sauce and lament the years of great flavors I missed because I was afraid of not liking something. He encourages me to try different types of food, and not shy away from things just because I don’t already know what they will taste like. Food is an adventure, and I love finding unique, unusual dishes!

3) Soccer (Meagan → Jeff)

This is a big one for me.  Seriously.

Meagan grew up playing soccer.  Refereeing soccer.  Watching soccer.  Watching her siblings play soccer.  Needless to say, she brought that love with her to the marriage.

For years I was a typical American meathead that couldn’t conceive of why ANYONE would want to watch 22 grown people run around for 90+ minutes and still possibly end up in a draw or at penalty kicks.  So for all those years I ribbed Meagan about her “silly” sport, and then through black magic or some sort of tomfoolery something 11226907_724188908834_7143013847059532685_nchanged.  I felt this urge to watch the 2014 World Cup that took place in Brazil.  Meagan didn’t gloat she just casually watched with me and taught me how the rules worked.  Then it all clicked – I called a player offside before the ref did and before Meagan said something.  I was so proud. I don’t know how she did it, but she got me.

A year later we watched all of the Women’s World Cup, we were in Dallas sitting within spitting distance of the player entrance for a CONCACAF match the US Men’s National Team played in Toyota Stadium, and I started keeping up with player transfers in the Euro leagues (How about that Neymar to PSG move this week?!).

This was one where my teenage ego had to let go, but once it did I was all in!

4) Action Movies (Meagan ← Jeff)

I’ve always loved movies, and we’ve always enjoyed them together. There was a time when I got pretty haughty and tried to judge every movie based on Best Picture standards. That’s a somber standard, friends. I tried to collect only Best Picture winners for a while, and finally realized I was 1) trying to make everything in life too serious and 2) missing out on a ton of other phenomenal films.

Different movies are intended for different genres (duh, right?). Different movies fulfill different entertainment purposes. It’s hard for me to even pick a favorite now because I just love seeing artists create. Previously dismissing the genre as silly and unrealistic, I looked down on action movies. But Jeff reminded me that many times action movies KNOW they’re unrealistic, and that suspended disbelief can be really fun and exciting. The Terminator franchise might be one of my favorites of all time, and I’m not sure it gets more ridiculous than that. And sometimes you just need a good action movie! Something loud. Something with explosions! Something with epic, quotable lines delivered by beloved action stars. These have become my favorite to see in theaters, for the volume/special effects factor.

5)  Reserved for future use (Meagan ??? Jeff)

I know it is cheating because we don’t really have five this week but we couldn’t settle on a 5th that was a big fundamental change for us like the four above this one.  There have been tons of other, minor things that have changed since we started dating almost 15 years ago.

At Meagan’s prompting I did finally re-read The Great Gatsby, and I can see what the hub-bub is about.  I did get Meagan to admit that sleeping with a fan on is pretty great (even if she still whines about being cold sometimes). *Meagan here–just have to chime in… “Sleeping with A fan”=ceiling fan, a 3 tiered fan tower, and sometimes an additional clip-on hooked to the nightstand…so, chilly…*

And of course we are still holding out on some things we hope will change with the other person. Meagan thinks I’m a crazy person because I do not like Oreos or popcorn  (I might be kind of crazy).  I am still holding out that Meagan will find a video game that she loves to play with me (she has played Fifa and she was addicted to Little Big Planet for a while).

We have similar interests but enough of our own likes and dislikes that we can still function independently and poke fun at each other.  Life is richer because we share with each other and it is certainly sweeter when we realized it’s ok to enjoy something we hadn’t before!

What things have you changed your mind about as you have gotten older?

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