What is Wrong with Vanilla?

"Have you heard of 50 Shades of Grey?" the young, unmarried woman asked me. "A coworker got me started reading them and I can't put them down!" She proceeded to give me a synopsis of the content of the books.

I had heard of them - they were all the rage last summer and I had read several great blog postings by Christian women on the subject, so I was knowledgeable enough to engage in the conversation.

While listening to her recount the story of an emotionally damaged young man who made contracts with young women to allow him to use and abuse them, I began to frantically pray about how to respond. She blushed as she glossed over the abuse, then became animated as she spoke of the young woman who "saved" him from himself by requiring him to treat her with some level of dignity. The book apparently ends with the typical "they got married and lived happily ever after" type of an ending.

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"What happens in a couple of years when a baby comes along and sleep deprivation and lack of available 'couple' time sets in? What if he feels that she is no longer meeting his needs? That the relationship has become boring?" I asked.

I wanted to say, I hate to burst your bubble, sweetheart, but we women can never have enough feminine charms to save a man for good. He might like us enough to change for a while, but it cannot be lasting.  Becoming entangled with a man like that might make you feel like you made a difference, but it would be a victory short lived, and would be followed by a great deal of pain and difficulty. The only thing that could save a man like that is an encounter with God. It would take a complete heart transformation - nothing else would do!

(I know. How annoying to be logical when it feels better to be emotional. Sometimes I must play the devil's advocate and turn it all on it's head! I get it from my mother.)

"He is an adrenaline addict, so he would go right back to his former lifestyle." I added. "He would never be content with a 'vanilla' relationship."

Since that conversation, I've  thought more about this recurring theme:

Vanilla is not good.

I don't know when it became synonymous with all things bland, unexciting, boring...

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I love peaches but, let me tell you, I am not going to reach for mint chocolate chip ice cream or lemon meringue yogurt for my next peach shake or smoothie!

It will be vanilla.

No, vanilla might not be my first choice when we wander into an ice cream shop near the beach, but it certainly would not be my last choice either.

And the last time I checked it was an important ingredient in every recipe that is GOOD!

It is a staple on my grocery list - something I cannot do with out - it's called for in so many things. I even put it in my egg batter for french toast!

Yes. I need vanilla, I LIKE vanilla.

I could not be happy without vanilla.
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I like the vanilla in my love life, too.

There is something reassuring about the ordinariness (is that a word?) of stable, common, everyday love with a stable, reliable, ordinary man. I don't need a whole lot of excitement (I don't think my ticker could take too much - I'm a pretty contemplative person, not very spontaneous).
I don't want to go skydiving, a walk on the beach would do. (No cayenne, just a little cinnamon.)

I like going to bed and waking up with the same man every day.
I like hanging my clothes next to his in the closet.
I like knowing how he likes his coffee, his toast, his eggs...
I like the way he teases the older children and rubs the little ones' feet when they are sleepy...
He knows what kind of soda pop I drink.
He helps around the house when I need it.
He goes to work. He comes home. Always comes home.

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So, you see, while to some people vanilla means dull and boring, unexciting and less-than-thrilling...

to me, it is the most comforting and reliable flavor.

And vanilla love is so good that, even after 17 years, it still makes my heart skip a beat at the sound of my husband's voice.

 I would not trade my vanilla life for all the excitement in the world!

Love suffers long and is kind;
love does not envy;
love does not parade itself,
is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely,
does not seek its own,
is not provoked,
thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity,
but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never fails...
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Now THAT is an every day kind of love!


Anonymous said...

There's nothing absolutely wrong with vanilla. It's an interesting and just like you said, 'stable' flavor. Although, it would be nice to add some little dip of chocolate chips over it once in a while.

KC @ genxfinance said...

There's nothing absolutely wrong with vanilla. It's an interesting and just like you said, 'stable' flavor. Although, it would be nice to add some little dip of chocolate chips over it once in a while. I heard of that book too. And I gotta say, a lot of women were hooked.

Latisha @ ConfessionsofaMartha said...

Mmmmm. You are absolutely right! It might even need sticky, sweet caramel or refreshing crushed candy canes! One facebook friend said that her vanilla life is coated with sprinkles! Thanks for your comment!

Niki French said...

I just found your blog tonight from The Alabaster Jar. When I read this post about vanilla, I just had to share a recent post I wrote about Parenting A La Mode. One can be a plain ordinary parent, or one can experience the wonderfulness of an "a la mode" parenthood! I know this sounds terribly goofy, but if you have a minute, my article explains it a little bit better. It goes so well with yours today. (Not trying to take advantage of your comment section and you don't have to publish this at all. Have a blessed day while enjoying the vanilla in your life! :) http://www.forjourneyssake.com/2013/04/parenting-la-mode-series-introduction.html

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