What’s the secret to a happy marriage? Everyone has an opinion. Honesty or communication? Perhaps trust, compromise and patience? These are foundational – the flour, butter and baking soda in the good-marriage recipe. If you’re married, you’ve concocted your own special recipe, and I suspect it’s gone through various iterations with different ingredients over time.
Huzzbot and I just spent our third anniversary in Iceland. Though we’re still rookies in the marriage game, we’ve whipped up a pretty dope recipe so far. Our key ingredients include adventure and exploration. These two work together like yeast – giving rise to our marriage, expanding our boundaries and widening our ability to tackle the world together. Each adventure creates nooks and crannies for us to put all the stuff life throws our way. We are endlessly curious and eager to see the world and try new things – not only together, but independently. Losing sight of your personal growth and solo adventuring is a sure-fire way to destroy your recipe.
I learned the Icelandic people have a recipe for a happy marriage…in the form of a cake. It’s called Hjónabandssaela – which translates as “marital bliss” or “happy marriage” cake. Why it’s called this, I’m not sure. I guess some people believe the secret is buried in the cake. I tried a couple versions of these during our stay, and the best way I can describe it is like a dense oatmealy, grainy bar with a layer of rhubarb jam and just a touch of sweetness. Rhubarb is one of the few things that grows well in the climate, so it frequently makes an appearance. I might encourage Daddy Gypsy to make a similar version of this when the rhubarb takes over his backyard next June.
You’re probably like, “Oooh Patisserie Gypsy, tell us more about the bakeries you visited in Reykjavik!” Listen. There were so many breads, pastries and cakes I could have tried in Iceland, but all I really wanted to do was eat skyr, yogurt’s sexy, silky Icelandic cousin. As you walk through the airport there are giant advertisements for skyr alongside those for the Blue Lagoon and Northern Lights tours. It’s a national treasure on par with their famed horses. Each morning I bypassed the baskets of breads and croissants at the breakfast buffet and headed straight for the skyr. I topped with jam and muesli and was set for the day. Don’t be disappointed in me.
In case you’re wondering, Iceland is incredibly magical and hard to explain. I’m just going to throw descriptive words your way and you can paint a picture: fresh, clouds, bumpy, moss, rainbows, horses, wool, steam, sprinkles, waterfall, sea, tea, rosy cheeks, lagoon, lava, fog, roundabouts.
By definition, adventure and exploration can result in tricky, uncomfortable and challenging situations. While this can be fun, it also tests the strength of your character. This is why it’s the secret to our happy marriage. When we are tested, we pull together as a team and can get through anything. It makes us stronger, more resilient and more antsy to plan our next adventure.