I have been married for two years and feel like we are already becoming an old boring couple. Is this what I can expect from now on?
-Bliss or Bust, Mustang, Oklahoma
I have a bit of French ancestry which I grasp onto with white knuckles. So when I had the opportunity to attend a dinner hosted by the founder of la Madeleine French Country Cafe, Patrick Esquerré, I enthusiastically Réspondez S’il Vous Plait’d. The purpose of the gathering was to sample their delicious French country cuisine and gain a little knowledge of what the restaurant has to offer. True to my people-loving nature, I was more interested in the story of how this darling French man started the la Madeleine legacy in 1983 with one little café in Dallas, Texas.
In my short time of talking with Mr. Esquerré, I was reminded of why I love with all things French. Whether he was talking about tomato basil soup or the construction of the first cafe, it was as if he was speaking of a great love affair.
When asked what his strategy was for developing such a successful business, he responded with the following three steps: Listen, adapt, and surprise. In the beginning, Patrick kept a keen ear to what his customers wanted. He then modified his plans to please those requests. Lastly he sprinkled in thoughtful elements that would surprise and delight his guests. As I sat at the grand opening of the sixty-first la Madeleine, I could see how carefully each element of his strategy had been woven into the dining experience.
Impressed as I was with his business sense, it was the nugget of wisdom he shared next that left me starry-eyed. He said, “This is also the way to win a woman’s heart. You must listen to her, and hear what it is that she wants. Then you adapt to her. You don’t expect her to change to match you. Lastly, you surprise her with romance to make her eyes light up and bring a smile to her face.” Absolutely charming, no?
I have since written these words on my bathroom mirror, and am considering getting a tattoo that reads; listen, adapt, and surprise, but in French of course. Okay, not really, but it is fabulous advice for maintaining and growing any relationship. How often would an argument be resolved if each person listened carefully and was willing to make small sacrifices to adapt to one another? And when was the last time you swept your spouse off his or her feet with a random act of kindness? Dear reader, here is my advice, courtesy of Monsieur Patrick Esquerré. “Ecouter, adapter, et surprend!” If applied diligently, those three words could rekindle your marital bliss and if spoken with a Parisian accent, well who knows where that could lead.
“The Plain Wife” column can be viewed regularly in The Cordell Beacon, The Daily Elk Citian, and The Tuttle Times, and makes cameo appearances in The Mustang Time, The Choctaw Times. Click follow at the bottom of the page to receive The Plain Wife by email. Happy Reading!