“Save your fork.” I love this! For me this means you have no idea what is coming, but it will be worth staying put, ready to eat fork in hand. A promise the next course is going to be just as good or better than the previous course. Often this saying is used to let others know that dessert is being served. Something sweet is coming to the table. Now let’s use this saying to parallel it to marriage. The first course, appetizer, is like a tickler of the palate. A primer. The main course is the meat of marriage. If you can get through the possible bones in the chicken, and the cold food, while also savoring the melt in your mouth steak, then save your fork. The best is yet to come. Something sweeter has been cooking and your about to indulge in the final taste, the best over the top reward for a clean plate.
A good place to start may be asking each other whether your marriage is a like a fast food meal, comfort food, fine dining, or a cultural explosion in your mouth. Let’s talk about each one, but remember at different times of a marriage you may get a bit of all four. Which one would you use overall to describe your marriage?
Fast food- like a drive through. Rushing around, never tasting the flavor of the marriage. You breeze through your day not even remembering the conversations you shared, kind of like not remembering what you ate for breakfast? Then you go to bed, only to get up and repeat. You may have even developed heart burn, which would look like constant tension, emotional ups and downs. This marriage serves the purpose of sustaining life but the meal is not looked forward to, no table is set, no celebration, and no dishes to clean up. Just empty wrappers to be thrown away.
Comfort food- This sounds good, but too much of it and you get fat. You tend to overindulge, but it satisfies for a moment. You just go with whatever is in front of you as long as it is a lot and keeps on coming. You are always needing to be satisfied. Is this real life? No way. There are too many other factors to be satisfied all the time in marriage. You did not marry a homemade mac n cheese, you married a human who has his or her own taste buds. There are lots of pots and pans because it is a constant effort to be satisfied and full all the time.
Fine Dining- who doesn’t like to dress up and get compliments. This is a very stiff and rigid marriage. The outside looks very different than the inside. Sometimes you go to a classy expensive restaurant and rave about the restaurant when really it was the atmosphere that was amazing not the food. What is being served? Do you go deep with your connection or is it all about presentation? There is no mess, the kitchen sparkles, because what would happen if someone saw a crumb on the counter top.
Finally… Cultural Explosion- ahh, doesn’t that sounds exciting. This type of marriage is one that takes you out of your comfort, it helps you grow into someone better than what you started with. It can take a boring bowl of rice, add a mango, avocado, don’t forget spices and lime. All of a sudden your mouth explodes with tart and sweet. You look forward to meal times, there is going to be conversation, music and dancing. Someone may even start a food fight. One night it can be passion with an Italian flair with Cannolis for dessert, and the next night hot dogs, mac n cheese served with ice cream and apple pie. Who even knows what the next night will bring, but save your fork because based on history it is going to be a surprise and tasty.
How to have a culturally explosive marriage? Add some spice, add flavor. Find things that you enjoying doing together. More often than not to make a great meal, it takes at least one of these two things, a plan and/or ingredients. Date again, ask philosophical questions. Turn back the pages in your marriage and read a chapter about each other’s childhood. Converse. Get to know each other again. You fell in love because the person had potential to excite and grow you. One time you craved for the fork at the end of the meal, get through the course enjoying the flavors remembering to hold the fork up when your partner reminds you to save your fork… for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Now go get cooking, Bon Appetite.
Side advice from my husband to our sons- Boys always tell a woman her cooking is good or she will stop cooking.
Author: Elizabeth Havens, MFT Register Intern- firstname.lastname@example.org
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