Lessons in Married Life from a Pot of Chili

“How’s married life?” our friends keep asking us. I think we’re still finding out. We’ve been married for a month now and married life has definitely had a few ups and downs in that time.

Making Chili Together

Last week we tried making chili together. We’ve cooked together before—omelettes at his place, Kraft dinner at mine. He makes really good chili, and we wanted something easy for supper—something to throw in a pot and let cook until we were ready to eat.

So he pulled out the meat and I got out the canned vegetables, then started chopping the onion. The recipe is his mom’s and he’s made it before, so I assumed he was getting the spices and knew what needed to be added next.

Finishing the onion, I glanced around for the next job. The meat was browning nicely, and I went to turn it over. He said that was his job. I was shocked. I’d just been trying to help by doing what I saw needed doing, but he felt like I was taking over in the kitchen. I felt like he was bossing me around and didn’t need me there. If he was going to make the chili, I could go read my book.

Supper got put on hold for several minutes as we argued over who was cooking and how we both felt.

Lessons in Married Life from a Pot of Chili

Our Different Assumptions about Cooking

I grew up cooking with my brothers and mom. Pizza and tacos were family meals. Mom always enlisted help, and we were happy to do so to be able to nibble on the tidbits. While Mom was making the pizza crust, I might be grating cheese and my brothers chopping vegetables. She put us in charge of our own lunches when we were quite young. My brothers and I often made macaroni or other dishes together. We knew what needed to get done and we just did it.

And so I assumed cooking with my husband would be the same. We both knew how to make chili. If he was working on one part of it, I could start on the other part. However, he assumed we’d split the tasks a bit differently—he would take care of the meat while I did all the vegetables. And our assumptions quickly collided and exploded. He felt disrespected and I felt unloved. He wanted to make a nice dinner for me and I wanted to do something with him.

What We Learned about Married Life

The chili eventually got cooked and tasted fantastic, but turned into a lesson for us on cooking—and living—together. Tonight we made soup and bread together, cleaned house, did the laundry, and then I worked on editing a newsletter while he reorganized. We talked about what we were doing and tried to respect what the other was doing. I asked what he needed help with and asked him to help me. I tried to say, “If you are doing that, why don’t I do this?”

So how’s married life? Pretty good when we’re working together.

How do you and your husband work together to make married life easier for each other?

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  1. Dana June 27, 2007
  2. Nat June 27, 2007

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