Grits, Gravy, and Minor Conflict Resolution

By Scott Morefield, Contributing Writer

We’re breakfast people. You name it, we probably make it – eggs done every possible way, bacon, sausage, biscuits & gravy, cooked apples, homemade French toast, oatmeal, waffles, pancakes. We’re serious about it too. No gravy out of a box for us – we make real gravy from flour, grease, milk, sausage chunks, and lots of pepper. No instant pancakes or waffles – everything is from scratch, including the flour. (We grind it ourselves!) No instant oatmeal – old fashioned or steel cut or bust. No plain syrup – pure maple all the way baby! Our bacon and sausage is organic or locally raised. Our biscuits are from scratch. Our milk, fruit & eggs are organic…

What does breakfast in bed have to do with conflict resolution?

Image courtesy of [Ambro] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Well, you get the picture. We understand that not everyone shares our passion, and that’s OK, but we take breakfast seriously because we just LOVE it so doggone much. Sure, on busy school mornings we might settle for cereal & some fruit or a frozen waffle made fresh last weekend, but on Saturdays or holidays, if we don’t have to be anywhere too early, we’re cooking up something delicious to have with a big, steaming cup of hot coffee with just a touch of cocoa for good measure. We’ll even make any number of excuses to have ‘breakfast for dinner’ as well!

However you slice it, breakfast is a Morefield family tradition, one that we enjoy greatly. For us, the preparation is almost as fun as the eating, because we do it together as a family.

So, besides quality time together cooking & eating, what does all this have to do with marriage? This is, after all, a marriage site, right?

Well, what happens when you blend breakfast and minor conflict resolution in marriage?

Why, you guessed it – breakfast in bed, of course!

Huh?

The way we do breakfast (as in mmmhm, good!), there’s only one thing better than cooking and eating it, and that’s having your spouse get up early, cook, and bring it to you in bed. And so, over the years, we’ve developed a tradition whereby on those special days (birthdays and Mother’s & Father’s Day especially), one or the other of us will commit to giving our other half that special experience of a platter of morning goodness delivered right to our bedside. Now there just aren’t that many things in life more awesome than that.

That’s great, you say. But what does that have to do with conflict resolution? Glad you asked! This true story will hopefully explain the connection:

Enjoying some ‘down time’ after a long day, my wife and I were watching the excellent, family-friendly Patricia Heaton sitcom The Middle. This particular episode involved a rather contrarian, elderly school librarian who we hadn’t seen before on the show. Knowing that show creators often like to reunite stars who played together on previous, especially iconic series, it made sense to me that this lady must be an older, slimmer Doris Roberts. How cool would it be for Patricia Heaton and Doris Roberts to be finally reunited for an episode of The Middle after spending so many years together on Everybody Loves Raymond, right? I turned and told Kim as much.

My loving wife, however, insisted this was not the case. Instead, she told me that this elderly librarian was none other than former Golden Girl Betty White. Figuring that the Golden Girls must surely all be dead by now (hey, they were already ‘golden’ in the 80’s, and nobody lives forever, right?), I bet my wife a breakfast in bed that this was, indeed, an older, skinnier Doris Roberts.

The problem for me, however, is that a quick Wikipedia search told us that Kim had, indeed, won her bet. Though I felt the show creators missed a ‘golden’ opportunity on that one (although I was pleasantly surprised in Season 2!), I conceded defeat and, since this was a Friday, told Kim I’d make her breakfast in bed the next day.

We’ve made this bet several times in our marriage, normally when we differ but are both ‘sure’ we are right about something. (To her credit, Kim’s record is really, really good, which is why I’m so good at cooking breakfast! :)) Sometimes we’ll even use it in exchange for some sort of special favor (um, no… get your mind out of the gutter!!). Although this certainly couldn’t replace Biblical conflict resolution on serious issues, we’ve definitely had a blast with it.

The cool thing is, both of us enjoy cooking and both of us enjoy doing nice things for the other, so having to cook and deliver breakfast isn’t really so much a chore. We know what a treat we are giving our spouse, so it feels good getting to do it. And after all, isn’t serving one another one of the keystones to a great marriage? So, why not make it fun!?