You Don’t Like Mac and Cheese?! Lessons in Communication

By Jan Bentley, Guest Writer

I hate to cook. Well, maybe not cook so much as clean up. So we eat a great deal of convenience food at our house. And because I have a sweet, gentle husband who would rather die than hurt my feelings, I never hear a bad comment about my cuisine choices. But lately, I’ve been noticing that he isn’t eating very much. Curious — So I asked him the other night as I cleared his only partially empty plate, “Did you not like the mac and cheese?” His reply astonished me.

“I don’t really like mac and cheese and I’m not very fond of many cheeses…” You could have knocked me over with a wet noodle! After all, given the 46 years we’ve been man and wife you’d think there would be no surprises left. But that was a surprise. And it was a learning opportunity for me.

We’ve all heard the truism “communication is the key to a good marriage.“ I always reasoned that means say what you mean and mean what you say. But – due to the aforementioned reluctance to hurt my feelings – my husband often won’t tell me exactly what he’s thinking. He’s 67, and I doubt that will change at this point. So that forces me to do one of two things: I must read his mind, or I must ask him. I’m learning to ask — and not rankle at the response.

Telling on ourselves with this trifling incident is my way of encouraging all of you married people – young, old, and in-between – to talk to each other, about everything. Start talking if you aren’t,  keep talking if you are; and don’t ever stop. How can any of us fix what we don’t know is broken? And how can we know what is broken if we don’t say it? Pretty basic lesson after nearly half a century, don’t you think?

“Speaking the truth in love we are to grow up in every way in Him who is the head, into Christ… let each of you speak the truth…” Eph. 4:15, 25

 

Comments

  1. Ha ha!! This is so true! My husband is also like this – we were married for 5 or 6 years before he mentioned casually that a certain food wasn’t ‘his favourite’ – and I’m like, “Really?! You mean I’ve served this to you dozens of times and you have failed to mention to this before now!?” He said he’s just not that picky and didn’t want to hurt my feelings. So now, yes, I do need to learn to ask. I used to assume, ‘Since he’s not saying anything about why he’s a little grumpy, it must not be me!’ Such a la-de-da attitude on my part – and so not helpful in seeking him out.

    Great article!

  2. By the grace of God my husband & I (married 10 years) have fabulous communication. We realize it’s the key to a great marriage and fairly routinely we ask each other “What can I do to be a better spouse to you?” But tonight on our date, I’m going to ask him if there is any food I fix that he doesn’t like!

  3. Thank you so much for this, Jan. This is SOOOO my husband! And your words of wisdom are just what I needed. I so often get frustrated because he doesn’t tell me what he’s thinking — I have blamed it on passiveness — but you helped me see that it is likely due to his not wanting to hurt my feelings. In my heart now I can see that is why. And I will begin asking! :)