A friend asked me once “What if your husband loved cooking, would you let him” and was surprised when I said “Well that will never happen….I would never date a man who loved cooking more than I love to cook” Because I don’t want to fight for space in the kitchen and, because I take pride in cooking for the people I love. So why would I date someone that might cause friction in my favorite room in the house?
I had a friend I had a crush on in high school. An amazing chef! We could talk for hours on food, and spices, and what we made the night before. We went to different universities and cooking was one of the only subjects we continued to talk about. He was wonderfully encouraging and supportive when I told him about how last night’s dinner flopped. He would offer suggestions and laugh with me as I explained the havoc I created in the kitchen.
For a while I struggled with why he and I could never date, he totally “got me” right? Yup, he did. Too much in fact. I never wanted to cook for him I was too intimidated. I didn’t want him to cook for me, because that’s what I wanted to do. We would have over shadowed each other. We didn’t compliment, we were too similar. But Lord did I respect his opinion on cooking.
Preparing food is something that defines me because I love it. Baking is my science, my math. I play chemist in my kitchen. (Seriously, I have a set of measuring cups that are in the shape of beakers.) Cooking is my art, my creativity, my trial and error. I look at a recipe and throw things in a pot and disregard half the things the recipe tells me to do. (Three times the garlic is never enough.) I find a sense of purpose in cooking. In providing my family a meal that I put effort into.
My place is in the kitchen because I love being there, I feel home there. While I haven’t talked to that High School friend in many years last I heard he was dating a girl who didn’t cook much. Which is good! Because he loved to cook, and he loved to cook for the people he cared about.
My husband loves working in the yard. He finds joy in improving our home. He finds a zen calm when he gets a motor fired up and running again. Covered in grease and too much coolant than human skin should ever touch. The garage is his kitchen. His art, his science, it all comes out of that big 4 car garage. I am simply his prep chef in the garage. I gather his tools, I hold the flashlight, and I sit in my place, on that stool, happily watching him create science and art in the form of fixing my old POS Taurus for the unteeth time. (Don’t worry, we sold it, I’m in a much better car now)
He enjoys teaching me about my car, how to change my own oil, but he will always be head chef in that garage. While I can change my own oil, that’s his job. To keep me safe on the road. To protect me when I’m not home. Equally I enjoy when he’s in the kitchen helping me, gathering my tools, my ingredients. But I’m head chef, and his place is rarely at the stove.
We work well because we both know exactly what our role in the marriage is. We have no doubts about what we bring to the table, and what we provide in terms of value to the relationship. Continuing to provide your role to the other person supports them so they can in turn provide their role and support you.
Ladies, know your strengths and respect your own weaknesses. Out there is a man who compliments you and what you bring to a relationship. I don’t have to compete with my husband, we embrace the other person’s strength and together form a whole. When he talks about his day at work it can go over my head, sure, but I’m not an engineer, I have my own strengths.
He doesn’t understand the finer details of my cooking oils, and I don’t understand the finer details of motor oil. And we’re perfectly okay with embracing our roles.
Until next time,
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