Pots and Plans

When the non-stick stoveware was ruined, Janine and Steve Petry realized they needed a better way to treasure their possessions and each other She Said: "We'll just have to buy a new one" He Said: "We have to take care of things"

Janine's side: We'll just buy a new one

My family had a little slogan, and my grandfather said it best in his New York-Italian accent: "Whateva." It's a motto that fit any situation. If you burned dinner, forgot to mail a card, or broke something—whateva. Mistakes happen, and things can be replaced. It's not that we were careless people—we just didn't dwell on the negative, or make the "guilty party" feel bad. We dealt with mishaps quickly and moved on.

But Steve didn't share my philosophy. If I accidentally damaged something—such as when I shrunk a sweater in the laundry—he'd over-react. He acted as though it were the only sweater he owned, the only one he'd ever own. I thought he was making a big deal over harmless accidents. I'd rather just replace something than create a big problem over it.

The more time passed, the more we clashed over our opposing viewpoints. I felt as though every mistake I made provided an opportunity for Steve to criticize me. When I accidentally scratched our new non-stick pots and pans by using metal utensils, Steve just couldn't let it go.

"Pots get scratched," I said. "Did you think we were going to have them forever? Once these are worn out, we'll just get new ones. Why are you so obsessed with keeping everything perfect? They're just pots."

"That's the problem," Steve shot back. "You see it as just a pot. But it's not about the pot. It's about stewardship. You don't even make an effort to keep the things we have in good shape. Because you don't care, accidents keep happening."

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Compromise; Differences; Disagreement; Marriage
Today's Christian Woman, Spring, 2006
Posted September 12, 2008

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