When most people are asked to identify the biggest threats to their marriages, they come up with things like poor communication, money and contrasting lifestyles. But based on what I experienced recently, I'd have to put the dreaded Toaster Tart at the top of my list.
In a two-week period, my family experienced no fewer than six conflicts of all varieties: parent-versus-child, child-versus-child and, of course, the familiar parent-versus-parent-via-child. And all of these focused on the same thing-that tasty, rectangular, fruit-filled breakfast treat.
Sure, they look innocent enough. But I'm convinced they have hidden motives: They're out to destroy my marriage-and yours, too, if you're not careful.
It all began when I took my three kids to the grocery store. My first mistake was that I failed to avoid the Toaster Tart aisle. And once you go down that aisle, it's all over. Toaster Tarts attract kids' attention like a magnet; then they plant the subliminal message: "Buy me! Fuss and whine until I'm in your grocery cart!"
And so the negotiating begins. Me: "If you kids promise to behave the whole time we're shopping, I'll get you some Toaster Tarts." That was my second mistake. I could hear the Toaster Tarts whispering to one another: "Phase I of our plan has succeeded."
Phase II began while the grocery bags were being unpacked at home. My wife wasn't impressed by my ability to make good decisions at the grocery store. The discussion quickly degenerated into suggestions that I am impulsive and undisciplined. "No," I explained, "I'm merely spontaneous and liberated."1