Feeling Let Down?

What to do with an imperfect spouse.

My wife and I have tried, throughout our 22 years of married life, to find a happy compromise between what the two of us consider "food." I grew up a junk-food junkie; my wife grew up eating 100 percent whole wheat bread and, well, things that grow. She washes her food; I open mine. (Yeah, she's better than me.) Our family's eating habits are best summed up by a question my then five-year-old son asked his mom: "Mommy, how come Daddy's cereals have toys and ours don't?"

So you can imagine the potential for conflict, especially the day I came home from a Costco trip carrying a dozen chocolate chip muffins—a special treat that rarely crosses our threshold—just as Lisa walked into the kitchen. She took one look at what the kids and I were carrying and said, "I can't take seeing all this food come in. I have to go upstairs."

I thought she was criticizing me for buying muffins, so I not-so-politely told her to lay off: "I was trying to do you a favor by taking off time from work to go shopping, and this is how you treat me?"

And then the bomb fell. I remembered she was fasting that day and discovered she was salivating over the oranges I'd also purchased, not the muffins. And I was a jerk for taking offense at what I assumed was another (justifiable) attack on my buying habits.

Given what I do for a living as a speaker and writer on marriage, I probably think about my marriage more than most men. I try to be the best husband possible. I pray for Lisa; I listen to her; I make sacrifices on her behalf. And sometimes, I'm still an insensitive jerk.

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May 25

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