Advice to the Bride: Don’t Get Divorced over Corn Chowder and Disney World

Yesterday I co-hosted a beautiful wedding shower for one of my best and most long-time friends. (We’ve known each other a short 39 years!) We sipped on mimosas and chatted together, some of us “kids” connecting with the mom-village from our neighborhood where we grew up. Everybody looked the same as they did thirty years ago, aside from hair length or highlights. And the ladies’ voices rang the same, bringing back memories of those moms selflessly serving us rambunctious kids for well over a decade: “Want some water?” Or shouting to one of the pack: “Brad! Lis!” Insert name here who needed to head home/straighten up/be nice/answer mom’s question-or the landline phone call! Or calling to their kids “Time for dinner!” Except for Mrs. Neville who rang a bell for dinner time. We were all jealous of that.

While we caught up on who lived where and nibbled on pimento cheese and learned what job changes occurred, it was all smiles and non-stop chatter. Then the Advice to the Bride cards were passed around. A hush fell over the crowd. Except for an under-my-breath “shit!” I didn’t know what advice to give. “I thought I was going to get divorced over corn chowder and Disney World!” I told Cindy, who I hadn’t seen since I celebrated my 21st birthday with the Bride-to-be, Katie, in Birmingham.

I’ve been married almost fifteen years, but the two most repetitive arguments in our house involve 1) Dinner and 2) Vacation.

I know I’ve heard of people who love to cook, but I loathe it. My husband and I like opposite foods, which works well in restaurants because I can order the chicken and still get a bite of his hamburger. But at home he wants rice while I want mashed potatoes; he wants chicken while I want pork chops; he wants spaghetti and meatballs while I want spaghetti and meat sauce. Growing up my family had favorite meals: spaghetti night, pork chops and mashed potatoes night, taco night… We do not have any favorite meal nights in our family now.

As I said I can’t stand cooking (just another chore but with a culminating reward of loving comments such as “chicken again?!” “I hate this.” “Ew.” Not to mention the pre-meal conversation about “What’s for dinner” and the additional commentary on what should and should not be on the menu.) But I do love food. And I love the way the Pinterest photos make food look so delicious that my mouth waters and I literally feel warmer staring at that photo of a pot of corn chowder on a cold December day. So I got inspired one winter day and went to the store then threw all of my ingredients into the crock pot and counted down the hours till I could eat my corn chowder! I knew my kids wouldn’t eat it, but there was pasta and marinara sauce in the fridge and I wasn’t caring what my husband ate. My mission was to enjoy my homemade corn chowder that night! Around 4:45 p.m. the Hubs came home, saw the crock pot on the counter, then looked me in the eye and said, “Wanna get a babysitter and go out to eat tonight?” Steam was simultaneously spouting out of the crock pot and my ears. While I silently counted to ten before I screamed or slammed a cabinet door, something in the waaaaaaay back of my mind told me that getting divorced over corn chowder didn’t truly make a lot of sense.

We just returned from a wonderful spring break trip in New York City. It was magical; it was bliss! But my husband’s magical place, like many others, is Disney World. I don’t hate Disney World; I just don’t consider it a “vacation” and I need a solid six years or so before I don my next magic band. My husband wants to take a family vacation to Disney every year and I want to not take a family vacation to Disney every year. I love to travel and I always have, but to me, traveling means things like going somewhere far away or a place I’ve never been, or share a favorite place with my kids. To me, it does not mean stand in line and listen to my children fuss then ride a ride that we just rode last year which I remember very clearly. So arguing over how much money should be spent or not spent on various travel locations plays a big part in our marriage. How can I give advice to my friend on how to plan vacations with her soon-to-be-husband when I haven’t even figured that out myself?! Katie and I used to have a great way of making decisions together. We’d be sitting around bored in her playroom, trying to figure out what to do next. Then she’d say, “Ok, you think of three things you want to do and I’ll think of three things I want to do and then we’ll go from there!” After my “ride bikes, roller skate, play Life” and her “ride bikes, go to the playground, jump on the trampoline,” we’d have a winner and go jump on our bikes. Easy peasy!

I managed to write something somewhat sweet and a little bit sassy on the advice card. I read the other cards, too and saw I wasn’t the only sassy one. (“Hope he plays golf and has his own hobbies!”) Later on as Amy P. and I cleared Lisa’s pretty vases off of my sister’s beautiful dining room table the thought occurred to me that if we can maintain friendships for decades and decades, a marriage just needs the same ingredients as these life-long friendships. So cheers, Katie, to love, sass, fun, compromise, and laughs!

And guess what? I didn’t cook dinner last night and seems the hubs was fine with his bowl of cereal and yogurt.

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