If you searched on Google today on top reasons why couples fight in their first year of marriage, food will definitely come up among the top. Other major causes would be; religion, values, children, and finances. But food will still stands out. Last year alone for instance, it was ranked one of the top searched key words on Google. Shockingly, 99% of all the fights are instigated by men.
Dating today among young people is centered around expensive dates and take outs. The days when couples would simply sit at home and prepare themselves a meal are long gone. This is however causing problems when they start staying together as they try to learn each other. Every person thinks they are the best cooks or their moms are. They end up carrying this same belief into their marriage/ relationship without considering that one cuisine can have so many variations in terms of taste.
How then do you tell her that her food is not nice without hurting her feelings?
A bad comment about something you’ve put time and effort is bound to hurt in one way or another. As the person commenting, you can make it less hurtful by being mindful of the other person’s feelings.
In our first year of marriage, my wife had a hard time preparing Ugali (this is a mixture of water and maize floor stirred to form a hard maize meal paste). She would serve it to me and in my first bite, it would be clear that it wasn’t what I was familiar to. At first I never talked, I would just close my eyes and ignore my taste buds. I even lied sometimes to her when she asked if I loved the food. Why did I do it? Telling her the truth was so difficult especially seeing how much love and hard work she’d put to it. I just couldn’t. The fear of hurting her was greater than my own needs. So I chose to be silent. Was it the best choice? Absolutely not! You see, the worst thing with bottling up your feelings is, they never go away, and are stored somewhere waiting to burst. That’s exactly what happened to mine. During one of our normal fights I found myself bringing up the issue to her. I was so vile and hurtful in my statements that I later on felt embarrassed about it. As you may predict, it didn’t solve anything. Instead it made it worse.
Here is what I learnt
If you are a man and battling with this dilemma, kindly try out the following:
Learn to speak up.
I know that speaking up is not a forte for many men, but in this case you have no choice if you want your marriage/relationship to thrive. We have seen men who instead of talking decide to eat in restaurants and come home full just so that they don’t sleep hungry or have to force themselves to eat. Don’t do that. You are an adult and no one will harm you for speaking up. If she’s a good woman she will appreciate it and take it as a point of learning.
Appreciate her before anything else
Many a times as men we are quick to correct without first appreciating the effort that went into it. Let your wife know that it’s not about the effort you have a problem with, but the food, or rather the outcome. Let her know that you truly value her hard work. The fact that the food is not how you want it, does not take away her time and dedication. Smile to her and even throw a joke here and there to make the atmosphere favorable.
Timing is key
Speaking up is good, but timing is key. When and where you choose to talk to her about it could be the make or break point. Choose a time that you are together enjoying some quiet time. Don’t ever try to talk to her about it in front of relatives or friends. This will embarrass her and only contribute to hurting her feelings the more. Also, telling her when she’s on her periods is also a bad idea because at this time her hormones are all over the place making her moods very unpredictable.
Watch your tone
A lot of the time, it’s not about what you say, but how you say it. I have had so many instances where my wife has complained, not for what I have said, but for how I said it. Make sure your voice is calm, and neutral. Don’t be judgmental. The best way you can ensure this is by addressing the issue as soon as possible. Waiting for a long time will only cause you to pile up frustrations leaving you angry and unable to control your emotions.
Join her in the kitchen and teach her how to
Many men don’t consider this an option, but apart from ensuring you get the kind of food you want, it will also provide you with valuable time together. You can use this as an opportunity to show her how you like your food. Again, remember to do it with love and consideration. Let it not be a command. She’s your wife not your servant.
Even Rome was not built in a day. Therefore, chances are that even after speaking to her about it, there will be no immediate changes. Be patient and act with grace. Change takes time sometimes. This is exactly what I did with my wife and it sure did come to pay off. It took time yes, but now her Ugali is much better now.
Pay for her to be taught professionally
There’s a friend of mine who after enduring his wife’s food for a long time decided to gift her by paying for a her a professional cooking class. He didn’t say why. His was just a kind way of appreciating her wife. The wife was so happy, took the course and at the end of the day they were both very happy. Lesson here is, instead of complaining, or finding yourself in a situation where you’ll talk badly to your wife, gift her a cooking class. Apart from just learning one particular food she’ll end up learning many others. You thus kill two birds if not three with one stone.
What you shouldn’t do
1. Don’t talk to others about her cooking skills behind her back.
2. Don’t hide and throw her food in the dustbin just so she thinks you ate it.
3. Don’t tell her mum or other relatives.
4. Don’t continue eating her food and you don’t like it.
5. Don’t eat out and then come home already full.
6. Don’t compare her cooking to other people in a bid to get her to be better.
I must insist, it’s not easy to talk to your wife about her bad cooking without hurting her, but it’s necessary that you do it. Choosing to be silent will only make things worse while speaking inappropriately may lead to violence or contempt. Remember love and compassion is the key.