“All great change in America (and the world) begins at the dinner table.” —Ronald Reagan
There’s a funny meme floating around these days that says “The one thing no one told me about being an adult was that I would have to answer the question ‘What’s for Dinner’ for the rest of my life.”
It’s interesting that having to plan meals, especially dinner, is a source of frustration for so many. When you look at our lives however it’s easy to see why this is a common thread in marriages.
You may work all day, run kids around to activities, feel very stressed, or maybe even realize that you’ve not had the time to shop and nothing is in the house to make a meal.
This one meal: dinner can send even the best marriages into a place of frustration and irritation.
On the surface, the answer is so easy, just get some food right?
But below that, there is more at the core of this question.
Depending on how you were raised and what your nightly dinners looked like, there may be expectations about this meal and what exactly goes into it.
When you get stuck your default may be to do breakfast for dinner, eat out or order in or simply to tell everyone that they have to “fend for themselves”. A lucky few may have a few meals stocked in the freezer for those just in case times.
The core of the challenge is that we need to eat and that time around the table matters.
There have been many studies done that show we eat healthier when we eat at home AND we have greater opportunities to build community in our families when we eat at home.
So why is this such an issue? This happens for one simple reason-there’s no plan.
First, don’t let the “What’s for dinner?” question put a strain on your marriage. Start by considering the biggest challenges: time, making lists, and meal prep. This is great to do the next time you sit down together. You can make meal planning part of your coffee break!
Talk about what you want to make, keep some options in the freezer and be intentional with your planning. These days you can also lessen the burden of doing the actual shopping by using grocery delivery or grocery pick up.
No matter what you choose, this aspect of your life deserves an intentional focus. Create a plan for your marriage and let it be what works for you. Don’t worry about the fact that the neighbors have a three-course meal every Sunday. If that’s not you, then don’t try to make it happen.
Like all aspects of your marriage, meals are not an obstacle but an opportunity to build connections. It’s about making the most of your time together and working together to manage obstacles as they pop up.
So, who’s ready to eat?
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