We’d been married for decades before I had discovered what he was doing.
My husband likes to make bread for fun and to help him with stress. I don’t know how that works because baking is not a fun or relaxing thing for me. Often, all I can think of is how to make it easier because I don’t want to be doing a lot of clean-up afterwards!
The hot bread comes out and the smell is heaven. Usually, he takes it out of the oven, cuts it open, spreads some real butter on a slice and gives it to me, still steaming and tasting wonderful.
I’ve always appreciated that he made bread and I’ve felt blessed that he would prepare it and serve it to me, but I was sometimes annoyed that he would give me the crusty end – the only party of the bread that doesn’t excite me.
Still, that didn’t stop me from cutting my own first, on occasion, and leave that dry, chewy, hard to eat crust for him! I wanted the good stuff!
As the years went by, our love grew for each other and we tried to do what we could to grow it even more. Still that selfish, little streak persisted in me – and to be honest it is still there way too often.
Then one day I was reading something by my online friend, Hannah. I don’t remember for sure if it was in articles she had written or in conversation on the message board where we both participated. My memory says it was the board and our group was having a discussion about how to have a better marriage or treat your spouse well or something of that sort, but I could be wrong. I just know, within this group, we wanted to help each other have solid marriages.
I don’t even remember what Hannah was specifically saying or if I am quoting this exactly right. I just remember how it struck me when she said, “I give him the good fork“.
There are things that matter in marriage. Things like having children, where you will live, if you will buy a house, if and how you criticize each other etc. Getting the good fork is not one of those things. The motivation, however, behind giving the good fork, can be immense.
I found myself folding laundry and my husband’s t-shirt would be turned inside out and I didn’t want to turn it right, but then the thought would come to me “I give him the good fork” and I would then turn that t-shirt out right, before folding, because I was reminded I love him and want the best for him despite my selfish streak.
I would be craving a cookie that we were sharing and break it apart and want to give him the smaller half, but there it was again – “I give him the good fork” and I would be happy to do give him the larger half.
This last year I handed him the big, new, fluffy towel and then we verbally and light-heartedly tussled over who should be taking it (the other person) and who should be sacrificing with the older, smaller, flatter towel (ourselves) until I finally spurted, “but I want to give you the good fork!”
Yep, I blew it. He had no idea what I was talking about , but I had let the cat out of the bag and it was too late now. I found out he didn’t really care about the fluffy towel, but more importantly, he knew I liked it best. He didn’t need anyone whispering in his ear about the good fork to treat me well.
A few weeks ago, after twenty seven and a half years of marriage, I discovered something. Early on he had been giving me the crust of the bread because he thought that was the best part of it. The crispy shell with the soft insides that so many people love. A few years, later he recognized that I prefer the middle and he started giving me that instead. All along I thought that in those early years he was giving it to me because he didn’t like it.
Turns out he was giving me the good fork.
What have you heard that has stuck with you and made you a better person?