The remains of day

Last night Mark made dinner. If the grill isn’t fired up, that almost always means spaghetti. Not that he can’t cook other things, but spaghetti is definitely Mark’s specialty.

Or, more accurately, spaghetti is the meal that he most likes to make. Because he likes the way he makes – and doesn’t like the way I make it.

It’s not like we eat gourmet spaghetti in our house. Spaghetti is not a complicated dish. It’s boiling pasta and pouring sauce from a jar.

A particular jar, mind you. We have tried other sauces, but we are a Prego family through and through. I’ve suggested I use the closer-to-homemade sauce that I use in my lasagna. But Mark says no. The jar it is.

Perhaps you’re wondering, given the incredibly simple formula [that can’t even be called a recipe] we follow, how much difference could there be between my spaghetti and his?


[No, of course not! Me? Sarcastic? NEVER.]

See, for years (YEARS!), Mark and I had horrible fights about spaghetti. Whenever he made it, I would critique him. And . . . let’s just say I wasn’t exactly generous in my evaluations.

I didn’t like the way he made spaghetti. It took him FOREVER. And he left the HUGEST mess all over the kitchen. And I just wasn’t sure he drained the meat.

Finally, after years of yelling at my husband about the splatters all over the stove and “Why on earth does it take you so long to cook it?!” I realized something: Mark’s spaghetti was WAY better than mine.

He had figured out the whole let-the-sauce-simmer thing, and it turns out that simmering – which took forEVER and made the nastiest, cooked-on mess – was the secret to delicious spaghetti.

But simmering and spaghetti and sauce really isn’t the point. The point is that I finally figured out to let my husband be his own person. It turns out that there are many ways to make spaghetti – and hang bath towels – and fold pants – and play with a three-year-old – and organize the file cabinet. And, it turns out, his way is okay, too.

So last night, when he offered to make dinner (read: spaghetti), I simply said, “Okay, sounds great!” And while his sauce was simmering, I ran to the grocery store to get garlic toast. Then, when I realized that he had overcooked the pasta and added green peppers to the sauce, I smiled and said, “Thank you for fixing dinner, honey.”

The amazing part is that I truly was thankful he cooked dinner. And I didn’t even grumble when I scrubbed the sauce off the stove top.

That’s not to say we didn’t argue over the right sauce to pasta ratio or the proper way to store leftovers. We’re not perfect, you know.

Every time I give up on the perfect bowl of spaghetti, I’m really taking one step closer to a better marriage. They sure never mentioned that in all those marriage books I’ve read.

How do you like your spaghetti? Do you have any silly fights like this with your husband? What have you given up on being perfect lately?

What should you watch next?


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