Perhaps more premarital counseling might have helped my husband and I avoid untold pain our first year of marriage.
Steve and I could not agree on what honest-to-goodness strawberry shortcake was.
I spent two sweaty hours picking the best strawberries. I entered my June-steamy, closet-like kitchen and, like my mother before me, baked a decadent white cake. I covered giant pieces with berries, and plopped vanilla ice cream on each, adding more berries. Finally, I buried my masterpiece with an avalanche of whipped cream.
I presented my magnum opus and awaited raves.
Steve ate in silence.
I hinted for a compliment.
He said, “It’s okay. But it’s not real strawberry shortcake.”
Note to you youngsters: don’t try this at home. Unless you really enjoy sleeping on a sofa.
In the parking lot.
When we were speaking again, he pointed to a picture of “real” shortcake in my Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, his thoughtful gift the past Christmas. “Real shortcake’s like a biscuit,” he explained. “You dump berries on, then pour milk over it.”
“Biscuit?” I stared at Steve in horror. “Milk?”
What kind of person would sacrifice innocent strawberries for breakfast food masquerading as a dessert?
I refused to budge one inch. For our future children’s sake, I would allow only the highest strawberry shortcake standard in our home. Hubby said nothing more.
But at a church potluck, his eyes brightened as he spotted that profane biscuit stuff. He devoured an enormous piece and told the woman who made it, “That was the most delicious dessert in the world!”
I considered moving our sofa to the parking lot again. But it seemed like a lot of work. And Steve had so enjoyed “real” shortcake. …
I decided I would (choke!) use Betty Crocker’s biscuity recipe. Still, compromise was the name of the marriage game — for Steve, too! So I invented a shortcake we both appreciate. I added lots more sugar. I slathered butter on it to raise the cholesterol content to decent levels. Not only did this compromise save our marriage, but it has impacted our children, who actually asked for my recipe before they left home. While our kids-in-law secretly believe Mom Phillips is an alien from the planet Skorkxx, they will come if she makes strawberry shortcake.
Tonight I’ll pile ruby-red berries on my husband’s piping hot shortcake and (this still hurts) pour milk over it. I’ll slather butter on mine, add berries, ice cream and fat-free Cool Whip.
After 41 years, we still do shortcake different.
But together, we have a berry good time.
Did you and your spouse experience a similar crucial controversy during the first weeks—days—hours?—of your marriage?