The other night, as I was gazing at my sleeping husband, I got to thinking about our journey together thus far. I started to remember what I thought marriage would be, and then compared that to what marriage actually is. It struck me at that moment that marriage is like creamed corn. Or, at least it is like our experience with the sickening product known as creamed corn. (I’ve probably angered some creamed corn aficionados. Is “sorry, not sorry” still in vogue?)
When Mel and I started dating, we did what most couples do. We would go to the movies, or out to dinner. A few times we played tennis or threw a softball around for fun. We also went to a couple of baseball games and the beach a time or two. And then one evening Mel decided to make me dinner. It was a first. I wish I could tell you the exact menu but it’s been almost 30 years since that dinner and it eludes me. What I can tell you is that he served creamed corn. I had never (to my recollection) had creamed corn before. I ate all of the creamed corn he served me and complimented him on the delicious meal. It was delicious….that much I remember. Well, it was…Except…for the creamed corn. I discovered I was not a fan of this particular take on one of my favorite vegetables. But I kept that to myself since I didn’t want him to feel bad about his efforts to cook me dinner.
And so, for the next 3 years any time we shopped for dinner and wanted corn, we grabbed creamed corn. I happily ate up the creamed corn and of course so did Mel. Life went on. And still I never told him that I didn’t like the stuff.
And so it went until the day we were shopping together down the canned vegetable aisle. I went to grab yet another can of the slop also known as creamed corn. And I just couldn’t. I was tired of the gruel so, as casually as possible I asked my beloved, “Hey, how about we try regular corn for a change?” He responded, “Sounds good, but don’t you like creamed corn better?” This was the moment of truth. Would I continue the charade or tell him what I really thought. Before I could ponder too long, I said, “Actually, I prefer regular corn.” He literally sighed, and then exclaimed, “Me too!” I had to ask…..”Do you even like creamed corn?” “Not really.” Wow. Once we both confessed our true feelings towards this disgusting rendition of corn, we laughed until we cried over the amount of it we’d eaten over the past three years…and the thought that we could have avoided it all if we’d just told the truth.
The truth is though, that a marriage…a good marriage…is a lot like our history with creamed corn. Both my husband and myself do what we can to make each other happy. He sacrifices for me, and I for him. Some days it’s eating creamed corn. Other days it’s me watching the 49ers with him, or Mel watching Downton Abbey with me. The majority of the time we are on the same page. The rest of the time, it’s him giving a little, me giving a little. And some days, it’s one of us giving a whole lot because the other person just can’t eat creamed corn one more dang time.
The truly funny thing is he only had the creamed corn because he grabbed it by mistake at the store. We have not eaten the stuff in well over 20 years. And that is fine with the both of us….still going strong 28 years, three kids, and zero cans of creamed corn later.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you may also love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” —John 13:34-35