Several weeks ago, I was hit with the sudden desire to make biscotti. I had never made biscotti before, and I had only eaten it a few times. But, thinking about how elegant and sophisticated it seems, I decided that I would make some during the Christmas season. I could give some away as a gift, and keep the rest for our household consumption. As I began mixing together ingredients for Double Chocolate Biscotti, I gleefully thought that the end result would be a tasty treat to munch on with my coffee and tea. Little did I realize that these cookies would teach me about marriage.
I dutifully mixed the dough, formed it into logs, baked it, sliced it, and baked it again. The entire time, I was both thrilled and nervous.
This is going to be such a great treat when I have afternoon teatime!
What if the cookies all crumble and fall apart when I slice them?
I feel so fancy!!!!!
Finally, I turned the oven off, and sat back in my chair, a satisfied look on my face as I glanced over at the tray full of fresh biscotti. My husband looked at the cookies, and then looked at me. "You should dunk them in chocolate," he suggested. I really liked that idea, and told him that after dinner, I could dunk them in melted chocolate. My husband thought some more, and then decided that no, I should drizzle melted chocolate over the cookies. Well, I liked that idea even better! I imaged fancy stripes of chocolate adorning my beautiful biscotti.
So, after dinner, I excitedly melted some chocolate chips. Without thinking much about how one elegantly drizzles chocolate, I grabbed a fork-I figured that the chocolate could easily drip down from the spokes with very minimal mess-at least, that's what made sense in my mind. After my husband started protesting, though, I put down the fork and took the baby from him so that he could take charge of the biscotti. Within a matter of minutes, he was piping melted chocolate out of a bag and across the rows of biscotti. After a dusting of powdered sugar, the cookies looked fantastic.
In marriage, it can be really easy to think that just because you're skilled in one area, you know better than your spouse. Pride can crop up, and it's simple to refuse help. I think that stay-at-home moms can especially face this challenge regarding the kitchen or childcare. We're at home, working in the kitchen and with our children for more hours than our husbands, and we can think that we know best. But, we're not experts. We don't know it all, and there are plenty of times when our husbands have a better way to accomplish a kitchen task or calm a baby. I am much more experienced in the kitchen than my husband, but I didn't know the best way to adorn the biscotti. If I had decorated the cookies, they probably would have looked very sloppy!
It is also important to know what we aren't good at, and we can't be afraid to ask our spouse for help. I am not a perfectionist, and while I'm learning to value the physical presentation of food more, I still struggle with putting forth the time and effort to finish off a dish so that it will look beautiful. My husband, on the other hand, is very good at painstakingly detailed and slow work, and he likes to do tasks well. So, while plating food attractively is currently a weakness of mine, this was a task which my husband could accomplish very well. I've found that in marriage, it is important to remember that I'm not in this alone, and to ask for my husband's help-and not only can he help me with my task at hand, but he can help me improve myself, so that I will become better at accomplishing that task in the future.
Finally, this incident showed me the importance of being lighthearted and not taking things personally. There was a time in my life where I would feel offended and hurt if someone who didn't know much in the kitchen came in and finished my task better than I could. However, living like this simply builds misery, anger, and resentment. When I stepped aside so my husband could finish the biscotti, for a split-second, I thought, Really, can't I just finish this off myself? but then quickly banned those types of thoughts from my mind. It wasn't a big deal, and definitely not something worth getting hurt or offended by. My husband could decorate this tray much better than myself, and getting to watch clouds of powdered sugar poof in the air around him was fun!
Marriage is amazing. I have been learning so much about humility, about my need to ask my husband for help, and about the necessity of not taking things seriously. This has been a fantastic journey, and I'm so excited to keep learning and growing with my husband.
I'm also pretty excited to make more biscotti, because it's extremely delicious, makes me feel sophisticated, and is a perfect excuse to drink more coffee and tea ;)