Instead, I got a wrinkled brow and a helpful suggestion: "This isn’t the way my mom makes them. You should call and get her recipe."

Grrrr.

To be fair, I knew what I was getting into long before I walked the aisle with my dear hubby. During his first meal at my parents’ house, he lifted a bowl of salad my mother had prepared, took a whiff, wrinkled his nose and passed it on. I was mortified. But when I brought it up later that evening, Ken informed me that he was a very picky eater and he doubted if that would ever change. In other words, "This is who I am. Love me or leave me."

Well, love him I did, and it didn’t take long for me to decide that Ken had plenty of wonderful qualities to negate this deficit. But I’ll admit I’ve had to remind myself of just what those are more than once over the years.

I love to try new recipes and experiment with unusual ingredients, but because of Ken’s pickiness, I am a very frustrated gourmet. I believe I’ve gone above any wifely call of duty each time I’ve deleted the nuts from my favorite recipes, pureed his spaghetti sauce or salsa to rid them of the dreaded tomato "chunks," or picked the "gross purple stuff" out of his salad greens. I’ve forgone the pleasures of watermelon and cauliflower for Ken’s sake, and prepare pasta salad and potato salad (or anything else that contains mustard) only for church dinners.

On the other hand, it’s a concession on Ken’s part that he’ll even eat a salad. And he has mellowed over the years, and even humored me a bit by letting me switch him over to 2% milk from the whole milk he grew up on. Of course, the switch had to be done gradually and on the sly, slowing refilling a carton labeled whole milk with the despised 2%, until his unsuspecting taste buds could no longer discern the difference.

While the way to a man’s heart may be through his stomach, with Ken, I have to take some major detours to bypass his taste buds. If I’m seeking affirmation and fulfillment through my husband’s stomach, I’m destined to live as an insecure and unfulfilled woman.

Instead, I’ve chosen to remember that Proverbs says "a merry heart doeth good like a medicine," and I’ve tried to see the humor in this aspect of our marriage. I have to admit, the bouncing meatball story—one of my culinary catastrophes—has gotten some pretty good laughs over the years, as has the story about our infamous chunky fajita fight. And there’s a running family joke about a recipe called Debbie’s Surprise #246. The punchline goes: "and the surprise is…we actually like it!"

1 Peter 4:8 says "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." It’s so true. When we love each other with God’s love, He helps us accept each other as we are—warts and quirks and all. And once in a while, He gives us a good laugh in the process.

Discussion:

Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

1. What aspects of your marriage have had the potential to be hurtful or cause arguments? How have you applied the verses in 1 Corinthians 13 to these situations?

2. What ways have you found to work through those difficulties? How have you been able to find humor and even laugh about the conflict?

3. Have you tried to change certain things about your spouse in the past? Were you successful? If not, how have you come to terms with the things you couldn’t change?

4. Think about how your spouse might answer these same questions about you.