I put Parker through my usual grumbling about cooking the other day – why is it my job? We both eat. Neither of us works outside the home. Both of us are busy with projects related to our move from West Virginia to Florida. How come only I have to stop what I’m doing and spend an hour or two fixing and cleaning up from meals?
This, by the way, is an ongoing twenty year argument that became even more intense during the years we served missions and kept the exact same schedule. He’d flop on the couch after our long day together while I put the meal together, usually one I started in the morning in the crock pot.
You’d think we’d have solved this problem by now. I do occasionally do it right. When he flops on the couch I flop right next to him. After we’ve both relaxed awhile I ask, “Do you want to make the salad while I put this soup together?” Or, “how about if you cook this meat while I scrub the potatoes?” And he does.
He also makes the bread (from scratch including grinding the wheat), grows a huge garden and cans all the excess. So why am I complaining you might ask. What do I expect?
I expect him to fix half the meals. That’s what I expect. I point out he hasn’t made bread for months because of the move. But I’ve been cooking every day during the same move.
Also, the garden is his great joy. That’s a big part of why we moved to Florida. So he could garden year round.
I, on the other hand, hate to cook. And I’m a grump because of it. Every day I spend hours doing something I hate to do while he spends hours doing something he loves to do. Is that fair?
I decided to take this one to God.
I’m tired of this argument I tell God. I’m resentful and angry nearly every day and Parker acts oblivious. Not a lot of love going on here. I really do hate to cook and am tired of spending so much of my time doing it. What do I do?
God said, “Leaving aside the fact that you’re playing the big victim – he helps whenever asked and you could make this a lot simpler with better planning – the real problem is you are asking the wrong question.”
The wrong question?
“You’re asking how much this will put you out. You ask it all the time. The right question is ‘Will doing this make this person feel loved? ‘ That is the right question.”
Oh. Huge turning point, attitude shift, break through. Call it what you will. The tension flowed out of my belly, my eyes, my heart and love filled it’s place. I smiled as I cooked. Smiled. Because now I knew.
All my life I’ve been asking the wrong question. How will this affect me? It’s created my worst mothering moments, my biggest job fears and crises, tension in my marriage, with friends, strangers, every one. All those moments, those relationships, my time spent cooking, would have been so different if I’d just been asking the right question.
Will doing this make this person feel loved?