Live to eat, or eat to live? That is the question…

“What would you like to eat tonight, babe?” Cue banter back and forth, persuasion from either side and then eventual conflict. This dreaded question has been a perpetual conflict driver in our marriage. Who would have thought that it would create such division?

My husband Charlie and I have two very different perspectives on the topic of food and it has proven to be the greatest source of conflict in our marriage. Food…crazy, right? This post will highlight the root of our differences, how the topic of food reveals idols in both our lives and how we have learned to better understand and love each other through the help of Jesus Christ.

I grew up in a family where we ate super healthy and didn't really have any other options. I laugh because our ‘treat’ cereals consisted of Honey Nut Cheerios and Mini Wheats. We always ate a balanced meal and were super active in sports.

Charlie, on the other hand, didn't always 'choose' the most healthy options growing up. Although his mindset now is to eat whatever he wants and exercise, he often chose the more unhealthy food options.

These different perspectives on food became engrained into our lifestyles from a young age.

Fast forward to when we first met serving at the Porch, Watermark’s young adult ministry. We dated for eight months, were engaged for four and, almost exactly to the day, were married a year later. I mention our speedy dating-to-marriage timeline because we didn’t realize the great divide between our perspectives on food until we were a couple months into marriage.

My idol of control, in relation to food-intake and exercising, reared its ugly head when my sweet husband would request Hopdoddy Burger Bar, pizza or (heaven forbid) Raising Canes. And his idol of finding comfort in food would surface when I would suggest True Foods, Snappy Salad or a quick run to Whole Foods. More often than not, we would even be at odds with one another regarding what we should cook for dinner or where we should do our grocery shopping.

Thankfully, through the help of our community group, we are now able to see our idols of control and comfort in relation to food. To be frank, I don’t love hearing that I struggle with control. But the spirit continues to work on my heart and I realize that my desire to control food and exercise can be damaging to my marriage. Same with Charlie. He doesn’t like to be reminded that he finds comfort in unhealthy? food but knows that insisting on his way can really affect our oneness.

What we have learned is that although ‘food’ might be our topic of contention, every marriage has its differences. Conflict is not unique to us and those who are married can all attest. We didn’t marry ourselves.

Learning to understand your spouse, prefer them at times, and selflessly put their needs/desires above your own, is modeled perfectly by Jesus Christ.

In Scripture, Paul instructs us to ‘do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.’ – Philippians 2:3-4. Romans 12:10 says “be devoted to one another in brotherly love, honor one another above yourselves.’ This is hard but essential. Without consistently spending time with the Lord through prayer or reading God’s word and being reminded of Jesus Christ’s selfless sacrifice on a cross for our sins, I am prone to insist on my way. I am prone to not love my husband well and become resentful towards him.

Although conflict regarding food can still trip us up at times, I am grateful that through the Spirit, community and God’s word, we can come to an understanding and compromise. Charlie is God’s sweet gift and provision from the Lord. I can’t be more thankful for his leadership, love and heart for the Lord that leads me in a way of understanding!

Challenge:

If you are married, I encourage you to take an honest inventory of your marriage and the topics that consistently cause conflict in your relationship. What are the root issues behind the conflict? Have you asked others who know you where you can grow and take ground in loving your spouse?

About the Author:

My name is Beth Kaye and I was born and raised in the Centennial state but became a Colorado transplant and Texas resident in 2010. I graduated from college and headed south where I fell in love with breakfast tacos, queso, the word 'ya'll' and southern hospitality. Although I married an incredibly creative, Godly Texan, I am still a true Colorado girl with a sweet spot for smiles, sparkling water, recycling, the mountains, belly laughs, running, and dancing.

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