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Home » CHFWeb Forum » TitusTwo » I need a better way to handle this
I need a better way to handle this [message #818946] Tue, 29 November 2016 09:35 Go to next message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
Messages: 2166
Registered: August 2009
Location: Northern KY
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There is an on-going issue in my house that I need a new way of dealing with. It is so silly, but causes so much drama! This really isn't meant as complaining, but rather to help me figure out what I can do to improve this.

Every time we have an "on your own" meal (lunch or breakfast), my DH swears there is nothing to eat in the house. This is the conversation that follows:

- ME: List several different options that I know he likes.
- After each option, he says, "I don't want that."
- ME: "I'm not sure what else we have."
- DH: "What am I supposed to eat, then?"
- ME: "I don't know. Do you want me to go to the store or cook you something?"
- DH: "No, I'm hungry now. I don't want to wait."
- ME: "What do you want?"
- DH: "I don't know. I just don't want any of that stuff."

By this point I am frustrated and he is "hangry". I feel like he wants me to read his mind when he doesn't even know what he wants! I have tried asking him at different times (not meal times or when he is hungry) for meal ideas so that we can avoid this, but his answer is always, "I don't know." I always ask for his requests when preparing my grocery list, but he rarely has any.

To make matters worse, my DD has picked up this trait. The conversation often goes the same way. With her, I know I can just shut it down, but with my DH, I can't really do that.

The only solution I can come up with is to actually prepare every single meal for everyone. But, with the running around we do, we often aren't eating at the same time for lunch and breakfast. There are times I'm not even home and he will call me to have this conversation.

I have talked to him out of the heat of the moment about how this makes me feel and asked him for ideas on what I can do, but, once again, he just says "I don't know." Then, when it happens again, I think he is just too "hangry" to be reasonable.

I feel like I must be missing something that I can do to help with this. Any advice?


Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818949 is a reply to message #818946 ] Tue, 29 November 2016 11:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
PamE
Messages: 3792
Registered: April 2005
Location: AZ (but it's a DRY heat!)
Senior Member
I'm probably in the minority here, but imo your dh is a big boy and can take care of himself. As long as you have food in the house (and assuming that having food in the house is your responsibility), then you can rest easy. It's not your job to spoon feed him.

I know you can't exactly shut the conversation down, but can you come up with a stock answer that puts the responsibility back on his own shoulders?

*slinks back under rock*


I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. ~Phil 3:13-14~
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818950 is a reply to message #818946 ] Tue, 29 November 2016 13:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 14917
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
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Honestly, I'm with Pam. I can see this happening once or twice, but if you've spoken with him out of the heat of the moment, and it still continues, there are only two options...continue to let the drama go on, or put a stop to it.

If I were in your situation, I'd find a few things that I know my dh actually likes to eat or has eaten in the past, and make them available. Buy something microwaveable, or prepare things from home in individual portions that you can freeze and easily microwave. Keep lunch meat and bread if he'll eat that. Anything that you already know he likes that you or he can easily pull out and heat up.

You change the conversation at line 3:

- ME: List several different options that I know he likes.
- After each option, he says, "I don't want that."
- ME: "Well, that is what we have. Those are your choices. I'll be glad to fix one for you or you can do it yourself, but I need to go [fill in the blank with whatever you are doing that makes it an "on your own" meal].


Be very polite since a "hangry" man tends to be volatile. If necessary, remind him of your conversation, "Remember, dear, I told you that I can't read your mind. You have to give me specific ideas of what you want, or I can only offer what I think of on my own. You will have to make a choice on way or the other, and it's not right for you to take your frustration out on me."

Or something along those lines.

This is a quick and dirty response...do polish it up a bit. Smile


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818952 is a reply to message #818946 ] Tue, 29 November 2016 14:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jamie
Messages: 4138
Registered: April 2005
Senior Member
Sounds like my Jonah. Or myself (and I'm the cook!). Sometimes, I confess, I have wandered around the produce section of the grocery store three or four times looking for something that entices me, wishing "they'd" invent a new food. Honestly, it's somewhat the responsibility that I don't want (cooking/creating) but many times it's because I can only imagine a product one or two ways. I need inspiration (pinterest! cooking shows! menu from a restaurant!) or new spice, dressing or *something* to reboot.

My condolences to you, as I know it is more than just tough...it's defeating in some ways. Jonah will only eat four food items at the moment...none are particularly health or unhealthy, but all are bland and I can't stand the smell of any of them at the moment. Knowing his own limitations, he himself often says he wants "something else" but doesn't know what.

My response to "I don't know" when you are pre-empting would be to shrug and say, somewhat sympathetically, "I know what it's like, but I don't have any ideas either." Maybe in a not-in-the-moment have a dinner table conversation with the family of "What's the worst thing you've ever eaten? What's the best holiday dish? What three things (one being a food) that you would take with you to a dessert island?" Sort of nonsense family trivia talk...but take some of those cues to have certain items stocked in the pantry.


Peace
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818953 is a reply to message #818946 ] Tue, 29 November 2016 16:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
elliemaejune  is currently offline elliemaejune
Messages: 1219
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Location: Texas
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I'm with Pam and Lisa. He's a big boy. This is the food. Eat it or don't. Or he can tell you what he wants, and if he doesn't, then he gets to eat what you prepare.


Born again since 1974
Married to Mr. Ellie for over 30 years
Mom to 2 amazing grown-up dds and 2 dsil
Grandmother to 1 beautiful baby boy

A kitten dies every time you use an apostrophe to pluralize.
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818955 is a reply to message #818946 ] Tue, 29 November 2016 19:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 14917
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
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If you're in the mood to be a bit more playful, I saw a thing online where a woman made up all the usual dishes to put in the freezer and instead of labeling "spaghetti" or "chicken casserole," she labeled all the packages with "I don't know" or "I don't care" or in your case, perhaps, "I don't want that," or "What am I supposed to eat?"

Whatever the answer was, she took out a package with that label and that's what they had! Very Happy


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818956 is a reply to message #818946 ] Tue, 29 November 2016 20:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Barbara K (NC)
Messages: 1864
Registered: April 2005
Location: North Carolina
Senior Member
I agree with Pam and Lisa. I think it might help set the stage for you if you remind your family that when it's "fend for yourself" time, they are in charge of figuring out what they, individually, will be eating. Of course if they want to work together, that's fine too. The big point is that each person is IN CHARGE of making sure they eat what they need. Using the words, "IN CHARGE" can help set everyone's palates for this. And then whether it's your dh or your daughter asking, you can say kindly and neutrally, "These are the foods that we have here in the pantry and in the fridge. I'll just let you be in charge of figuring out what you want to eat tonight." And then cheerfully walk back to whatever you're doing.

The whole POINT of having a fend-for-yourself night from time to time is so that you don't need to be a short-order cook on that particular night.

You might even consider letting your husband know that you've stocked several foods that he likes, so the next time he wants to know what to make for dinner, you'll tell him and then let him be IN CHARGE of making his own dinner. That might help him get to a mindset that is more helpful than where he's camping currently.


Barbara K (NC)

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Cor 9:8


Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818957 is a reply to message #818946 ] Tue, 29 November 2016 20:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kate Megill  is currently offline Kate Megill
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I have a few children who started in on this. So I took "fend for yourself" off the menu. I don't MAKE food for breakfasts or lunches anymore, but if asked what is there to eat, I'll say, "Today's lunch is XYZ. It's all in the kitchen ready to be made. If that isn't to your liking, the keys are hanging up, feel free to run out and get something on your own."

I found that taking the choice out of things stops that complaining spirit pretty quick.


In His Joy and Grace,

Kate

Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818959 is a reply to message #818955 ] Wed, 30 November 2016 00:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
elliemaejune  is currently offline elliemaejune
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Lisa R. wrote on Tue, 29 November 2016 18:21

If you're in the mood to be a bit more playful, I saw a thing online where a woman made up all the usual dishes to put in the freezer and instead of labeling "spaghetti" or "chicken casserole," she labeled all the packages with "I don't know" or "I don't care" or in your case, perhaps, "I don't want that," or "What am I supposed to eat?"

Whatever the answer was, she took out a package with that label and that's what they had! Very Happy


Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing


Born again since 1974
Married to Mr. Ellie for over 30 years
Mom to 2 amazing grown-up dds and 2 dsil
Grandmother to 1 beautiful baby boy

A kitten dies every time you use an apostrophe to pluralize.
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818960 is a reply to message #818957 ] Wed, 30 November 2016 11:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Barbara K (NC)
Messages: 1864
Registered: April 2005
Location: North Carolina
Senior Member
Kate Megill wrote on Tue, 29 November 2016 20:55

I have a few children who started in on this. So I took "fend for yourself" off the menu. I don't MAKE food for breakfasts or lunches anymore, but if asked what is there to eat, I'll say, "Today's lunch is XYZ. It's all in the kitchen ready to be made. If that isn't to your liking, the keys are hanging up, feel free to run out and get something on your own."

I found that taking the choice out of things stops that complaining spirit pretty quick.


I really like Kate's suggestion. I would still call it a "fend-for-yourself" meal because to me that means that *I* am not fixing a meal for everyone. But I really like the idea of saying, Today's lunch is sandwiches. All the makings for them are in the fridge. Please fix your lunch whenever is convenient for you."


Barbara K (NC)

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Cor 9:8


Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818971 is a reply to message #818956 ] Thu, 01 December 2016 09:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jamie
Messages: 4138
Registered: April 2005
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Barbara K (NC) wrote on Tue, 29 November 2016 20:45

I agree with Pam and Lisa. I think it might help set the stage for you if you remind your family that when it's "fend for yourself" time, they are in charge of figuring out what they, individually, will be eating. Of course if they want to work together, that's fine too. The big point is that each person is IN CHARGE of making sure they eat what they need. Using the words, "IN CHARGE" can help set everyone's palates for this. And then whether it's your dh or your daughter asking, you can say kindly and neutrally, "These are the foods that we have here in the pantry and in the fridge. I'll just let you be in charge of figuring out what you want to eat tonight." And then cheerfully walk back to whatever you're doing.

The whole POINT of having a fend-for-yourself night from time to time is so that you don't need to be a short-order cook on that particular night.

You might even consider letting your husband know that you've stocked several foods that he likes, so the next time he wants to know what to make for dinner, you'll tell him and then let him be IN CHARGE of making his own dinner. That might help him get to a mindset that is more helpful than where he's camping currently.

This is true. Perhaps, you might remind them to add items to the grocery list for nights when it is "on your own" nights.


Peace
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818978 is a reply to message #818946 ] Thu, 01 December 2016 13:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Dimples  is currently offline Dimples
Messages: 1406
Registered: August 2005
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This conversation was held in our home about 2 months ago. I have started working full-time now and dd is in college - we are the only 2 that really "cook" Some days we were meeting each other at the door - while one came home, one left. Dh, dd, and I would all ask the same old question every day. "What would you like for supper?" "I don't know" I would tell them I had planned to have XXX, one or both of them would say, "I don't want that." What do you want then? "I don't know"

I finally had all 3 of us sit down one night and I listed the different meals that we all liked - breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I explained that when I cooked dinner/supper, I usually made a double recipe and that would be what we have for lunch the next few days. If you didn't want that, then there was always sandwiches.

I posted the list of meals on the fridge and try to buy groceries according to the list and what's on sale. On the nights that I'm working late, I will tell dd (or dh) they are in charge of supper for the night - their choice.

Has it worked? Not really. Crying or Very Sad Dd will come up with interesting and tasty recipes when she has the time to cook. Dh will usually make a frozen pizza, burritos, or we will have popcorn for the meal. LOL I used to really get aggravated about this, but realized I told them it was their choice, so I should be supportive of whatever they choose to "cook."

I make sure that we have certain items on hand at all times - sliced cheese, pickles, (dh like to have cheese & pickles together and can make a meal of this), burritos (homemade and frozen), frozen pizza or some other quick meal.

When the conversation starts like above, I will give these options and then suggest that we always have cereal or PB&J - not the best, nor my favorite, but it takes care of "I don't know/I don't want that" - like Kate, this is the option or do your own thing.
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818980 is a reply to message #818955 ] Thu, 01 December 2016 19:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Michele (Queen of Cheap)  is currently offline Michele (Queen of Cheap)
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Bwahahahahahahahaha! Lisa, that is FUNNY! I want to do that for my kids!


Michele, The Organic Queen of Cheap!
(aka Shelly the Swamp Frog)

Happily posting on CHF since 1995


Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818981 is a reply to message #818946 ] Thu, 01 December 2016 19:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sherry in NH  is currently offline Sherry in NH
Messages: 9593
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Location: Small Town New Hampshire
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My dh does a lot of meal prep when I have to work late, when I am feeling ill from Lyme..but he also lovvvvves to cook..

What I do try to do is have at least the protein ready to go. On most nights, the meal is in the crockpot and we eat as we all come through.

So it is usually help yourself, but not often fend for yourself. My kids made every lunch during homeschooling. Last night, we used up chili that was leftover on salad. Tonight, it is previously made spaghetti sauce. So I mostly batch cook...so a fend for yourself night would not be them staring blankly at boxed goods Smile...but them trying to decide: salad...chili salad...chili...or cereal Smile

Breakfast nowadays is always grab it and go...lunch now is always plated leftovers from the night before...lunch was always cooked by the kids, that is how they learned to cook.

How often does a fend for yourself meal happen?

[Updated on: Thu, 01 December 2016 19:38]


In Jesus

Sherry from NH
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818982 is a reply to message #818981 ] Thu, 01 December 2016 20:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
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Location: Northern KY
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Sherry in NH wrote on Thu, 01 December 2016 19:37


How often does a fend for yourself meal happen?

For DH it is normally just breakfast on the weekends and Saturday lunch. DH gets up late on Saturdays and the kids and I have already eaten breakfast. Because he eats breakfast late, he then eats lunch late. On Sunday, the kids and I leave for Sunday school around the time DH is waking up. I've only ever done a fend-for-yourself dinner about three times in our marriage and because I was sick.

For the kids, it is breakfast and lunch during the week, too. It was never a problem, because it gave us a chance to eat things that no one else liked. But, I'm just going to shut DD down. There are always things they like in the house, so she just needs to get over the moodiness.

With DH, it has been harder. I always have sandwich stuff and other things he likes. But, he gets moody, too. And he won't eat leftovers. At all. Nothing homemade that has been reheated. So, I can't make things ahead of time. Sad


Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818985 is a reply to message #818982 ] Fri, 02 December 2016 07:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 14917
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
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Quote:

"I don't know. I just don't want any of that stuff."

Quote:

And he won't eat leftovers. At all. Nothing homemade that has been reheated. So, I can't make things ahead of time.


I"m not about criticizing and judging, and I know you've been married for years and have your own systems worked out, but it sounds like there needs to be a deeper conversation, if I'm understanding things correctly.

If I get it, your dh, as a Christian man, is head of the household, and you've both chosen a lifestyle that involves a lot of running around. (I was thinking you work, too...did I get that wrong?)

And now the lifestyle that you've chosen together is infringing on your ability to cook fresh foods every night, because there just isn't the prep time you used to have. You are making sure that there is food in the house so that the adults and nearly adult children at home when you are not available can fend for themselves and not starve.

But they are essentially not only refusing to feed themselves, they are complaining about what you are providing for them to eat. You could provide things that they like better, but they won't eat it if you prepare it when you are home and have the time to cook because it would be reheated.

Honestly, it sounds like an impossible situation, and it seems that it might run deeper than not wanting a particular food at dinner time.

I agree with the posts above suggesting that you have a discussion to generate a list of meals that they will enjoy, but also, it might be good to discuss your lifestyle and activities to see if changes need to be made. It sounds like you are doing things out of the house without dh, so you'll have to consider whether bringing up the possibility of change will mean that you have to give up what you enjoy so the you're more available to cater to his needs. If he's likely to suggest that, and you don't want the conversation to go there, then don't go there.

But it does seem appropriate that there be a conversation about how to make meals work better for the family more than how you can change to cater to your dh, if you see what I'm saying. The Bible is clear about wives submitting to their husbands, but it also talks of submitting to one another, and it calls the woman a helpmeet. It may or may not be helpful to allow what appears to be selfishness on his part go unchallenged, respectfully of course! (It also may be that I'm not readying this correctly, or that he simply will not change on this issue and you may need to learn to cope without expecting any change from him).

But if you're preparing breakfast on Saturdays, for instance, and he chooses to sleep later and then also ends up missing lunch as well as breakfast, then he might need to consider getting up for what you're preparing and then taking a nap. Or learning to be satisfied with what he can fix for himself.

We've had similar issues as kids are grown...with jobs that run on different schedules, it's hard to provide for everyone the way we did when they were all young, all here, and all on the same schedule...I just fixed the meal and we all sat down together to eat it. Sherry's idea of a crockpot where folks can just serve themselves over several hours makes a lot of sense. In our home, there's a lot of reheating and even purpose cooking of larger batches that the adult kids freeze and pull out to microwave for lunches away from home.

At first I thought this was several dinners per week along with lunches and breakfasts, but after your last post, it sound like you're dealing with drama from your dh over 2 breakfasts and a lunch that he *could* eat with you if he chose. I would hope that in that case, a simple conversation in which you let him know that (if I understand correctly), you'd be happy to serve him at a later time, but you'd appreciate less stress being generated over his preferences. Maybe you could come up with weekend traditions that include "special" meals like doughnuts or a fruit bowl or something that is quick and easy and fits your family's dietary needs.

As to your daughter, I'm not sure how old she is, but IMHO, it is always appropriate to remind children that they live in our home and we provide for them, and they need to display a grateful attitude toward what we provide, or a grateful attitude for the opportunity to serve themselves with what we have provided. If not they are welcome to wait cheerfully for the next meal and choose to eat it gratefully or wait again.

I hope and pray your family will be able to find good solutions to this issue. Meal times can be a great source of stress, and I pray it will not be divisive in your home. If I've misread or been out of line do just disregard my post. I may just be pondering philosophical issues that aren't part of your situation.


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818986 is a reply to message #818946 ] Fri, 02 December 2016 09:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
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Lisa, no your really didn't misread. I'm trying hard to be respectful of my DH and not complain, but it does create quite a bit of drama. I would be happy to make him breakfast and lunch if he was eating at the same time as us for those meals. But, since he doesn't I have just been doing our normal "on your own" meals that the kids and I do for breakfast and lunch during the week. I always provide options (cereal, oatmeal, frozen waffles, eggs, sandwich stuff, canned soup, leftovers, etc) and they choose what they want. My DS, who likes to cook, often comes up with something, but DH and DD seem to want me to be a short-order cook.

For dinners, I have always made a point of having dinner ready for DH to stick in the oven or ready in the crock pot if I'm not home. So, unless something unexpected happens (like Trump coming to town and shutting down all the highways, yesterday, so DH and I couldn't get home until really late Confused ) there is always something planned for dinner and we almost always eat together. Even when I worked in the evenings (I work from home, now), I made sure that DH had a meal to eat.

I think I am going to have a talk with him and let him know that I will cook breakfast and lunch on Saturdays, but he will have to eat when we do or find something on his own. If he chooses to find something on his own, I will ask that he will recognize my effort and make his choice cheerfully. For breakfast on Sundays, I will provide something that I know he likes and can grab-and-go (he likes to eat in the car on the way to church). Hopefully, that will help. Thank you, ladies!


Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818987 is a reply to message #818986 ] Fri, 02 December 2016 09:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sherry in NH  is currently offline Sherry in NH
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That sounds reasonable...Another option is to give the kids a snack on Saturday morning early and eat breakfast with Dad when he wakes up. Is that what he would prefer or is it unrelated?


In Jesus

Sherry from NH
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #818988 is a reply to message #818987 ] Fri, 02 December 2016 10:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
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Sherry in NH wrote on Fri, 02 December 2016 09:52

That sounds reasonable...Another option is to give the kids a snack on Saturday morning early and eat breakfast with Dad when he wakes up. Is that what he would prefer or is it unrelated?

No, he really doesn't care if we eat together at those meals.


Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #819011 is a reply to message #818946 ] Mon, 05 December 2016 11:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jen E.  is currently offline Jen E.
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Location: Northeast
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Okay, I'm going to break out of the pack here, but...

if I were you, I would stop doing 'serve yourself' meals w/ dh, and ask the Lord to give you joy in serving him. Boil the pasta and warm up the meat sauce that you've put in single-size servings in the freezer as you broil some parmesan cheese bread to serve w/ the salad that you made when you ate w/ the dc (10 minutes altogether).... make the omelet (5 minutes).... make it as easy on yourself as you can, but just make him meals when he is home.

I'm not in any way saying that I think that your dh is in the right.... but you asked how you should handle this. I think we need to make sure that we don't give advice to our sisters about what their husbands should be doing.... we need to help one another to handle their own circumstances in a way that honors their husbands. So... no "what do you want?" at mealtime ... just make him a meal (that only takes 5-10 minutes to prepare), and serve it w/ joy.

With dd it's a totally different situation.

Just my $0.02's worth.

[Updated on: Mon, 05 December 2016 11:34]

Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #819012 is a reply to message #819011 ] Mon, 05 December 2016 16:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 14917
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
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Quote:

just make him a meal (that only takes 5-10 minutes to prepare), and serve it w/ joy.



Honestly asking....I understood that when she was offering to fix a meal he wasn't wanting anything she was fixing for him. Does she just fix whatever and expect him to eat it? Or fix it and offer it and fix something else if he doesn't want that?

I'm not trying to be snarky at all, because your advice makes all kind of sense...but maybe I missed something in the OP? (which might explain some of the advice)


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #819014 is a reply to message #819012 ] Mon, 05 December 2016 20:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jen E.  is currently offline Jen E.
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Lisa R. wrote on Mon, 05 December 2016 16:48

Quote:

just make him a meal (that only takes 5-10 minutes to prepare), and serve it w/ joy.



Honestly asking....I understood that when she was offering to fix a meal he wasn't wanting anything she was fixing for him. Does she just fix whatever and expect him to eat it? Or fix it and offer it and fix something else if he doesn't want that?

I'm not trying to be snarky at all, because your advice makes all kind of sense...but maybe I missed something in the OP? (which might explain some of the advice)


Oh, Lisa -- thank you so much for responding to me! I was afraid that everyone was going to unfriend me!!!!!!!!!

Well, what does she do for the other seven meals that she prepares for him during the week? Do that. Make a menu, and do as much ahead (like making the extra pancake batter when you make them for you and the dc, and put in frig 'til later.... fry the bacon 'til almost done, and then finish it up when you fry the eggs... etc.). IMHO, when a man works hard for his family during the week, especially when insodoing he allows his dw to be a full-time homemaker, and is only home on weekends, he shouldn't have to fend for himself for half of those meals. I think that that sends the message that he's an inconvenience, not that we're happy that he's home for the weekend. Do you KWIM? I suspect that, because this has become a big issue in the home, this man feels loved when his wife cooks for him. It's certainly a way to honor him.

Okay, have I estranged everyone, now?! I love you all!!

[Updated on: Mon, 05 December 2016 22:01]

Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #819015 is a reply to message #819014 ] Mon, 05 December 2016 22:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 14917
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Location: Georgia
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Ah, I see. So, he won't eat reheated stuff, but cooking till nearly done should be more like fresh. Makes sense if it works for him.

Also...I sincerely hope no one would unfriend you! I am always challenged by hearing something that is not what I normally consider...new perspectives help me grow!


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #819017 is a reply to message #819015 ] Mon, 05 December 2016 22:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jen E.  is currently offline Jen E.
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Lisa R. wrote on Mon, 05 December 2016 22:07

Ah, I see. So, he won't eat reheated stuff, but cooking till nearly done should be more like fresh. Makes sense if it works for him.



Not necessarily.... French toast, omelets, scrambled eggs, and so much more... don't take long to make at all. Reserving pancake or waffle batter until dh gets up could work, too. Grilled cheese, nuking a potato and topping it w/ good stuff, grilling a burger, French dip... all these things (and so many more) really don't take long. My point wasn't par-cooking, it was ... just do it. Wink Smile Make a menu, cook for your man, and do it with joy. Sets a wonderful example for dc of all ages, too.

[Updated on: Mon, 05 December 2016 22:22]

Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #819018 is a reply to message #819014 ] Mon, 05 December 2016 22:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
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Jen E. wrote on Mon, 05 December 2016 20:55

Lisa R. wrote on Mon, 05 December 2016 16:48

Quote:

just make him a meal (that only takes 5-10 minutes to prepare), and serve it w/ joy.



Honestly asking....I understood that when she was offering to fix a meal he wasn't wanting anything she was fixing for him. Does she just fix whatever and expect him to eat it? Or fix it and offer it and fix something else if he doesn't want that?

I'm not trying to be snarky at all, because your advice makes all kind of sense...but maybe I missed something in the OP? (which might explain some of the advice)


Oh, Lisa -- thank you so much for responding to me! I was afraid that everyone was going to unfriend me!!!!!!!!!

Well, what does she do for the other seven meals that she prepares for him during the week? Do that. Make a menu, and do as much ahead (like making the extra pancake batter when you make them for you and the dc, and put in frig 'til later.... fry the bacon 'til almost done, and then finish it up when you fry the eggs... etc.). IMHO, when a man works hard for his family during the week, especially when insodoing he allows his dw to be a full-time homemaker, and is only home on weekends, he shouldn't have to fend for himself for half of those meals. I think that that sends the message that he's an inconvenience, not that we're happy that he's home for the weekend. Do you KWIM? I suspect that, because this has become a big issue in the home, this man feels loved when his wife cooks for him. It's certainly a way to honor him.

Okay, have I estranged everyone, now?! I love you all!!




I'm not offended at all! I asked for advice and it would be ridiculous to be mad just because it isn't what I want to hear.

Cooking his meals would certainly be something I could do during the times that I'm home when he wants to eat. I think I will bring it up when we talk.

I have been thinking more about the whys of this whole thing. Growing up we almost always fended for ourselves in my house. My mom just doesn't enjoy cooking and frankly, isn't very good at it. I probably started making dinner for the family when I was 13, because my mom worked in the evenings. It was never a big deal and my dad preferred it that way at lunch time, so he could choose his own thing.

But, DH's mom still makes meals from scratch for my FIL and serves them to him in the living room even when she doesn't eat with him. He never even gets up from the couch and I'm pretty sure he has never chosen what to eat.

Although the situation at my IL's house sound idealistic, my dad always ate his meals cheerfully, while my FIL still finds reasons to complain and demand. Sad

I know that on my end, I struggle with my attitude. For one thing, I really don't enjoy cooking. AT ALL. That's why the kids and I have things that I don't need to cook for breakfast and lunch. For another, DH and I have such different tastes that I struggle to come up with ideas that he will enjoy (and he won't provide any suggestions). So, between the clueless-ness about what to make and the fact that I don't enjoy cooking, I haven't been very joyful about it. In fact, I've been quite frustrated. So, I definitely need to change my attitude about the whole thing. Even if I still don't make every meal, I'm certain that that would have a positive impact on the situation.


Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #819020 is a reply to message #819018 ] Mon, 05 December 2016 23:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jen E.  is currently offline Jen E.
Messages: 4522
Registered: April 2005
Location: Northeast
Senior Member
praise2christ wrote on Mon, 05 December 2016 22:41

Jen E. wrote on Mon, 05 December 2016 20:55

Lisa R. wrote on Mon, 05 December 2016 16:48

Quote:

just make him a meal (that only takes 5-10 minutes to prepare), and serve it w/ joy.



Honestly asking....I understood that when she was offering to fix a meal he wasn't wanting anything she was fixing for him. Does she just fix whatever and expect him to eat it? Or fix it and offer it and fix something else if he doesn't want that?

I'm not trying to be snarky at all, because your advice makes all kind of sense...but maybe I missed something in the OP? (which might explain some of the advice)


Oh, Lisa -- thank you so much for responding to me! I was afraid that everyone was going to unfriend me!!!!!!!!!

Well, what does she do for the other seven meals that she prepares for him during the week? Do that. Make a menu, and do as much ahead (like making the extra pancake batter when you make them for you and the dc, and put in frig 'til later.... fry the bacon 'til almost done, and then finish it up when you fry the eggs... etc.). IMHO, when a man works hard for his family during the week, especially when insodoing he allows his dw to be a full-time homemaker, and is only home on weekends, he shouldn't have to fend for himself for half of those meals. I think that that sends the message that he's an inconvenience, not that we're happy that he's home for the weekend. Do you KWIM? I suspect that, because this has become a big issue in the home, this man feels loved when his wife cooks for him. It's certainly a way to honor him.

Okay, have I estranged everyone, now?! I love you all!!




I'm not offended at all! I asked for advice and it would be ridiculous to be mad just because it isn't what I want to hear.

Cooking his meals would certainly be something I could do during the times that I'm home when he wants to eat. I think I will bring it up when we talk.

I have been thinking more about the whys of this whole thing. Growing up we almost always fended for ourselves in my house. My mom just doesn't enjoy cooking and frankly, isn't very good at it. I probably started making dinner for the family when I was 13, because my mom worked in the evenings. It was never a big deal and my dad preferred it that way at lunch time, so he could choose his own thing.

But, DH's mom still makes meals from scratch for my FIL and serves them to him in the living room even when she doesn't eat with him. He never even gets up from the couch and I'm pretty sure he has never chosen what to eat.

Although the situation at my IL's house sound idealistic, my dad always ate his meals cheerfully, while my FIL still finds reasons to complain and demand. Sad

I know that on my end, I struggle with my attitude. For one thing, I really don't enjoy cooking. AT ALL. That's why the kids and I have things that I don't need to cook for breakfast and lunch. For another, DH and I have such different tastes that I struggle to come up with ideas that he will enjoy (and he won't provide any suggestions). So, between the clueless-ness about what to make and the fact that I don't enjoy cooking, I haven't been very joyful about it. In fact, I've been quite frustrated. So, I definitely need to change my attitude about the whole thing. Even if I still don't make every meal, I'm certain that that would have a positive impact on the situation.


Oh Stacy, BIG HUGS to you!!! Marriage is such a sanctifying institution, isn't it? We can do so well before the Lord until we have to interact with (other) sinners like husbands and children!!

Years ago when I was frustrated because dh doesn't like a lot of variety in cooking, I blurted out, "This is so frustrating, because you only like about four things!!" He humbly responded, "Well, would you mind just rotating those things?" hahaha From that point on, I changed my attitude from "He's so hard to cook for!" to "He is unbelievably easy to cook for -- I just make the same things four things for him and he's happy!" Have you considered writing down the things that you know he likes, and figuring out how to make them efficiently? Have you considered asking his mom to help you make a dish or two?

Our dc catch our attitudes... and I'm not pointing any finger AT ALL, because I have many regrets about my responses to frustration in our home! But the sooner you make peace with this, the happier you will be. <3 Good opportunity to teach your dd to cook now, too.

I know that this has to be VERY frustrating, and I don't mean to make light of that at all! But you asked how to handle this... and I'm thankful that you're not mad at my response. Wink We need to encourage one another to honor our husbands, to love them well.

Big sisterly hugs, dear Stacy.


[Updated on: Tue, 06 December 2016 11:06]

Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #819022 is a reply to message #818946 ] Tue, 06 December 2016 08:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 14917
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
Senior Member

After pondering some of this, I thought I'd come back and share some recent frustrations and how I'm handling it. (In case it makes any difference to anyone)

Nearly a year and a half ago, I had to go back to work. Several older teens and adult children live here and also work. Schedules are crazy and I get that, so I tried for a while to fix a casserole or a crockpot of something so folks could serve themselves at different times.

Soon, however, folks were eating or cooking their own thing because they didn't care for what I fixed...and they weren't cleaning up after themselves. People who needed to leave would go in the kitchen to prepare a meal for breaks at work when it was my window to get in the kitchen. When I got in there to cook, I had to spend 30 minutes washing up and cleaning so that I could cook.

Also, we had a good long while where dh was always a "problem" with food. Meaning, he was diagnosed with diabetes, and I was working really hard to prepare healthy meals for him, but he would say he wasn't hungry, and then later, after the kitchen was clean and everything put away, he'd go in the kitchen and find something unhealthy to prepare for himself.

Finally, I had a talk with the kids and informed them that if they weren't going to leave the kitchen clean enough for me to cook when I had the chance, I wasn't going to cook. They could choose whether I used my 30 minutes to clean up after them or cook something for them. I envisioned that solving the problem, but they chose not to clean. I seriously went on strike for quite some time. Dh and I went out for a few meals.

Anyway...I was looking at my two youngest who were perfectly satisfied with ramen (which they were buying for themselves) or other quick and easy, but not healthy things. Lots of cheese toast, etc. I also noticed that folks were fixing their own meal and heading to their room to eat while doing school or watching a movie. The dining room table was being cluttered all the time because there wasn't a particular need to clean it off since the family wasn't eating there.

Suddenly, I realized that it wasn't entirely about food. I was still working, and still didn't have much time. I wasn't home to enforce kitchen cleaning as I had for the past 30 years. But I realized that more was at stake than what I described. So, I resolved for a few weeks to cook at least two family meals regardless of the state of the kitchen or the schedules of the kids. And when I did, they came ("If you cook it, they will come. Very Happy) A couple of them had to make do with leftovers, perhaps, but those who were home came to the table for the meals that I cooked.

Things are not ideal in our family and our schedule. In fact, circumstances have forced me back home (though God graciously provided a job I can do from here in fewer hours each week), and I'm working on having some sort of family dinner every night except the two when it is provided by the church or we are gone during dinner time. I'm not making elaborate meals at this time. Two nights ago I got the girls to peel some potatoes and I made potato soup and threw some toast in for garlic toast. No vegetables, and little clean up, but we ate together and had good conversation.

I'm not writing to share that "I did these things and our lives changed miraculously for the better," but more to say, that I saw a bit of a problem, and am currently working to repair it, and am seeing positive results. Perhaps I should check back in 6 months and share more of long-term result, but in the two weeks that I've really been working on this, I'm seeing good fruit.

FWIW, that's what's happening here. (Also, as far as dh, I just decided to fix what works for him, and just let it go if he eats something else. But he has had quite a health scare in the last year and is much more motivated to eat what works for him. But he always does better if I provide what is healthy for him.)


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #819024 is a reply to message #819020 ] Tue, 06 December 2016 08:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
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Jen E. wrote on Mon, 05 December 2016 23:07


Years ago when I was frustrated because dh doesn't like a lot of variety in cooking, I blurted out, "This is so frustrating, because you only like about four things!!" He humbly responded, "Well, would you mind just rotating those things?" hahaha From that point on, I changed my attitude from "He's so hard to cook for!" to "He is unbelievably easy to cook for -- I just make the same things four things for him and he's happy!" Have you considered writing down the things that you know he likes, and figuring out how to make them efficiently? Have you considered asking his mom to help you make a dish or two?



That does sound a little like my DH. He is very picky! I do have a list and I rotate it. However, he also easily gets burnt out on foods. I joke that he sometimes says, "But, we just had that six months ago!" Not too much of an exaggeration!

Early in our marriage, I mentioned that I needed to ask his mom for recipes. He said not to. He wasn't mean about it, but I think he was afraid I would just mess them up. He wasn't without reason. She does a lot of Italian meals and the thought of making a sauce from scratch is pretty overwhelming for me! Plus, I always end up sick to my stomach after eating her very acidic food (I have IBS). Sad I can handle jarred sauce just fine. But, hers is extra acidic.

That goes back to he and I having very different tastes. Even when I make meals he likes, he often ends up adding more spices to heat it up. I'm fine with that. The kids and I don't like really spicy things (and they make me sick), so I make it how we will eat it and he adds the amount of spice that he wants to his serving.

There are even some times when I have made two separate meals. One for him and one for the kids and I. I chose to do that because I want him to have things that he enjoys, but no one else does and there are also things the kids and I love that we wouldn't get to eat, otherwise. It is always simple things.

The whole thing has been very frustrating. But, I know that the only person I can really change in all this is me.


Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #819029 is a reply to message #819024 ] Tue, 06 December 2016 20:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sherry in NH  is currently offline Sherry in NH
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Yeah...it may not relate, but I think another underlying pattern longterm for some of us is that it used to be we: dh and I...then these kids came along and I was with them 24/7 and it became we: the kids and I...even though dh was fine with things the way they were...he was still aware of the fact that that it was not him and me as the family, with the kids a welcome part...it was me and the kids trying to figure out how to fit dh in.

Long story skipped, but in the end, until they got much older, we made the family schedule and the eating schedule around his schedule. Which meant loads of changes. They got up late and they ate and went to bed late. Dh was happier although he did not mind and he did not complain overtly. But something else to consider.


In Jesus

Sherry from NH
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #819030 is a reply to message #819029 ] Tue, 06 December 2016 22:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
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Sherry in NH wrote on Tue, 06 December 2016 20:31

Yeah...it may not relate, but I think another underlying pattern longterm for some of us is that it used to be we: dh and I...then these kids came along and I was with them 24/7 and it became we: the kids and I...even though dh was fine with things the way they were...he was still aware of the fact that that it was not him and me as the family, with the kids a welcome part...it was me and the kids trying to figure out how to fit dh in.

Long story skipped, but in the end, until they got much older, we made the family schedule and the eating schedule around his schedule. Which meant loads of changes. They got up late and they ate and went to bed late. Dh was happier although he did not mind and he did not complain overtly. But something else to consider.

Well, we had the kids very early in the marriage, so not much time to get used to a "just the two of us" life. Very Happy I have always made a point to do dinners around his schedule, though. Even when DH used to work until 9:00pm, I would feed the kids early and then eat with him when he got home. When I worked evenings, I always had dinner ready to pop in the oven or ready in the crock pot.

But, with weekend breakfast and lunch, he often eats up to two hours or more after "normal" eating times. If we waited, we would be starving. I think that his normal schedule is just later than ours based on when he gets time to eat at work.


Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #819031 is a reply to message #819030 ] Tue, 06 December 2016 23:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sherry in NH  is currently offline Sherry in NH
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Right...it was the same kind of strange eating times at our house....Our fix was I gave the kids a medium sized snack to tide them over...we all sat down together at the table around his schedule, at least most nights.

At our house, it really was not about the times or the eating...it was about the structure of our family...was I his helpmeet and partner or was he an annoyance to me because his norms did not fit in with "us"? I also had to get rid of wanting to control the schedule and let him lead me, even in his non direct way.

Your mileage may vary...but it may be interesting to consider what may or may not be *under* the conversations...or where a tangent or tweak or change now may end up years from now.

[Updated on: Tue, 06 December 2016 23:05]


In Jesus

Sherry from NH
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #819039 is a reply to message #819031 ] Wed, 07 December 2016 11:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jen E.  is currently offline Jen E.
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Sherry in NH wrote on Tue, 06 December 2016 23:00

Right...it was the same kind of strange eating times at our house....Our fix was I gave the kids a medium sized snack to tide them over...we all sat down together at the table around his schedule, at least most nights.

At our house, it really was not about the times or the eating...it was about the structure of our family...was I his helpmeet and partner or was he an annoyance to me because his norms did not fit in with "us"? I also had to get rid of wanting to control the schedule and let him lead me, even in his non direct way.

Your mileage may vary...but it may be interesting to consider what may or may not be *under* the conversations...or where a tangent or tweak or change now may end up years from now.



Wholeheartedly agree. It's that underlying current (in the classroom we call it the "hidden curriculum") that teaches our dc about authority, respect, honor, and obedience. It's a beautiful thing to see (and for children to see!) a strong woman joyfully embrace her role as her dh's helpmate.

[Updated on: Wed, 07 December 2016 15:17]

Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #819041 is a reply to message #818946 ] Wed, 07 December 2016 15:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
denise d
Messages: 6330
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I think there are many of us who have been through this, and I like the replies. ALL of them (Jen). For a long time, our dinner time was scheduled around dh coming, home and it was consistent. Most activities were either well before or after. Then, our family grew up and out and in and out and in....and we all have things going on.

"But they are essentially not only refusing to feed themselves, they are complaining about what you are providing for them to eat. You could provide things that they like better, but they won't eat it if you prepare it when you are home and have the time to cook because it would be reheated."

I have been in this situation. I also know, after a long time of not knowing - that the blood sugar drop is where the anger (hangry) comes from. I do not have this issue and while I do understand the physiology of it and that it is real, I do not relate to it, and so I struggle with being judgmental - like, "control yourself better".

Well, he should treat you better. And I am particularly talking about the "I don't know" when you ask him about what he would like you to get at the grocery. It sounded like you named things he liked and that just didn't sound good right then. And yes, it is a whole different thing with your daughter.

It does stick you between a rock and a hard place. There is not a way to please in that scenario. But I think you can change it with some very clear communication.

Figuring out the "how" to make it work...depends on some seriously good communication. <3

My experience:

I have simply walked away after a few reasonable answers that were met with anger. This was after having a talk about it at a non-inflammatory time, and so on. And it kept happening. So, the walk away was the best thing I could do, and still is though it is more rare when this kind of thing comes up. It is very hard to give the answer (sometimes for the third time) and then walk away. So, I get it.

And what I do now is "warn people" way ahead of time, either early in the morning if I can, or HOURS ahead of the dinner window.... and then the responsibility is in their hands.Our schedules are all different. If it is a fend for yourself night, then they can come and fix a leftover or anything in the kitchen....or they can grab something on the way home or do whatever. But I make it very clear ahead of time that I am not preparing a meal that evening (usually because of my schedule or heavy work load). Our family is structured differently, but this was a problem for years.....off and on rather...... and it was very painful for me and I blamed myself and tried to "do better". The script you have written in the original post, I could have posted.

When I am home for the day or have adequate time to prepare, I make meals. Sometimes dh cooks. Often he helps. PLANNING is key. KNOWING what to expect is important.

Praying for a good solution.

(and no more editing)

[Updated on: Wed, 07 December 2016 16:16]


God is Love.
Re: I need a better way to handle this [message #819091 is a reply to message #818946 ] Tue, 13 December 2016 01:44 Go to previous message
PamE
Messages: 3792
Registered: April 2005
Location: AZ (but it's a DRY heat!)
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I know I responded early on but can't remember if you've flat out told him how incredibly stressful it is for you to come up with something he will eat when he can't even figure out for himself what that something might be?

My dh has been on a low carb diet for the past year for health reasons. I was extremely supportive for a long time (and still am...) but have had so many heath problems myself this past year that it has become a big burden for me to plan/shop/cook specifically for him ALL of the time. Our compromise has been for me to spend the extra money to stock some of his favorite tv dinner meals for those times when I *can't* cook to his needs and he needs something to eat.

Is he aware of how difficult this is for you? Is there *some* way he would be willing to compromise?


I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. ~Phil 3:13-14~
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