You know you’ve messed up big time when your husband looks at you from across the dinner table and says “If we have this meal one more time, we are going to the restaurant for supper.”
Life is a long road; a long journey. Some times it’s smooth, some times it’s bumpy, and some times when you’re not watching carefully a giant pothole sneaks up on you and jars your skull.
Those jarring moments hurt!
And so they should.
They are meant to be teachers to teach us to watch diligently over our lives and to avoid hitting more potholes in the future.
Today I’m going to share with you one such painful, jarring, pothole of an experience concerning food and meal planning, and share with you how creating a simple meal plan can save you from a lot of stress and from hitting that same pothole I did.
For those who didn’t know, my husband and I spend most of our spring living in Belize, Central America. While we were down there my life schedule was a little crazy for a while.
We lived in a tiny house that didn’t have any laundry facility, nor internet (meaning I had to go somewhere to use those things), and I was very faithfully measuring meals, calculating calories, and exercising to reach my fitness goals, not to mention providing three meals a day for my husband and keeping a relatively tidy home.
So I had a lot of work to do and a lot of places to be during my days, which is totally good. It’s good to be productive and occupy your time. The tricky thing was my mode of transportation.
All I had was a bicycle.
To use the internet and work on my blog I biked a 1/4 mile up a hill to a restaurant with wifi.
To wash my laundry I stuffed our big hiking pack with clothes and biked 1.5 miles (up and down hills) to relatives.
When shopping I, again, used our hiking pack and went from store to store picking up what I needed.
It was great!
It was challenging.
And it took up a LOT of time.
Between all of those things, my meals narrowed down to simply cooking some chicken, making some beans and rice, and throwing together a simple salad or coleslaw. I thought the meals were satisfactory, but after a couple meals in a row like that, my husband was getting sick of it.
That’s when my smooth road produced a giant pothole that took me by surprise and jarred me hard.
We sat down at the table together, took each others’ hand and prayed, and began eating our meal like normal. I don’t remember how exactly the conversation turned this way, but eventually Cliff brought up the food.
I knew I hadn’t been doing anything special with the food lately, but you know you’ve messed up big time when your husband looks at you from across the table and says, “If we have this meal one more time, we are going to the restaurant for supper.”
Honestly, I laugh about it now but right then, it really hurt!
My initial reaction was to take offence and pity myself. Because seriously, I was working hard trying to keep up my blog, and the house, and the laundry, and buying groceries, and exercising, and eating healthy, and ALL these other things!
Like, what right did my husband have to be discontent when I was working so dang hard!
So on the outside I was quietly listening, but on the inside I was flip flopping between being super frustrated and indignant, to feeling hopeless and incompetent and holding back my tears.
But then something happened, and God spoke to my spirit to think about this situation from my husband’s perspective.
The truth is, my husband was working hard all day long, directing a construction project, trying to please his supervisors, making deals with big business owners, arranging for materials and equipment, and working with machinery that had really bad issues, among other things.
With all that stress going on in his day, it only makes sense that he would want to come home to a restful place where he can just enjoy himself and get some great tasting food in his belly right?
In addition to this, my husband is also a very classy and stylish man — he really blows my mind some times with the architectural and fashion design ideas he comes up with — and he loves creating an environment of luxury and comfort using lighting, music, décor, and even food flavour and presentation.
He really has a keen sense of what looks good, feels good, and tastes good.
So when I thought of that, recognizing who he is as a person and what kinds of things he likes, I realized that I wasn’t really loving him when I was too “busy” to put effort into the meals.
I realized that I was making my work a priority over my husband, and that is wrong.
So I determined to do better, and to honour and love my husband the way he receives it.
Of course there was more in our exchange than that, but the main “action step” I took away from that conversation was that I needed to meal plan.
I needed to have something already laid out for me so that when the time came for supper to be made I would not be fumbling for ideas and default to the simple, plain meals that he was already tired of.
We also came to the conclusion that in my meal planning I should focus on easy-to-put-together stuff that wouldn’t take me a long time to make.
To me, that meant a lot of crock-pot meals and sheet pan meals, which are super awesome.
Honestly, making a simple weekly meal plan has been SO HELPFUL!
We get to enjoy more kinds of food now because I’ve taken the time to think beyond the normal, simple stuff, and I’ve actually gone shopping to have the proper ingredients to make those meals.
Also, it’s far less stressful to make the meal because I have the whole plan laid out for myself and I don’t need to do so much brain work in the preparation.
So what can meal planning do for you?
- lower your stress levels
- ensure you always have something good to eat
- save you money by keeping you out of the drive-through
- make your grocery shopping more effective
- honour your husband and make him feel valued because you are putting effort into your meals
- add variety to your diet
I know there are many more good reasons to meal plan, but even these are great already.
Meal planning has certainly helped save me some stress and has definitely improved my relationship with my husband (hooray for happy meals!), so if you struggle with making meals I would highly recommend you consider meal planning.
Start with writing down a list of meals you know your family enjoys and some classic meals then go from there. Focus on simplicity.
I always write my meal plan out in my weekly planner so I know exactly what I’m making each day. You can also write up a weekly meal plan and stick it on your fridge or find a printable one online. Just try it out!
As they say, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
I know you don’t want to fail, and I certainly don’t want you to experience the same failure I had to experience with making meals and dishonouring my husband.
So give meal planning a try and see what it can do for you! God bless.