The Chicken that Saved My Marriage

Or, “Why I’m Keeping My Last Name.”

Their First Quarrel, Gibson

So. I’m getting married today. (Relax. This post was scheduled, like, a week and a half in advance. I am not actually typing this out on the morning of my wedding.) The ceremony will be in a local city park, and we’ll be picnicking slash barbecuing right after. (Also, we have a beer permit. Or, we will… if I can remember where I put it among all the other stuff.)

Because the total number of guests is smallish and because we enjoy this sort of thing, my partner and I will be doing the cooking ourselves. Partner has an electric smoker as well as a couple of tried and true recipes for pulled pork shoulder and smoked salmon. Originally, the main course options were going to include those along with some — still in its experimental stages — smoked beef brisket.

But then I got difficult.

You see, while I will eat pork and beef, they’re not exactly my favorite foods. As for salmon, well, I firmly believe that the only way to serve it is sushi grade and raw. If it’s not… it’s salmon for someone else.

And — and this is where I start to feel sheepish and apologetic but really shouldn’t — after making a good effort to ensure that the dietary needs and preferences of family and friends would be adequately covered, the next thing I wanted was to serve — and eat — a food that I really, really liked at an event that was really, really important to me. Food is sometimes important for emotional reasons, and this was one of them.

Only, just as I had my heart set on one of my favorites — foil-wrapped whitefish, I was thinking — my partner was set on his. Moreover, there were practical reasons why whitefish — a food that could not really be pre-cooked and re-heated and of which leftovers would not keep well — was not a viable option. To complicate matters, there were some wires crossed, and when I said that the pork — which we’d been eating regularly up to this point (and will likely continue to eat regularly in the future) — was not something I especially enjoyed, it hurt my partner’s feelings. If part of food is emotional, it gets to be emotional for everybody.

Not gonna lie, given our various emotional baggage, this was actually a profoundly uncomfortable sticking point for a couple of days. (Also, food-created discomfort with one’s cohabiting meal partner, both of whom already have their own separate food and eating issues? While it certainly was not tragic for us, it was the discomfort that kept on giving.) But it was never going to be a deal breaker (so I guess this is not, technically, the chicken that saved my marriage — but it was too awesome a title to forgo), and I think it was always in the back of our minds that the solution was to find a third option that worked for both of us.

Which is eventually what we decided to do — We researched online for alternate recipes that fit our respective emotional nooks and crannies. Eventually, we settled on one for crock pot chicken drumsticks (source and our modifications to follow in a later post). We tried it the first time according to the written specifications, agreed that we’d like to tweak it to suit our respective palettes, but also thought that the overall concept was a keeper.

And this is what we do. When something comes along that messes with both of us and ends up with our wants conflicting, it’s never a matter of one of us “getting our way” at the expense of the other. Most often, we come up with something that isn’t a compromise, strictly speaking, but is a promising option that is new to both of us.

On that end, the idea of changing my last name doesn’t seem right in the context of our relationship. (It also doesn’t seem right in the context of me, which is probably a big part of why I’m in the relationship that I am.) One person changing — even names — while the other is immovable just isn’t a thing we do, even — ahem — nominally.


I'm here. I like stuff. Some other stuff, I like less.

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Posted in non-asana
20 comments on “The Chicken that Saved My Marriage
  1. Congratulations!! And huzzah for the chicken compromise. I’m glad that you and your partner were able to work something out.

  2. Jess says:

    You’re getting married today!!!? Awesome. I hope you have a blast. My wedding was a small affair, and I loved it that way. I hope the chicken is delicious and a perfect emotional fit, and that the rest of today is too. Congratulations! Your partner is a lucky person.:)

  3. Caitlin says:

    Congratulations! I hope everything is going well for you and that you are enjoying this special day.

  4. whollyword says:

    Congratulations! I hope you both have a wonderful time at the wedding, and I wish you both enduring patience, good humor, and joy in each other’s company.

  5. Omigosh congratulations! I hope your day is wonderful and may chickens keep saving your marriage, metaphorically speaking. ^_^

  6. Congratulations! Also, yay compromise!

  7. Congratulations!

    One of my frustrations with my otherwise-great longtime boyfriend is the name issue. I think it is a moot point because he says that if we don’t have children he doesn’t really care, and both of us are pretty sure we don’t want children. But his ideal is that everyone takes his last name, and my ideal is that either I keep my name and the children have hyphenated names, or everyone including him has hyphenated names. He doesn’t like hyphenated names, which led to some possible compromise suggestions. He has Issues from his parents divorcing and feels that if the wife has a different name than everyone else it will look like/symbolically seem like we’re not all one family. He also doesn’t like the idea of taking my last name. Basically every single compromise is rejected. This is the only issue where he’s so anti-compromise.

  8. Congratulations, Tori! I love the tale here, and love what it represents. Many happy wishes for your marriage.

  9. NessieMonster says:

    Congratulations and all the best for the rest of your marriage. 😀

  10. Congratulations!! May your marriage live long and prosper.

    I love the way you have made the connection between the names and the relationship.

    Also? OMG, I love that image! When I hover over it, I see it’s supposed to be “their first fight”, but it looks to me more like “the happy fantasy romance of two avid readers.”:)

  11. Congratulations! Hope you had a wonderful day. And by the sounds of it, you two are gonna have an awesome marriage:)

  12. R. H. Ward says:

    With baby and new job, I’d missed this. Congratulations! I hope it was a fantastic and not too stressful day.

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