Once, in the early months of our marriage, Sean decided to cook something. I don’t actually remember what it was, breakfast potatoes, I think. Whatever it was, he used the onion. Not “an” onion, “the” onion. As in, the only one is the house. See, I’m what you might call hyper-organized, something that extends into my grocery shopping. I make a weekly menu and then buy what I need (only what I need) for those meals. So, we had a lone onion in the house, an onion I was planning to use for a meal later in the week. I walked into the kitchen to see my new husband pleased with himself over his spontaneous culinary venture. My first thought was, “How nice! He’s making breakfast.” This was immediately followed by, “Where’d he get the onion?”
I could have gotten agitated, sighed and said, “Great, now I’ll have to go back to the store for another onion.” But instead…wait, that’s exactly what I said. Well, at least while perusing the produce section it occurred to me that maybe my perspective was all wrong. Maybe instead of getting pissed at Sean and making The Onion Incident his fault, I should take the initiative to prevent these sorts of things in the first place. After all, he was only trying to be nice and prove he knew his way around a kitchen. And, I hadn’t clearly communicated to him my system or plans for the onion. I made a mental note to start using Post It notes more often, and then promptly returned my single onion to its bin and grabbed the bag of onions instead. Because that’s what marriage is really all about: delighting (and sometimes annoying) you partner by sharing your unique talents, wisdom and quirks. But to do that, each person needs their own onion and the freedom to dice or slice, sauté or grill as they see fit.
Here’s something else I’ve learned: no matter how much flavor they add, inevitably, onions and marriage both will leave a bad taste in your mouth at some point. When it happens, don’t wait on your partner to do something about it. Offer the breath mint yourself. You wouldn’t let someone you love walk around with stinky breath. Don’t let them walk around with a stinky attitude or stinky feelings either. If your partner is offering you the breath mint, take it. They’re trying to tell you something. And if you’re the one holding the Altoids tin, go ahead and take one for yourself, too; you probably need it.
One final pearl of wisdom I’ve learned about onions and marriage: both, under the right conditions are prone to sprouting. See Exhibit A.