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The Secret Meaning of the Blueberry Muffin by Kim Hagerty - 09/01/10

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Kim didn’t realize that exchanging marriage vows on the altar at St. Juliana Church meant she’d have to start sharing her food with her husband. And she hated sharing food.

Can this marriage survive?

The secret meaning of a blueberry muffin: Some problems in marriage are unsolvable
By Kim Hagerty

I’ve never liked to share my food. Having someone stick a wet fork in the food on my plate makes me feel sick.

Keep your fork away from my food.

I’m not sure why this is. Maybe it stems back to having six younger brothers and sisters, all trying to get the best pork chop at dinner before they ran out. Or to never getting enough of the one box of “good” cereal my mom bought weekly. Maybe I resented having to eat too many bowls of Cheerios and not enough of Captain Crunch.

This leads to a situation with my husband, Pat. We drive to work together, which is very nice except for the Problem of the Blueberry Muffin. When we leave, Pat stops for coffee for himself, gets me a blueberry muffin, and then wants to share it. Worse, he wants to eat the top of the blueberry muffin, which is the best part. And though he says he just wants a little, he always eats half. And I want the whole thing.

Okay, I admit this probably seems petty and a little Drama Queen-ish. But I can’t help it. It’s a daily dilemma.

I love Pat and I want to be nice to him. But I also want the whole muffin. Half doesn’t seem like enough. Is it wrong to not want to share my blueberry muffin with the man I love and the father of my children? Am I selfish and greedy for wanting the whole muffin?

Why can’t he just get his own muffin? And why does he take the best part?

This shows the difference between the way men and women think: he just drives along, happily eating more than his share of the muffin, while I take it personally and am tortured by my conscience.

Is a muffin just a muffin or does it represent my marriage? There is no moral dilemma for Pat. He just wants to eat some of the muffin. The best part.

I have heard that most disagreements in marriage are over small things that cannot be settled to the satisfaction of both spouses. This has never seemed more true. I search for a solution to the muffin problem. Should I bake muffins at home and get up earlier to make coffee so we can avoid stopping in the morning? Should I encourage him to give up our habit and put the muffin money into stocks? Will giving up muffins for a year enable us to buy more than one stock?

“Don’t you want your own muffin?” I suggest. “No, I don’t want to waste it,” Pat says. “I’ll just have a bite of yours.”

I resort to threats. “If you keep eating my blueberry muffin I’m going to write about it in the enewsletter,” I tell him. “Then everyone will think you’re nuts,” he says as he takes more of the top of the muffin.

“Let’s get two muffins and you can eat half of one today and the other half tomorrow,” I propose as we get in line for the drive-up window. “No, that’s okay, “ he says, “I only want a little bite of yours.”

Questions for Discussion:

  • What “blueberry muffins” are there in your marriage?
  • Are you disagreeing over something that “can’t be settled?”
  • Is it driving you apart? Or are you learning to live with it?
  • WWJD?

Kim is the Assistant Director of the Family Ministries Office of the Archdiocese of Chicago. She and her husband of 31 years, Pat, have two adult children and a son in law. Her blueberry muffin problem was solved when she went on a gluten-free diet