I originally posted this in 2012. Since that time, Matt and I have spent quite a bit of time mentoring and counseling couples who are soon to be married. This is the story we always tell when we’re introducing the topic of communication. Since it’s so good for all of us to be reminded of this truth, I felt this story was worth posting for you again…
What French Fries Teach Us About Communication
Matt and I have some wonderful friends who once shared with us a fun story of something they learned within the first year of their marriage. This story has everything to do with french fries…but really nothing at all to do with french fries. Hang with me here.
I’ve taken a little bit of literary license here since I don’t know the exact details of how everything went for our friends, plus, I’m really just trying to make a point. Also, while telling this story, I’ll call our friends Gertrude and Hank, because shucks, thinking of fictitious names for our friends is just downright fun.
Gertrude and Hank were delighted to be newlyweds and as with all couples in love, they were eager to please each other in every way. As you can imagine, this desire to please each other was quite apparent when they dined together on french fries. Isn’t it always? I mean, this is the stuff Hallmark cards are made of.
Gertrude absolutely loves the fat, soggy type of french fries. Hank, on the other hand, much prefers the thin, crispy, crunchy french fries. And so, in this couple’s desire to show love and care for one another, each was sure to give the other the best, most tasty french fries.
Gertrude, because of her love of big, soggy fries, always placed the fattest, soggiest french fries on Hank’s plate. He cheerfully accepted them and sacrificially ate the plump potatoes, knowing that he would then be allowing his beloved to eat the choicest of fries – the thin, crispy, crunchy ones. Both Gertrude and Hank were thrilled to be pleasing one another by giving up what they knew to be the best of the fries.
And so it went for months, every time the couple ate french fries together.
Until finally, one day, Gertrude and Hank participated in a little bit of french fry communication. Somehow, the truth came out about each person’s french fry preference and their desire to give up what they each really wanted in order to please the other one. Lo and behold, in their effort to please each other, and in their failure to communicate, they had both been wrong in their assumption of what the other truly wanted. Thus, they had both been choking down french fries that neither of them really liked.
The moral of the story is that you and your spouse need to always be very up front about your french fry preferences. And also, you should communicate often about other, more important details in life and in your marriage. It is important to be selfless as you work to please your spouse, but for goodness sake, communicate.
Gertrude and Hank were doing what they thought was best for one other. They were both playing the martyr, sacrificing their own desires, in the name of love, for their spouse. But the end result was that no one was happy with their french fries. What a waste of good ketchup.
Talk to your spouse. Be up front with your desires. And for the love (or not) of crispy french fries, always communicate.
P.S. Gertrude and Hank – you guys rock. Thank you for the way Jesus shines through your godly marriage.