How to Make a Marriage Work

Many people have asked me what my secret to a successful marriage is. Ok, truth be told, no one has ever asked me that question but…I’d like to think that my marriage is worthy of such an inquiry.

I’ve heard that the secret to a great marriage is never going to bed angry. I’ve also heard that the secret is open lines of communication. My sister-in-law Gina told me that the secret to a successful marriage is separate bathrooms. But MY secret is simply: compromise. (To Gina’s credit…separate bathrooms do help! )

You see, I love Hubby implicitly. He is the yin to my yang,  the chocolate to my peanut butter, the butter to my bread and the cream in my coffee. My darling Hubby and I have been through thick and thin and we stick together through it all. We do, however, repeatedly part ways at the dinner table.

If you’ve been following the blog you know that Hubby is a pretty picky eater and I am a bona fide eating machine.  This can cause some friction when it comes to meal planning. Here’s where that magic word ‘compromise’ comes in.

Every year during football season I get a mad craving for a big crock pot full of chili. I like my chili full of flavor, with beans and a little bit of heat. Hubby, on the other hand, does not like spicy food at all and will systematically pick out each and every bean in the bowl. This year I finally found the solution: (drum roll please) Cincinnati Chili! This recipe is full of bold flavor, has a great texture (with or without beans) and won’t make you go running for the antacid. 

Cincinnati Chili

4 inch square (double thickness) cheesecloth

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp whole allspice

1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

2 lbs lean ground beef

1 cup chopped onion (1 large)

1 1/2 cups water

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

3 tbsp chili powder

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

3/4 tsp ground cumin

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cayenne pepper (or less if you don’t like too much heat)

1/2 tsp unsweetened chocolate powder (yep, you heard me right…trust me on this one)

12 oz dried spaghetti, cooked and drained

Optional: 1 15oz can kidney beans, drained

 1. Place bay leaf, allspice and cloves into 4 inch cheesecloth square and tie closed with kitchen string. Set aside.

2. In a large skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat until brown. Drain off fat. Transfer beef to a  quart slow cooker. Stir in onion, kidney beans (if using), tomato sauce, water, chili powder, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper into ground beef in the cooker. Stir in spice bag.

3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours on high setting for 4 to 5 hours.  Stir in chocolate in the last 30 minutes of cooking. Remove spice bag. Serve chili over cooked spaghetti & top with your favorite fix’ns.

This, my dear friends is compromise at its very best. I get a delightful bowl of chili and Hubby doesn’t have to spend an hour picking out kidney beans.

It’s the storybook ending we all want. The Queen of Cuisine is carried off into the sunset by her mighty Knight in baggy jeans to live happily ever after. All because of one simple word: compromise.

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6 thoughts on “How to Make a Marriage Work

  1. Liz, I am so proud of you in so many ways, you are so wise for your age.I believe in Compromise too. I have known your Uncle Johnny 49 years, and soon will be celebrating 30 years of marriage. Believe me there has been alot of compromise. I just wanted to add, a husband is so much more than just your husband, he needs to be reminded sometimes of all he is to you. A kiss goodnight and a promise to see you in the morning makes a marriage a happy one.

    • Thank you so much Aunt Kathy! You just made my day! 🙂 Love to you and Uncle Johnny!
      Between you two, my folks and Hubby’s folks, I definitely have some wonderful examples of happy and successful marriages around me.

  2. I’m going to try this! It sounds great. I already make something like this using cinnamon and cumin but I use ground ginger rather than pepper for heat. I’ve not tried cloves or chocolate powder… but I REALLY like the sound of it!
    I agree. Compromise is an essential element in a healthy relationship. And, as you point out, it’s especially easy (natural) when you love someone implicitly.

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