A Lesson About Love from the Cereal Aisle

It was the in the middle of the cereal aisle at the grocery store that I learned one of my first lessons about love that has stuck with me ever since.

We were dating long-distance and Michael was in town for the weekend. I had to run to the grocery store and, still in the get-to-know-you phase of our relationship, I asked him what kind of cereal he'd like. He pointed to the Cheerios.

"Cheerios?! Ugh. What instead?" I responded, suggesting a frosted-wheat cereal instead. I don't remember what we ended up picking in the end, except that it wasn't Cheerios. And that for the rest of the trip, I pushed the cart and Michael lagged a few steps behind, not talking.

When we left the store, I asked what was wrong with him, completely unaware of the gravity of the situation that had taken place in the cereal aisle, where cheesy cartoon characters and cheery cardboard boxes leered in the background.

"You asked what I wanted," he said, reminding me of the Cheerios.

"Yeah, but I don't like Cheerios," I told him, hoping he'd appeal to compromise.

"Well, you shouldn't ask me for my opinion if you're not going to take it."

There! That sentence, right there!
That hit me smack in the forehead. Of course, I didn't mean any disrespect by the cereal veto. I merely wanted us to get something we both liked, and Cheerios certainly was not that.

But I realized, for the first time, that if I'm going to ask him for an opinion, I must be willing to accept it. I realized what it means when I ask for his opinion and then disregard it, like it doesn't matter. Though the scenario was innocent on the surface, I now saw it in a new light, that my actions spelled out disrespect and insult.

I realized--yet again--the power of words, and even more so, the power of respecting those words. That lesson has lasted with me, and the morale leaps to life again whenever I think about asking Michael for his opinion. If I'm going to ask it, I prepare myself to accept whatever he says. So if there's an option I don't want, I have to be upfront about that rather than expect him to read my mind. Sometimes, I have to be willing to make a choice (say, to wear this blouse and not that one) with confidence, rather than indulge the desire to fish for a compliment by way of asking for an "opinion."

I've learned to think a bit more before I speak. Lest we take another trip down the cereal aisle and memory lane.

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  1. your such a great writer. i realized this in a 'not so obvious' way. I feel like its a lot bigger of a problem for many people than one would think. Great story and lesson.

  2. this scenario is so me and my hubs.

  3. Kevin and I try to always find something we can both agree on. We had the "Cherrio's" discussion just this morning, he likes cherrio's, I don't (must be a male Sechrist thing),easy solution, we have cherrio's for him and granola or another cereal for me. Just because Kevin likes Cherrio's does not mean I have to eat them or that I am showing any disrespect to my wonderful husband by wanting something different. This mutual respect for each other also works w/ movies, music, etc. A truly succesful partnership takes each person's like's and opinions into consideration. Tina

  4. our men are to be the spiritual leaders and it's very hard for anyone to lead when you have someone who really isn't looking to be lead. that is a side note of mine not really a direct link to your post! sorry bout that girl. lol

    In regards to the lesson I agree that it is a HUGE issue to ask the opinion of someone you love and always push for what you want while disregarding their preference. I love how he was gentle with you and correcting how you handled the situation. You guys sound adorable and I would love to hear more lessons you've learned over the course of the relationship. I think any pointers are GOOD pointers<3

  5. @ Tamara - Aww, thanks so much for the nice words! I really appreciate that :) I also agree that we/people don't realize how big of problem this really is and what it means at the heart of the issue.

    @ Tina - Yes, I think mutual respect is something we all have to strive after, whether regarding cereal choices or other life decisions!

    @ SavedThruLove - Thanks! Yes, Michael definitely treats me with much more grace than I deserve! I'm still learning my way through this little marriage of ours, but will continue to share any lessons/insights that crop up along the way :)

  6. i just re-read my comment and I apologize if that came off rude. Sometimes I think aloud and obviously type aloud. I didn't mean you were unwilling to be LEAD at all. I really don't know what I referring to when I typed that thought. haha... oh lord.

  7. @ SavedthruLove - Haha, thanks for the clarification, but I totally understood (and agree with) what you were trying to say! No need to apologize at all. :)


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