Barin and Derin were a “perfect” couple especially as Barin was a sucker for good food and had an insatiable appetite for culinary diversity and quality while Derin constantly met and often exceeded his expectations in this regard. He absolutely loved good food and prior to marriage, Derin stopped short at nothing in fuelling this appetite. Even after marriage, this diversity and quality continued and their marriage was indeed blissful.
Cracks however surfaced about 18 months into the marriage when Barin was transferred to work in Warri and Derin suddenly stopped being the gourmet and traditional chef, rolled into one, that he had come to know. The meals presented were now unexciting, mundane and tasteless. Initially, he assumed something was wrong and she was probably distraught but his prodding was always answered with a wry smile and the words “Bee, I am fine”. Derin, realising the effect on her erstwhile wonderful marriage, resorted to buying food from eateries and restaurants but Barin was a connoisseur. He could smell the difference miles away. “Ah…ah Derin, this was not cooked at home now. This has a commercial ring to it”, he would often say and so one day, Derin was forced to tell him the truth about the perceived culinary prowess.
Derin: “Bee dear, I have something to tell you,” she said in a gentle voice after he had just polished off his Sunday Brunch at a 4-star hotel.
Barin:” Can’t a man enjoy a good meal in peace? After all, you cannot cook such a meal. What do you want to say woman?” he replied gruffly.
Derin: “You know dear, all those wonderful meals you had during courtship and early marriage”, after a deep sigh she continued, “they were actually mama’s handiwork. You know, she worked as Chief Chef in one of the five-star hotels in Lagos prior to retirement. She knows how to cook up a storm at short notice and with minimum ingredients/resources. Unfortunately, while growing up, the entreaties that I learn from her, fell on deaf ears as I felt I could always pay for the services of a good chef if needed. Unfortunately, your insistence that I am directly responsible for the preparation of your food was not envisaged which is why we have crash-landed where we are”.
A crestfallen and deflated Barin replied “Dee… what kind of woman doesn’t know how to cook. R-e-a-l-l-y, who doesn’t know that the way to a man’s heart is through a man’s stomach! So, what do you expect to do about it”?
Derin responded: “I have spoken with mom and she promises a crash course in all your preferred menu during my annual leave. So, with your kind permission, I will spend 2 weeks of my next vacation with her and you trust now, being the fast learner that I am, this will be behind us in a jiffy”.
Barin: “You are the best, always willing to view things objectively and not afraid to backstep when wrong. I love you as I know you genuinely sacrifice for our love. Permission granted”! With this, he seals the discussion with a kiss.
Derin calls her friend Obele and excitedly relates her decision and its basis. To her chagrin, Obele says – “Ah Derin, I think you are making a mistake. Your husband has no right to alter your disposition towards ANYTHING. If you don’t like cooking… that, is you period. Are you asking him to change? Why doesn’t he change his palate to accept your cooking? Anyway, that is my opinion though”.
Havilah however commends Derin’s decision and advises she sticks by it to enable her marriage to remain blissful. Her decision has unwittingly strengthened the marriage as it shows a willingness to sacrifice.
Importantly, Havilah advises “Never lose that which was the initial basis of attraction be it your fashion sense, intellectual discourse, wit, culinary expertise, style, etc. It goes to the roots of the relationship and helps to keep it renewed/reinvigorated.”