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Gratitude in Dating (And in the Kitchen)

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I am a codependent cook. It makes me nervous to cook for someone else. What if they don't like what I decide to cook? Even worse, what if they don't like how I cook? To avoid these uncomfortable questions -- and the even more uncomfortable answers -- I have simply chosen not to cook for people (for years). But, taking a risk, a couple of days ago, I decided to make dinner for Ben (Remember him? See previous blog entry "Maybe Nice Guys Only Have One Shoe") to celebrate his birthday.*

I began cooking early on Saturday morning. I was nervous, but everything was going great until Ben called. He said to turn on the television. Nashville (where we live) was in the middle of its worst flood in recorded history. The roads Ben would have to travel on to come over for dinner had become rivers in a matter of moments. Since neither of us owns a boat and the mayor of Nashville urged everyone to stay put, Ben stayed home.

My first thought was to throw a pity party for myself: I had finally cooked for someone, and they couldn't even come over to eat the food. Luckily, these days, I realize that my first reaction is sometimes not the healthiest, so I moved on to my next thought: gratitude. I was grateful that both Ben and I were safe and dry in the terrible storms. (While many people had lost their cars, homes, and tragically, even their lives, we would simply have to delay dinner.)

When it comes to dating, I am learning that gratitude needs to be my first thought--rather than second, third, or dead last. Looking back over my dating history, I can see that I looked at everything and everyone through a lens of harsh negativity. Even though I had experienced many truly bad dates (i.e. Taco Bell, I paid), I had also learned a lot about myself and even gained some new friends in the process.

In my relationship with Ben, I am trying more and more every day to look through a lens of positivity--at not only us but also life in general. When I am negative about anything, it tends to seep into all parts of my life, especially relationships with those I am closest (Sorry, Ben!). With recent difficulties in my family (my mom is battling a serious cancer), I am finding it particularly challenging to be a glass-is-half-full kind of gal. I welcome any and all comments on how to maintain that mentality of seeing the glass in proper perspective.

Speaking of glasses and dinnerware, I am grateful that Ben made it over the very next day. I am grateful for microwaves and that I'm with a guy who doesn't mind his birthday dinner being reheated as leftovers. He actually said it was the best gift I had given him, because I had stepped out of my comfort zone to do it. I am also grateful that Ben taught me that the act of cooking for someone is more important than the food itself. I no longer have to be codependent in the kitchen!

I will cook again for Ben and others soon. It's lasagna next time, so I welcome all tips on that as well. As always, I am grateful for your help.

With a Nice Guy in Music City,

Jenni

* Yes, we are still happily together. I know this surprises many of you!

This piece is in a series I am posting related to dating. You will also find this series on my Facebook Notes page. (There are already some great comments posted on Facebook from others!) If you have dated me and you are reading this, thanks for being a part of my experience. This is all in good fun! I am grateful.

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