The Salad Test

By Bob Hansen
As printed in Focus on the Family Magazine

"It's a good thing I didn't see you eat salad before we got married." That simple comment from my wife led to my discovery of the ultrasecret "salad test."

I consider myself fortunate that, while we were dating, I didn't much like green salads. Therefore I didn't have to face one of the most difficult tests men must pass if they hope to marry. It seems that the way a man eats salad clues women into his character.

Take, for example, bite size. I always figured that the person making the salad knew the proper size to cut the lettuce, so I was in the habit of simply stabbing my fork through the pile and stuffing it into my mouth. But now I believe there may be a conspiracy in this regard. Might it be that another woman is purposely cutting the lettuce too large as part of the test?

I know this is going to sound like a lot of extra work, men, but what you must do is cut the lettuce into smaller pieces. I believe the rule here is that no piece should have a surface area greater than 1 square inch. I suggest carrying a small tape measure with you at all times. I know you think you'll starve with this approach, so I suggest you eat something ahead of time. If you forget, there is another option — but it's risky. Halfway through the salad stop eating and stare at her nose.

She'll stop and ask, "What are you looking at?"

"Oh, it's nothing — I guess."

In seconds she'll rush off to the restroom. That's your chance. Quickly gobble down the rest of your salad. Be sure to wipe your mouth on your shirtsleeve before she returns. Any sign of dressing on your cheeks or mustache will not only reveal your ploy, but will guarantee a failing grade.

It seems that men and women view a lot of things differently. You never know when you will happen upon one of these differences. We'd been married 24 years before my wife commented on my salad-eating habits. Still, I find it difficult to change. Even more difficult is to change the way I think about things. Knowing that my wife is not totally in favor of a particular habit of mine, I'm glad to attempt the change because I love her. However, to understand why she thinks the change must be made is another issue. At times, I find the mind of a woman to be unattainable in its depth and unfathomable in its complexity — a fancy way to say I just don't get it.

When I was young and nave, I used to try to understand the way my wife viewed things. Now I see that isn't the point. Instead, I believe it is possible to defer to someone without understanding the why. Love is not an easy lesson to learn or an easy thing to practice, but, oh, the value of it.

After all, the sort of things I am speaking about involve no critical principle, no matter of conscience. So why do I insist on doing it my way? Why not defer to her? It costs me little, but it means so much to her.

So now, when I'm eating a salad (especially in public), I will try to do the thing I don't see the need for. I will do it for her.

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