Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Secrets of a Happy Marriage

I learned a great lesson on how to keep a marriage happy from the French master chef Jacques Pepin. He was on the radio on Thanksgiving Day (on NPR, of course—you know me!) talking about cooking for the holiday with Lynne Rosetto Kasper of The Splendid Table. She does a turkey day program every year called Turkey Confidential. Listeners can call in and ask all manner of questions regarding the preparation, cooking and serving of virtually anything you can imagine. It’s quite informative, and lots of fun to listen to if you happen to be alone in the kitchen on that day!

Lynne Rosetto Kasper

One of her guests was the aforementioned Jacques Pepin. He’s very amusing and entertaining, and being a Frenchman of the old school, I must say that he is also charming. In the midst of all the discussion of how to choose your ingredients, how to clean, slice, and dice them, how to safely cook them and how to beautifully serve them, Monsieur Pepin slipped in the most valuable nugget of info of the decade. I will share it with you. Perhaps many, many marriages and other relationships can be saved.
Jacques Pepin

Jacques Pepin noted almost offhandedly that there was a point on which he and his wife disagreed. They therefore did what she wanted, as their plan is that when they differ, they do what she wants. At the same time, when they agree on things, they do what he wants. This, he avers, is completely fair. I agree. It just ain’t never gonna happen in this marriage. You recall that I am married to the Center of the Universe, so we handle things differently.

In our marriage, CoTU handles all the small decisions, and I handle all the big decisions. We’re just so lucky that in all these years we’ve never had to make a big decision.


  1. Totally off subject, I believe that Jacques Pepin is one of my direct descendants on my paternal grandma's side. Maybe that is why I often find my husband agreeing to do it my way. It's in my DNA.

  2. My hubby of nearly 40 years is much better with money than me and he orders the best food in I let him do all the money stuff but he keeps me informed on almost all the money stuff is beyond comparison to any banker I have ever known..the food thing he never gets ill in any restaurant choice so I always order what he all the years we have been married he has never gotten ill from any food delivered and beverage too..Jaques Pepin is my favorite chef, he makes food preparation look fun & exciting and he never gets upsett if something doesn't come out great, he makes it look great and I am sure it is tasty..I luv your column, reading it often. Happy Holidays to you and your center of the universe husband too!

  3. Hey Leah! I salute this wise man! Even-handed, amicable, agreeable; the perfect solution. And a Happy Christmas/Hanukkah/etc! Indigo

  4. After reading this I happened to get a call from my ex-husband and I asked him his thoughts about Pepins approach to a happy marriage, in relation to OUR union. He agreed with Pepin and thought for the most part we had followed the same approach unknowingly. He continued and said that the one trait of mine that drove him crazy that I was TOO agreeable!

    Of course, he followed up with that he NOW found that endearing. "Why?" I asked. His answer? Because his new wife goes against whatever he says, even if he said it knowing that's what she wanted in the first place.

    I think that maybe SHE should listen to NPR.

    Happy New Year!

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