| Family Reflections |

It’s Not about the Truffles

Marital communication can bring us closer — or drive us apart


What a pleasant surprise for Chaya! She’d just finished helping her sister redecorate, and Libby, so grateful to be able to benefit from Chaya’s training as a professional interior designer, wanted to show appreciation with a gift she knew her sister couldn’t refuse. She sent a box of truffles large enough for Chaya’s entire family to enjoy for days!

Chaim, Chaya’s husband, was also pleased, chocolate-lover that he was. He was proud of his wife’s kind nature and ability to bring happiness to others through her work, and was happy to share in the rewards.

He didn’t hesitate to reach into the box of truffles as he passed by it on his way to work the next morning. Chaim never gave it a second thought when he reached into the box again upon arriving home, and one more time later in the evening when he felt the urge for “just one more.” They were delicious!

Chaya was far less impulsive than her husband. When she came home with the chocolates, she put the box on the counter and went about the evening routine. The last thought on her mind before she drifted off to sleep that night was how much she was looking forward to a couple of salted caramels tomorrow...

Chaya had completely forgotten that school photos were scheduled for the next day. She made a mad dash through the morning routine with the kids, getting everyone picture-ready. Then she made an equally mad dash to the office where a big project awaited her. The day flew by.

It wasn’t until eight p.m., after dinner, homework, bath time, bedtime for the littles, and all the rest, that Chaya remembered the truffles. It was obviously too late to give them to the kids, but she definitely deserved at least one or two after racing through such a hectic, whirlwind of a day!

Mouth already watering, she approached the box, excitedly removed the lid and then, confused, stared at all the empty wrappers. It looked like half the chocolates were missing! Who ate them? Where was her precious row of salted caramels?

“Chaim,” Chaya called out. “Do you know what happened to the truffles?”

Communication Problems

Chaim came into the kitchen. “What’s up?” He said it so casually.

Chaya, on the other hand, was close to panic. “Did you take a bunch of chocolates?” she asked in a too-squeaky voice.

“I had some,” Chaim replied calmly. “Is there a problem?”

“A problem?” Chaya was practically screaming. “I haven’t had even one and it looks like you ate ten of them, including the ones you know I love most, the salted caramels!”

Now Chaim got agitated. “So now I’m not allowed to touch ‘your’ treats! Is that it? Is this what you called me in for — to complain about truffles? Is this what our marriage has come to? I don’t understand why you’re making a big issue over nothing, especially now, when we’ve been in such a good place. I don’t get you at all! You act like you want us to be miserable. Well, you’ve got what you wanted!” And with that, Chaim stopped out of the room.

The Bigger Picture

Chaim’s defensive counter-attack did nothing to calm his wife down, address her distress, or acknowledge his own behavior. Every one of his sentences was meant to deflect the issue and protect his own fragile ego.

Chaya had invited this response by her too loud, too emotional accusation. The issue moved from “truffles” to “marital harmony.”

Had they both maintained the bigger picture — focusing on their relationship, for example — perhaps the conversation could have sounded like this:

Chaya: “Well, yes, it’s a problem. I was really looking forward to those chocolates, especially the salted caramels, and I’m very disappointed. I’d planned to give some to the kids as well, and I don’t think there are enough now. Would you mind just checking with me before you help yourself to the chocolates next time?”

Chaim: “I’m sorry. You’re right. I shouldn’t have just kept eating them when I saw no one else had had one yet. I don’t know why I did that. I feel terrible. Tomorrow I’ll pick up some salted caramels for you. I’m so sorry, sweetie.”

Sweeter than chocolate truffles.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 793)

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