I was once told a story called, “Love, Marriage and Grammar.” Essentially, the three go hand in hand. The story takes place early on in a marriage, specifically, a weekend with the in-laws. For the sake of his head not being hit with a cake pan, the narrator asked me to omit names – a wise choice I might add.
In-laws can be an interesting breed. They created a human being whom you are undeniably in love with- which comes at a price, as loving someone always does. Your next task is to win their parents’ love as well; a task that not all accomplish. Spending time with in-laws can be daunting at first. Sometimes they seem to be a whole different species entirely, and you have no idea how to communicate. Luckily, for this man, his in-laws weren’t the bad apples of the bunch, just a different shade of red.
His mother-in-law had quite the hobby, however. She loved to bake. She would bake cakes, cupcakes and anything else she could think of. People would even come to her to have custom cakes created for their special day. Her baking tools were her prized possessions, aside from her husband and daughter of course. She kept photo albums of every cake she had baked. I kid you not, her shelves were filled with photo albums, like many family’s shelves are, yet these books contained the finest desserts rather than vacations to the Grand Canyon.
One evening, the man sat between his wife and mother-in-law, a photo album on his lap. This, he said, was love; you don’t look through a photo album of cakes just for anyone. At this point, it’s crucial to mention that both he and his wife’s careers depend on writing, grammar, spelling, etc. The mother-in-law on the other hand, simply a just-for-fun baker. Now, this album had some pretty amazing pictures of cakes that the man couldn’t even imagine making. Most of his “ooo’s” and “aahh’s” were genuine…most of them.
As they continued flipping, they came across a particular cake that caught his eye. It was a round cake with a decorative border. On the top were the words, “Your 40.” The mother-in-law explained how she made this cake for a friend on their 40th birthday. At this point, the man felt a giggle rise in his chest as he began pointing at the grammar mistake that stood out to him like a sore thumb. As his chuckle began to rise, he suddenly felt a sharp pain in his side. He looked at his wife, her elbow lodged in his ribcage. Her eyes narrowed as her lips pursed. The man suddenly lowered his finger and fell silent.
This is when the man noted the most important rule of marriage: know when to shut up. He looked back over to the mother-in-law and gave her the biggest smile he could muster between clenched teeth, his laugh still bubbling inside him. She smiled back and continued flipping through the photo album.
That day, the man learned the importance of love, marriage and grammar. Love is looking through a photo album of cakes with your wife and mother-in-law. Marriage is knowing when to just shut up. And Grammar, well, grammar is important, but not when wedged between two women and a photo album.