MMM Marriage Hacks: Food Fight


Yes, my EC and I get into fights occasionally. Shameful, but true. What is really weird is we never seem to fight about anything big or important. Not us. We rarely fight, but when we do, we find the dumbest, most trivial things imaginable, and there we make our stand. I’m sure none of you could possibly understand, but humor me.

Over the years, one of our favorite topics of contention – which we chose to re-visit on a regular basis – is best demonstrated by a simple conversation:

Me: Where do you want to eat?

She: I don’t know. You choose.

Me: I don’t want to choose. I chose last time.

She: I hate choosing. You do it.

Me: I want to go where you want to go.

She: Well, I want to go where you want to go – anyplace is fine with me. You choose.

Me: Serious? Do I have to choose ever single time???

She: Nevermind. Let’s just go home. (She escalates.)

Me: (soothing voice of reason) OK, I’m sorry. I’ll choose. Let’s eat Chinese!

She: I don’t want Chinese…

Now, I am sure we are the only couple on the planet who has ever engaged in such silliness. You would think that over 30+ years of marriage, and a lifetime of decisions, this would never happen. Sadly, I can be decisive in most areas in my life, but ask me where I want to eat on Date Night, I become a bumbling mass of indecision. My EC always has decision-phobia, so together, we are paralytic.

Part of the problem is that I want to make my EC happy, by taking her where she would like to eat. She feels the same way. So we fight about putting the other one first. Ironic?

But we don’t fight about this anymore. We found a solution – and I am going to share it with you.

This solution takes two. It is not autocratic, and leaves open the opportunity to try and please each other.

All it takes is a smartphone.

If we are going to go to dinner, I send Chrissie a text – even if we are in the same room, or car. It is a list of places that we can consider for dinner. For example:

2 things to remember: It has to start as an EVEN number, and you can load it with your favorites, her favorites, or a combination – depending on how charitable you feel.

Next step: Chrissie copies and pastes the list in a message back to me. Then she removes ONE restaurant from the list. I repeat the same process, back and forth, until the list gets winnowed down. Like this:

From 8 to 7, to eventually one:

Looks like it is Italian food this time.

Here is why it works: The person that makes the list (Usually me) has already pre-screened and determined every restaurant on the list to be somewhere they would like to eat. That way, the person that makes the final choice already knows that their honey is happy with either – so there is no wrong answer!

On the other side, the ultimate chooser gets final say, without fighting, or even talking about it. No one can get saddled with their least favorite choice, because they get filtered out soonest.

In our dynamic. I tend to make the list. It is also helpful because if money is tight, Outback and Sushi can be replaced by Rubio’s and Pizza, etc. (Or Del Taco or Wendy’s)

You might think we are silly, but we no longer argue about where to go out for dinner, and the process is kinda fun- and I see that as a win for both of us.

Come to think of it, this could work when going out with another couple as well.




  1. My parents were married for 25 years, until Dad died last July. In all that time, they had many discussions, but only one argument. It went like this:
    Mom: I’m so blessed to have such an awesome husband.
    Dad: You’re the awesome one, I’m the blessed one.
    Mom: You’re the awesome one, I’m the blessed one.
    They finally ended the argument in the early afternoon of the day he died. They concluded they were both awesome, and both blessed.

  2. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. It ought to work with other decisions as well, like what to do after dinner:

    Miniature Golf, etc.

    or where to vacation:

    Cape Cod, etc.

    and even life decisions:

    Sitting the Fence, etc.

    well, maybe not that one, but we should all have made that choice already anyway…

  3. Your example made me laugh out loud! We have the same situation in our marriage, and my husband will ALWAYS choose Chinese or some other Asian food. Which, of course, is rarely what I want to eat. I’m definitely adopting this extremely helpful marriage hack. Thank you!!

  4. This reminds me of when my sister and I were kids. Only one piece of pie, cake, bottle of soda left and we had to share. One divides, the other takes her choice. It worked great and no fights!

  5. I love this idea. We argued last night and settled on corn burritos from Frosty’s. I haven’t had them in years. I had a very minor but scary surgery just before. I hadn’t eaten all day and everything sounded good. I picked through them and ate until I was full but didn’t over-eat.

    We started out to a neighboring town to buy our daughter a birthday gift. We weren’t on the road long and halfway there I became so carsick I felt like I was thrashing. My Steve went into a fabric shop and bought quilting supplies (fat quarters) by himself.

    I just wanted to arrive home fast! “Hurry!” I was throwing-up in his special 42 ouncer by the time we started up our road 2 miles from home. I ruined his long-established routine of drinking soda and chewing ice everyday, but Sunday. No harsh words but he laughs like crazy when I ask again, “Why did you take me to Ventura?” Now it’s the day after and 11:30 at night and I woke him up to ask him again why I needed to go to Ventura with him. 🤣

    I was recently thinking I might like to go with our family deep sea fishing. I love it, but get sick every time. Now, I will never fish in a boat (the corn burritos were a reminder) and have permantly decided stuff like corn burritos aren’t really Mexican Food. I’m picking the place next time. 🛶 I loved this post- so perfect for us. Thank you.

  6. We did something similar but less effective. I pick the genre (Italian, Chinese, sushi American) he picks 3 places, and I pick the final place. I like your idea better.

  7. So we aren’t quite so techno in our decision making. I bought a see and say at a a thrift shop and wrote restaurants on it that we both like then we spin for where to eat. We allow 1 no each if needed. It works for us and also lets our grandkids get in the act if they are around!!!

  8. That is a great idea!!! Whenever we need to make a quick decision, I will definitely be nicking it.

    We got so fed up in our family that we designated an “eat out” day. That day is Saturday. When we get the new calendar in the beginning of the year I write down our family’s names on the Saturdays in rotation. The person to whom the Saturday belongs gets to choose where we eat, and no-one can complain, they can only say, “What a great idea!”. If we can’t stand the restaurant or food that is chosen, we put up with it because we know in a couple of weeks it’ll be our turn.

Add your 2¢. (Be nice.)