I’m pretty sure my  husband and I received just about every wacky kitchen appliance known to man for our wedding. Most of them make for some pretty nifty shelf decorations. A few are used on a weekly basis. And one…one taught me a whole lot about marriage.

It’s called…The Perfect Pancake. You may have seen an infomercial for this back in the day. This crazy kitchen tool changed my marriage. (And it could change yours too!)

David and I hadn’t been married very long. We didn’t have children, could sleep past 6:30 on the weekend, and didn’t quite grasp the immense freedom we had. =) It was an average Saturday morning, and we were making pancakes. My husband likes to say that he doesn’t know how to cook (and then I remind him he lived on his own for years…), but one thing he’ll concede he can make is pancakes. Instead of pulling out our griddle, we decided to try out the “Perfect Pancake.” How could you resist when the product’s very name set such a high standard? Who wouldn’t want a PERFECT pancake. We mixed up our batter, and read the instructions. Pour  the batter on one side of the pan, heat for a few minutes, and flip. Voila! The perfect pancake is now yours to enjoy….or not…

Sure, we poured our batter and heated it for a few minutes. Then, it was time for the big flip. I flipped the little contraption and oh how the pancake batter went flying. There was batter all over the stove, the microwave, the counters…..and if that wasn’t bad enough, the pancake didn’t actually cook properly! Like most men would, David grabbed the gadget and said something equivalent to, “Give me. I can do it.” Again with the batter, the heating up…all leading up to the flip….Oh boy. Batter on the plants, the sink, in my hair…batter batter everywhere. Needless to say, we did not end up with the perfect pancake. What we got was something MUCH better.

Yes, there was a ginormous mess (or what I now like to call, “everyday life with four kids”). There was lots of scrubbing and wiping, and our breakfast was delayed. But there was laughter….lots of it. There was playfulness. Joy. Fun. And the memories from that day….It’s nearly 10 years later, and I can remember that random Saturday like it was yesterday.

In the past 10 years, we’ve planned date nights, nights away (although, those are much harder to come by these days), and made all kinds of fancy plans. You know what? That morning making pancakes….moments like that are the ones I crave. The problem with elaborate dates, vacations, and planned out evenings is that they carry expectations, and we can easily find ourselves let down. We build up special nights or events with our spouse in our head, and imagine and plan for something romantic…magical…straight out of the movies. Know how often that happens? Those “perfect” moments….the bright shiny ones they sell you on tv….those aren’t real. No, real life is covered in batter. Memories are messy and imperfect. Gloriously imperfect. So forget about trying to create those scripted, magical, “perfect” moments with your spouse. Instead, watch for the real life moments that are happening all around you, every day, and choose to create a lifetime of memories from those. Make imperfect pancakes.