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         The Great Ice Cream Caper


When you bring two individuals together to make a couple there will always be differences which need to be recognized and dealt with. No matter how much in love a couple may be, it's not reasonable to expect to see eye to eye on everything, nor should we assume that our way of thinking is always the correct way or the only way.

Love isn't about changing someone to conform to our idea of what that person should be. Rather, it's about accepting the other person - all their differences, faults, and shortcomings, and loving them despite these things. Tolerance, acceptance, and our openness to new ideas and different ways of doing things is essential to a successful and harmonious relationship.

Many years ago in the early stages of my own marriage, something happened which has stuck with me all of these years. It's strange how sometimes the most insignificant things can turn out to be learning experiences which we carry with us for years to come. I like to refer to this particular incident as; The Great Ice Cream Caper. A bit silly - perhaps, but to this day I cannot open a carton of ice cream without thinking about it, laughing, and reminding myself that I don't know everything, and my way of doing things isn't the only way.

I grew up opening gallon cartons (boxes) of ice cream one way, and one way only. I'm quite certain as long as their have been gallon cartons of ice cream, members of my family have opened them exactly the same way. If cavemen had cartons of ice cream, my caveman-clan would have opened these in the same way I do today - you pull the tab or flap on the front of the box and lift the top lid. Logical, simple - let's face it, that's just how it's done!

The Great Ice Cream Caper came about shortly after my wife; Diane, and I were married. It was an ordinary evening, we had finished dinner an hour or so before and settled in for the night. Little did I know my world was about to be rocked (okay, I was about to freak out about a carton of ice cream, but it was dramatic at the time).

Getting up from my chair I walked to the kitchen and removed a new carton of ice cream from the freezer. Slicing the front flap open, I carefully pried up the lid and was dumbfounded by what I saw. One entire corner of ice cream in the carton was gone! This wasn't just some malfunction at the ice cream plant, as upon close inspection, it was clear the ice cream had been scooped out with a spoon.

I was absolutely flabbergasted. I knew the carton was sealed when I took it from the freezer. For the life of me I couldn't understand how someone could scoop out ice cream without breaking the front seal of the carton. I called to Diane to come and inspect my find and share in what I considered to be one of the great mysteries of our time.

I must have looked pretty silly (okay, even stupid), standing there wide-eyed staring at the open ice cream carton explaining to my wife the details of The Great Ice Cream Caper. She looked perplexed alright, but Diane wasn't staring at the carton of ice cream - she was staring at me. Then the laughter ensued. Uncontrollable laughter if I recall correctly. And yes, there was finger pointing, knee slapping and the like. For the life of me I couldn't understand why my wife found this so funny? There were ice cream crooks out there to be apprehended and what was she doing? Laughing!

After she sufficiently calmed down (which took quite some time), without saying a word Diane flipped the carton up onto its side and opened the side flaps - one, two, three. In less than a minute, my loving wife shattered everything I thought and believed in about the proper procedure for opening a carton of ice cream. Years of proud family ice cream carton opening tradition suddenly vanished with the flip of three flaps. No words came to mind. I just stood there - mouth open with a ridiculous blank gaze. More laughing and finger pointing erupted from my wife who by now was convinced she had married the most dense man in the world.
I didn't share this story to make myself look like an idiot, though I think that's precisely what I just did. And of course there are many more profound and involved issues which face couples in a relationship than how to open a carton of ice cream. Yet, this story does serve as an example (albeit silly), of how there is always more than one way of doing things, and the importance of realizing we all come into relationships with our own ideas, ways of doing things, and perspectives. It's how we deal with these differences that's important. We can either let these be stumbling blocks to our happiness, or we can accept and learn from these differences as just another part of loving the one we're with.

As for me, I may never again be able to open a carton of ice cream with a straight face, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

About The Author:

Passing Thoughts is a syndicated weekly column written by T.W. Winslow - read by millions around the world each week. To get the new Passing Thoughts column sent to you FREE each week via email, subscribe at: http://www.taddgroup.com For reprint info, contact the author at: taddgroup@aol.com

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