Dubai Diaries: The 'bite' way to patch things up

How food has been a lifesaver in my relationship with my husband.


Kirstin Bernabe

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Published: Wed 13 Apr 2022, 11:59 AM

Last updated: Wed 13 Apr 2022, 12:03 PM

Some couples never let the sun set on any argument. Others would rather sleep it off, clear their heads in a dream, and wake up with a compromise. Three years into the marriage, my husband and I are yet to find one permanent way of resolving disagreements, but we have mentally taken note of some strong candidates.

A couple of months ago, I was tasked to book a ticket for the early-evening screening of Spider-Man: No Way Home. I was delighted to have accomplished the task, considering that it was rarely possible to get a slot for a Marvel movie at the last minute. He got there first, and had to wait for around five minutes. Then, we got our usual cheese popcorn and karak chai. We were ultra-excited — until I showed him the tickets. It turned out I had booked for the next day.

From the moment we stepped out of the cinema, walked towards the car and drove home, not a word was uttered. When we sat in the sofa and turned Netflix on, I did what I had to do: I looked for the popcorn kernel with the thickest coat of cheese and offered it to him. Just like that, the horrible mistake crackled away.

Last weekend, my husband had a crucial implant appointment with his dentist in Abu Dhabi and told me we had to leave by 1.30pm. At 12.50pm, I was still relishing my cauliflower lunch because I was confident I could get ready in 30 minutes. I was ready to go by 1.25pm. But then, our bidet started leaking and he had to call the maintenance team, setting us back by 20 minutes. After dropping me off at the office, he headed straight to Abu Dhabi, driving as fast as he possibly could. He was late by 11 minutes and his dentist gave him a cold treatment.

He was furious. “You shouldn’t have taken so much time eating lunch,” he said. I snapped back, “Why was it all my fault? I was ready five minutes ahead. How was I supposed to anticipate the leaking bidet?” I spent the day wallowing in guilt, though.

When he picked me up from the office, we still couldn’t speak to each other. Five minutes into the trip, he said the first three words: “Are you hungry?” I shrugged, playing hard to get.

“Let’s try the longest shawarma in Dubai,” he told me as he drove to Al Barsha. What a weird timing to try something new, I thought. But when we got our wrap, one bite made us forget what we were fighting about. We agreed that it was one of the tastiest shawarmas we’ve ever had. The 20-inch roll was packed with meat and a generous amount of sauce.

While there were disagreements that ended with a bouquet of flowers and a tight hug, these two instances made us realise one thing: There’s always a delicious way to patch things up.

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