When it comes to dating and relationships, we often proceed with caution, and we also proceed with an expectation of our partner. Some of which are unconscious. Others, we’re very aware of. Both can be very detrimental to the success of your relationship.


What Do You Mean, Fixing a Plate?


For those of us who aren’t privy to such tradition… in the African American community, fixing a man’s plate has become a part of the culture. It’s customary, and almost considered an expectation by many. Go to any barbecue on a warm summer afternoon, and you’ll see women serving men hamburgers, baked beans, and chips with their favorite drink. holding-doors-fixing-plates-gender-expectation


Fixing his plate is when, a woman prepares her man’s (or significant other) plate, and brings said plate, to-him. Versus, him getting up to fix his own plate.


Some women might view this as being subservient, acquiescent, submissive, or a slave to patriarchal traditions. Other’s may view it as an act of service, or catering to his love language (I’ll get into that in a moment). First, check out the video below.

What Makes You Feel Loved? (30 sec) from Dr. Gary Chapman on Vimeo.


Should You Fix a Fully Capable Man’s Plate?

Charli Penn author for Essence says,
Whether you consider it to be a little old school, good manners or just plain silly, the truth is, when my husband looks up and sees me handing him a plate full of food, he smiles real big. He feels catered to and loved when i do this simple gesture, which is how he makes me feel all of the time, so I’m always happy when I can return the favor in a small yet meaningful way. At home he cooks for me, makes my plates and caters to me in so many different ways. We cater to each other back and forth as best we can. That’s what love is. My favorite is when he hangs up and organizes my laundry with such tender love and care. In those moments, I smile too.

Acts of Service

I fervently agree with Charli. With one addition. However, before I go into that, let’s look at one of the love languages: Acts of Service.

An “acts of service” – doing something for your spouse that you know they would like for you to do. Cooking a meal, washing dishes, taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, changing the baby’s diaper, and painting the bedroom, etc.

The 5 Love Languages – Dr. Gary Chapman

Fixing a plate for anyone is a choice. It should never be an expectation by the person being served.

Fixing a plate shouldn’t be an expectation

The Exception is Expectation

The expectation is defined as, “a belief that someone will, or should achieve something.” Or, in this case, do something.

Having an expectation has been the undoing of many relationships and dating experiences.  When you expect service from your significant other like you’re at a restaurant ordering food, this can be offensive to many. Your wife, girlfriend, or significant other isn’t your server.  If you’re appreciative and reciprocal of the choice she has made to serve you, this is entirely different—and receives a distinctly different response.

However, there are those who do not believe in serving a man at-all. They believe serving a man is menial and degrading. In other words, if he can walk, he can get his own plate.

The above video shows you how fixing a plate can make some women feel subservient to their man. However, when the context is given to support the idea that, fixing a plate isn’t such a bad thing, and that’s it more an act of service, the ladies began to understand.

My Own Context

All that being said, what I’m about to say may not make sense at first. In the event that it doesn’t, keeping reading and I’ll clear things up as I go along.

When it comes to fixing a plate, it isn’t really about fixing a plate. It’s about understanding your partners love language. When you’re in a relationship, understanding how your partner views (and receives) love is most important. Not how [you] want to give them love.

Basically, fixing a plate (for a lot of men) is an act of service. Our mothers and grandmothers served us as children, and teenagers and this is one of the first views of love we saw on a consistent basis. It only followed us as we became adults. Ultimately, we want our woman or wife to resemble similar character traits and actions that our mother exhibited. This doesn’t mean we want you to be our mother. However, just like men—women want their boyfriend or husband to display certain characteristics their father showed them when they were young girls.

It’s All The Same

What’s important to realize is that fixing a plate is just like opening, closing, and holding doors. Or, pulling out a chair, holding an umbrella, carrying bags, or mowing the lawn. All of the above are acts of service that a lot of women expect, and consider to be the default characteristics of a gentleman. If you expect to have your door held, car warmed, and grass mowed, you really can’t get upset with a man that expects his plate to be fixed when he gets home.

Overall, I don’t believe you should expect anything, but do everything you can to please your mate. This also doesn’t mean you should be devoid of standards. It simply means you should create the rules and guidelines for your relationship together not before your get-together.

I Like a woman who is humble enough to serve her man. That’s beyond sexy to me. Also a man that’s humble enough realize his woman is worth serving as well.