One day, many years later while laying across the foot of her bed, I asked, "Momma about..THE PLATE?" As if waiting for this day she simply said, "If you start out fixing it, he will not expect you to and he will always eat at home. And my daughter, there will be days "that plate" is the only thing getting fixed."
What I was missing is the plate was symbolic. What momma was really saying was fix it. Whatever it is be willing to be the first to fix it. Show him that you are willing to fix it. Sometimes fixing it was a plate of spaghetti, sometimes it is intimacy, sometimes it is mending hurt feelings, forgotten birthdays, selfish acts, and just plain not really caring. Fix 'em a plate has meant so many things.
When asked my advise for a long marriage, I often tell young brides, "Fix his plate." After our chuckle she inevitably says, "I think I get it. Fix 'em a plate."