A jump-start, a kick in the pants, something is needed here and I’m not going to find it in some wishy-washy, naive poem. Still I paged through the old cookbook in search of just that, I knew there was one in there. Ah, here, ‘Recipe for a Happy Marriage’. I laughed sarcastically thinking, ‘thirty years of marriage and now I’m going to read the recipe.’
Well let’s see, first it asks for one cup of consideration. How much do you suppose a ‘cup’ is? - a tenth of the whole? a twentieth?
I wonder why this is first. I’ll tell you what, though. I wish I would have ‘considered’ that when I married him he was going to bring all his ‘stuff’ and keep so much of it out in plain sight. Tacky old cologne decanters, every souvenir anyone has ever bought for him, every pair of shoes he owns - did I marry a ‘hoarder’? Is this the kind of consideration the recipe calls for?
Next on this silly list is two cups of praise. Well, I do praise him. Last week I told him what a nice job he did repainting the bathroom. I’m sure I said that - right before I reminded him to re-hang the shower curtain rod. I did say it out loud, didn’t I, or was that just in my head?
Moving on down the list I read, two cups of kindness. I knew this poem was simplistic, but kindness? When am I not kind? Well, maybe when I’m tired or when he says something insensitive or hurtful like when he was replacing the toilet and he looked down the hole into the basement (where I was) and he said, “Well, look what I see when I look down the potty hole!” Yeah, it was a little hard to be kind then!
Scanning along, the next thing I see is one-half cup ability to say I’m sorry. Only one-half cup? I would like to see more like a gallon. And, I’d like when I do hear those words that they wouldn’t be spit out sounding like he really means, “no I’m not.” Whoa, I think we hit a sore spot with this one. Could this poem really hold some value?
One cup blindness to each others’ faults. Faults? My faults? What could they be? He is one lucky man.
Nearing the bottom of the list now I read, one cup encouragement. I do love when he says, “You are an excellent cook. Thank you for another great meal.” When was the last time I encouraged him? Why don’t we say these kind of things more often?
I exhaled in frustration. Just about to close the book, I thought about all these ‘ingredients’, seriously. This is a tall order. It’s a wonder there are happy marriages out there. It’s a wonder ours is as happy as it is. I’m tired.
The book is still open and I read the final ingredient. Not a secret ingredient, but not all recipes contain it either. How fitting. Only this last ingredient can take two humans, one man and one woman - two, who by nature are selfish, impatient, busy with worldly activity, unable to realize their own faults and see another’s needs; and bring and keep them happily together as one.
Double the number of ‘cups’ in this recipe and that’s how much (at least) of this last ingredient you’ll need.
I added my own note to the bottom of the page. (Like so many of us, I like to add my own thoughts to recipes). ‘The last ingredient is vital.’
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6 NIV
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