My husband and I love learning to cook together. He's taken over the official role as the "Chopper." If something needs to be diced, minced, cubed or sliced he's the man for the job. Occasionally I hand him a spoon and say, "stir that." It's not always a smooth process. Sometimes we forget to communicate timing of steps that end up having a big, and sometimes not-so-positive, impact on the dish!
Communication is something we continue to have to practice and learn with one another. In many ways we feel as though having to completely retrain our minds in order to connect with one another. For 27 years I could have sworn I was speaking English. Then I got married. Even though we’re both Christians following the same God, reading the same Bible, we can often feel like the other person is intentionally being difficult. We're both learning how to communicate in a different dialect we both understand!
Before getting married I prayed that God would bring me a godly man. Not a perfect man, just a repentant one who loved me more than anyone else in the world. After my husband and I returned from our honeymoon we started facing all sorts of tests and temptations. It seemed everywhere we turned there was something threatening to divide us and make us turn against one another. The things I prayed for that I thought for sure were 100% certain when I got married now seemed awfully shaky. I can't even begin to express how vital praying together every night before bed has become for us.
On one such night of praying, after a particularly difficult argument - resolved before we went to sleep, praise God - I remembered the scripture: "Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?" (Matthew 7:9-11, NIV).
I wondered, God, I asked for bread and I feel as though you've handed me a stone. What happened? I know the first year of marriage is often the toughest, but this has so far even surpassed what I expected. Then I remembered the process of cooking with my husband.
Today if you want a meal you can go to a restaurant, or toss a Hungry Man or Hot Pocket in the microwave. In Bible times, however, it wasn't that simple. If you wanted bread you needed to get the flour, yeast and oil, mix it together, dig hands into the messy dough and beat it over and over again, then leave it alone to let it rise before sticking it in the oven and waiting for it to cook. If a child asks for bread, the parent will likely be happy to serve. But that doesn't mean the child will get it immediately.
Making good bread, like making a good marriage, takes time. It's a process that needs just the right ingredients in just the right time, and it takes being beaten until it's just the right consistency to face the fire. The fire has a chance of ruining the recipe, but if it's just the right temperature, and God always gets the temperature perfect, it will become something beautiful and delicious.
My husband and I are making bread, and it's a recipe we've never tried before. As we learn to communicate better and discuss what will go into the recipe and what won't, we're slowly making progress. It's messy, but I'm grateful we both like to cook. I'm even more grateful that he's as passionate about making it the best outcome, the best marriage, as I am. Even when it's really tough and is going much slower than we prefer, we're still in the kitchen together.
So remember, bread takes time to make. Just because you don't have what you want right away, or even a little while, after asking God for it, doesn't mean he's not going to give it to you. It just means he's in the kitchen.