The Main Ingredient in a Successful Marriage
By Heather Riggleman
Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.” - Matthew 13:33
I’m not allowed in the kitchen. Mainly because my culinary skills are more like madness in which the fire department is well acquainted. It is strictly my husband’s domain. He can whip up stuffed mushrooms, caprice pasta with savory cherry tomatoes or make heavenly brownies with cranberry sauce. And that’s just for fun.
However, there is one thing I am good at. Baking fresh bread. It is my specialty. And it’s the only time I’m allowed in the kitchen! After a particularly rough week due to marital spats, taking offense, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings, I shuffled into the kitchen. I needed to make bread for a dinner party later that night. Dazed, I added ingredients to my mixing bowl for French bread. Lost in my thoughts about me and Chris, wondering why things were just so...off lately; I couldn’t put my finger on it as I added flour, a pinch of salt, a little olive oil and water to the bowl.
No sooner than I hit the start button, I realized I had forgotten the most important ingredient. You know the one that makes the magic happen. The key ingredient that makes the dough rise and acts as a catalyst binding every ingredient together to create soft warm dough so that when it comes out of the oven, it begs your mouth to try a golden, crisp and airy bite of goodness.
Yeast. I had left out the yeast.
French bread isn’t its namesake without being light and fluffy—all because of one simple, yet vital ingredient. I started over with the yeast first. As I dumped the required amount in, I sucked in my breath as this thought ran through my mind: Marriage is bitter, dense, and hard when we forget to include Jesus.
How had I forgotten Him lately? How have we both forgotten Christ lately? It’s so easy with careers, late nights, football practice, dance, and bills. Add in laundry, yard work and outside obligations and it's really no wonder how we can easily forget Jesus.
Marriage is like making French bread. We need to add Jesus to the daily mix. We need His presence, His grace, His direction, and His warmth. Without Him, we become dense, flat, and tasteless. His presence becomes the enzymes we digest until He transforms our actions and attitudes to be encouragers and Light Bearersin our marriage.
- When we are spent beyond weariness, add Jesus. He becomes our strength to muddle through.
- When we are frustrated and feel misunderstood by our partner, add Jesus. He comes the bridge of communication.
- When we feel lonely and invisible, add Jesus. He sees us and uses the arms of our partner to embrace us.
- When the clutter, the laundry pile and bills threaten to topple over on us, whisper His name and He becomes the strong tower.
- When we mistreat our spouse with indifference, when we feel pushed beyond our limits, add Jesus and He becomes the courage and the strength to overcome.
Yeast didn’t always have the best reputation. Whenever yeast is mentioned in the Bible (22 times in the Old Testament and 17 times in the New Testament), it always (or almost always) represents sin. The first instance in which this word is used is found in (Ex 12:15). This was just before the Passover, in which God destroyed all of the firstborn of Egypt, but spared the firstborn of Israel in the last of the 10 plagues that He visited upon Egypt.
However, when Jesus arrives on the scene, He not only becomes the “Bread of Life” but changes the perspective of yeast. The nature of yeast is to grow and change whatever it contacts. When we accept Christ, His grace and love grows in our hearts. He changes us from the inside out.
Like today's Scripture, if we allow Him to, Jesus permeates every aspect of our marriage—our lives. If your marriage is dry, dense, and bitter, ask yourself if you’ve forgotten the most important ingredient.
Heather Riggleman calls Nebraska home (Hey, it’s not for everyone) with her three kids and husband of 20 years. She writes to bring bold truths to marriage, career, mental health, faith, relationships, celebration and heartache. Heather is a former national award-winning journalist and is the author of Mama Needs a Time Out and Let’s Talk About Prayer. Her work has been featured on Proverbs 31 Ministries, MOPS, Today's Christian Woman and Focus On the Family. You can find her at heatherriggleman.com.
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