FENTON, MI – I don't know about you folks but I am a connoisseur of certain types of food. There are very few kinds of foods that I don't like and from a quick glance at my physical condition it is obvious that I don't pass up any of them. But there is one food in particular that I am an expert in determining its quality and worth, and that is gravy.
Gravy, the sauce of saints. The heavenly concoction that can make the poorest of dishes edible. That flowing food that can turn a day old biscuit into a breakfast fit for a king and make over-cooked turkey a memorable event. But there is something very interesting about gravy. Not just anyone can make it. This stuff that comes in a jar and has a close resemblance to toxic waste, does not count. It is nothing more than the left-overs' from some soup company. Yuck!
To make real gravy is an art and one that takes time to learn and master. Many a marriage has almost come to an early end because the new groom does not understand that good gravy only comes with age. I will never forget our early years of marriage when the gravy that was produced at our house was not served in bowl but on a plate and was sliced and then placed on your preferred food. At other times it had the consistency and look of skim milk. But the grace of God took us through those difficult times and I am glad to say that the gravy at our house today is of the highest caliber.
One of the biggest problems of new-comer gravy is lumps. You know, those large bodies of unidentifiable matter that seem to never go away no matter how much you stir. You may try to spoon them out or just push them to the side of your plate but nonetheless, they are still there. Lumps! They come with every new marriage. Big ones, little ones, hard ones, mushy ones, and ones that seem to grow. Lumps are an inevitability of life, but just because you have lumps in your gravy doesn't mean that you throw it out.
More than likely you will have just as many lumps the second time you try to make another batch because you are frustrated and in a hurry to make things just right. Your spouse and family will have to take your gravy, lumps and all, until you are able to build the skills and talents you need to perfect that sensational sauce. Not only is it inevitable that gravy will have lumps but so will your marriage. It's natural and normal to experience things that you don't like or understand. They will not be pleasant and could even be the source of some heated interaction.
Just because you run into some lumps in your marriage doesn't mean you need to throw the whole relationship down the drain. Keep stirring, changing, giving, taking, and trying again and again. Don't give up and don't give in. Do a lot more encouraging and a great deal less criticizing. Learn to deal with the lumps together. Just like good gravy, a good marriage only comes with age. Give it time and patience. If you do, you might even hear yourself and others say, "Good gravy, what a marriage."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.