As this love poem reveals, lasting love requires a long list of ingredients. It requires effort, concentration, and time. I am reminded of a quote by Thomas Keller, American chef, restaurateur, and cookbook writer, “A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.”

When you think about baking, you consider all you need. It will take a while for the oven to warm. You prepare ingredients and also the various supplies needed: an apron, measuring cups and spoons, spatulas, bowls, beaters, pans, and oven gloves.

Uh-oh. You are taking a risk. You might make a mistake. You might feel frustrated. You might have to begin again. You might have forgotten an ingredient. You may have to improvise or run to the grocery store.

You mix, stir, taste. Sweet enough? You thoughtfully recheck the recipe to ensure you have included all the necessary ingredients and amounts. Although the recipe is complete, it still needs time to bake. You slip on your oven gloves, place the recipe in the oven, and set the timer. It doesn’t happen instantly. Your love recipe needs time to rise. You turn on the oven light and peek through the window. You smell the aroma. Ahh…!

Now you look around. Oh no, the kitchen is a mess! This is the bothersome part of baking your special recipe. You wonder how a project you were so careful with created such a mess. Your oven gloves and apron show signs of your love project. Your sink is piled with spoons and spatulas and measuring cups and bowls to wash. You sigh and get to work washing and drying everything. You have a clutter of ingredients and supplies to put away. You notice spills on the counters and even the floor. You attend to the final cleaning. Whew! The kitchen is tidy and sparkling again. You feel pleased.

Ding…the timer is going off. Is it ready? You carefully check. Yes, your masterpiece is done. But it is really hot. You must have patience and wait for it to cool. You sneak a morsel. Mmm…you want a sliver. Yum…you want a whole slice! It is perfection and delicious. Now comes a very important question: Do you want the entire cake yourself or are you wanting and willing to share it?

You are very proud in your investment of time, patience, ingredients, effort and your final product. You began your love recipe with a careful selection based on your palate. You related with all the ingredients and tested your desire to share this marvel with someone you care about. How do you determine if you want to share?

As we review the recipe above, we are reminded that the foundation began with friendship. You decide, yes indeed, you do want to share. In fact, you are excited to share. By trial and some error with previous recipes, you feel confident that this friend enjoys many of the same flavors you do—patience, understanding, flexibility, desire, and passion.

With a love recipe like this that starts with a foundation of friendship and is covered with respect, you are bound to have a lasting relationship. So…relax together with a cup of tea or coffee, and indulge in the delicious recipe for love that you created. You taste. You smile. You laugh. You love.

And remember to serve generous portions daily!!   Hearts, Dr Barb