Meatloaf: The Recipe for a Happy Marriage

The house was spotless and the fridge, fully-stocked.  We (the 7 kids and I) had spent all morning cleaning house and food shopping.

I scarcely had enough time to put the the groceries away, before little tummies were growling for lunch.

I fed the kids something quite nutritious for their afternoon meal, got the little ones down for a nap, and restored the kitchen to order.

It was Friday afternoon, and I needed to skedaddle out the door, to go horseback riding with my son Luke.

I quickly gave my working-from-home husband the lowdown…

I should be back by dinner time.

Cheeseburgers are on the menu for tonight.

You could jump-start the whole process before I arrive home, if you want to eat before dark…if you know what’s best for you.;)

I drove 50 minutes to the horse farm and enjoyed a wonderful trail ride, through wooded forest, with my son.  It was peaceful and rejuvenating.

Afterwards, we each grabbed a soda, and made the long drive back to the ranch.

As the car rolled to a stop in our driveway, children ran to meet us.

I sensed an urgency in their behavior.

“Dad’s making meatloaf.”  I heard multiple voices report.

“He figured you had forgotten that we tossed the grill.” they rationalized.

“What in the world?!” I respond.

I walk inside to see if it’s too late to turn back…

My kitchen has exploded since I last laid eyes upon it. My husband stands at the counter smiling.

The cheeseburger plan.  What happened to the cheeseburger plan? I wonder.

I had purchased all the fixings: tomatoes, lettuce, rolls, sliced cheese, french fries, and pickles.  They were all just waiting to meet the perfectly cooked, juicy cheeseburger.  

Did I mention that we were supposed to have cheeseburgers for dinner?!  

The meatloaf is already prepped and in the oven.

He opens the door so I can glance at his creation.

This is no ordinary meatloaf, mind you.  This is a 7.5lb Alton Brown masterpiece.

He is obviously quite proud of the shredded vegetables, crushed croutons, and perfect sauce that went into this culinary wonder.

But all I can do is gasp at the sheer size of it.

Oh no! I realize.  

He must have used every package of ground meat that I had in the fridge.  I hadn’t yet distributed any of it to the freezer…you know, for future use.

“What were you thinking?” I wonder aloud, “I had a plan for that meat.”

“And the croutons…they were for the caesar salad, that was supposed to accompany the World’s Best Lasagna on Saturday night.  And the carrots… they belonged to the Tortellini Soup.”

I meal planned.

I planned meals.

It took time and effort.  He had ruined my plans.

I complained and criticized.  I cursed his massive meatloaf.  I predicted it would be a flop.

I could not get over it.

He reminded me that I wasn’t being very kind…or encouraging.

He described me as inflexible.

He threatened to never cook again.

“Are you really getting angry over meatloaf?” my 11 year old son inquired.

I ran for the bathroom. My brain knew I was acting like an idiot but my flesh refused to let go.

I needed help. I was an out-of-control twit. I was feuding with my beloved over meatloaf.

I prayed for help.  I prayed that God would release me from my anger. I prayed I would exit the bathroom filled with thankfulness and exuding grace.

Five minutes later, with anger beginning to dissipate, ever-so-slowly, I emerged.

We sat down, the aroma of savory meatloaf wafting through the air, and discussed what had gone wrong.

Although I didn’t completely point the finger at myself, I knew full well what had gone wrong…

I was an inflexible control freak.

I had a plan and it was altered, so I turned into a mean, critical, unthankful wife.

What was wrong with me?  Why could I not just follow the recipe for goodness sake!

I knew the recipe.

I knew the proper responses…but sometimes I just seemed incapable of following the steps.

RECIPE for a Happy Marriage

Choose words of encouragement over disparaging remarks.

Choose thankfulness over criticism and critique.

Choose forgiveness over holding a grudge.

Choose patience over short-tempered anger.

Choose grace over condemnation.

Choose flexibility over rigidity.

Choose to put the relationship before the circumstance.

Yet instead, I chose to put meatloaf before my husband.  Sometimes I am such a thug!

So I’m opting for a “re-do”.

I know I can do this thing if I simply readjust my perspective.

I’m going to pretend right now…that I’m just turning into the driveway, on that beautiful Friday evening in September.

The kids are joyfully running to greet me.  They’re screaming news about an extra-large meatloaf.

Let’s see how a thankful heart would have fared in this same situation….


Thank you  for the beautiful, happy children running to greet me,  

I am blessed to have so many mouths to feed.

Thank you for an amazing husband who offers to watch the kids so I can make an occasional escape.  

Thank you for a husband who is home at dinner time and willing to help prepare meals.  

Thank you that he is resourceful and comes up with alternate plans.

Thank you, Lord, that he’s a food-snob and isn’t afraid of the food processor. Thank you that we have a working kitchen to destroy and food to cook.

Thank you for a man who is unselfish and loves to serve me in various ways.  Thank you that he puts up with my critical remarks and inflexibility.

I am blessed.  Blessed beyond measure.  Blessed to be dining on a 7.5lb meatloaf with my beautiful family.


  1. Rachel Embler says:

    Thanks for sharing…I’m printing the recipe to hang in the kitchen and a couple of other prime locations! Love ya’ll and hope you’re doing well!

  2. So, how was the meatloaf?! ;)

  3. Yum!

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