A couple of days ago I posted this same picture on social media along with a little story from our very early marriage days. The story was about my first pie, a chocolate cream pie, my husband’s favorite. I didn’t have any background in pie baking but my thought was that the filling came from a box mix so that is what I used. In this little story I related how disappointed Jerry was with the finished product because it didn’t taste like his mother’s pie. Well the poor guy got hammered with comments and jokes at his expense which was not my intention.
Please don’t be hard on him. We were newlyweds. I told my appalled daughter that we were both learning; I was learning to cook and he was learning what not to say. But it was actually much more than that. We were learning how to do marriage, and that is a lifetime process. When I was active in my psychology practice I often said that in an enduring marriage you are married to several different people over the course of the marriage. And you have several different marriages. We are not the same callow young adults we were in the pie story. Thank God! You grow, and you change, and you adapt over the years.
This is February, the love month and God has been coming at me from all directions with lessons about love. I often say He is a multi-media God. It seems that everything I pick up or listen to has scripture passages about love. I attend (thanks to Zoom) Community Bible Study. This year, classes all around the world are studying the Gospel of John. At first I wasn’t too excited about studying this book; I had read and studied it so many times. But God’s word is always fresh and I amazed at all I am learning and the things I never saw before. The big lesson for me is about loving and serving others. It’s not optional; it is a commandment. I have to tell you, service does not come naturally to me. I am a word person.
We tend to think of love as a feeling, something we “fall into.” But the kind of love Jesus invites us to express is different. This kind of love is an action verb. I can tell Jerry how much I love him all day long, but that really doesn’t speak to him. His love language is acts of service. He hears “I love you,” when I do things for him. In his book, Love Languages, author Gary Chapman tells us we tend to love others in the same way we wish to be loved. He lives for the phone calls from his daughters that begin with “Dad can you, do you mind, would you please, I hate to bother you, but…” My love language is words of affirmation, so while I am writing these words telling you about the kind of guy he is, he is in the kitchen cooking a Valentine breakfast for me.
My Valentine to him was an old fashioned chocolate pie, the kind his mother made. The recipe comes from my bridal cookbook, the old Better Homes and Garden Cookbook. That book has been revised several times, as has the recipe so I am including the original below to save it for posterity.
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 NLT
Chocolate Cream Pie
1/3-cup all-purpose flour or 3 TBL. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups milk
2 1-oz. squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 slightly beaten egg yolks
2 TBL. butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 9-inch baked pastry shell
1 recipe meringue
In saucepan, combine sugar, flour, and salt. Gradually whisk in milk and chocolate. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens. Cook 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.
Stir small amount hot mixture into yolks; return to hot mixture; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Cool to room temperature. (To prevent crust from forming, put clear plastic wrap or waxed paper directly on top, touching surface of the hot pudding clear to sides of pan.) Pour into baked pastry shell.
Meringue: Beat 3 egg whites with ¼ tsp. cream of tartar and ½ tsp. vanilla till soft peaks form. Gradually add 6 TBL. sugar, beating till stiff peaks form and all sugar is dissolved. Spread atop pie sealing to pastry. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) about 12-15 minutes, or until meringue is golden. Cool.