The Missing Ingredient

I was standing 108 stories high above the Las Vegas skyline. At a height of 1,149 feet, the Stratosphere Hotel is the tallest observation tower in the United States of America. It holds the Guinness World Record as the highest commercial decelerator descent facility in the world. If you pay the $129 fare, they will “let” you jump off the tower, descending at speeds of up to 40 mph! Crazy, right?

But I jumped!

I have four adult sons who arrived in town for a weekend visit. They asked, “What should we do today, Mom?” If I had four daughters, I might have suggested an afternoon of mani-pedis and a fabulous dinner at the Stratosphere, but when your sons come into town you jump off the building and then go to dinner.

Because I have a fear of heights, many have asked me, “How did you make yourself jump?” “How did you get past the fear?” My answer is, “I determined I was going to do it, and when the time came to jump, determination overrode my fear.”

When I wrote the book, Chocolate Cake Marriage, my hope was to encourage women to take a leap of faith with their marriages, determined to override any fear by trusting the One who designed this holy institution. I discovered from my own leap with a struggling marriage that God has provided for us through His Word a step-by-step sacred recipe for the most delectable, enticing, and beautiful husband and wife relationship. If only we would trust Him with what He has joined together and spend our time gathering the ingredients He calls for, and blending them in the way He has scripted for us. When we follow His instructions, the end result is a holy, and stunning reflection of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bringing God much glory and deep satisfaction in our marriages.

One of the most important ingredients missing from my own marriage was respect. When baking a cake, if we leave out even the smallest of ingredients, like a ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, the cake will lay flat and brittle. So, too, in our marriages. Leaving out specified ingredients will cause a flat relationship that can easily be broken. A simple ingredient on its own might seem bitter (Have you ever tasted baking soda?) or even unnecessary (Will it really make that much of a difference if I leave it out?), but leaving it out will ruin the whole cake.

Wives, we are called [must see to it] to respect and delight in our husbands [that we notice him and prefer him and treat him with loving concern, treasuring him, honoring him, and holding him dear] (Ephesians 5:33 AMP).

This very important ingredient of respect will make all the difference in the quality of your marriage. I know this first hand, because I prayed for the Lord to show me specific areas where I was disrespecting my husband, and He did not let me down.

These practical changes may seem trivial to you, but believe me, when I jumped in faith, God radically changed our marriage.

  1. Speak to your husband with graceful speech.
    Seek to use a pleasant tone no matter what is going on in your day.
  2. Make a fuss over your husband.
    Greet your husband at the door when he comes home.
  3. Create a welcoming home environment.
    Provide an inviting atmosphere he can’t wait to come home to.
  4. Don’t be bossy.
    Stop telling him how to drive, where to park, or how to get from A to B.
  5. Listen attentively.
    Avoid interrupting him or correcting him when he’s speaking.
  6. Be mindful of your body language.
    Adjust your body language to not shout disrespect.
  7. Be appreciative.
    Don’t redo or criticize a chore he has helped with. 

These are just a few adjustments I made to remove the bitter taste from our marriage batter. God honored my obedience and replaced the bitter with a much better blend, like a smooth, tasty cake batter of spoon-licking, chocolate yumminess.

Often, I would remind myself of a warning God gives us in His Word: the devil is prowling around outside like a roaring lion, just waiting and hoping for the chance to devour someone (1 Peter 5:8, VOICE). The enemy will dangle the bait of disrespect in front of us every day. We need to discipline ourselves not to bite. When my husband says or does something unloving, rather than reacting in a disrespectful manner, I seek to respond with grace, remembering how deeply I love him and how he makes mistakes just like I do. Reacting selfishly just sends me back into Satan’s trap, inviting him to come in and devour our progress.


Chocolate Cake Marriage is a fun, easy read. It offers ways to refresh, revive, and restore marriage relationships so we can get back to living as soulmates rather than roommates. God created the marriage recipe, provided all the ingredients, and has instructed us in His Word how to enjoy a healthy, long-lasting, God-honoring marriage. It’s our decision as to whether we continue to let fear hold us back or move toward the edge of grand adventure, determined to override our fears. I say, “Go for it! Jump!” You’ll be glad you did.


Michelle has been a sought-after speaker for over 20 years and has a passion to encourage and equip women to be all that God has called them to be.  She has found the one her soul loves in her husband, Sean. They have four adult sons, a daughter-in-law, and a sweet little granddaughter.