One of the summer pleasures that Karen and I enjoy is strolling through beautiful gardens.
As we’re walking it becomes obvious that these works of art don’t happen by accident. Every garden is planned: its location, whether in sun or shade, raised or flat beds. It's all been carefully considered. The gardener planned for the permanent anchor bushes, the placement of perennials, and what annuals he or she was going to use to add even more color.
We can’t help but notice all the work that goes into maintaining these oases. All the weeds, those unwanted intruders, have been pulled. Overgrown branches pruned. The borders kept. They’ve been mulched and the vibrancy of color tells us that they are regularly watered and fertilized.
We recently reflected that the skills needed to grow a beautiful garden are similar to the ones needed to create a healthy marriage. Just like attractive gardens, healthy marriages don’t happen by chance. They are carefully planned. Couples need to ask themselves the question: What do we want our marriage to look like in the next year and more?
Thriving marriages take maintenance. We have to pull the weeds that invade our relationships. What are the things creeping in and taking root in our lives that are robbing our marriages of time and energy? Unresolved conflicts, financial pressures, obsessive or other addictive activities will quickly sap the nutrients out of a love relationship.
Borders need to be well maintained too. In marriage we call these boundaries. We must realize that the most expensive plant becomes a “weed” if it’s growing where we don’t want to be. So, what are some of the “good” things in our lives that are creeping too far into our husband and wife relationship? Our children or other family members, work, or even church activities can encroach our marital garden in unhealthy ways.
Finally, what are we doing to water and feed our relationship? How are we speaking each other’s love languages? How are we nourishing and cherishing each other? Daily touches, date nights, and an occasional time away together will help bring life and vitality into your marriage.
So the next time you see a well-kept garden, let it remind you of how beautiful your marriage can be with a little more gardening.