Current divorce rates are astronomical. Think about it – half of all marriages are ending in divorce. It’s a sad thing to imagine all the children out there who are being torn between homes. My parents were divorced, my husband’s parent were divorced. All of our parents re-married and made it successful the second time around, but each divorce left deep imprints on our lives.
Marriage is an institution that is taken too lightly these days. No longer are newlyweds planning on committing to each other for life. All too often they keep the word divorce in the back of their heads in case something should go wrong. Marriage is work.
Let’s take a moment and compare marriage to something else that takes a lot of work. A garden. There are things you need to keep a garden alive and those same principals can be applied to marriage.
1. Fertile Soil. Like a garden, a marriage has to be prepared before the planting begins. In other words both parties have to make the commitment to stand by each other no matter the circumstances. This is the easy part, most couples want to make it work. But it needs to be more fertile than that. Each person must take their marriage covenants seriously and not hold back on their loyalty to their partner.
2. Sunlight & Water. The act of getting married is planting the seeds, but seeds cannot grow without sunlight and water. No marriage can survive if the couple doesn’t spend time together. Living separate lives will lead to their lives being separate. Marriages have to be nurtured with good conversation and time together away from the kids. If two people in a marriage can’t make time for each other they aren’t committed to staying together.
3. Pull the Weeds. Every marriage, every relationship for that matter, has weeds. Weeds are those things that hinder the couple from being close to one another. The thing about weeds is that they come uninvited and spring up at the worst of times. There will be days when you think you know someone and something comes up in conversation that makes you angry. These are the weeds. If you let them, these weeds can be nurtured to the point where they overtake the garden and strangle the plants.
The best way to pull the weeds is to try and understand each other and not hold on to resentment. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ is a great way for weeds to be pulled. Recognizing where the other person is coming from and trying to understand their circumstances is another great way. Whichever way it’s done, it needs to be done. Letting the weeds take over is the easy way at first, but it will ruin your marriage.
The thing about a garden is that it’s fragile. It takes constant care and nourishment to survive. There will be times when the harvest is bountiful and other times when you don’t reap as much. The important part is to re-commit to each other often and nourish your marriage, weeding again and again. The work of a marriage is never done. If you think it is, then you’re letting the weeds run wild. Never stop working and watch your garden bloom.