A garden is one of the best examples God has given us to use as a roadmap for how to have relationships, whether they are with friends, children, or your spouse. I had my first garden of any size last year and through it I learned a great deal about my marriage.
The ground of my garden had to be tilled, worked, raked and spread evenly to lay a firm foundation for me to start my garden. There was also a period of picking out rocks and roots to make sure that the soil was smooth and ready for planting. We purchased top soil to add to the dirt that was already there and we purchased compost and mixed it into the dirt to add nutrients. Preparing the soil was one of the biggest tasks in having a garden, it took the most time, energy and money.
While the process of preparing the soil was going on I had seedlings starting from seed inside so that the little plants would be ready for planting when the ground was ready.
I spent time to lovingly start the seedlings and care for them during this time. When the ground was ready, we planted the seedlings outside in the garden. This took more than 1 day and was more work than I realized it was going to be. Once the plants were in the garden I had to water and care for them. Watering was tricky because if I did it the wrong way it could either drown them or knock them over and they would die. We discovered as time went on that some of the seedlings were not going to make it so I started a second batch inside and started growing seedling again. During this time I caught a nasty virus and was sick for 10 days.
While I was sick the kids watered the garden for me. When I was finally able to go back outside and tend to my garden I was shocked to see that what was really flourishing in my garden was weeds!
They had taken over, they were tall and healthy, I was disgusted. I took a week and weeded the garden to get rid of all of the things that were flourishing that I hadn’t planted, marveling at how easily they had made their way into my garden and prospered. It was apparent after that, that I was going to have to watch for weeds and pull them periodically. Eventually as the growing season progressed I seemed to have a little progress, the plants were getting taller and some vegetables started showing up. Not fully understanding how to garden, I did not prune plants, fertilize or water everything appropriately, so it didn’t flourish like it could have. In the end I did get some production out of my garden, but I put way more in to it than I got out of it.
This lesson has really penetrated my mind where marriage is concerned. Our marriages are like gardens, we have to put in more than we take out.
We have to learn how to prune and water our relationships. We have to recognize that if we take time off from caring for our marriages, they can become full of weeds that will need to be tended to. But the biggest lesson I learned through this process was that you have to learn how to do all of these things and I feel like the same holds true for marriage, you should put time into learning the skills that produce good fruit!
Don’t be afraid to study your spouse and learn skills that will benefit your marriage, a marriage seminar or a good book never hurt anyone!