“I think of marriage as a garden. You have to tend to it. Respect it, take care of it, feed it…” – Mark Ruffalo — In the knee-deep of summer, the garden is in full swing. Tomatoes, beans, onions, potatoes, and even weeds… But what happens if you don’t tend to your garden for a few days, weeks, or even months?
If you’re absent for a few days, you will most likely return to find some pesky weeds that need to be pulled and a good amount of produce that needs to be harvested.
If you’re absent for a few weeks, well you will mostly return to find the weeds have invited their cousins, their neighbors cousins, and those cousins you meet every time you go to the store with grandma. Your produce has exploded, maybe even quite literally, and you’ve got quite the job on your hands to tackle.
But let’s say you’re absent for months… Well, it’s an entirely different ball game then and when you return your garden may be almost unrecognizable. Your garden has most likely been ransacked by scavengers passing through for a snack and whatever is left has probably died – your potential harvest has rotted away in your absence. There’s a lot of overgrowth and it’s going to take some hard work to repair it back to its former glory.
It can feel extremely frustrating to set out with hopes of a beautiful harvest to find yourself too busy to tend to it or maybe unwilling to tend to it because of the heat, the bugs, or just because it’s a lot easier to stay inside and enjoy the modern day amenities. But it’s even harder when you know if you had just taken a little time each day to tend to your garden that your harvest could have been in abundance.
Gardens must be tended and nourished daily – so does the relationship with your spouse.
Ephesians 5:31 says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
This verse is so difficult for most people to understand. The world makes it totally normal and even encourages husbands and wives to live two completely different lives only coming together when it’s necessary or convenient. Folks, this is why most marriages fail.
“…. and the two shall become one flesh.” – You cannot be one flesh with your spouse if you have not died to yourself and you cannot become one flesh with your spouse if you have not fully left your father and mother to rely solely on your spouse and the covenant of your marriage. This is not saying you are no longer your own distinct person. It means that all of those things fall under the union of two people who have come together as one, who respect each other, who are faithful to each other, who make their decisions and life choices in respect and faithfulness to and with each other only. Not with their parents, not with their friends, and certainly not with the teachings of this world. In a world that is constantly trying to destroy and reinvent what marriage is, it is so important that we stand firm on the biblical teachings of becoming “one flesh”.
Sometimes life may call you away from home, away from your spouse, away from your children and/or pets – and it’s not always easy to be away. But if you put God as the head of your marriage, if you become one with your spouse, and if together you both sow and nurture your relationship, your blessings will be in abundance – and hey, there will always be someone to help tend to the garden.