Cultivating Life Together

My wife and I have a terrible track record with taking care of plants.  We've tried a number of times to have plants in our home and on our back porch, but it feels like déjà vu every time.  

The soil gets dry...

The leaves turn yellow...

The branches become brittle...

We don't do anything about it...

The plant eventually gets thrown into the wasteland of our backyard.

Then we start over with a new plant, hoping for a different result.  Nothing seems to change, though.

When it comes to marriage, I see the same pattern.  Most couples I see for counseling are there because their relationship is not what they hope for it to be.  It doesn't look healthy.  It feels dry and lifeless.  Instead of growing and thriving, it only seems to be withering. 

In every marriage, there is a need to cultivate life.  Strong marriages are grown over a long haul - they don't magically appear overnight.  It takes time, thought, focused energy, and lots of help.   Just as our plants keep dying for lack of water and care, marriages continue to slowly die for the same reasons. 

Marriage counseling is about helping couples cultivate new life in their marriages.  Spending time together, sharing life, speaking graciously, admitting fault, forgiving quickly, small acts of kindness, sacrificial service, moving towards deeper intimacy - all these are like drops of water to a thirsty plant.  

Every marriage takes work.  Every marriage needs help.  

When I think about my own marriage, there have been ups and downs, seasons of draught and seasons of abundant rain.  We've asked for a lot of help along the way, and we're learning to slow down when we see the leaves turning yellow and the soil start to look dry.  We're learning what it looks like for us to cultivate life together, but more than anything, we're growing to see Jesus as the 'living water' our marriage desperately needs (John 4).  

Don't be afraid to take an honest look at your marriage, and don't be afraid to ask for help.  Cultivate life together - your marriage is worth it.