[notice]A fortnightly column on marriage, family and relationships.[/notice]
There is no marriage that starts with divorce in mind. Even the most educated, modern couple, they want their marriage to work. Yes they know about the high divorce rate but they believe that their marriage will be among those that make it. They believe in being together for life. A couple on their wedding day believe in the strength of their love to sustain them. They truly believe that: “This is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. This is the one I want to give my all to. This is the one who will be with me and I with him until the end of our days.” They do not think of the reality or possibility of separation because they are so “ïnlove”.
Fast forward to two, five or 10 years down the line and that certainty, that sparkle in their eyes, that joy radiating from their faces, is not there. What you see are signs of stress, a tired look, worn out peope who do not want to drag themselves out of bed. All they find themselves doing is watching endless soapies or general interest television shows. Life outside the home is virtually non-existent except when overseeing the responsibilities of life e.g. taking kids to school, going to work, buy groceries, paying the bills.
The things they used to do, the fun they use to have, is all in the past. They do not go to their favourite restaurant anymore. They do not go out of their way to impress their beloved anymore. They do not take time to consider their appearance for their beloved the way they used to. They do not seek out ways to do what is pleasing to their spouse. Their marriage is slowly withering away. What happens to a couple who are so full of love, joy and happiness who cannot wait to be together? What happens to them years down the line where they look as if they are strangers; strangers who share a house, share food, share a name but do not share a life. They might not even share a bed…
You find that many marriages after a couple of years have shrivelled up. They are a shadow of their former selves. Youthful individuals who looked happy and were full of life after a couple of years look as if they have lost the spring in their steps; they have lost their enthusiasm, their hunger for life, their adventurous spirit. What happens to them? They are no longer smiling! They are no longer blooming; they are no longer in-love. What happens?
My children gave me a plant for Mother’s Day this year. I really appreciated it, more so that they had picked it out themselves and paid for it themselves. I received it with such enthusiasm and eagerness to display it in my kitchen. That day I remember watering it and putting it on the most visible place in my kitchen so everyone could see it. I was so proud of my babies for going through such lengths to give me such a beautiful gift. My enthusiasm soon faded however as the days went by and I soon forgot about taking care of my plant. Somewhere in the back of my mind after a few days I thought “Well it is going to die any day now. I can see it is starting to wither” I forgot that this was not a flower and that the reason it was starting to wither was BECAUSE I WAS NOT TAKING CARE OF IT!!!!!!!!!!
My husband surprises me with flowers now and again and although they are watered they soon die and I have to throw them away. Because of habit I didn’t pay much attention to the plant that my kids gave me. I did water it at first. I probably did a second time but I forgot about it. Yes I did display it very proudly on my kitchen cupboard especially since it had the word ‘mom’ attached to it. What it needed to survive though was to be watered.
Well days went by and I thought that someone must have thrown it away as I didn’t see it on the kitchen cupboard. I forgot about the plant until this week when I saw it at the garage window!!!!! I had thought the plant had died but when we saw it this week in our garage there was something about it that made us realise that the plant is actually STILL ALIVE. In the neglect during these months since May it has somehow managed to survive. What was most obvious; the reason that it was able to survive was that it was placed on a window that faced the sun. Its exposure to the sun kept it alive!!!!!!!!!!! Looking at my small pot plant I was truly amazed at its resilience.
Marriage is just like a plant. It needs nurturing for it to thrive and survive. It needs to be watered. Without the constant watering and nurturing it will wither. Too much neglect; being away from your spouse; taking her or him for granted; no longer putting in the effort to be there; putting her last in the list; all these contribute to the withering of a marriage .
Even the marriages that do survive after years of neglect do so because the people in those relationships convince themselves that: “This is as good as it gets. I am old and marriage is hard. To be happy in marriage is reserved only for the newly-weds”
Watering brings back life
With enough watering, nurturing and a lot of tender loving care your marriage can blossom again to what it once was except it will be better because you will have experience on your hands. You will appreciate your spouse more and you will appreciate your vows more. Your spouse needs you to pay attention to them. They need your watering. They need your words of life that spring forth from your gentle heart. They need to hear that you love them. Let our marriages blossom and shine for the glory of our Lord.
I have a rose garden outside my house and every now and again I love to just sit and stare at the roses. My husband planted those particular flowers because he knows that roses are my favourite. When he bought the rose plants they were just small trees but now they have grown and grown. Getting the tree to grow to such heights was not by chance. It took hours and hours of pruning; nurturing and watering to for the flowers to grow.
Other people may look on the outside and celebrate the two of you. They must say “Wow those two look so good together” You might take care of providing material things that make your home look beautiful and dress your family with expensive clothes that make them look good but if you neglect to invest in some heart nutrients; if you neglect to speak their love language they slowly wither inside. They slowly lose their joy; they lose their radiance; they lose their confidence in the marriage. You need to attend to your marriage as you would attend a plant.
If your marriage seems dead because of years and years of neglect, take heart — there is hope in God.
He is the Resurrection and the Life. He is all powerful!!!!! Once you put your marriage into His hands He can put the life back into your marriage. He is the One who formed Adam from dust and pulled out Eve from him. He does the impossible and shows you the possible. Do not give up on your marriage. God is good and He is good all the time. All good and perfect gifts come from above and your marriage is one of them. Do not give up on it so easily. Do not throw it away. Bring it to the Son…
Once your marriage is towards the Son there is nothing that you cannot withstand.
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