How to Grow a Thriving Marriage

Marissa Pierce

 

Intro

With the dreary winter days giving way to the warm, sunny days of spring, finalizing garden plans has begun. For the first few years of our marriage, we lived in an apartment. When we moved into a home with a backyard last year, the years worth of Pinterest pins and dreams for what I wanted my garden to look like were all pulled out.

I soon discovered that gardening was much more complicated than I thought. The beautiful gardens seen online were much less achievable than I had hoped. There was a part of me that was so discouraged at times that I wanted to quit. It took a lot of patience, energy and commitment. Yet, I was so proud of the very first tomatoes I harvested. Although I didn’t harvest much this first year, I learned so much. Going into this next year, I can build on what I learned. My harvest will be more and more plentiful as I keep faithfully at it.

I believe so many of us go into marriage with certain expectations of what it will be like. We have our Pinterest board, and our years of dreaming and longing for the precious and sweet gift that marriage is. When we get there, although marriage is so sweet, we most likely will, at some point, find ourselves discouraged or stuck. It may feel like the marriage we dreamed of could never be a reality. Thankfully, we can have hope that the God who created marriage is the same God who can make it work.

 Soil

The first and most important thing I am going to focus on this year when planting my garden is the condition of the soil. The soil will need to be tilled, nutrients need to be added, and debris will be removed.

In the same way in our marriages, the most important thing we need to focus on is the condition of our heart. Is our heart soft toward our spouse? Is our heart soft toward God? If not, our garden doesn’t have a chance. God is the central partner in your marriage relationship. Without a healthy spiritual life, our marriage is doomed to failure.

Scripture, prayer, and community are all tools at our disposal that we can use both individually and as a couple to cultivate to maintain a healthy spiritual life. With our own hearts reconciled, we are then able to pray that the Lord would do the same work in the heart of our spouse. This creates the perfect soil for a flourishing marriage.

 Seed

With the soil prepared, we will plant the seeds. We hope and pray that one day they bear fruit. Some seeds will grow into a plant that will only last a season, while others will grow into a tree and last a lifetime.

The seeds of our marriage are the specific things we choose to prioritize. The seed we are currently enjoying the fruit of is a weekly date night. Ours are simple. Grandma comes over every Friday evening to watch our two little boys while we spend an hour and a half together at a local restaurant or coffee shop- just the two of us. We don’t have a set location or agenda for what will happen on that date night. We just want time together.

During this short and dedicated time we have together, we are very intentional with the topic of the conversation. “What’s on your heart?” has been a deeply meaningful question that we constantly find ourselves returning to. The whole point is to have the conversations that are harder to have when you’re in the trenches. They are much more enjoyable over a cup of decaf.

Water

Finally, with the soil prepared and the seeds planted, be sure to give the garden a healthy watering every day. Water your marriage by speaking words of blessing over it. We are given the unique opportunity to speak words of life, affirmation, and love, into the life of our spouse that no other person will have. Don’t keep those words in your heart. Speak them out, pray them out loud, and use scripture to pray over them.

When we say that your spouse is God’s perfect provision for you, that isn’t just in the characteristics of your spouse. God constantly chooses to use relationships, especially the marriage relationship to work in our lives. Allow God to use you to shower words of blessing over your spouse, and you will reap your blessed harvest.

Conclusion

Galatians 6:9 says “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Like in our gardens, it is easy to go into our marriages with expectations and dreams of what we want our marriages to look like. When we inevitably discover that the marriage we dreamed of is not an achievable reality, it is extremely discouraging. This is when the Holy Spirit, and the faith love we promised at the altar, have to be what guides our decisions.

We know that our God is a faithful God and grows character in us as we keep going in the direction he has called us. If we look to the right and to the left, we will get thrown off track, discouraged, and the gardens of our marriage will inevitably die. But if we lean into the challenge, allow our hearts to be transformed, our God will be faithful to lead us to a bountiful harvest in our marriage that is a testimony to who He is.

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Christian Family Life is a marriage discipleship ministry. We are here to offer resources and support no matter what condition your marriage is in. Our passion is to Build, Enrich, and Reconcile Marriages.

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