Thursday, June 26, 2008
Part 1 - Tending the Garden of Marriage
Keeping a marriage strong is like tending a flower garden. Nourishment and daily attention is vital. Weeds creep in no matter the spiritual pesticides you use. If they are left to grow, they choke the joy and security out of the union. Those weeds must be dug up from the roots, or the same issues will keep popping up, taking away from the beauty and the usefulness of the garden.
I am blessed beyond measure in my garden because of two factors.
First, I am the offspring of some great gardeners. Walker and Sally Ann Floyd knew how to tend their marriage and keep it strong. What a blessing to observe them truly enjoy each other.
Once I asked my Dad what I should look for in a mate. He said, “Rob, find somebody you jive with. Period.”
He “jived” with Mom. They liked each other and enjoyed hanging out. Their garden flourished because they were first and foremost, friends.
The most important lesson my folks taught me about marriage is that it takes commitment. Not gushy love or twitter-pation or even attraction, although all three of these bring blooming flowers to the garden that add color and joy. But without commitment, gardens die.
Mom told me often, “Marriage is the hardest job you will ever love.”
The second reason I am blessed in my garden is my co-gardener, John.
We just celebrated 12 years. I can honestly say that I love this man much, much more than that Saturday in June of 1996. When we met, we were both completely different people than we are now. The change in our souls and our outlooks occurred because our garden started dying. God gave us overalls, little shovels and new seeds. Through a lot of hard work, our garden began blooming again.
John did most of the work. He has become a master gardener.
So I thought that today I would share the top 10 gardening tips the Lord has given us.
10) Affection is important.
Reach out to hold each other’s hand. John often sweeps me into his arms and we dance across the kitchen floor. He kissed my cheek last night in the middle of dinner at a restaurant. The flowers bloom with affection!
9) If it is important to him/her, it is important to me.
I have LEARNED to listen and ASK QUESTIONS about motorcycling. John has learned the same with my writing. We do this, not because I love motorcycles and John loves writing, (are you kidding?) but because we like each other and we know part of nourishing our marriage is to nourish each other’s interests.
8) Viva la difference!
My Dad used to say this and it completely fits tending the garden of a marriage. John is not like me emotionally and I caused us a boatload of problems during the first part of our marriage when I expected him to have the same emotions as I did. I would say, “Aren’t you excited?” He would say in a complete monotone with no facial expressions, “Yes.” It would drive me crazy and it didn’t make him happy either. When I began to accept our differences, the freedom to be myself and let him be himself was like nutrient rich water that refreshed our garden in the hot sunshine.
(Part 2 tomorrow, Friday)