Thursday, June 26, 2008
Part 2 - Tending the Garden of Marriage
(Continued from yesterday - Gardening Tips 7-1)
7) Learn his/her love language.
Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages that is a super read. John receives love most easily through the language of service. If I do the dishes or bring him lemonade as soon as he gets home, he feels loved. I receive love most easily through words of encouragement. John knows this and exhorts me often. He is a man of few words and I am not a servant, but we make the effort because without this kind of labor, our garden would die.
6) Give each other time to be alone.
We each need time without the other to do our own thing, besides work, and to let the Lord restore us. John enjoys riding for hours in the mountains. I love going somewhere and writing. We both take time to get away and be alone with God. This is vital to our spiritual health and the health of the garden.
5) Laugh. Laugh. Laugh.
I cannot emphasize this enough. John and I love to laugh and we do it a lot. Some of our best times of laughter come watching TV and commenting on everything or when we have dinner and talk about our day.
4) Don’t ever use the word divorce..ever.
It is not an option. Murder, you betcha. Divorce, no.
3) Talk about the hard stuff.
This is our most difficult lesson because neither John nor I do conflict well. We both get silent or leave the room if something has hurt us or made us angry. But we have learned that we MUST talk about it. We don’t have to resolve it immediately, but we must acknowledge the presence of a problem. In doing this, we are telling each other we love each other enough to walk through the pain that is INEVITABLE in every marriage. This part of marriage is like spreading the fertilizer over the plants in the garden. It looks and feels like manure, but it makes everything grow.
2) Never underestimate the healing power…
We laugh about this, but if I have a cold, a deadly disease or a hangnail, John will inevitably say to me, “Robbie, Never underestimate the healing power of…” Well, you know. It is TRUE! The intimacy of marriage must be tended to with the same care as a master gardener uses to tend his roses.
John and I began praying each night together after Noah was born and we haven’t stopped. In our darkest days when our garden was dying the power of prayer, that spiritual force that goes beyond our human endeavors, ultimately saved our marriage. It is a proven fact that couples who pray together consistently have a better chance of making it than couples who don’t. It keeps the garden blooming, colorful and vibrant, because it is inviting God, the best gardener ever, to take charge of our marriage.
And lastly, I will add that the best gift to give your kids is to love each other. Noah knows that John and I love each other and will always put each other first. This may sound harsh, poor little Noah :0), but in reality, we are giving Noah a secure foundation. I often say to him, “Noah, I hope you take care of your wife like your dad takes care of me.” And John tells him, “Noah, you’ll be blessed to marry someone like your mom.”
The garden is beautiful at the Iobst home. Not without weeds, but the flowers are tangerine orange and bright pink and yellow, the color of sunshine.
Takes work, but oh,is it worth it.