A Flourishing Marriage: Biblical Garden of Love, Part 1E

Gardening requires lots of water – most of it in the form of perspiration.                

~Lou Erickson

*Photo Credit: winnond/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A gardener thrusts her hands in the deep, rich soil,

*Photo Credit: zirconicusso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

tilts her hand to let the seeds slide into the ground, watching the bits of hope fall, buried.

*Photo Credit: Chaiwat/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

She waters the seeds with tenderness,

*Photo Credit: Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

and jerks out the intruding weeds that may try to choke her progress.

*Photo Credit: Photography by BJWOK/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

She chose soil rich with nutrients so that her seeds may thrive, and she works the land with joy, excited about what is to come.

*Photo Credit: Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A hesitant toddler of a flower springs up from the ground, at first a mere delicate stem dancing in the breeze with a few tender shoots of green,

*Photo Credit: Master isolated images/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

and then as if like a butterfly, it is transformed into the beautiful face of love.

Photo Credit: healingdream / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Growing flowers and marriage have much in common. Both require patience and lots of work. You need a good soil to start with – a foundation on Jesus Christ. You need water – overflowing refreshing unconditional love. You need to pull out the weeds of sin in your hearts. And you need to work at it every day in order to have a flourishing marriage.

*Photo Credit: vichie81/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Let’s look back over what we’ve learned

1. We cannot do anything or change anything about and within ourselves without God who pours out His love upon us through the sacrifice of His Son, Christ Jesus, and through the healing power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives!

2. The Biblical Garden of Love will take time and work and effort, will sometimes be painful, but many times be pleasurable, and will require your whole heart to be in it!

3. How can we practically be patient wives? We must understand our condition. We must understand what we do now that we’re equipped. We must give thanks to God because of our salvation and inheritance. We can live as a redeemed Eve. We are chosen, forgiven, and dearly loved.

4. As a result of this fantastic love of God and His entire redemptive work completed in your life… practice patience in your marriage garden bed… as a genuine fruit result of the Holy Spirit actively working in your life.

5. What happens when we’re impatient? We resort to complaining and grumbling, we lash out at others, and we lack trust in God and understanding of God. Biblical response: Be continually gracious and forgiving toward your spouse’s sins – and be continually convicted of your own.

6. God, in His patience, sent His only Son to live a perfect life on earth, to patiently bear His sufferings on our behalf, and to die for us, conquering sin and death when he rose from the grave to eternal glory next to the Father’s throne in heaven. Because we’ve been forgiven and made right with the Lord, we are to extend the same grace and mercy to our spouses, clothing ourselves in the same patience and humility as Christ demonstrated on a daily basis.

7. Patience is not… stoicism, fatalism, escapism, passivism, isolationism, or humanism. Replace stoicism with care, concern, and sensitivity for others. Replace fatalism with a healthy view of your personal well being, and a healthy self esteem. Replace escapism with a healthy confrontation of the problem. Replace passivism by actively loving and pursuing peace with those around you.  Replace isolationism with fellowship. Replace humanism with spiritual growth.

*Photo Credit: nixxphotography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Practical Applications of Patience 

1) Consider how you react when your husband does something to annoy or hurt you. How can you exercise better patience with your spouse?

2) Spend time seeking God in His Word regarding patience. Use a Biblical concordance to find verses or look up the ones mentioned in this blog post.

3) Talk with your husband about your definitions of patience. Are they similar? Different? Discuss how being patient and/or impatient postively/negatively affects your walk with God and your relationship with each other.

4) Pray together frequently for patience. Ask God to show you what Biblical patience looks like in a marriage.

5) Consider what in your life and marriage you just need to let go. Are there reasons for fights that are petty or silly? Lay those reasons in God’s hands and ask Him to take control of your reasoning, giving you wisdom to exercise whether an issue is really an issue.

6) Listen. Stop and listening is an important part of exercising patience. Allow your husband time to express himself, even if it’s negatively. Remember Romans 15:5-6? If both of you are yelling, you won’t hear anything but your own inner turmoil. Work toward unity and peace by stopping, waiting, and listening.

7) Talk about your preferences, tastes, opinions, and needs with each other often (as these sometimes change). Maybe you grew up in a household that always served dinner at 5 and everyone was expected to be at the table. Maybe you he grew up in a household where it was every man and woman for himself. Maybe you’d like to change and eat dinner late like at 8pm. Maybe you’ll need to compensate because you’re working late and he needs to cook dinner more often or he’s working late so you eat a later lunch so you can both have dinner together later. This is just one example of the many possibilities surrounding preferences and needs.

*Photo Credit: graur codrin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Take it a step further:

It’s important to have an idea of the background your spouse is coming from. This is an exercise similar to something my sister told me about which she did for a class assignment.

Take each of these words. Write in one-two words (a sentence at most) what your family’s beliefs are regarding these items, beliefs, or practices. Compare with your spouse (or significant other) and discuss. Now re-write the list and write what you two as a couple decide together about said items.

Love.

Sex.

Politics.

Money.

Education.

Children.

Family.

Power.

God.

Religion.

Church.

Pets.

Home.

Car.

Work.

Meals.

Chores.

Holidays.

Sports.

Music.

Movies.

Anniversaries (or Weddings, if you aren’t married yet).

Birthdays.

Friends.

Free time.

Vacations.

Investments.

Other ____________  (feel free to add as many as you would like).

Related Posts:

1. When Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect an introduction to the Biblical Garden of Love: practical advice on allowing the Gospel to work 

2. What is Love? an introduction to 1 Corinthians 13 

3. Does Patience Grow on Trees? Part 1  “…bliss will not last forever, and that trouble in paradise is inevitable…” 

4. Does Patience Drive Your Car? Part 2 …“Being impatient is like driving down a road in the middle of a storm and suddenly realizing there’s a tree down in front of you…” 

5. But What if Patience Doesn’t Fit? Part 3 “Write gentleness and kindness on your heart every morning just as you’d wear your wedding ring faithfully.” 

6. I Take Thee to Be My Husband…and then I’ll work under you, be your personal slave, and never have an opinion of my own forever Part 4 Patience is not… stoicism, fatalism, escapism, passivism, isolationism, or humanism. 

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