Thursday, August 06, 2015

Marriage, Committment, & Love

I know I have the dreaded M word in a blog post again. Here's the thing, though. That which we ignore or avoid we kill.

I try to be a gardener, but inevitably, time slips away. My basil plant is looking pretty wilted since it hasn't rained in awhile, and it's too hot. It should probably be watered daily right now since it's in a pot on the deck. Or maybe should find a shady spot for a few days in the heat of the afternoon. There's also a large flower on one of the basil stems, which means it will die even sooner now. The annuals I planted near my mailbox look very wilted, I'm not sure if they have a disease or just need water too.

The tomato plants need better staking, the sunflowers are about to tip over, and I already pulled up the bean plants because I didn't have time to keep harvesting (but I do have a nice gallon size bag of fresh green beans in the freezer).

But wait, this is supposed to be a marriage post, not a gardening post, what's up with that?

Marriage can be compared to a lot of things. I'm not directly comparing it to a garden, because that's not exactly right. But, just as your garden will wilt, falter, fill with weeds, and get diseased if you ignore it, so will your heart and your marriage.

Time is one factor in keeping a marriage healthy. Time to talk through mutual decisions, time to rediscover one another's passions (even if you don't have the same passion), time to do for one other, give to one another, honor one another with your body, soul, and mind. Time to grow together in your faith, time to discuss the future, time to pray together and laugh together and cry together.

But what if you just don't feel like you have the time? I have two young kids, I have several part-time jobs, I have volunteer committments, housework, and KIDS (oh and I have a garden too). So many times, when my husband gets home and cooks me dinner and plays with the kids, I don't take the time to say "Thank you" or "I love you". But what I'm doing is slowly killing that love and respect we've nurtured. Not through anything I'm doing, but through what I'm not doing.

The great news is, that if both people in a marriage are committed to each other, that wilt and disease and dryness can be overcome. It just takes a little time and an understanding of what true love is.

True love is not the fluffy feeling of attraction. It's not the hot feeling of lust. It's not the romantic feeling of an idealized version of reality. True love is being committed to that person no matter what, giving a little bit of yourself up (not your identity, but your desires) to build something new. We can read our romance novels or plan our perfect human being that we might one day meet, or we can build something beautiful together in the real world. Making real sacrifices, real change, and real love a part of our everyday life, not just an afterthought.

It's one thing to let a few green beans go to waste, but if you're wasting someone's heart, that's a much bigger responsibility. You don't have to change the garden or get an easier plant to raise, you just have to make the time to cultivate what you already have.

How does your garden grow?

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