Invest in your marriage and tend to it with love and consideration. Your devotion will bear fruit in time, like a well-cared for garden. Be aware of the worries of everyday life that slowly nibble away at the strength of your union. Distracting issues are like little pests and will damage even the most fruitful garden. May God bless your marriage, my friend!
When Mr. K and I got engaged some well-meaning married friends told us “This is the best time of your lives!” Mr. K and I were puzzled at their insistent declaration. We wondered, “If this is the best time of our lives, why should we get married?” Well, we did get married and it was bliss! We loved being home together in our tiny little apartment in Pasadena. Mr. K always capped the toothpaste and put the toilet seat down. I learned how to cook. We were a match made in heaven.
We laughed at the idea that our engagement was the best time of our lives. Married life rocked! Sure, we had difficulties like not having enough money, but God always provided for our needs. I finished college, Mr. K got a raise, and we talked about starting a family. It was around this time that our 17 year old nephew died in a tragic motorcycle accident. The next few years passed in a blur of mourning. When we started our family, time seemed to speed up even faster.
Looking back, I don’t agree with our friends telling us our engagement was the best time in our lives, but think I understand them now in a way I didn’t then. What they meant to say was while we were engaged we didn’t have many responsibilities or worries. There were no kids to feed and clothe and discipline. There were no house payments or home improvement projects. Our time was our own and we were free to revel in the euphoria of our young love. And yet…
The years of our marriage brought us a depth of love greater than anything we could have imagined. We supported each other through the births of our three kids and a heartbreaking miscarriage. We experienced the joys of church leadership and the betrayal of those we called friends. The financial stress and strain of mortgages and college tuitions were balanced by the sanctuary of our home and the laughter of our family. Through it all we were each other’s best friend, lover, and confidant
The best time in our lives was not defined by a lack of responsibility but rather by the shared triumphs and trials that made up the whole fabric of our marriage. What our married friends should have told us all those years ago when we were engaged was, “This is the easiest time of your lives.” Or better still, they should have taken us out to dinner and said “Congratulations! The best is still to come!”
During a wind storm many years ago, a tall and stately tree fell down. Someone told me the tree was 30 years old. When it was upright it had pretty green leaves on long branches and a big thick trunk. It was not a severe wind storm that knocked the tree down and no other trees nearby were damaged. I walked over to look at the downed tree with its roots ripped out of the earth and noticed something interesting. The roots were eaten away by termites! The thriving tree above ground was quite damaged where the roots could not be seen.
Thinking about the tree with damaged roots made me contemplate marriage and how an outwardly healthy marriage could have hidden rot. Marriage, like a tree, needs to be attended and given care. Looking healthy on the outside is no guarantee that the roots are healthy, too. It only takes a small crisis to take down a marriage that has no solid roots.
What are the termites eating away at the roots of your marriage? Deal with those termites quickly and thoroughly, or the next storm may take your marriage down.