A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. ~ GALATIANS 6:7-10

Passage: Galatians 6:1-10
A parable I coauthored with Dr. Stan Toler, The Richest Person in the World, was released last year. It deals with reaping what we sow. This concept applies to finances, friendships, and family and marriage relationships. Throughout the New Testament there is reaping and sowing imagery. When we look at nature we also see the same principle at work. God created a miraculous system of seed germination in nature…and the same applies to us.

After I finished cowriting the novel, I reflected upon how we each have sown things throughout our lives, but we also have had things sown in us. Sowing has been done by our families of origin…parents and siblings. Some by friends and acquaintances. Some “crops” sown in us are good and some are bad. Just as bitter weeds grow in a garden, so “bitter weeds” planted by bitter deeds can grow in us. These weeds can take on the form of negative or sinful behavioral patterns, sour attitudes, bad habits, or inappropriate coping mechanisms to cover wounds from harsh treatment.

If we don’t recognize these weeds in our lives and allow God to remove them, they can and will hinder our marriages. Such weeds include unhealthy attitudes toward sexuality, behavior that splinters unity, and disrespect.

But there can also be an absence of sowing good things in our lives. For instance, a person who has never been taught how to be romantic will not know how to do so in a marriage. Although it’s important to recognize the weeds in our lives, we also need to acknowledge when something is lacking so we can plant seeds to compensate for or eradicate problems.

Whether we need to pull some bitter weeds or plant some good seeds, the answer to ending negative patterns and creating good ones lies in our willingness to be open with ourselves, with our memories, with God, and with our mates. This requires strength to acknowledge there is a problem and the willingness to allow God to show us clear memories of how the problem germinated in our lives. Then we must ask the Lord to forgive us for allowing the bitter weeds to flourish and show us how to plant healthy seeds that will help us be healthier.

Last, we need the confidence, security, fortitude, and transparency to talk the issues over with our mates. When very deep or tragic issues are involved, sometimes a trusted friend or counselor can help. But often the simple act of discussing the problem with our mates until we no longer feel pain or no longer manifest negative behavior is key to allowing God to retrain us.

When I yearned for more romance and excitement in my marriage, I began to assertively “plant the seeds” of exhilarating romance. The seeds took root immediately and showed an early growth that catapulted our marriage into something magnificent. But this wonderful state fully bloomed when Daniel and I were transparent with each other. This fostered deep emotional and romantic intimacy.

So many times we pray for miracles in our marriages when often the steps to our success are already laid out in the Word of God. Granted, there are some prayers that will only be answered by direct intervention of God. But many times the miracle God wants to perform involves our recognizing we have things in our hearts that must be removed and then allowing Him to uproot them.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

Dear Father, please show me what has been planted in my marriage by me, my mate, or others that does not bring glory to You. Give me the fortitude to stop denying any bitter deeds that have spawned bitter weeds. Give me the courage to be transparent with You and my mate so we can pull up any weeds.


Excerpted from Marriage Revolution: Rethinking Your Relationship in Light of God's Design (Harvest House Publishers) by Debra White Smith. © 2008 Debra White Smith. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Debra White Smith has 52 books to her credit and more than a million books in print, including Romancing Your Husband, Romancing Your Wife, and many fiction romances. Debra's award-winning writing, biblical knowledge, and entertaining humor have made her a reader favorite and a sought-after conference speaker.