Some days, my goal is simply to put one foot in front of the other consistently enough to make it through to the end of the day. I’m in a life stage where it is easy to feel out of control, with two young kids and a full plate of activities (on top of work and other obligations and demands).
On those days, it’s almost like my wife and I are running a marathon, and we are just trying to cross the finish line.
But, God doesn’t want us to just survive. He intends for us to thrive, or flourish.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus is talking about having life, and having it to the fullest!
In the same way, God wants our marriages to not only last but to thrive. When I set out to write this article, I really had to meditate on what it means to thrive. I was really intrigued by one definition I read for the word… to grow vigorously.
Over the last few years, I’ve taken up gardening. Now, I’ve grown a few things in planter boxes and on patios through the years, but last year it got real--my first, sizeable, in-ground garden.
We moved to a new home with more land and space to undertake such an effort, so I said “why not?” While I was feeling adventurous last spring, I decided to attempt to grow some cantaloupe plants from the seeds from a store-bought cantaloupe. I had no idea if it would work or not.
Well, let me tell you, with a little work and a lot of patience, those cantaloupe seeds sprang forth huge plants that produced dozens of cantaloupes… and grew so vigorously they nearly took over the garden.
I know it can be cliché to draw a comparison between a garden and a marriage--but it’s nearly unavoidable since it is so apt. Like a garden, a marriage needs cultivation.
You have to pay attention to your garden plot--add in the good stuff like compost and remove the bad stuff like weeds and pests. If you do those things, the plants will thrive, or “grow vigorously.”
So, how do we get our marriage to do the same? I believe there are a few key factors that contribute to a thriving, growing marriage. If we maintain our focus on these, then we’ll see the fruitful results in our relationships.
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