10.27.14 Dr. Rick Langer recently shared a story – he and his wife Shari found a fruitful avocado tree in the backyard of their new residence – the tree kept them well supplied with avocados for several weeks during the “avocado season”….it seemed to take care of itself! In reality, the tree was watered regularly by the automatic watering system that came with the backyard of their new home.
A decision to construct an addition to their new home created an unintended consequence – the automatic sprinkler line that nourished the tree was removed during the construction project – they were aware of this change, but the tree didn’t seem to be too affected by the lack of water – it stayed green and looked healthy…until the next “fruit-bearing” season….the tree that had been so full of fruit the past season was almost barren of fruit – one avocado showed itself during the season!
Rick did a little research, and found that his avocado tree flourished and bore fruit when it was watered consistently, due to the root structure being near the surface of the soil. So, no consistent nurture of the tree left it looking fine – but it’s purpose, to bear fruit, was stunted by the lack of frequent attention and water!
Our marriage relationship is probably more like that avocado tree than we realize…in the busyness of our daily lives we can assume things are “fine”, begin to neglect the daily “watering” of the little things that keep our marriage garden watered, and before we know it, the fruit we had been enjoying is absent! And yes, one watering does not replenish the marriage – it takes time, attention, and consistency to see the fruit reappear – and remain!
One “watering” replenishment opportunity – the upcoming marriage conference, November 7-8, with Gary Thomas – “A Lifelong Love” – what if marriage is about more than just staying together? Join us as we give some hopeful attention to our marriage garden! More>>
In a recent article by Gary Thomas he talked about “warning signs.” I’ve included a few of them here:
8 Warning Signs Your Marriage Might Be In Trouble
A few habits you should be paying very close attention to! Old-time miners used to keep canaries down in the mines where they dug. Before there were sophisticated instruments, the best way to detect the slow leak of poisonous gas was to have a canary—with tiny lungs—serve as an organic “meter.” If the canary died, poisonous gas was likely leaking out and the miners got above ground as soon as possible. What are few of the signs that a marriage is really in trouble?
- You Pray for God to Change Your Spouse Instead of Asking God to Help You Bless Your Spouse. The “default” attitude of consistently asking God to change our spouse is destructive in two ways: It fosters a spirit of selfishness and irritation, which will eventually destroy affection, and it makes us focus on what our spouse is doing wrong (which we can’t change) instead of on what we can do right (which we can change).
- You realize you married a person who, in the language of the Bible (James 3:2), “stumbles in many ways,” right? Which means there will always be something to “change” about your spouse. But waking up with the desire to bless (i.e., serve) our spouse changes us into nurturing people instead of condemning people.
- You Define Your Spouse By What They’re Not Rather Than By What They Are. The way our brains operate, we start to take the status quo as “normal,” which means our default position in marriage is to take the positive aspects of our spouse for granted (“that’s just the way they are”) and instead be acutely aware of what they’re not doing (but what we think they should be doing). If we don’t fight this, we’ll gradually grow more frustrated with our spouse, because even when they improve, that improvement eventually becomes the status quo, which we then start taking for granted. Ask God to make you newly sensitive to the particular blessings of being with your spouse that you have become blinded to out of familiarity.
- You Spend More Time Thinking About How Your Spouse Could Love You Better Than You Do About How Well You’re Loving Your Spouse. Throughout the Bible, both Christian husbands (Ephesians 5:25) and Christian wives (Titus 2:4) are told to study the fine art of loving each other well. Few spouses ever fulfill this charge; all of us fall short of these ideals, and yet we, who fall short, often fixate on how our spouse falls short. Here’s the thing: we can’t dictate what our spouse does, but we can impact what we do. If you want a Christ-honoring marriage, focus on doing your part and let God take care of your spouse.
- You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Laughed Together.Couples usually consider “fun” as an essential aspect of continuing a dating relationship. If a couple never had any fun on a date, it’s highly unlikely you’d see the two of them get married. Conflict is inevitable, but it can be positive if it reveals values and leads to greater understanding.
Well, unfortunately, the same principle often applies in marriage; when the fun stops absolutely, after a while couples decide they want to stop being married. A sense of humor is high on most people’s “desirable” list, but that doesn’t mean you have to be Jerry Seinfeld or Tina Fey—it just means you need to be intentional about planning activities that the two of you enjoy together.
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Larry Shoemaker – Pastor of Marriage & Family
(909) 335-7333, x 135 | email@example.com