We often talk about the need to cultivate a healthy marriage. But, what does that really mean or imply? (Click on the title to read more.)
We often talk about the need to cultivate a healthy marriage. But, what does that really mean or imply?
A man reaps what he sows. (Galatians 6:7)
Let’s start by looking at cultivating in the farming world. I’m not a farmer, so I may not capture every detail correctly, but I think you’ll get the point. It usually starts with preparing the ground ahead of time, making it ready to receive the seeds. Then the farmer plants (“sows”) good seeds. The more seeds that are planted, the higher the potential yield (what is reaped). However, the yield also depends on the soil. That’s where cultivation comes in, although the preparation of the ground is also part of cultivating. Farmers till or work the soil. They make sure there is enough water, adding irrigation systems if needed. They make sure there are enough nutrients in the soil by adding fertilizers. They need to protect the plants as they mature so that insects and other intruders don’t damage or destroy the plants. They have to wait for the seeds to sprout and the plant to come to full maturity before it can be harvested.
Marriage follows a similar process, although we often expect to go from planting to harvest without working at it. That’s just not reality.
How do we prepare the marriage “ground”? Make sure our hearts and minds are set on God, putting Jesus at the center of our life and marriage.
What are the seeds sown in marriage? Thoughts, words, attitude, and actions.
What is the soil? The heart and mind.
How do we cultivate? Love and cherish through kind words, encouragement, and thoughtful actions. Time together. Tenderness. Engaging in meaningful conversation (talking with each other). Continually studying each other, looking for the good, and focusing on the positives, not negatives. Speaking positively about each other talking with other people. Having eyes only for each other, eliminating the threat of an affair (emotional and physical). Creating a safe environment, removing the threat of divorce.
How do we reap the harvest? Just as the harvest of a plant is related to the quality of the soil, the health of the marriage is dependent upon what each spouse puts into the heart and mind of the other. What we reap will naturally flow from the quantity and quality of “seeds” we plant, and how effectively we cultivate the relationship.
It takes time, effort, and care to for a good yield – a healthy marriage.
Note: Scripture verses are from the New International Version, unless otherwise indicated.