The Marriage Garden
By Melanie Chitwood

“The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands” Proverbs 14:1 (NAS)

I was feeling so frustrated that my husband was not making some changes I’d asked him to make - changes that I thought he should make. As I was telling God my frustrations, He gave me a picture of how I’d been treating my marriage. It could really apply to any relationship. Picture this as I describe it.

Imagine your back yard and in one corner of the yard is a huge garden filled and overrun with weeds. You know you need to take care of that garden, but you also know it’s going to take a lot of work. But then you remember you have a big John Deer lawnmower. You can just use that to plow down every weed. So that’s what you do. You hop on the John Deere, plow down the weeds, wipe your hands, pat yourself on the back and say job well done. Sure the weeds will grow back, but you can just mow them down again.

Then your eye spots another garden in your yard. Not as big as the first, but also filled with tall weeds. Well, I’ll just use the lawnmower again, you think to yourself. So you walk toward the garden to assess the situation, and then you notice there’s already a gardener there. This gardener is working slowly and carefully. He yanks out by hand each tall weed and deposits them in a trash pile that’s growing taller. Well, that’s going to take a long time, you think to yourself. Let me tell him about my lawnmower. You slowly walk toward the garden, and as you draw closer, you notice beautiful flowers, hidden by the weeds. The gardener sees you and beckons for you to join Him. You stop. You have a choice. Do you join the gardener in tending the garden, or do you insist that you use the John Deere?

God showed me that I was treating my marriage and its challenges like the first gardener. I was just plowing through, trying my own methods of fixing things, and leaving decimation in its wake. Not to mention my repairs were just temporary. I sensed God saying to me, Let me be the Gardener of your marriage. Let’s try my gentle ways. I will help you uncover the precious treasures in your marriage.

Talk honestly with God in prayer about your marriage. If you see that you are using the John Deere method of gardening in your marriage, confess this sin to God and ask Him to be the Gardener of your marriage.

Dear Lord, thank you for my husband and my marriage. I want the marriage you want me to have, Lord. I confess that I try to do my own gardening many times. I surrender myself, my husband, and my marriage into Your hands, Lord, acknowledging that You alone know the best way to tend to the garden of my marriage. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Related Resources:
What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

Personality Plus for Couples by Florence Littauer

Encouragement for Your Marriage in Everyday Life

Application Steps:
Identify the pesky weeds in your marriage. Pray with open hands as you surrender each one to God. Ask Him to be the Gardener in your marriage and to deal with each weed the way He sees is best.

Reflections:
In what ways do you treat your husband like a pesky weed? In what ways do you treat him like a beautiful flower?

In what ways can you “put on love” (Colossians 3:14) for your husband?

After reading today’s key verse, think about ways you can “build your house” - strengthen your marriage - rather than tear it down. Commit to doing one idea this week.

Power Verses:

Colossians 3:12-13, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the lord forgave you, also should you.” (NAS)

Colossians 3:14, “Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (NAS)


12 Comments:

Blogger limijas said...

I am new to your site, as of yesterday, and God brought me here because I have been feeling lost and drowning in "trouble at home" - not always in my marriage, mostly in having 4 teenagers at home, and their issues causing my husband and I to argue about what I think he should be doing to support me in the area of discipline, and my feeling unappreciated for all that I do. I was praying for (Christian) guidance and a Word from God and thank you so much, I found both here. I will be careful (and prayerful) about mowing down weeds in my marriage after reading today's devotional. I've been doing this lately out of my frustration with the kids and I needed this revelation along with the encouragement I got from yesterday's devotional. Thank you again.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I needed this! It has been a stormy winter for my marriage and I have been praying for insight into what role of the storm I have been playing and I got it here. I thank you so much this devotion has given me a different way of looking at my situation and something to really sit and journal about. Thank you so much!

Blogger Amy Carroll said...

What a beautiful picture that will stick in my heart and head for a long time. I'm going to spend time with the Master Gardener today praying about your Reflection Points. Thank you, Melanie, for your faithfulness in challenging me in my marriage.

Blogger Donna said...

I will have to say that I was convicted today after reading this devotion. Sometimes I think we forget that we have become one in Christ. There are times that I to feel that I am unappreciated especially since our son had been diagnosed with cancer. The devotion was very encourage and it will help me to deal with things in a whole different light

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am always in need of encouragement and uplifting messages when it comes to my marriage . I ahve found that it is a continuous work in progress. The Marriage Garden is the analogy I needed today to reflect on what to do I need to work today on my maariage. I have to surrender it all, for real, to the Creator, and allow Him to tend to the Garden as needed, when needed. Thank you! God Bless You!

Blogger Monique said...

Yesterday was my first time on this site as well and I feel incredibly blessed to have found such great wisdom and truth in the words I have read here. Lately I have been frustrated because I feel like I am calling out to God to lead me and I haven't felt like he is here, but you know maybe I just wasn't seeing what he was showing me. Thank you ;)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is an on time God. I visited your site for the first time yesterday, and I found this message. It is exactly what I needed. I submitted a prayer request, and sure enough, I received a phone call from my aunt who talked with me and prayed with me as I'm going through some difficult times right now, and so, I want to say thank you for this message and thank you to the prayer warriors.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is an on time God. I visited your site for the first time yesterday, and I found this message. It is exactly what I needed. I submitted a prayer request, and sure enough, I received a phone call from my aunt who talked with me and prayed with me as I'm going through some health issues right now, and so, I want to say thank you for this message and thank you to the prayer warriors.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love gardening and this was such a great picture of what I may be doing wrong. I praise the Lord for you. Thank you for sharing this.

Blogger melanie said...

Hi dear friends, thank you for sharing your comments. I'm so glad you were encouraged - that encourages me. More than anything the P31 writers, speakers, and staff team want to point you to Christ, so i'm glad to see that this devo did that.

Marriage has been the best of times and the worst of times - but the place where God continues to shape me and mold me to look more like Him. Keep pressing into Him, set your mind above, and pray for your husband and your marriage without ceasing. blessings - melanie chitwood

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This devotion was just what I needed and perfect timing at that. God is so good. I have been praying for my marriage a great deal lately and this really spoke to me. Thank you.

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