When living a MarriedLIFEtogether, you find that sometimes it’s the little things that enrich a marriage. Working hard together on a project. Tackling a home renovation, planting a garden and cleaning the basement. (OK, I will never do that!) There is something very rewarding when working together on a garden. A common project. A garden takes time, to see it come to fruition. It is gratifying to take a plot of dirt, seed it down, manage the weeds and pick the harvest. God is the Master Gardener and He is well pleased to see his people engage in the process of bringing forth the harvest. A garden is such a metaphor for life as you get what you put into it.
My husband has been gardening for about 5 years now. He and his sister Annette (our next door neighbor) worked together to buy plants and harvest the produce. She would plant in the plot what she was wanting and Marty would add what he was wanting. I never really got involved. My work with the photo studio kept me very busy in the summers and my job as a flight attendant the last 2 years took me away from home often. This summer, I have been home much more due to a schedule change with my airline and I have enjoyed getting out in the garden more.
I always thought I would garden when I got old. I guess I am old now. As a child, my parent’s had a huge garden and I remember planting, weeding and harvesting daily. It was not always a joyous chore in our household but I did learn a lot about vegetable plants, planting a garden, identification of weeds and when to harvest. I am thankful today for all the gardening skills I did indeed learn as a child. I still don’t relish the idea of freezing beans or canning fruit. My parents did a lot of food preservation and I can remember hot summer days in the kitchen while the family worked together to process bushels of beans and rows of sweet corn. I am still not wanting in on that experience. I am happy to enjoy the harvest as it comes and sharing it with others when we have too much. But, it is still Marty’s garden.
I am so impressed with my husband and his diligence with gardening. He frequently will leave his vehicle after a long day of being on the road and he will go straight to the garden. He putters around in it, watering, weeding and harvesting each time. I think if I set up a lazy boy chair and TV out there, he may never come into the house. I helped this year with planting and I remember fondly working for over 2 hours in the heat and humidity of July as we pulled a garden full of weeds. The ground was soft that morning from a light rain and the weeds came easily. But our legs didn’t recover easily! We both were quite uncomfortable for days with our hamstrings all stretched to the limit from bending over! Working in the garden is an incredible work out as well.
Our beans have produced way beyond our expectations. They were suppose to be 3 different varieties with three different maturity dates but somehow they all decided to produce at the same time. We did 2 varieties of green beans and 1 row of purple beans. The old biblical saying of sometimes you get 30, 60 and even 100 fold holds true this summer. We are having an 100 fold harvest! It’s been great to bless others with the beans we can’t eat. Honestly, I think I have had enough of green beans for awhile. But they keep on producing, we keep on picking. When I first met Marty, he only ate 2 vegetables-corn and beans. He has really grown to appreciate many different vegetables. The last few years he has grown brussel sprouts and some of his sprouts are the best I have ever tasted. We are incredibly fortunate to have very good soil. This year, he has acquired a taste for beets. I have always loved beets but I could never get him to eat them very much. But I cook them in a pot of 1c. vinegar and 1c. water and boil them for a long while, until soft. I let them cool a little and then peel them. At this point, they taste great in a salad or I also will slice them up and fry a few moments in butter. When I met Marty, every vegetable was cooked until it was mush and bland. I still like my vegetable done a little less than he does but he has really learned to like so many new ones.
Marriage. Marriage needs to be treated like a garden. We need to plant and sow; be open to new ideas, begin new projects, dream about the future. We need to tend the garden-daily. Removing weeds such as temptation, arguments over finances and selfishness. We need to stay after the plant’s growth too. Raising our children; guiding them, pruning off unwanted behaviors and directing them where to grow. We need to grow together in new areas of interest; professionally, personally and as a couple. Develop hobbies you can do together. We need to bring in the harvest-together. Harvest time is time to get to work. There will be times where you just don’t want to pick another row of beans. But you will lose out on the harvest if you let things get to mature and go to seed. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and don’t get lazy and apathetic at harvest time. Often, when your kids are finishing high school and going off to college, many couples will grow apart. It’s time to get to work and tend to the most precious thing of all; your love for each other.
Pray to the Lord of the harvest to bless you 30, 60 and 100 fold. Focus on the creator and begin to worship more together. Once the distractions of raising children lessens, invest more into your spiritual life together. Your later years in your marriage can be richer than the former years. Always keep the proper order: God first, marriage second and everything else third.