As the all-too-short Minnesota growing season comes to an end, the joy of daily harvest is happening in my tiny suburban garden. It's a timely reminder of the principle of sowing and reaping, featured here on this week's Heart Igniting Radio broadcast. Understanding how this principle affects marriage gives us insight into how to grow a great relationship. Here are some key principles:
You reap THE SAME as you sow - In marriage this means that the fruit of our relationship is the evidence of the kind of seed we've been sowing into our marriage. This gives us great hope for changing the patterns and problems that make us feel like we've "fallen out of love". Every choice we make has an impact - there is no neutral seed. The Bible says we can sow life or death. When your marriage feels dead, be powerful in changing your relationship by considering what "seeds" were sown to get you to there - choose to sow seeds of life in place of things that are bringing death to your marriage.
You reap MORE than you sow - In the face of a serious marriage crisis or years of struggle, it can seem like it would take something monumental to change the course of your relationship. More often it's not the one "big" thing that makes the difference, but many small actions over time that truly changes things. The tiniest seeds of faith, hope, and love have potential for huge multiplication in your marriage.
You reap LATER than you sow - It seems that amazing innovation and technology of the 21st century creates an expectation of instant results and yet even 2000 years ago people needed to be reminded that the "seeds" we sow take time to grow. Paul's words in Galations 6:9 tell us not to "become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up". Don't be disappointed when you don't see instant results from the changes you're making in your relationship - give it time to grow and expect a good harvest!
Ignite Your Marriage: One the the most common seeds we sow is our words. The way we talk to our spouse and about our marriage are powerful seeds that will produce life or death in our relationship. Use this tool, adapted from Love After Marriage Workshop, to sow the good seed of life-giving words into spouse:
1. Ask Holy Spirit to help you see your spouse as He sees them. Begin to think about their strengths, the things you appreciate about them, the good things that you want them to have. Allow Holy Spirit to shift your perspective from seeing the negative to seeing the positive.
2. Sit face-to-face and make eye contact. Even this nonverbal interaction is a powerful way to reconnect with one another.
3. Take turns speaking life-giving words about things you see in each other that you value, appreciate, and admire. You can also speak things you want them to be blessed with (i.e. "I bless you with wisdom for that difficult meeting you have this week"). Alternate 5-7 times. Consider doing this weekly or even daily as an intentional way of creating future fruit in your marriage.