Step 1 in Maintaining the Marriage Garden

(1) Prepare and clear the ground.

Think of the soil as your hearts. Just like the ground we chose was filled with obstacles to planting, so too the ground of our hearts is filled with obstacles to new growth. What are those obstacles? Some of them are the hard, rocky resentments that you have developed towards each other over the history of your relationship, or they are the feelings that no longer have feelings. Perhaps you’ve been hurt or wounded so many times in one area, that you’ve grown protective callouses in those emotional places. Then there are the weeds. These are the remembrances of wrongs or regrets that just keep cropping up in your thought life and affecting your attitudes and actions towards each other. Maybe you have experienced this: You could be having a good day when suddenly a word, a look, or a song reminds you of something that went wrong. Perhaps it’s something that you blame yourself or your spouse for. These weed-like thoughts have the power to strangle and blot out any chance of new growth or life in your relationships. So just like we had to clear the ground before we could plant anything new, you too have to clear the soil of your hearts sufficiently before you can try to grow a new and better relationship. It will be hard work, but it’s necessary. We’ll learn together how to do this difficult preparatory work. But for right now, just remember this: you can’t grow your marriage until you get past the past.