the roots of marriage

Advice to the young brides Sadie *Chet and Emma *Drew

When I was asked to put together a short devotional for this shower, I immediately thought “Really, there is another more capable than I.” Aren’t we all just a little like Moses in these things. Surely another has better speaking ability than one who stutters in speech. Or in my case one who cannot read anymore in public. Nevertheless, this is only meant to to be a short message of hope to the young bride from one Auntie who has had more experience? Correct.

So here it is.

My first gift to you is a book that has meant much to me. And because I do not want to spoil the surprise, just let me tell you that in my 32 years of marriage I have learned the Love is not a noun. It is a verb. An action verb. I know that you are both early elementary teachers so maybe you know the difference between a person, place or thing and an action verb like loving, hugging, cooking, cleaning, etc. You will find that through the years love will become something you do easily or something you must choose to do. I hope when the seasons are tough you will choose love. And I pray that your choice will be rewarded by seasons of plenty, full of love and laughter.

Now for the little object lesson from God’s good book. I will have Emma read one verse and Sadie read the other. Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 2, & 8, “For evertyhing there is a season, and a time for every thing under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant seeds, and a time to harvest what is planted;… A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” And from Ephesians 3:17-19 “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

This little plant is one of the easiest to please houseplants there is. It is called the “mother-in-law’s-tongue” plant. Of course there are many not so nice things that could be said, but simply put, it is actually quite easy to to please your fiancee’s mom. Just remember that he came from her, and and that your love for him is what matters. We all know that what the plants teach is is that it’s the roots that matter. Water the plant just enough and what is above the ground, all that everyone sees will be a healthy plant. This plant is one of the most forgiving houseplants you can have. Forget to water it for awhile and it will actually begin to send up new shoots. Be grateful to your family that gave you healthy roots and taught you and your spouse what matters most in this life.

The verses from Ecclesiastes tell us that there is a “time for everything.” Both of your spouses are in the “planting” season. And indeed there are four seasons to the plant world. Spring, summer, fall and winter are familiar to all of us. Seeding, growing, harvesting, and planning are very much a part of your lives also. This is the season of spring and summer for the both of you. School schedules and farming all have so very much more in common that you think. Your marriage will have many seasons and don’t be surprised when they come within just a short week sometimes. But now is the planting and rooting season, The season to plant love is always on!

And no you do not want to hear about war and hate. But let me tell that when tough times come and you find yourselves in the battle of life’s ups and downs it is always in season to hate what causes you to war against each other. In the battles, choose love and fight for your marriage. You are both worth that.

The passage in Ephesians talks about being rooted in the love of Christ. The verses that we did not read just before talk about being on your knees in prayer. The first two words of what was read are SO THAT. So that means something came before that tells us how to experience the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love. Right now in your lives, love is strong and easy. There does not seem like there should ever be any difficulty. But this life teaches us that suffering is part of living. There is only ONE way to have the strength to choose love during all of the seasons of life. This passage in Ephesians tells us that is through Christ and His power that we make that choice.

Now onto the fun stuff. May you both experience the riches of God’s gift of grace as you go through life with you spouse. May you be the one to show His love to your spouse when he goofs up. May you be the first to offer forgiveness and be the love of Christ to your husbands.

May the breadth of your love for each other be as wide as your reach. May the length of your love be for all of the days God grants you togetherness. May the height of you love be to the moon and back! And may the depth of you love be as big as the ocean of love that God showed each of you in Christ His beloved Son!


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