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This is an excerpt from a book I read. This is one of the most profound things I have ever seen on a healthy marriage.....
The pastor gave us some very good advice in his message. I listened very carefully and still remember almost every word he spoke.
He said that marriage was like a garden. The husband and wife are the gardeners. The Head Gardener was the Lord Jesus Whose instructions we had to follow closely, if we wanted a beautiful garden. In such a garden, the Lord Himself would come and walk with us and talk with us as He did in Eden. He said that we must avoid all rudeness of speech and destructive criticism of each other. We must cultivate a pleasant way of talking to each other and never speak in an irritated way. Whenever we find irritation cropping up, we were to pluck out that nasty weed immediately, cast it out and plant a seed of love immediately in its place.
Other weeds we were to look out for were, accusing one another, an unforgiving spirit, moodiness, comparing our partner with others, reminding one another of our past failures or of our past friendships with the opposite sex, keeping grudges and resentments etc.
He went on to say that we must not expect our partner to do things the way we were used to doing them. We must be prepared to accept each other just as he or she is. Suspicion too, he reminded us, was a very dangerous weed. It was related to jealousy - and both were very poisonous weeds that easily found root in any garden that was neglected. Even the root of these weeds should be taken out as soon as they begin to appear.
Some poisonous weeds, like suspicion, he went on to say, were planted by the devil and if we were not watchful, they would grow very quickly and destroy both us and our marriage. Fear and discouragement could grow into gigantic trees that would easily crush the little plants in the garden. These too were to be pulled out at the root-stage itself.
As the pastor was speaking about fear, I remembered what I had read in a book titled "Hind's feet in High Places" (by Hannah Hurnard), about a crippled girl named "Much Afraid" whom the Lord transformed into a bold, courageous girl. In Pilgrim's Progress too, I had read about Giant Despair who imprisoned Christian and almost put him to death.
Discontentment, the pastor said, was another poisonous plant that produced the fruits of grumbling, complaining and nagging. (Nagging, he said humorously, was like having a bad stomach-upset in which the diarrhoea never stopped!!) If we were not watchful to root out these evils, they would wreak havoc and destruction not only in our lives but in the lives of others too.
He went on to speak of discontented people who had got into debt in order to purchase things that were beyond their means. Many finally committed suicide, when their debts became huge, and left their children fatherless. The pastor warned us that those who loved this world would find this plant of discontentment springing up everywhere in their gardens.
Speaking ill of others and gossiping were also plants that could infect our children and therefore should never be allowed in our garden. Wanting to win an argument or wanting to have the last word were also obnoxious plants that would make our entire garden stink.
He urged us to fellowship with people who wanted to plant good plants and to avoid all those who bring weeds and garbage (gossiping and evil speaking) into our garden.
Some of the good plants we could plant in our garden to replace the weeds were: Readiness to forgive one another, consideration for each other's feelings, sharing all earthly things with each other, sharing each other's views without arguing, daily Bible-reading and prayer, fellowshiping regularly with other Christians, and even cleanliness.
Such plants needed to be nurtured carefully if they were to grow into strong, healthy trees. The words we spoke to each other would be like the water that made these plants to grow. If our words were angry, it would be like pouring boiling, hot water on the plants. That would destroy them.
He read from Psalm 12:6, where the Lord's words are compared to silver refined seven times in a furnace. Our words he said, must be like that too - words that are refined and kind.
Good trees, he said, would take many years to grow. But once they start yielding fruit, many can be blessed by their nourishing fruit; and their leaves would bring healing to many too. He also quoted a verse that said that a kind reply could turn away another's anger (Proverbs 15:1).
An essential plant that must be found in our garden, the pastor said, was the plant of "Judging oneself". This plant does not grow in open places but only in the shade, hidden from the eyes of men. It is so tender a plant that if we don't nurture it carefully, every day, it will wither away. This is a plant that does not look very attractive. But it has such a powerful and pleasing aroma about it, that it could spread its beautiful scent over every part of our garden.
If we do not judge ourselves, the garden of our personal life and our married life could end up as one full of man-made plastic flowers - that looked nice before men, but were without any life. He warned us that many a marriage-garden was actually filled with plastic flowers that fooled people but did not fool God.
There were many who judged others, but few who judged themselves. Those who did not judge themselves would face a terrible judgment from the Lord when He returned to earth to judge all men. The pastor stressed that "being always ready to forgive one another and to ask forgiveness from one another" were fundamental requirements for a good garden.
For the wife, he said, submission was a tender plant that was most essential and extremely valuable. We all have a strong will and must be willing to give it up as Jesus did, who said, "Not My will but Thine be done". And God's will for wives was that they should be subject to their husbands, even as the church is to Christ.
Brokenness of spirit was like the sweet perfume that filled the whole of Mary's house when she broke the alabaster vial and anointed the feet of Jesus. God is near all those who are broken in spirit (Psalm 34: 18).
Matt 24:46-47-"Blessed is he whom his master will find at work
when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his
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