Cultivating Your Marriage

The music begins and the guests rise to their feet anticipating the bride’s walk down the aisle. As she and her father make their way to the front of the church, they are filled with many emotions, and the excitement in the room builds with each step. The beautiful bride, in her flowing white gown and holding a bouquet of fresh flowers, is then joined with her teary-eyed groom, and the ceremony takes place. The couple is then presented for the first time as husband and wife. Here is where the story usually ends, and the credits roll.

I love, love stories! The Hallmark Channel can suck me in, any day. Boy meets girl or boy reconnects with his long-lost girlfriend. They date and eventually get engaged and then married. It is a whirlwind of events. Of course, there is drama along the way, and at times the viewer wonders if the wedding will go off without a hitch.  

But after these movies are over, I always find myself wondering, “What happens next? Tell me more!” or “What is their life going to be like?” I just spent two hours getting caught up in their story, but the wedding is just the beginning of the most amazing journey they will embark on: their marriage! Do they realize that their marriage is not just about them, but that it has a significant role in God’s bigger plan?

Our marriages are meant to draw people to God and to show them the love Jesus has for all of us.1  It is so wonderful to think that God created the union of marriage and was the first to “give the bride away.”2  In the story of creation in Genesis 2:18–24, we see that after God created man, He determined that it was not good for man to be alone and that He would benefit from a “helper.” So God created woman and gave her to Adam, just as the father of the bride gives his daughter to the man waiting at the end of the aisle to be her husband. What great symbolism this is that, “a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and the two are united into one” (Gen. 2:24 NLT). As the couple stands at the altar gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes, there are no doubts and no thoughts of “what if”—only love and admiration for each other, as they begin this amazing new adventure.

Does this mean that our marriages have to be perfect and problem-free? No, just as with all good things, work will be needed to build a life together that carries out the purpose that God has intended. As we think about how to cultivate this relationship, I encourage you to think on the parable of the farmer scattering seeds in Luke 8:4–15. As we look at this parable, we see how important it is that we sow into our marriages properly so that we produce the fruit that God has for us. If the seed that we sow (such as our time and respect for our spouse) is sparse, it can be compared to the farmer’s seed that falls on the shallow ground. When seeds fall on the rocky, thorny soil, they are unable to develop deep roots, and the harvest is very poor.

We have all heard of marriages that are like this (mostly in the tabloids). You know the couples—the ones who are in love with the idea of being in love. They are sustained by the joy they initially feel or by their spouse’s doting ways, but when that joy is challenged by life or the attention from their spouse changes, their love begins to wither. Many times, these couples “feel” it is time to move on.

But when seeds are sown into good soil and intentionally tended to with effort and thought through seeking the Lord and offering grace, honesty, patience, and faithfulness, the couple is able to cultivate their marriage to make it stronger in times of adversity. Often the seasons in our marriage vary in length and may require the tools of patience and faithfulness to grow deeper. In times of trials, Romans 5:3–4 tells us that “we can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance [patience]. And endurance [patience] develops strength of character” (NLT). defines patience as “being steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity.”3  It is not reacting hastily, impetuously, nor impulsively. Seasons in your marriage take time and effort. Sometimes it’s the small things you do for each other that show your love and commitment to your spouse and marriage. It is also important to remain positive and patient, and to persevere through hardship, while having faith that the relationship will come out stronger and produce that “good” harvest. I love how Dannah Gresh defines faithfulness: “faith is looking at the invisible and seeing something.”4  Isn’t that what the bride and groom are doing on their wedding day—envisioning a marriage and a life together as something great? I sure hope so!

Take time to envision what your marriage will become. Anticipate what is yet to be seen and thank God for the harvest that will come from this union that has been created by Him and tended to through Him.

1Francis and Lisa Chan, You and Me Forever (San Francisco: Claire Love Publishing, 2014), 55.
2John Piper, “The True Purpose of Marriage,” The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, accessed June 16, 2019,
3Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, s.v. “patience,” accessed June 16, 2019,
4Dannah Gresh and Janet Mylin, The One Year Mother-Daughter Devo (Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 2010), 23.

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