Blooms of Love

NIV 365 Devotional 1

(Isaiah 27:1–6)

My husband makes our yard look good. Both of his thumbs must be green, because we have an explosion of color around our house. I have flowers in the house virtually the whole year round. In the late winter David forces early daffodils and tulips in our little greenhouse. That’s followed by a constant parade of garden flowers—irises, peonies, poppies, roses, dahlias, asters and the like—until the first freeze in late fall.

Gardening takes a lot of work. David regularly waters our flowers. Sometimes he takes a minute or two to quickly yank up a pile of weeds. Other times he’ll set aside a whole morning or afternoon for yard work and for making a mysterious concoction of fish guts, mouthwash and dish soap that he sprays over his plants so that the bugs and bunnies will leave them alone. His blooms look good enough for the county fair.

It’s a blessing for me that my husband cares as much for cultivating the fruitfulness of our marriage as he cares for cultivating the fruitfulness of our garden. Some of this cultivation takes place in a couple of minutes of “pulling weeds,” making sure we’re on the same page on financial decisions or parenting issues. We build our relationship in daily courtesies, affection, attention and joint prayer. Sometimes we give a whole evening (date night!) to marriage cultivation.

In Isaiah 27, God talks about cultivating the fruitful garden that is his chosen people. He keeps an eye on that garden. He waters it. He makes sure that nothing can harm it. His intention to go beyond protection and provision to fruitfulness is evident.

David and I like to share our garden blooms. This year flowers from our garden helped make a glorious, enormous Easter cross of flowers for our church sanctuary. Flowers from our garden end up on coworkers’ desks, neighbors’ kitchen counters and sickroom bedside tables. People walking their dogs wander up our driveway to get a glimpse into the backyard.

We don’t want to be stingy with the fruit of our marriage either. The point of cultivating our marriage goes beyond simply protecting ourselves and our togetherness. We want our marriage to bear fruit. Some of the fruit it’s now bearing is the secure, God-directed home environment that we’re creating for our children. But our marriage bears fruit in our careers too; neither of us would have the creativity and energy required for work if we were emotionally drained by a damaged marital relationship. Our marriage also bears fruit in our church family life, as we live a testimony of faithfulness before others and as our support for each other enables us to serve in various ways.

David and I are determined to take time, whether it’s five minutes or five evenings, to cultivate a marriage that keeps bearing fruit.

—Annette LaPlaca

Taken from NIV Couples’ Devotional Bible

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