I am currently meeting with a small group of people, and we are talking about the topic of marriage. We are using the material entitled “A Lifelong Love” from Gary Thomas. We watch a half hour video each week and then discuss it for 8 weeks. The material has been quite good so far and generated several good discussions.
This last week Gary used an analogy that I found very helpful. He stated that most people view marriage like a tree. With a tree, you take and plant a seedling into the ground. In the beginning, you should water it, possibly fertilize it, and keep any animals from destroying it. We once owned a new tree, and we had to stake it and keep adjusting the ropes to support it. Over time, though, you do less and less for the tree. Eventually, you just expect it to be there offering the joy of its shade. No real work left to do but occasionally clean up the leaves in the fall. He said most people view marriage like that tree, some work up front but little work in the future.
Then Gary suggested a better analogy for us to think of marriage. He said that marriage is more like building a brick house. Each and every day we are placing bricks into the structure of marriage. If we quit and leave before it is finished, then the whole thing is not right. Brick building takes diligence and hard work day after day and brick after brick. You are not finished until every block is set in place. Only then can you really enjoy what you have built.
I thought the analogy was extremely fitting for the lives of people I lead and counsel along with my own marriage. Most of us put very little energy into making our marriage better. Sure, we did in the beginning, but now we feel like we should just be enjoying it.
The big question is “How do you view your marriage?” The wrong images lead to the wrong actions or in this case, lack of action. How would your marriage be different if you viewed it as a brick house other than a tree?