Yet if you’re serious about growing a flourishing marriage in a weed patch, it’s important to understand the strain of weeds you’re dealing with. Without that self-awareness, those weeds will get the better of you and your marriage. I promise.
For a better understanding of which weeds you’re dealing with, answer the question “Where do you experience pain in your marriage?” Your answer will provide clues about where the Holy Spirit is already at work to lift out the weeds making room for more fruit.
When you discover where the Spirit is moving and you join Him there, you can expect wonderful results! In fact, I can promise wonderful results because the fruit or work of the Spirit contains everything you’ve ever wanted for your marriage: Unconditional love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. This is the epitome of a flourishing marriage!
So let’s get back to the question, ‘Where does it hurt in your marriage?’
What’s causing the pain?
- Critical spirit
This list represents weeds which block the Spirit’s fruit production in your life. And without the fruits of the Spirit growing in you, the weeds will eventually choke the life right out of your marriage.
So how do you fight back and regain or secure a flourishing marriage? How do you get rid of the weeds and grow more fruit? The best defense is often a good offense. Author Gary Thomas said, “Grow a virtue that is opposite the vice and thereby suffocate the vice.”
That logic certainly proved true in my flower garden. The more my plants grew and thrived, the less space was available for those pesky weeds.
So let’s take a look at the corresponding fruit to weed breakdown so you can increase your self awareness.
Unconditional Love Self absorption, Pride.
Peace Fear, Anxiety, Envy
Kindness Critical Spirit, Sarcasm
Goodness Greed, Unethical
Faithfulness Disloyalty, Disregard
Gentleness Anger, Harshness
Self-Control Lustful, Addictive Lifestyle
John 6:63 reminds us, “The Spirit brings life, but the flesh has nothing to offer.” And nowhere is this made more clear than when contrasting the Spirit’s fruit with the weeds of our humanness.
Are you willing to surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit and to intentionally focus on bearing greater fruit this year? This isn’t about a will to weed, but a willingness to be weeded.
As I examined the list, I recognized that fear and anxiety have caused pain in my marriage. So the fruit I need more of is peace.
During this 21 Day Fast for a Fruitful Marriage Challenge, I’ve realized my need for greater, God-given peace. So I’ve asked for more.
In response, the Spirit did the work of bringing to my attention one area where I rob, not add to, my peace. In his book, Fasting, Jentezen Franklin says that fasting helps unstop your ears. And God spoke straight to my heart through my husband’s lips. What he said helped me understand exactly where the weeds of fear and anxiety were hurting my marriage.
I have a tendency (nice word for habit) to minimize my husband’s feelings in an attempt to preserve my peace. When he’s concerned about something or has been hurt, I don’t always ask him about his feelings. I don’t always want to go there! Instead, I minimize his feelings for fear they will rob me of peace.
Growth isn’t easy but I’ve begun listening fully to some of my husband’s deep emotions. It’s tremendously satisfying when that fruit produces good in your marriage.
The reason they call it fruit is because you were made to taste good to the world. You manifest God’s presence through your maturity and love. So that others say God is so good through you! -AJ Sherrill
When you determine where it hurts, ask the Spirit for more of the fruit you need! Watch and listen as he reveals your next steps.