The time I have spent doing the dirty work has left me with some thoughts. Anyone who's spent time in a garden knows that a majority of the time is spent pulling weeds. Some have roots that grow deep and can't be pulled without the use of a spade or other gardening tool while others can be easily plucked from the earth. I've seen the same with trees in our yard. We moved into an overgrown plot of land and have spent the past six years removing trees and brush. I watched the lot next door be prepared for new construction and was amazed that the pine trees could be knocked down with a tractor. They toppled right over because their roots weren't as deep or as strong as some of the others. The hickory trees in our yard had to be cut down a little at a time and then the trunks left to sit for a couple years until they could be easily removed. The wood was too hard and the roots too deep.
Our relationships are the same way. We get out of them what we put into them. In order for a friendship to grow we need to nourish it. If we want a strong marriage we need to grow deep roots. If our life with Christ isn't deeply rooted we will topple like the pine trees when life pushes us.
I've had friendships die. Friendships I thought were solid relationships because of the decades of their existence. One small push from the outside and down they went. The root system never went deep enough to be able to sustain the wind from the storms. Time does not equal strength.
The marriage relationship is likely the most important physical relationship we can have. In order to keep it healthy we need to grow deep roots together. A family tree does not allow for members outside the family to live in its branches, and so our marriage should not flirt with the idea of entertaining outsiders. A strong marriage has grown deep roots over time through feeding it. Regular time spent together is important. Putting the needs of your spouse before your own is important. I've said it before, you cannot have a healthy marriage if you're selfish. Caring for each other is an essential part of marriage, especially if you want to finish, 'til death do us part. Your family tree begins with you and your spouse, not with your parents or his parents. Your spouse needs to be the most important person in your life for your marriage to be deeply rooted. There will be storms and you can survive. Grow together.
The most important relationship of all is the one with your creator. If you neglect to nourish your spiritual relationship with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit then you will find yourself easily influenced by outside forces. The deepest ache in my heart I've felt in ministry over the past twenty-five years has been seeing the church filled with baby Christians who have been saved longer than I've been alive. They think they're deeply rooted but there is no fruit in their lives. Their roots don't extend deep enough to gain the strength to flourish. You've seen the trees in the woods, the ones that have no life left in them and they've fallen. Branches bare, limbs breaking off, rotten roots exposed. Unlike the lifeless tree there is still time for these lives to change. There is always time for a new start. Nourish your walk with the Lord. Let Him change you from what you think is the right way to live to the way He wants you to live. Your life may depend on it.
Start deepening your roots today. Call (or text...) that friend you cherish but haven't talked to lately. Make a date with your spouse. Spend some time with the Lord. Open your Bible, pray, sing. These things will make you stronger.