I’ve never considered myself a great gardener. I can’t imagine myself tending to tomato plants wearing the protective gloves, and snipping off thorns, pruning, and preening plants. I never thought I would have to water them daily, looking for weeds, and for pests that would like to spoil the fruit. I never thought I would have to hold an umbrella over my precious plants in case of hail. I never thought of myself as a gardener, yet the moment I became married I became one.
In fact I became the chief steward of the most precious vine I know; my wife.
My wife is such a beautiful vine. She’s so gentle, her skin sparkles like fine wine. Her glow is contagious, and she has endured many a storm, and come out victorious. She’s a strong vine, yet part of her strength, her durability comes from my success as a gardener. Over the next few posts I want to share some lessons husbands can glean by understanding our roles as gardeners. The first passage I want to look at is from Isaiah 5:1
Let me sing for my beloved
my love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it
This passage in Isaiah is a beautiful picture of Gods love for his people. It uses two metaphors; the first of lovers the second of a gardener tending his garden. This passage is rich in applications for marriage particularly for husbands.
This is not the only reference to husbands as gardeners, because the first gardener Adam was also the first husband. I don’t think it is by happen stance that Adam had to learn how to tend to the garden before he would be responsible and competent enough to tend to Eve. Coincidentally , even the English word husband has a variant meaning from the Norse that defines husband as a man who was the tiller of soil. So we see that both historically and culturally that there is a connection between husbands and tending the land.
One of the first descriptives that we have of this gardener and his vineyard was that it was a relationship filled with love. Look at the first words “Let me sing.” Can’t you feel the romance? Here you have this man this husbandman bursting into song about his “beloved”. You see you can’t really sing with out emotion. This man had such strong feelings for his beloved that he could not keep them to himself, he had to share with someone the great feelings he had. You know this is what happens when a relationship is serious. You go from maybe secretly dating, to then publicly expressing your love. Ironically what happens after marriage is the opposite rather than publicly expressing our love and affection for our wives we end up having powwows about the proverbial “old battle axe“. The sweet lines, the poems, the
“Oh baby you look so fine you blowing my mind” (Corny I know, and no I never used it)
” Woman , slow down. Do you know your gut is getting as big as mine”.
But you see that is not the mark of the gardener. The gardener says,
“Baby I’m a shower you with words. I’m in love with you and I want everyone to know that you are my boo, my sweet thang, my better half.”
Even for small things like being late to an event because of our wives beautifying times and excessive wardrobe changes, publicly criticizing or joking about ones wife is never beneficial. It is best not to blame our tardiness on our wives. You see I know how I can personally limit my wife’s beautifying time. It’s actually pretty simple but something I don’t do as often. When my wife asks “babe how does this look “, 63.5% of the time I can limit a wardrobe change by answering something like this,
“Babe you look amazing in that dress , you must be losing weight what are you now like a size 4 (however big that is).”
But keeping with the theme of the gardener the better way is to sing your response. Next time she asks the eternal question, get down on one knee and begin singing
“You look so good
You look so good to me can’t you see.”
Don’t worry if your voice cracks and if for whatever reason your wife after being serenaded does not sense the sincerity, the passion in your singing and attributes it to thinks you being sarcastic; just record it. It’s guaranteed to be a YouTube hit. Despite your greatest attempts there’s Still a 36.5% chance she will do at least one wardrobe change. Where do I get my stats from, you may ask? Well obviously from the most reliable source, the same well that Abraham Lincoln drew from; the internet.
All jesting aside, verbally affirming your wife is the first skill we can learn from the gardener. It is so simple, but so seldom done by us men except when we want sex. Taking it a step further, publicly affirming our wives is like breathing fresh air into our relationships. Less we run the risk of showmanship our public praises must not be outdone by private criticism. For our praise to be genuine and effective there must be a healthy dose of private and public praise.
So practically when’s the last time you told your wife she looks beautiful with out her asking how she looked?
Thanked her or praised her for
- how well she’s cooked?
- how well she’s handled the kids?
- Being patient with your stubbornness.?
- How smart she is?
To my wife who will be the first one to read this
I publicly declare my love for you. I love how you have given yourself to raising our son. You are a powerful woman of God, a kingdom shaker, and a force to be reckoned with. You are bold, smart, and I look forward to seeing God use you mightily. Thank you for pushing me, inspiring me, forgiving me and putting up with all my faults and failures. I am growing even if it’s at a snails pace.
Men, pray for me as I pray for you. Part 2 is coming up soon.