A little over a month ago, I planted a couple tomato plants. Our tomato cages got lost in our move last year, so I put the tomato plants in the ground and figured I would go get new cages in a couple days. (A tomato cage is metal cage that goes around the tomato plant. It provides support for the tomato as it grows and bears fruit.) And then . . . I didn’t get the cages. I would be out watering my garden and think, Oh, those plants are getting kind of big. I should go get cages. Then I would go inside and the tomato cages would slip my mind. Every time I watered the garden, I would remember that I needed to get tomato cages—but there was no rush, right?
A couple weeks ago, I noticed some little baby tomatoes starting to grow. The tomatoes are going to weigh the plant down. I thought. I better get some cages. Just in case I might forget again, I grabbed some sticks that had fallen from the tree during our last storm and used those to try to shore up the tomato plants a little. Why didn’t I think to do this when I first planted them? I wondered. And then I forgot about tomato cages.
This past week, I realized that the pepper plant next to one of the tomatoes plants was completely overshadowed because the tomato plant had flopped over a bit. I reminded myself, I better get tomato cages pretty soon, and I added another stick, just in case.
A few days ago I finally got tomato cages. Installing tomato cages over plants that are big enough to be growing fruit isn’t easy. The plants had already started slanting in directions I didn’t want them to grow. In trying to pull parts of the plants through the holes in the cages, I managed to break branches in a couple spots. So now one of my tomato plants is recovering from wounds. One branch is completely gone; the blossoms it had grown will never bear fruit. I went slowly, though, and with patience and effort, my tomato plants are now safely supported—just like they should have been from the beginning. I will have beautiful tomatoes, even though my yield will be slightly less because of the branch I broke off.
A wise gardener would have installed the tomato cages immediately upon planting, just to be sure the support was in place before it was even needed. Waiting too long to install the cages made the work difficult and caused some damage. However, what grows from here on should be healthy and supported.
Many of us do in our marriages what I did with my tomato cages.
We marry, convinced that love will be enough to get us through anything. The marriage grows, and we may recognize that it needs some help—but we forget or we just don’t get around to it. Over time, married life gets heavier and more difficult. Because we didn’t have good support from the beginning, the marriage becomes a little lopsided and out of control. We may try to shore it up with temporary measures, but they just aren’t enough. The fruit of our lack of effort starts to weigh things down. It starts to overshadow other things we try to nurture in our lives, just like my forlorn little pepper plant.
A wise couple installs support from the beginning of the marriage, being intentional about putting in place the counsel and resources that will help the marriage grow and thrive.
My husband and I were not wise. We waited so long to work on our marriage that the work was sometimes difficult and caused some emotional bruising. However, we continue to heal. What grows from here on will be healthy and supported.
If you have been married a long while, the prospect of healing your marriage may seem overwhelming. You can’t go back and start over, and you wonder if there is any point in trying. What good will it do? you think. The damage has already been done.
It is not too late.
You cannot go back and get a do-over on the early years in your marriage, but you can start where you are right now. There may be some bruising and it probably won’t be easy, but seek support now to help redirect your growth.
It is not too late. You still have time for good fruit to grow.