Reap the Whirlwind…
Reap What You Sow Into Your Marriage
I love the law of sowing and reaping in the bible. It helps me to think through what I want out of life and to sow the things that have a positive consequence. That results in very practical actions with real outcomes.
Moreover, it also applies to marriage relationships. What do you sow? What do you reap? What do you want out of your marriage?
This concept is very practical and profound. Here’s what this post is about:
- The Law of Sowing and Reaping
- How it Relates to Marriage
- How it Impacts Marriage Mentoring
The Law of Sowing and Reaping
“They sow the wind, and so they will reap the whirlwind! The stalk does not have any standing grain; it will not produce any flour.” Hosea 8:7 (NET Bible)
That’s a tough passage. It was given by the prophet Hosea as a judgement against Israel. They sowed the wind, or nothing good, and reaped pain.
The same thought is repeated in the New Testament.
“For a person will reap what he sows, because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.” Galatians 6:7-10
I find in scripture two big themes. Choose life or choose death. Heaven or hell. Fear of something bad versus the promise of something good.
In the above passage, it talks about reaping corruption from the flesh. It contrasts that with reaping eternal life from the Spirit. There’s a consequence to your choice.
I’m sometimes guilty of looking at those things in the abstract. What does corruption or eternal life really mean today? The more I’ve thought about it, the more I see how very practical it is.
Fear of Something Bad
One time I was traveling for work. I went out to a restaurant for dinner and I sat at the counter to order some food. A woman sat down next to me and we started to talk. Honestly, I flirted a little bit and she flirted back.
We each ordered dinner and we talked for about two hours. I think that we were both a bit lonely and a bit bored. It felt good to connect.
When we both paid our bill she asked me where I was staying. She mentioned that she had a big screen TV in her room and implied that we should go there.
The thought ran through my head that I could do this and no one needed to know.
Guess what stopped me? Fear.
Fear of having to keep a secret from my wife. Fear of telling my wife and hurting her. Fear of my wife’s reaction. Fear of some other type of judgement from God.
I knew that if I sowed this sin, I would reap something that I wouldn’t like.
Promise of Something Good
The bible promises something good if we live our life by the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22
Who couldn’t use more love, joy and peace in their lives? I’d like to live there.
I think I experience more of these now than I did thirty-years ago. I hope that experience continues to grow in my life.
The Carrot and the Stick
These two motivations are often in the Bible. I see the carrot and the stick. I suspect that God did it that way because sometimes we need to hear the promise of something good that will motivate us. That’s the carrot.
Sometimes we need to hear about the stick so that we’ll fear the consequences of our sin.
Reap What You Sow – How It Relates to Marriage
This concept becomes very practical when you apply it to marriage.
What do you want to reap in your relationship? Do you want a relationship that is meaningful, helpful, loving, caring and affectionate?
What are you doing to meet that goal? Does your partner feel loved and cared for? If not, perhaps you need to change your actions. In other words, you need to sow something else.
Last night, I decided to go up to bed earlier than Michelle. She was at the table and I stopped and kissed the top of her head and told her I’d love to have her next to me.
OK, this is not a huge deal. Actually, it happens like this most nights. We have both gotten in the habit of reaching out to each other and confirming that we want to be with each other.
Why? First, it’s a great way of showing love. We want the other person to feel wanted. So, we’ve built in rituals and habits that accomplish this.
Galatians says, “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Galatians 5:15 (NIV).
In other words, if you sow criticism, you will reap destruction.
How It Impacts Mentoring
Couples come over to our house, sit on our coach and look at us with a mixture of hope and skepticism. At some point we move the conversation to what they want out of their relationship. What would do they want it to look like five years from now?
I don’t always explain the Bible’s teaching on sowing and reaping to couples. Sometimes there isn’t time, but I do want it to motivate how I work with couples.
We do focus on three areas:
- Where do you want your relationship to be?
- What are the consequences of your negative actions?
- What the consequences of your positive actions?
In other words, that do they want to reap? If they want to reap a fantastic relationship, they need to sow actions that will end in that result.
We want people to ask themselves, “Will this action will build our bond? Will this action tear it down?”
If you sow things like validation, understanding and respect, you will reap a fantastic close connection.
Tips for Marriage Mentors:
- Ask about the future – Ask the couple where they would like to be in 5 years. They may be feeling stuck and they may not know what to do to get there. At least, it will help to focus on what they want to achieve.
- Ask about the consequences of their negative actions – What are they doing that is tearing down their bond.
- Ask about the consequences of their positive actions – If they did more positive actions and less negative actions, How would that that build their bond?
Another post you might like:
I was recently asked to write a guest post for activemanhood.com. This post is about being equally yoked and talks about having the same goal in mind. The Equally Yoked Marriage – What is That?