Originally posted March 2011
Driving down the road they stand as deformed sentinels declaring to everyone, “I was here first!” Yet progress moves forward without regard for the hows, whys or who’s in the way. I’m talking about beautiful trees mutilated by the onslaught of power lines going through their branches as pictured here.
I never understand why they do this. What’s worse is when small trees are planted below power lines knowing that in only a few short years they will need to be deformed as well. Why not plan better? Why not relocate the plantings or rework the power lines? It seems like someone failed or didn’t understand the growth of the tree, and besides – it’s ugly!
On the contrary there are trees deliberately planted around a wire with the intent of altering it’s shape. These are beautiful and can cost lots of money. You’ve seen these as well – topiary trees as pictured below.
This metaphor is a great example of how we view our boundaries in marriage. When we say our vows to one another we are making a promise to love them, respect them, be devoted to them and to support them in all seasons of life. Those who take these vows seriously are like the topiary trees. They see their vows as healthy constraints to help them as they grow year after year. They don’t inhibit growth, but direct it in a way that is unique and beautiful. People are drawn to beautiful topiaries in the same way they are drawn to beautiful marriages.
Now consider the deformed trees hacked away to allow for power lines, these are marriages where no real thought is given to where, how or why they commit. The point to them is simply, “I’m in the ground aren’t I? What’s the big deal? We’re married, aren’t we?”
These are the marriages where several years down the road bits and pieces are whittled away allowing outside influences to have their way. No effort is made to save the tree – it’s all about making room for other priorities. Can the tree continue to grow? Certainly, but it won’t grow strong and mature – it can’t; the heart and health of the tree has been compromised.
How is your marriage? Are you allowing outside influences to have more say in your relationship than they should? Or are you taking your vows seriously enough to make cuts where needed? These outside influences can be:
- even church activities or ministry
All of these if given more influence than they deserve can be detrimental to the growth and strength of your marriage.
Take some time today to ponder your own vineyard. We guarantee it is more enjoyable to visit a garden full of topiary trees than one planted alongside the road with holes and branches missing.
Is your marriage constrained or compromised?