We have a huge, very healthy bougainvillea in our backyard. It is so large it is pushing our new fence and making it difficult to walk by it without getting scratched by it’s enormous thorns. We needed to prune it, but were afraid it wasn’t the right time.
Our winters in FL are mild. Bougainvilleas are tropical plants and don’t fare well in cold weather. We looked up the right time to prune, and we were happy to hear it is in early Spring when the plant is dormant. (Yes, January in FL can be like early Spring in the North. This is why we live here!)
Dormancy is a time in a plant’s lifespan where the roots grow deeper and the visible parts of the plant can look dead or dying. But for those of us who understand the seasons of a plant’s life, we know it’s just that—a season.
I have been telling Tom we needed a project, since our days look much the same week to week. This bougainvillea was just what we had been looking for that we could do together with satisfying results.
He did the trimming and I eyed the branches that needed to go. It took several days because we had to cut all the branches up small in order to put them in garbage cans for our yard waste collection day. Since we only have 5 cans for this purpose, it took us a total of 10 full cans of thorny trimmings by the time we were finished.
I believe this worldwide pandemic has put many marriages in a “dormant season” of sorts.
We can’t go and do like we used to, and when we do get out we have to don masks. I find myself preferring to stay home most of the time, which is not like the normal me at all! We sit, think and talk a lot, and we watch more television too. Many times our frustrations over it all comes out in how we speak to each other. And this requires us to talk more and apologize a lot.
Add to all this couples who are juggling work, homeschooling children and keeping the family healthy and busy, and these tensions can seem insurmountable. Like the branches of the bougainvillea there are thorns to watch out for where we will, at times, get hurt. Words can stab us and unspoken words can cut deep. The wounds caused by overgrown conflicts can seem too deep to heal. Is it worth the pain or should we just cut it down? Sadly, we have heard of many marriages breaking up in this season.
When we pause and consider the purpose of the dormant season, we realize God is at work doing a good thing in our marriage if we let Him. He is allowing us time to grow in our understanding of each other. He is helping our roots grow deeper as we seek the hidden springs of wisdom, which provides much needed nourishment and strength.
The beauty of a healthy marriage, like a healthy plant, is worth the risks. God created both for His glory.
Let’s make the most of this pause, this dormant time, and cultivate our marriages. The beauty of the new growth and blooms to come will be worth it.