Are You An Irrigator Or An Irritator?

We just had our irrigation system’s annual inspection. Not all areas were working well; some sprinkler heads were broken; some were spraying in the wrong direction and some didn’t have enough water pressure because of leaking pipes. Our friend, who owns an irrigation business went to work and repaired all that was required. Now our lawn is ready to take on the heat of Summer and our garden seems to be smiling.

Having a well-watered lawn in Florida is required in order for the grass to grow. Those who don’t have a built in system, must work hard to move sprinklers and hoses around to make sure every inch of the lawn is covered. It is an exhausting process that usually doesn’t produce the results desired. While it can be an expensive process to install a good irrigation system, the results are a compelling reason to make the investment.

Irrigation is not a new thing. In fact the Egyptians mastered this technique using the River Nile to water their fields. They learned how to manage the annual flooding of the river to their advantage, and the results provided food for the entire region. It didn’t always work as planned, but for the most part it was successful.

You may be wondering what this has to do with marriage.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”

Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV

While this verse isn’t talking about irrigation, there is a similar principal here. Christ loved us so much that He was willing to pour His life out as a ransom for us, His Bride. Husbands are likewise called to emulate Christ by loving their wives in the same way. Like the water that is poured out on a parched field providing refreshing water, so too should a husband love his wife in such a way that he refreshes and strengthens her.

This is also sound advice for how a wife should treat her husband. Our words are like water–they can either scorch or refresh our spouse. We would do well to consider this fact.

A well-irrigated lawn is a beautiful metaphor for a healthy marriage. When done right everyone notices.

An irritator is one who won’t stop doing something that is annoying to others. Think siblings who like to tease to the point of angry outbursts. It is not a fun way for anyone to live, except maybe the irritator who finds enjoyment in making their siblings cry.

“A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm;”

Proverbs 27:15 NIV

Ouch! That is quite an irritation, isn’t it? I know King Solomon is saying this about a quarrelsome wife, but in reality both husbands and wives are capable of being an irritator. It can be intentional or not. It may be a bad habit honed over years or it could be the result of an unresolved conflict.

If you are the type to push confrontation aside because you don’t like how it makes you feel, you may be a strong candidate as an irritator. Maybe your spouse asks you to do something, but because of your silent anger you procrastinate. This becomes an irritation to your spouse and they don’t even know why it’s happening. False assumptions can be made and the tensions mount from there. It’s better to deal head on with conflict when it happens. This is why the Bible says to not let the sun go down on your anger. If you do the conflict will only fester and infection is likely to follow.

How can we go from being an irritator to an irrigator? (The answer sounds simple, but I know from experience that it isn’t!) Keep the lines of communication open–this allows the conversation to flow. Will it be easy–no! Will it be worth it–yes!

Like our friend who repaired our irrigation system. He was willing to get on his hands and knees to dig up sprinkler heads covered with grass. He was hot and dirty when he finished, but the reward came knowing everything was as it should be.

It takes humility to go from being an irritator to an irrigator. One must be willing to bend the knee to do what’s needed to make things right. Once you can talk completely and openly, then hurts and offenses that have been buried can be found and repaired.

Conflicts will come. It is as predictable as the River Nile flooding. Making the most of the conflicts by learning and growing in understanding each other will be like a well-watered field, beneficial for all!

Are you willing to be an irrigator?

About Debi Walter

Tom and Debi have been sharing encouragements through their blogs for many years. Marriage, Reading God's Word and documenting family history is our focus. Growing in our relationship with the Lord is primary in all we say, write or do. We are grateful for all who desire to join us in the same endeavors.
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