"The Dying Roses"
By: Deborah Kirby
(Copyright November 2010, All rights reserved)
(Amended and reprinted November 2020, All rights reserved)
My heart breaks for marital relationships gone south; for what could have been between husbands and wives, but isn't.
We live in a time where so many women's hearts are just barely beating because they have been forsaken by those they believed would handle their hearts with great care.
Through the years, I have studied the Scriptures that discuss varying forms of sowing.
There is the tried-and-true Galatians 6:7, “Whatsoever a man sows that will he also reap.”
There is Galatians 6:8a, “He that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.”
There is Job 4:8, “They that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.”
There is Hosea 8:7, “They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”
And then, there is Proverbs 11:18, “To him who sows righteousness will be a sure reward.”
A good harvest requires hard work and purposed care in one's field.
Too often, however, attention and time are drawn away to distractions and temptations. When ill-fated distractions are given place, weed seeds sprout with a vengeance. Equally tragic is when a person knowingly sows “the flesh” and wickedness, for they are then promised a reaping of the same.
(Job 4:8) One cannot subvert the effects of unwise sowing and neglect.
Again, to bring forth a satisfying harvest, one must apply effort, time, and attention to the seeds, saplings, and plants. In contrast, weed seeds require nothing. All they have to do is land in the field and sprout while the caretaker's attentions have been drawn off elsewhere. Weed seeds are hardy and robust.... and deadly.
I am starkly reminded that a plant grows with care and attention, but dies under neglect.
A husband looks at his wife and wonders why she looks wilted, why the light has gone out in her eyes, and why she struggles to stay lit within her soul. More times than not I have seen and heard married men blame external influences from work, to the kids, to even the wife, herself, but resist looking at what they have or have not done.
To the point, God gave Eve to Adam, not the other way around. And as such, God gives each husband their wife - their plant, if you will. Think of her as a "transplant" into the man's field. If you know anything about a transplant, they need a degree of extra care in the beginning, and the correct amounts of water, root boost, and food from the moment they are placed in the soil. As the husband, he is responsible for her well-being from that moment on.
A new husband would do well to study his new wife's needs and work to supply them. Thereafter, as the plant grows and changes, her needs will also change. Wise is the man who never stops studying her needs and setting his course to provide them as the seasons of life change. The yield that comes from her being well taken care of cannot be quantified. If she is nurtured and encouraged to grow tall and strong, she will most certainly bring forth beautiful blooms in the spring, needed shade in the summer, gorgeous color in the fall, and unshakable roots in the winter - not to mention the bringing forth of "saplings” (ie: children) in due season.
Visit the truth found in Genesis 2:15,"The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." This being before Eve was created. This is symbolic to me in many ways. For one, wisdom would have the man be diligent in his life's field BEFORE the addition of a wife. But we all know while this is the BEST scenario, it is rarely the most common scenario. Nevertheless, regardless of varying scenarios -- the "when, how, what, and where" -- the variables do not negate God's charge to men to both work the field and take care of it.
Too often I see men focusing the better part of their attention on other plants in their field -- be it the work plant (aka: workaholic), the child plant (aka: father-extraordinaire), the house plant (aka: honey-do), the hobby plant, or the self plant. All the while, he is found buffering his looming conscience to the best of his ability, thinking, "I'm doing a good job", but his nagging conscience (the Holy Spirit to the believer) won't be silenced as it waves a yellow flag of warning, hoping to avert the pending red flag of destruction.
I know life brings with it a plethora of demands and challenges to both husband and wife, but I hold to the belief that if we live an ordered life, keeping God first and our spouse second, we will withstand all the other elements life brings us.
I grow weary of a thought that has infected the Body of Christ and given husbands an out for their lack of diligence in caring for their wife. Too often I witness husbands, either knowingly or unknowingly, deflecting the care of their wife back to God. While God certainly is the ever faithful, promised husband to the widow, He fully expects the man to be the husband to their wife while here on earth and to take care of her as He would. God gave her to you, my brothers. Many husbands are going to find themselves in the uncomfortable position of trying to explain to God why they neglected their wife-plant and left her to die, or why they left their wife-plant by the wayside to find another one elsewhere.
Life's circumstances and challenges won't be valid excuses when face to face with the One who set the bar as having "gave Himself up for her." (Eph. 5:25) Don't let His high bar, however, discourage you because the good news is His Spirit resides in you to assist, direct, and enable you on how exactly you are to love your beloved as He does. She is yours - treat her with care.
Proverbs 11:24 says, “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.” Cause and effect, siblings; cause and effect. It really isn't complicated. The husband provides the care...or neglect. The wife, in turn, responds to what is or is not given.
The condition of a martial relationship goes back to the basics. At a wedding the question is asked, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” Who is given and who is receiving? The one who receives is ultimately saying, “I take responsibility for her from now on.” What does it mean to be responsible? It means “the trait of being answerable to someone for something, worthy of or requiring responsibility or trust.”
I have sat with sister after sister whose husband never took responsibility for the condition of her heart, whose husband allowed the weed seeds to root and grow in his life-field and thus in hers, or whose husband knowingly sowed unrighteous, wicked seed, and yet too often was quick to point out what she did or didn't do. Tragic... utterly tragic... are the degrees of brokenness I have seen because responsibility was forsaken and hollow excuses offered; the “dying roses” as I call them.
I see the gray in my sisters' eyes. I hear the brokenness in their voices. I feel the pain in their hearts. If you do not take anything else away, brothers, take this with you:
Women are the responders to care... and to neglect.
Husbands, please don't feed everything else in your life and then wonder why your wife-plant doesn't yield the desired fruit, wilts, and dies. Don't blame her for her own death when she was entrusted to you.
If death has not yet come, count yourself fortunate, weed your life-field of unrighteous distractions and toxic weeds you have permitted to overtake both it and thus her, and then steadfastly begin to feed her. With God's help, prayerfully, she will regain strength and find new life with you.
Be a man that “gives freely, and gains more.” (Proverbs 11:24)
I tell you most sincerely your wife was created to bloom on your watch. The question remains: Will you give her what she requires to thrive as God desires, or will she be denied and counted among the dying roses?
“To him who sows righteousness will be a sure reward.”