Marriage is hard work that requires attention every day, but it is well worth the effort!
Tuesday on our way home from vacation, it would have been easy and natural as a man to have just driven straight home. A quick stop for fuel, coffee and lunch on the way; what else do you need? But, knowing how much my wife loves the flower gardens at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, it would be a special ending to our vacation. One of the things that we have practiced in our family since the girls were young was that our vacation begins when we leave home, and the vacation is officially complete when we return home. Therefore, even though our girls are gone, Denise and I still are trying to keep our marriage fresh and our home strong. So, we stopped at Biltmore Estate and walked through the beautiful rose gardens. I knew it would add an extra two hours to our trip, but to see the delight on Denise’s face and to hear the joy in her voice as she looked at all the roses was more than worth the extra time. That joy would have been missed if I had kept the pedal to the metal and not stopped to smell the roses.
Also, since we have season passes to Biltmore, there is a special park bench in the corner of the upper garden that has become special to Denise and me. We just recently began a new marriage devotional book. The initial challenge for the day was to “plant yourselves anyplace you can view a landscape and make some visual comparisons.” This was to be done as we read the Scripture passage and the devo. How awesome to have the mountains in the distance and the fragrant roses at our finger tips to fulfill this directive. To say that it was romantic is an understatement. To say that it was well worth the effort is again an understatement. What a great time we had sharing our hearts surrounded by the stillness and beauty of the garden. Those moments of romance and spiritual growth would have been missed if I had not taken time to stop and smell the roses . . . literally.
Men, we are so driven that it is often difficult for us to stop and smell the roses. Our “let’s check that off and move on to the next thing mind” causes us to miss out on some special marriage building moments. Our wife needs us to be thinking ahead or spontaneously just stopping and showing her that, “I was thinking of you.” I know it might take work for some, but it is well worth it. So men, stop and smell the roses. I promise you, you’ll enjoy the fragrance it gives to your marriage, and your wife will like it, too!
The Beloved: “You are a garden spring, a well of fresh water, and streams flowing from Lebanon.” (Song of Solomon 4:15)
The Shulamite: “Awake, O north wind, and come, wind of the south; Make my garden breathe out fragrance, Let its spices be wafted abroad. May my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits!” (4:16)
“The fig tree has ripened its figs, and the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along!” (2:13).