The first thing we need to understand about a fruitful marriage is that we need God to make it possible. Galatians 5 makes it clear that we can produce some horrible fruit when we are living for our own desires. Our human nature is actually opposed to God’s so we easily find ourselves in strife, anger, bitterness and conflict when we do things “my way”. Jesus said “by their fruit you shall know them”. Several times in the Bible, God says that He wants us to be fruitful like a beautiful garden. Isaiah 5:1-15 pictures that. So why is it that we can waste our lives by producing bad fruit? The answer lies in the fact that God does not want us to be forced to do what is right, He wants us to choose Him by choosing to obey Him and that means loving our spouse unconditionally. Good fruit comes from obedience to God’s Word.
Picture a luscious peach tree. Pull the fruit and it is sweet, pleasant and so refreshing when ripe. But it took a while to get that far. The tree began with a seed and grew over time producing branches which began to blossom in season and finally began to bear fruit. Spiritually, God wants to see that in our lives. We start with the Seed, Jesus Christ, who is accepted into our hearts when we believe. As we walk in obedience to His Word, life flows through the trunk, the branches, the vines and into a flower which becomes the finished product. The fruit is intended to bless others.
When we abide in Christ, we can produce much fruit because He is the Source (John 15). Without Him, we can do nothing. As you look at your marriage do you see the fruits? Ask your spouse what he or she thinks. Ask God what He sees.
The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23).
If those fruits are lacking, here are some issues that may require some planting or pruning:
1. Have you accepted Christ into your heart so that the Seed is planted to bear fruit? A disconnected branch is dead – John 15:4-6.
2. Are you obeying Christ by loving your spouse even if you do not feel like it? Love is a matter of obedience – John 14:21.
3. Can you honestly say that you have forgiven all sins committed against you? Unforgiveness causes bitter fruit – Hebrews 12:15.
4. Are you willing to submit to your spouse by asking him or her how you can be more fruitful? Ephesians 5:21.
5. Are you reading the Word of God so that you can know what he wants you to do?
Our natural tendency is not toward humility and yet that is the key ingredient toward an abundant life (John 10:10). Keep in mind that your marriage is a testimony to those around you (especially children). Read Galatians 5 together and ask one another how God is speaking to your heart.