The Necessity of Periodically Pruning Your Marriage

Periodically Pruning - AdobeStock_193175605We just got through pruning some bushes and trees in our yard and put in some vegetable plants. So, pruning and yard work is up front in our minds. It can be exhausting, but it’s also periodically necessary. If we don’t do it the overgrowth takes control and the beauty (and function) is hidden, or even destroyed. But what about periodically pruning your marriage relationship? Does that need to be done from time to time?

That’s a definite yes! Recently, Debi Walter (from The Romantic Vineyard) talked about this very matter. In the beginning of the article, she wrote that they were pruning their bougainvillea in their backyard because it had overtaken its space. They had to do a hard pruning at first, and then smaller pruning afterwards to keep everything healthy and beautiful. As she pointed out, it’s a huge job and sometimes the plant doesn’t look very good for a while, but eventually it grows stronger and more beautiful, as a result. If it isn’t done, however… well, you can guess.

Periodically Pruning

She then writes:

“We have also been pruning things in our marriage. Communication that has been allowed to flow freely without restraint adds a heaviness to our conversations. So, we are working together, talking about hard things, repenting and asking each other for forgiveness. Words spoken cannot be taken back, but they can be removed from future conversations.

“That’s an important part of repentance—if it is genuine, change follows. However, it won’t fix it permanently; like our bougainvillea we have to keep an eye out for unwanted growth in this area.”

That’s what we’ve found too. Even after all these years of marriage we must still work, and sometimes rework out, some of the junk that accumulates in our marriage communication with each other. This “junk” muddies up and complicates our relationship. Unfortunately, pruning is not a “once done, always done” situation. (Oh, how we wish it was!) It’s a lot like our yardwork. Periodically, and seasonally, it’s necessary to prune away and get rid of that, which separates us and is unhealthy and unloving.

Periodically Pruning Marriage

In another article titled, “Pruning a Marriage is Hard Work”, Debi continues to talk about the necessity of marriage pruning, and states:

“Each year we should stand back and look over our relationship. Where are we struggling to connect? Is it emotionally? Spiritually? Physically?

“Try sharing this post with your spouse and see if they have some thoughts on it. We don’t know unless we ask. And they may not realize there’s a problem until you ask.

“Problems are like overgrowth. We all have it. It’s what we do with it that separates strong relationships from weak ones.

“In a strong relationship the problem is considered together like looking at your garden. What things are choking the marriage? I’ve noticed that when my mood suddenly changes it’s good to pause and ask myself what caused it? Oftentimes Tom said something that either hurt my feelings or my pride.

“Both need to be addressed but differently—feelings must be discussed to reach a place of understanding. This is where growth happens in marriage. Pride on the other hand needs to be killed; it’s like a weed that will ruin your relationship.

“Pride is a choking vine. Kill it or it will kill intimacy and maybe even your marriage.”

We couldn’t have said this any better. As we’re told in the Bible, “Pride comes before a fall.” So, it needs to be rooted out or it can cause all kinds of problems. The Bible also talks about pruning, vines, and that, which can choke out good growth.

In Closing

We encourage you to talk to your spouse about where your marriage relationship is right now. Do you need to do some pruning? Do you need to do some confessing and repenting? And/or do you humbly need to look within and then deal with pride? If you said yes to any of these questions, we hope and pray you deal with the problems facing you. We also pray you make the effort, so you are periodically pruning that, which separates you from each other.

As Debi says, and we agree:

“Spring is the time for fresh beginnings. We pray this is true for your marriage.”

This is our prayer for you:

May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.(1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)

Cindy and Steve Wright


To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:

7 Essentials - Marriage book


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