Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… He who loves his wife loves himself. ~ Ephesians 5:25, 28
My husband has a mistress. There. I’ve said it.
No, it’s not the kind of mistress you’re probably thinking of. It’s his blackberry patch. I’ve lamented the long days and evenings John spent behind our house wooing those bushes to produce large, purple-black berries. When he decided over a year ago to order his little bushes, I thought he’d plant them and be done with it. I knew they’d have to be watered occasionally and maybe have a little fertilizer thrown on them, but really, how much time could it take?
I had no idea the hours he’d committed himself to when he ordered 300 blackberry bushes. That’s right. 300.
But even before he placed the order, he pored over catalogs and the internet, making sure to choose just the right species. Who knew there could be so many different types of one kind of berry? Obviously, not me.
So began the evenings and weekends of John tying up the little vines-with my curling ribbon, I might add- to the 300 stakes, keeping them watered, weeded and pruned. No wonder they call plant businesses nurseries, you have to baby them constantly!
At least I always knew where he was.
Last week he was more excited than I’ve seen him in a long time. His blackberries were ripe and ready to sell. He spent several hours furiously picking from the vine in the breathtaking heat, filling 75 plastic boxes. His shorts were purple by the time he finished. (FYI- Resolve stain remover works wonders taking out blackberry juice!).
This past Saturday we loaded up the truck and took his precious treasure to our small town’s farmers’ market. Yes, he convinced me
to drag myself out of bed on a Saturday at 5:45 am to help. He said he didn’t know the market didn’t open until 8:00. I got there at 7:20. Let’s just say I wasn’t a happy camper.
We didn’t sell anything the first hour. My son, Jacob, and I had almost decided we were wasting our time (John wasn’t there, he
went to pick more blackberries), when a lady stopped and excitedly bought two boxes. That got the ball rolling. Many people stopped and ask if the berries were grown locally. I assured them they were-in my backyard-and they were quite impressed. Even more impressive were the size of the blackberries. I have to admit, I’ve never seen any that big.
The morning started ticking by more quickly as our supply dwindled. By the time we left we’d sold almost 40 boxes. John was thrilled. Jacob and I were pretty excited as well. We celebrated with burgers and fries from the Clock Restaurant down the street.
John had also taken some berries to a café that specialized in local produce to see if they’d be interested in having a weekly order delivered. They were more than happy to commit to 100 boxes a week. Who knew John’s blackberries would be in such demand? Obviously, not me.
This Sunday John and I will celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary. When I think about the investment of time and nurturing John put into that blackberry patch, it reminds me of the commitment we made to one another when we said our vows. We can’t just haphazardly throw out a little fertilizer or water whenever we feel like it if we want to make our marriage work. We have to be intentional, first realizing we are each responsible to do our part, then working to grow and maintain the relationship that brought us together in the first place.
It hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes it’s been downright excruciating. But we persevere, knowing the fruit of our hard work will be sweet and pleasant, just like those blackberries.
I know this may sound a little corny to some, but I’m proud of John for his willingness to devote so much time to something he’s passionate about-blackberries as well as our marriage.
Now, if he can just get all the wheat harvested and the soybeans planted so we can enjoy a vacation 🙂
Happy anniversary, John! I’m blessed to have a husband who loves and takes care of me as well as you do. I look forward to at least 29 more years together. Thank you for always being there. I love you!
How has your spouse been an example of commitment in your marriage? I’d love for you to honor them here!