The Three Fields: A Marriage Parable

The following parable is suited to many situations in life, but it’s particularly suited to marriage.

Once there were three farmers. They each had a field that was not doing well. The demands of growing crops had slowly drawn the life-giving nutrients from the soil until they no longer produced satisfying crops for the farmers. Each of the farmers was frustrated and unsure of what to do with their field

The First Farmer.

The first farmer said, “Farming shouldn’t be this hard. I’ve been struggling with this field for years, and I don’t seem to be getting anywhere. I’m not sure what to do, and even if I did, I’m not sure I have the time, energy, or resources to invest in this field anymore.” He eventually sold his field, at a great loss.

The Second Farmer.

The second farmer said, “This is frustrating. This field used to produce a great crop. What’s wrong with it? I’ve not changed what I’m doing, so I don’t know why things are getting worse. But I’m going to stick to doing what I’ve always done. If it was good enough to produce crops then, it should be good enough now.” This farmer continued to do things the way he had always done them. Consequently, he saw decreasing returns from his field.

The Third Farmer.

The third farmer said, “This is not good. This is not how I want things to be, but I’ve got too much invested in this field to let it go. It seems to me that what I’m doing should be working, but, maybe I’m missing something.” So the farmer sought out the original owner of the land who had a great track record for producing successful crops.

The original owner suggested that the farmer’s field was not producing a satisfying crop because the farmer was not putting the necessary nutrients back into the field. He went on to say, “Over time, the demands of growing, the heat of the sun, and the erosion from storms take a lot out of a field. You must put back into the field the things it needs if you what to keep producing good crops.” The farmer asked him what he should be putting into his field, and the original owner said, “That depends on the field. Each field is different, with different needs. You must get to know your field.”

And so, with much uncertainty and no guarantee of success, the third farmer took the original owner’s advice and went back to get to know his field and to put back into it the things it needed. The turn around was slow at first. It took a season or two to begin to see the results. But eventually, the field came around and continued to produce bountiful crops years into the future.

The following are some questions to help you apply this parable to your own marriage:

  • Which farmer do you most identify with at this time? Why?
  • Does this story apply to your situation? If so, how?
  • What is one thing that you can take away from this story that would be beneficial to your current situation?

How to Move From a Marriage That’s Stuck to a Marriage That Sticks

Ok, confession time. When I was a teenager, I got stuck parking. I’m not talking about parking your car in a parking spot at Walmart. I’m talking about getting stuck on some deserted back road because I wanted to “spend some time” with a girl.

I will avoid the details to spare myself the painful self-disclosure, but I remember that feeling of being stuck. My first thought was, “This is no big deal. I’ll just get out and rock the car a little.” When that didn’t work, I thought, “Ok. I just need a little traction.” So I put rocks, limbs, and anything I could find under the rear wheels to give me some traction. Then I got behind the car to push, telling my girlfriend to give it some gas. Those of you who are smarter than me can guess what happened next. I was bathed in a hail of mud, rocks, and sticks…but the car remained stuck.

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