How to Bloom Where You’re Planted in Desert Seasons

flower blooming in the desert, bloom where you're planted

As we waited to deplane, I looked out the window to see frost had laced the ground with delicate patterns and froze every blade of grass in place. The air flight attendant’s voice came on again over the intercom with instructions and to let us know the current temperature in Omaha. Sighs and groans erupted over the 32-degree temperatures before she continued to inform us that there were still seats available if anyone wanted to remain in their seats and fly back to Punta Gorda. My husband smirked before stating, “Bloom where you’re planted, Heather. Isn’t that what you always tell me?”

I rolled my eyes and wrinkled my nose. I wanted to be back on vacation in sunny 80-degree weather in Florida. Instead, I was back in the land of cornfields. Bloom where you are planted, indeed. When Chris and I first got married, he promised we would fulfill my dream of moving to a beach town somewhere along the coast of Florida. But over the years, one thing after another kept us firmly rooted in central Nebraska.

Our plans were constantly changing as he advanced in his career, his parents moved from Wyoming to be near us, and as our family expanded. The day we decided to build our dream home was the day I put the dream of moving to the coast into the ground in order to nurture the dream of country living in a modern farmhouse that would make Joanna Gaines proud. Of course, you may be thinking, “Oh poor Heather. You don’t get to live where you want but you get to build your dream home. Wow, you have it rough. Let me tell you what feels like to have real problems in marriage,” as you roll your eyes but stay with me.

What Does Bloom Where You’re Planted Mean?

In our 22 years of marriage, we’ve encountered nearly every hardship imaginable. We’ve experienced rocky roads that nearly led to divorce. We’ve experienced financial ruin, betrayal, and selfishness. We infertility, miscarriages, and the strain of raising children with special needs. We also lost over two years of our lives to a major health crisis that brought Chris to the brink of death.

Some of these seasons have brought us closer together and some have left us in the desert, digging deep into ourselves and Jesus to help our marriage blossom. Often, when we face hardships, this Christian cliché is thrown at us to remind us it’s up to us to find contentment and joy in our circumstances. The expression “bloom where you’re planted” in marriage means a person should take advantage of the opportunities they have in their life and be grateful for the present situation. But it’s hard to cultivate this mentality in the moment.

What Is the Origin of this Phrase?

Though we don’t know exactly where the phrase comes from some believe Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622) may have coined the phrase, from his original quote, “Truly charity has no limit; for the love of God has been poured into our hearts by His Spirit dwelling in each one of us, calling us to a life of devotion and inviting us to bloom in the garden where He has planted and directing us to radiate the beauty and spread the fragrance of His Providence.”

However, many assume it’s a Bible reference. While this exact phrase isn’t found in the Bible, there are several passages that carry the same connotation.

To better grasp the message of “bloom where you’re planted,” in marriage, let’s break down the phrase starting with the second part: where you’re planted. It implies something happening to us, something beyond our control. It implies someone planted us. The truth is God planted us in this place, at this particular time, and has a specific purpose for us and our marriage.

Learning to bloom where you’re planted means you:

  • Embrace where you are in your life right now, by choosing to be content and trust God’s plan for your future.
  • Turn from your current circumstances and the faults of your spouse and focus on being deeply rooted in your relationship with God. Seek Him daily.
  • Identify where you need to grow in your marriage and develop a lifelong desire to be refined in Christ’s Word.

What Does Scripture Say about Blooming?

Scripture has a lot to say about perseverance faith and blooming.

Colossians 2:7“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

Psalm 1:3“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

Romans 5:3-5“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Ephesians 5:25-33“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.”

1 Peter 1:23“Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.”

7 Ways to Bloom during Difficult Seasons

In marriage, unity matters more than being right. When we focus on our hurts, getting our way, or having the last word, harmony eludes us, and we find ourselves on shifting sand. When we find ourselves in difficult seasons, we need to turn to our partner and remember that marriage is a unity of two imperfect people that will forever be a work in progress. Here are seven ways to help your marriage bloom in difficult seasons.

Think before you speak.

 Couples tend to develop hot button issues that cause frequent arguments. You can reduce bickering by waiting before responding to something that has made you angry. Count to 10 and remember grace. It may be better to discuss difficult issues once emotions are not so high.

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” Psalm 141:3.

Never blame.

Resist the urge to blame your spouse for difficulties, even when you know you’re doing your best. The assignment of blame is always a step backward.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” Ephesians 4:29.

Treat your spouse better than you treat yourself or anyone else.

 No matter the situation, treat your spouse better than you treat yourself. Just as Jesus laid His life down for us, marriage requires that we lay our lives down for each other. This includes wanting to be right or having the last word. Even if your spouse isn’t being kind, find a way to be kind. It could be as simple as telling them what you appreciate about them, using a soft tone of voice, or bringing home flowers or their favorite dessert.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4.

Compliment your spouse at least once every day.

It could be as simple as a text message stating that you loved seeing a smile on their face before she left for work or that you appreciate your husband’s handy work on the house. It shows that you are thinking about them and you do appreciate their efforts that may often go unnoticed. This leads to a healthy relationship, and it is the right thing to do, because your spouse is probably doing many good things every day.

“So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another” Romans 14:19.

Date Night.

I’ve been dating my husband for 22 years and counting. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you stop pursuing your partner or learning about them. Date night allows you both to disconnect from the everyday strain and stress in marriage: parenting, bills, obligations, etc. The main purpose is to spend time together, preferably in a situation where you can talk, reconnect, and have fun.

“Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love” Song of Solomon 2:4.

Physical Touch.

Hold hands, cuddle, hug, or kiss. Find a way to touch your spouse and do it often. Especially for your husband, ladies! They love touching and being touched. Don’t shrug off touches. Even when you are a little irritated– melt into his arms and you might be surprised how much better it makes you feel because touch releases feel-good hormones and deeps the bond you have with each other.

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth – for your love is more delightful than wine” Song of Solomon 1:2

Keep Christ at the center.

When the going gets tough, the tough turn to Jesus. Remember you both aren’t fighting each other. You are fighting the enemies of division, chaos, insecurity, fear, lies, and selfishness. Satan has been using the same tactics since the beginning of time in the garden of Eden. The enemy knew the impact a unified couple can make for God’s Kingdom—but a couple divided will fall. Ask yourself right now, “What lies, fears, or insecurities have I been believing about myself or my spouse? How does knowing the truth guard our effectiveness for God?” This question alone will help your marriage not only blossom but flourish in trying times.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken”Ecclesiastes 4:12.

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