If you’re getting married soon, which image best reflects your love for each other – a beautiful bouquet of flowers? Or a packet of seeds?

Some weddings are a flower extravaganza. There are flower centerpieces, elaborate flower decorations, and even a flower girl. And don’t forget the most important arrangement of all – the bridal bouquet. All those flowers are intended to represent the couple’s love: vibrant, alive, and in full bloom.

But the late Gary Smalley, who officiated a lot of weddings, used a unique illustration to help couples understand the true nature of their love. Midway through the ceremony, he would hand the bride and groom a packet of flower seeds. He explained that their love, as beautiful as it is, is actually a lot more like the packet of seeds than the explosion of flowers surrounding them. Before all of those flowers became elaborate wedding decorations, they were seeds that required the right ingredients – sun, water, good soil, and plenty of time.

In the same way, your love as a new couple has a lot of growing to do. Even as you stand at a wedding alter committing your lives to one another, your love has only just started. It needs the right ingredients – love, grace, and years of nurturing – to fully blossom into something vibrant and alive.

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