What Giant Redwoods Can Teach Us About Marriage

You would think the largest trees in the world have deep roots. 

That's not the case. I'm spending some time in northern California this week. I'll admit, most of it I'll spend in the wineries rather than the forests. But my father and mother-in-law had the opportunity to go explore the beautiful redwood forests, and they returned to us with an interesting fact. 

My lovely mother-in-law standing beside a giant redwood

My lovely mother-in-law standing beside a giant redwood

Redwood trees root less than 10 feet underground. Many times, the giant trees' roots bury only to about five to six feet. How then, do these trees - the tallest of which towers over the statue of liberty - stand firm in the face of fires, heavy winds, and unpredictable weather? 

How do they not topple at the first hint of a storm?

The trick about the redwoods' root systems are that they grow in families, or groups, and even though the roots may be comparatively shallow, they are massively wide. They reach out and interlock with the roots of their counterparts, gaining strength from closeness. As the roots grow together, these trees can withstand much more than they could on their own, regardless of how deep they grew. 

We talk a lot about being deeply rooted. But what about to whom we are rooted?

It can be hard to make life changes. We move to new places. We have children. Those children leave. We grow old. Our shoulders become heavier, broader, with greater weight and expectations. 

The greatest opportunity marriage can offer is the chance to reach out and lock in when the wind blows and when the storms come.

Sometimes it can feel as though we are barely rooted into the ground. 

But if we reach out, rather than in, maybe we'll find that we are stronger together than apart, regardless of how deep we reach into work, into activities, and into life..

Isn't that what marriage is all about?

Dr. Mathis Kennington