Jesus shared the parable of the four soils in regards to people hearing the message of salvation. I have noticed a similar pattern with couples seeking help for marriage.
Jesus talked about the seed sown on the path being quickly taken away by Satan. I have watched couples where one party basically didn’t want to hear anything. It is particularly sad to see a pre-married couple who is only going through the motions of pre-marital mentoring just to satisfy a church requirement, not because they really want to build a great relationship.
Jesus talks about the seed on the rocky soil having no root. This couple will show up at a training or mentoring. They actively participate in the exercises and often leave on a positive note, but you see them later and they have never tried a thing they were taught then complain about no changes in their relationship.
Jesus mentions that the seed on the thorny soil is choked out by the worries of life and the deceitfulness of wealth. This couple does participate well when they are taught and seem very encouraged about their relationship, however, when you ask if they have done anything you taught their answer is that they have been too busy.
Many of these couples can be very successful in endeavors other than their marriage because they work hard and give it their all, but they don’t put the same energy towards their relationship with their spouse.
Jesus talks about the seed on good soil having a good heart and reproducing 30, 60, or a hundred fold. These couples are a delight and an honor to train. Often they will start dreaming of ways to help other couples and teach them what they have learned from us.
One thing I have to remember as a marriage educator, mentor, and coach is that my job is to do a good job seeding, but the results are up to God and the couples.