Good Fences … Poor Marriages


If good fences make good neighbors, good retaining walls make poor marriages.

First warning, the quarter turn of my stomach when the bespectacled fellow behind the counter in the landscape store looked out the window and said, “Is that what you’re driving? You won’t be able to take all the blocks in one trip.”

No? The retaining wall would rise only eighteen inches and extend only forty feet. How much could it weigh? Three trips with a truck and trailer and four tons later the blocks sat in lopsided piles on the back lawn. And over the next week, the neighbors were treated to several high volume remakes of I Love Lucy similar to this one:

Lucy    (hunched over, knees in the mud, attempting to level a  foundation block) Ricky, I can’t do it. I’m telling you I just can’t.

Ricky    What do you mean you can’t? This was all your idea!

Lucy    My Idea! Look, the wall became our idea when you agreed. Now help me!

Ricky   I’ll help you all right, Lucy, but you’re going to do what I tell you!

Lucy   (raising her fist in the air) Listen, mister, if you think for even a minute I’m going to do it your way, you’ve got another thing coming.

I slogged on alone with my makeshift strings and levels. One evening Matthew leaned on his shovel handle and said, “Come here and take a look.” Knees creaking and back breaking I crawled to the end of the wall. It looked level and straight … but it veered six inches off course.

We apologized, hugged, and then began working together. By using our strengths to help one another, and not to hinder, the wall was built.  


 “Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21 ESV)