Marriage is like a garden.
When you’re attentive to it, watering and weeding regularly, it flourishes and is a joy to see and visit. It’s beauty encourages the gardener to come in and improve it even more. When a garden is neglected, it becomes a wasteland that is sad for everyone, particularly the gardener. If you look into a neglected garden, you are plagued with guilt, frustration and anger. It does not promote a sense of calm and well-being.
Maintaining a garden takes effort. You have to make time for it. For awhile you may make do by just nipping out to water now and then, but come a hot day, the whole garden is wilting because you missed the needed attention at just the right moment.
Gardens need fertilizer. A load of manure adds nutrients that encourage beautiful growth. When we’re applying that fertilizer and working it into the soil things get dirty and perhaps a bit smelly, but that enrichment pays off in the long term. If you want bountiful blossoms and fruit, regular fertilizing throughout the growing season is the best way to ensure success.
Sometimes weeds sneak into the garden. Sometimes these small, innocuous visitors look like plants you’d like to cultivate. They’re cute, dainty, perhaps they even have lovely flowers. But if you ignore them, they will take over, choking out what is most beautiful in your garden.
Sometimes you add special plants into the garden. They are gorgeous, and they are precious. Perhaps they are from a different climatic zone or are otherwise exceedingly tender. If you spend all your time tending those delicate plants, amazing though they are, the rest of your garden will suffer. To be honest, some people will not notice. They will admire your stunning, beautiful specimens, and completely miss the bed that is mostly choked with grass. The garden’s wholistic health suffers due to your misplaced focus. What’s important is the big picture, and being attentive to the tender plants while the rest of the garden wastes away is foolish.
Sometimes your garden becomes such a disaster that you can’t face going out to tackle the work that needs to be done. The long, back-breaking hours just don’t appeal. You may remember how beautiful it once was, and wish that it could be that way again, but you know it’s not going to be easy. Sometimes professional help is needed to get things back on track. Be careful though, if you’re not committed to working with the professionals, you’re not going to feel as invested in the effort, and it is likely that your garden will go to waste again.
If you’re the only gardener, the garden may feel like a lot of work. If you feel your efforts to have a great garden are unappreciated, then the garden becomes a chore and you won’t enjoy being in it. If you’re working side by side with someone, the gardening becomes a journey of creation. Together you craft and work to make it a beautiful thing, and you share the joy of achievement. When one of you is flagging, the other can encourage. When one has a brilliant idea, the other can add a voice of reason that keeps the garden in balance. The more you work together the better your garden grows.
Just like a marriage.