Have you ever seen a plant sitting on a shelf in someone’s office… droopy, sad, leaves scattered all on the floor?
You probably looked at that fading little plant and wondered who was supposed to take care of it.
Maybe they forgot? Maybe they don’t know how? Or maybe they just don’t care?
When the person got the plant, they were probably happy, watered it and made sure it had ample sunlight.
Over time, other things took priority… and the plant, waiting for attention and left on it’s own, began to wither away.
You’re probably wondering what this little plant has to do with a healthy marriage.
The short answer is: EVERYTHING.
When your marriage is shiny and new, we spend lots of time growing it. We nurture it, protect it and work hard at planting the seeds of our future.
Inevitably, challenges and distractions occur…
We get comfortable and complacent.
Left unattended, those tender seedlings of love wither, leaving a barren emotional landscape and leaving the one you love wondering what happened.
So, much like the little plant, marriages need regular loving care and feeding. They need tending to by their owners (you and your spouse).
The happiest couples know that tending to their marriage is the best way to create a healthy, sustainable and fulfilling relationship. They make tending their marriage a priority.
Tending your marriage is much more than going on dates and sharing intimate moments.
It’s more than having sex.
Tending your marriage means doing those things that heal, nurture and strengthen your marriage… doing the things that will keep your relationship thriving season after season.
Nothing will choke a garden quicker than weeds. Every garden has them and there’s only one way to deal with them: pull them and pull them often.
If you wait, they’ll overrun your garden.
Old wounds, unresolved problems, neglected intimacy… even those little aggravations are the weeds in your marital garden.
Avoid dealing with them and they’ll invade every emotional space of your relationship.
But weed gently… ripping a weed out by the roots leaves nothing but a big hole to fill.
Take time to talk with your partner about problems. Check in with each other often. The important thing is to communicate in meaningful ways.
Communication is like water for relationships. Without it, they wither away.
Above all, be genuine in your conversations.
And find that place of healing and reconciliation.
Just like a garden needs to be fed regularly to stay healthy… your marriage needs to be fed emotionally to remain vibrant and strong.
You probably fed it well early on… now you just need to remember how.
Everyday kindness is fertilizer for a thriving marriage.
Speak kindly to each other. Say “thank you” when your spouse does something nice for you.
Do the little things that please each other. Cook his favorite dish. Bring her a flower from the garden.
Sincerely compliment each other.
Focusing on the positives and all that is right in your marriage lays the foundations for a marriage that will thrive.
Kindness, forgiveness and gratitude put down deep emotional roots and keep your marriage growing strong.
Sometimes no matter how hard you work at tending your garden, it just won’t grow. You can scratch your head and wonder what to do and give up or you can call in a professional landscaper.
There is no shame in asking for support. Every marriage has challenges.
An expert can help you address the weed problem and help you find the care and plan that works best for your marriage.
Having people to reach out to can be a comforting, healing resource.
A safe space to “talk it out” can make you more confident for even the most difficult conversations and be a great place to share successes!
A well-tended marriage will grow strong and yield a bountiful harvest. Its beauty will draw you in and become your refuge from the world outside.
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Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.