How does your garden grow?
Early in a relationship...the seed.
I meet someone and feel a mutual attraction.
On the first date, I throw out all the hamburger sacks tossed in the back seat of my car.
I wouldn’t want them to think I might be a slob.
We talk about who we are and have a lot of fun getting to know each other.
I find myself wanting to spend more thyme with them.
It's simple to dig into a conversation and ask questions, to be accepting, positive, and interested.
It's so appealing to feel a connection, that chemistry, which I refer to as the "drug of love."
But is this the real me?
Am I "presenting an image" that is more favorable than who I actually am in this new relationship?
Is this something I can cultivate and sustain in the long run?
Is this the one that is mint to be?
Fast forward...the garden.
We are married.
We are watering, pruning, and tending in order to grow and flourish.
Taking care to monitor the chemistry in our garden has ensured the maximum amount of growth.
Our first two children are here, and this expansion has changed our lives
Yes, it has brought about significant changes, with the nourishment and development of children becoming the primary focus.
Where we used to sow seeds of hope, love, and encouragement, we now allow weeds to take over and the ground of the relationship erodes.
We spend more time focusing on what each other is doing wrong or unsuitable, abandoning what we used to cherish and develop.
In contrast to when we first met, we start to cut and prune each other. Majoring on each on each other’s minuses has become catastrophic.
The weeds of sarcasm, mockery, ignoring, belittling, interrupting, and other disrespectful behaviors take over. And then there are those annoying weeds such as small lies, breaking promises, blaming, being distant or avoidant, forgetting to put the toothpaste's cap back on, and leaving dirty socks on the floor.
Before, I felt sought after and special. I knew I was the most important thing to you.
Now I feel like a “forget-me-not.” I've been replaced by the kids, the job, the money, the friends, the alcohol, and many other things.
I no longer feel good about myself when I'm in your presence.
How many of us have been in this place?
The growth and sustainability of relationships depend on us grading ourselves on how we feel about ourselves in front of the other on a weekly basis, regardless of where we are in that relationship—at the seedling or mature stage.
The minute I feel it sinks below an 8 on a one to 10 scale, I must begin to look at MY contribution to the erosion.
We need to develop the ability to put the other person's needs before our own. It is crucial in fostering and supporting relationship growth. Relationships without pursuit wither.
The more I focus on myself and what I'm not getting, the more I present as a weed.
The more I tend, nurture, and cultivate, by saying what I desire in a relationship, the easier it is for me to reap what has been sown.
Don't let relationships rot on the vine.
Early warning signs can make change much easier.