When landscaping a yard and garden, we rarely plant randomly. Often, we hire an expert to draw up a design, or we spend considerable time planning and choosing flowers and bushes perfect for the soil, moisture, and light in the area. Having a blueprint helps us create a beautiful, low-maintenance garden and yard. Then we take plenty of time to prepare the soil with compost, manure, peat moss, and sand to get just the right consistency.
Yet, in life, sometimes we forget to take time to identify what a loving and healthy relationship looks like for us as a couple. We don’t create a design of the relationship we desire. We postpone getting better tools to be successful. We forget to till and enrich the soil of the relationship. We take little time to prune and pull the weeds that seek to overrun our love. So is it any surprise that many couples don’t create a fulfilling, loving, and lasting relationship?
Last summer my husband and I purchased a new yard trimmer and a high-powered lopper to prune branches. Cleaning out the suckers on the Japanese crabapple trees in our backyard turned out to be surprisingly easy and fun. I was reminded once again just how important it is to have the right tools and materials, not only for yard work but also for pruning and nurturing our marriage and relationship. At each season, the right tools make the work easier. Otherwise, creating a healthy and thriving relationship can be so much more difficult.
Today while lopping off dead branches and trimming overgrown bushes, I was thinking about what creates a balanced and healthy relationship. What nutrients does the relationship need to thrive? Where do we get them? What are the right tools to ensure that our relationship continues to grow? Looking back on our many years of marriage, I wondered what keeps my husband and me growing and getting closer when other couples are separating or divorcing. Are there specific tools and materials that deepen our commitment and strengthen our roots?
Related reading: "Do You Want a Happy Marriage? Do These 5 Actions!"
Key Actions for a Healthier Marriage
Here are a few key ingredients for a happier relationship.
The compost: using our imperfections as leverage to be better and support each other to grow.
Related reading: "Relationship Rescue—Turn Complaint to Closeness"
The sunlight: random acts of kindness, respectful words, patient responses when one of us is frustrated or upset.
The fertilizer: date night, a surprise gift, appreciation for our differences.
The pruning: agreeing to handle disagreements before going to bed, not postponing difficult conversations, and making honesty and forthrightness a priority in our relationship.
What I realized is that landscaping a relationship doesn’t require major overhauls—but it does require small and consistent nourishment, time for regeneration, and occasional pruning of harmful habits that corrode our relationship. When you pay attention and nurture the relationship like we care for a prize vegetable garden, we harvest a happy relationship.
A healthy marriage requires pruning, but it also requires choosing your partner anew every day. After all, love is choice that we need to make daily!
How do you landscape your relationship? Tell me what you do to grow healthy and strong roots. What tools, materials, and techniques work for you?
And to reach out for couples mentoring or more tips to build a healthy relationship that thrives, contact us at Heartmanity!