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Marriage Garden

Posted: June 6, 2011

Cultivating a good marriage is like two people growing a healthy garden. To achieve a full and satisfying harvest, the gardeners must work in harmony with one another, using the right tools, gardening wisdom, and a willing spirit. The gardening process teaches us vital – and sometimes painful – lessons about life. The struggle is worth it: both good marriages and healthy gardens can enrich and delight us. But neither happens by chance. Let’s break ground!

Commit: Make and honor promises.
We start our gardens with great visions and bold enthusiasm. But, weeds, bad weather, pests, and distractions threaten our hopes and dreams. If we are unwilling to deal with problems and differences, we will never enjoy a bountiful harvest.

Grow: Expand your strengths.
The health of the garden is rooted in the health of the individual gardeners. If we do not nurture our personal strengths and abilities – or if we fail to manage our personal weaknesses – we will not be well prepared to take on our gardening tasks.

Grow: Expand your strengths.
The health of the garden is rooted in the health of the individual gardeners. If we do not nurture our personal strengths and abilities – or if we fail to manage our personal weaknesses – we will not be well prepared to take on our gardening tasks.

Nurture: Do the work of loving.
Marriage can grow from a handful of seeds to a garden filled with radiant life. It will require careful attention to the well-being of the plants. We need to weed our destructive thoughts and actions while encouraging healthy growth.

Understand: Cultivate compassion for your partner.
Gardening can be both rewarding and challenging. At times each of us will get sunburned, poked by thorns, and bitten by bugs. We can be gardening partners who compassionately respond to each other’s pains rather than scold our partner for not using sunscreen or being more careful.

Solve: Turn differences into blessings.
We may have very different visions for our shared gardens. Each partnership will have irresolvable differences. If we choose to stay calm, listen attentively, understand our partner’s view, and use creativity, it is possible to turn differences into strengths.

Enjoy the harvest.
To have a healthy marriage garden, we must nurture the best parts of our relationship while guarding against pests. If we do the wrong thing (even with good intentions), we get exhaustion and failure. With a little planning and the warmth of our best selves, we can harvest sweet and enduring companionship.

Source: University of Arkansas
Adapted by: Mary Ann Oyler, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County