What We Noticed About Relationships While Working in the Garden

Is there any dead weight keeping your relationship from growing naturally?

April 11, 2021

It’s springtime! So we’ve been working in the garden. 

But wait! Why would we be working, when the flowers would bloom without us?

And what does this have to do with relationships?

Well, it’s natural for plants to grow and bloom. None of the “work” we are doing in the garden will actually cause a plant to grow or bloom.

And it’s also completely natural for people to experience being related.

We cringe a little when we hear people say they are working (or need to work or should work) on their relationships. If being related is natural, like springtime, then how could “working” cause relationship to happen, any more than working in the garden could cause a flower to bloom?

But working in our garden this spring showed us something about what “working on the relationship” might be able to do.

Out in the garden, we are cutting away deadwood and the brown, left-over leaves of last year’s growth.

Similarly, in our relationship we look for old, worn-out ways of thinking and speaking about each other and about our life together. With those past-based stories tossed aside, like dead leaves on the compost pile, there’s room for new thoughts and fresh expressions to appear.

In the garden we are tilling the soil and adding nutrients. Plants and relationships thrive in the right conditions. What nutrients does your relationship need in order to thrive? Attention? Curiosity? Kindness?

In the garden we’ve noticed we can remove obstacles that are in the way of the plants. Carol lifted up a piece of flagstone and found a daffodil struggling to grow underneath it. Freed from the flagstone, the yellow, flattened daffodil leaves straightened up and turned dark green; the plant bloomed.

Is there any dead weight keeping your relationship from growing naturally? How about the burden of old resentments, unexpressed fears or your need to feel in control?

We hope you’re enjoying the spring time, and we hope you’ll also take pleasure in getting curious about how your relationship thrives.

At the risk of beating a dead metaphor, we also want to point out that spring is not the only season for plants or for relationships. Maybe your relationship is going through winter right now (or a hot summer). There’s nothing wrong about any season in the natural cycles of plants or relationships, and we believe there is always something to cherish about the way your relationship is … right now.

Happy spring!

Carol & Paul

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