On my desk at the office, sits a purple orchid plant. At least it’s purple, when in bloom, and right now it has bloomed. It was given to me by a former employee when she left. I have never had much luck with orchids and I was afraid this one would not fare well either.
You see, I sometimes get so busy that I would forget to water it. It had one bloom when it was given to me. The blooms died and it was months before I began to notice a couple of buds. When I noticed it had buds, I began to make myself be more aware of the plant. I wanted it to grow and bloom again. I made sure it was watered when needed. Even moved it over to a sunnier spot a few times.
I assume, because I was not told and there was no accompanying tag on the plant, that my orchid is a hybrid. That seems to be true, especially since it has now bloomed for a second time since I have had it. Hybrids are a little easier to grow.
But, if I do not water or do not see that it gets adequate light, the plant will start to die. It needs nurturing.
We are planning a garden this year and we actually began preparing the soil last year. Our furbaby helps every now and then by going over and digging in the soil. We are a little worried she is going to dig up the plants once planted, but will cross that bridge when the time comes. We still have to do more to the soil this year before we plant. Once planted the soil will need turning once in a while and the plants will need watering if we do not get enough rain. Weeds will also have to be pulled. In other words, the plants in the garden will also need some nurturing.
Plants and flowers are not the only thing which require nurturing. So do children and relationships like that with our spouse. I have heard all types of sad stories about marriages lately. Especially since becoming a minister, seems like I hear even more. With Valentine’s Day this weekend, I have a few insights which I have discovered.
Nurture means to care for and encourage the growth or development of and cherish.
Marriages need nurturing as well. If you want to see results you have to invest time and energy. You must put something into it if you want to get anything out of it. You also cannot take more than you give.
Whomever said that marriage was a 50/50 proposition had obviously never been married. Some days it can be, but there are many days where it is 90/10 or 75/25. That usually swings back and forth between the two partners. If it doesn’t, then there is a big problem.
People complain that their spouse isn’t romantic enough or loving enough. But romance is something that has to be infused into a marriage as does love. Both must get into the habit of giving, loving, serving, praising and not taking out more than is put into the marriage.
Putting God at the head of the household and realizing everything comes from Him is the first step in nurturing your marriage. Pray for your spouse daily and as you are praying ask God to show you where you might need to do something different as well. Also pray together.
You see marriage is a partnership, not just about one person, but about two people who have made a commitment to each other. That means give and take on both sides and rarely will that be 50/50. And it takes work. Anything worth having always does.
Each of us have different emotional needs and each of us express love and feel loved in different ways. Gary Chapman writes about love lanuages and it’s worth figuring out yours and your spouse’s. Society also is against marriage these days and if you value your marriage, you must be willing to do whatever it takes. That doesn’t mean putting up with abuse of any kind.
That does mean that you make time for your partner, even if you have to schedule in a date night on the calendar. We tend to overextend ourselves so how can we be a loving partner if we are just totally exhausted from all of our commitments? Do something fun with your spouse once a week. If your interests don’t seem to coordinate, then you will have to compromise at times. Remember it’s give and take. Not take and take.
A really big problem I see is lack of communication. You should be able to discuss anthing with your spouse, regardless of the topic without fear or rejection or reprisal. We also can’t let emotions drive any discussions because feelings can change at any time. If you feel you can’t talk, ask yourself if you have made a real effort. Sometimes all that will work is counseling to get the communication going. Listening is a part of communication and paying attention to what is being said is also a way of showing respect. Communication doesn’t mean you have to say everything that pops into your head either especially if it involves emotions that could change in the next five seconds.
Something else I see is a lack of trust. Perhaps one is always flirting even if they have no intention of anything going further. This can destroy trust. Do not flirt with the opposite sex when you are married. If you are insecure, don’t let your insecurity make you become overly suspicious of your mate.
Fight fair and don’t keep score. Don’t say ”I told you so” even if you did when something happens. Compliment your spouse and be courteous. Just because you are married does not mean t hat your manners get thrown out the window. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill and pick your battles wisely.Some things just are not worth fighting over in the bigger scheme of things. Both of you make mistakes, figure out what works and what doesn’t work for the two of you.
Because we are individuals, sometimes we just need our space. That doesn’t mean a night on the town with someone other than our mate while our spouse is at home alone. You should discuss together how to get your ”me” time.
Finances causes a lot of problems which can also be resolved with communication about expectations and how money will be handled. Of course, if you didn’t talk about this before the marriage, it is more difficult after marriage but should be tackled. Just have the discussion in love.
If you are totally committed then you will work on your marriage every chance you get. And don’t forget to laugh. Not only together, but at yourself and each other without becoming offended. Marriage is not about being perfect but about two imperfect people working together and forgiving each other’s imperfections every day.
We should be more like our furbabies with our relationships with our spouses: be glad to see them when they come home, be playful at times, quiet at times, be loyal, trusting, forgiving, don’t hold grudges and most of all be yourself. If people would work as hard at their marriage as they do on other things in their life, we would have less divorces.
Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day. Show your spouse some love.
VICTORIA SIMMONS is a columnist, motivational speaker/ minister and publisher/gm of The Post/Byron Buzz. Reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org