How does your garden grow?

I love to garden. I love to prepare the soil, sow the seeds, design the placement of the plants and watch it grow into something beautiful. But I don’t really enjoy doing the weeding.  I recently replaced my lawn with a drought tolerant landscape. And the wonderful rain that nourishes it, has also brought with it an invading army of weeds.  And while I love gardening, I would almost always rather do anything else than go out and weed.

But if I don’t tend to my garden the beautiful flowers I have sown will be choked out by weeds. The beautiful landscape I so carefully designed is not visible any longer as it is over run by sour grass.  And because I neglected it, now it seems overwhelming and a bit hopeless. I think it may be too late. I feel I will never have the time to get them out. So I little by little neglect the garden and the beautiful flowers because it is now too big a task.

The parking strip by my sidewalk is so choked with crab grass I think I may have to rip it all out and start over. It feels too late to salvage it. Do I really have to painstakingly piece by piece find the weeds and pull them out? That is too much work.

Ironically, I have been gardening for over 20 years. I know how important it is to weed, fertilize, and tend to it regularly.  Yet still, I neglected the weeds.

How does your relationship grow?

It is common knowledge that any relationship, particularly marriage, requires regular work and nurturing. Have you allowed weeds to choke out the beauty? Have you chosen to do anything else other than tend to your garden? Have you given up trying to fix it because it is too hard? Have you asked yourself why you are the only one who cares about the garden, and why is no one else out there weeding?

But once the weeds have taken over and started to choke out the flowers it takes some diligent and regular attention to get the garden healthy again.

I chose to be trained in the Gottman Method Couples Therapy because out of all the marriage books, couples therapy methods, and seminars I have attended, his method has hard science behind it. It is simple, straightforward, and provides a road map for a strong and fulfilling relationship.

John Gottman has shown that it is the small daily things that keep a marriage strong – not the big hard things.  Planning, preparing, and planting the seeds are also important and a lot of fun. But it is the small daily intentional actions that keep it healthy and growing beautifully.

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Most people get married feeling like they are in a fairytale. We have a fairytale courtship, a fairytale wedding, and then at some point many of us feel like the story took a hard turn right. Sometimes it is a challenge or hardship that instead of causing us to turn towards each other pits us against one another: a tragedy, an addiction, a job loss. Sometimes it is simply the ebb of time and familiarity, the slow neglect of one anothers needs and desires that causes us to start to feel neglected and maybe look outside of the relationship to get our needs met: through our children, our jobs, or even an affair. 

What if I told you that your relationship can be a fairytale again? Would you believe me? Probably not. But John Gottman has hard data and science that proves it is possible to both prevent and eradicate the weeds. You just need to put on the galoshes and garden gloves and get out there. It may not be fun work, but after a bit the weeds will be gone and the flowers will be glorious once again.  You will have the tools to pull the weeds before they spread and take over. You will have the tools to daily fertilize and feed your marriage to keep it growing and healthy. The tools are not hard and the training is easy. You just have to be willing to put in the time.

Your garden can grow beautifully if you are willing to tend to it diligently.

Melissa Milne Percy