I have been thinking a lot about love. I seem to see so many posts on the topic lately.
Most of them asking questions like:
- How do you make love last?
- Is it possible to stay “in” love with the same person
- How do you keep the desire alive?
- Why does love fail?
These are big questions indeed. The answers even bigger than the question. Many people believe that we are not ment to be monogamous, and by trying to, we make ourselves and our mate miserable. Many others believe there is only one true love out there for us to find, that’s it…only one. So what is the real answer? Does it have to be one extreme over the other?
My answer may surprise you….you see…I don’t know the answer. The thing is we are all so wonderfully unique that there is no one size fits all. What I do believe to be true is the answer lies somewhere in the middle of the the two polarities.
Recently I celebrated my 24 year wedding anniversary. 24 years…one year shy of that momentous quarter century mark. You know… after being married to the same person for 24 years I decided that I could maybe be considered an expert on the topic, since it seems few make it this far. I decided to do some general (internet) research on the topic of marriage. I wasn’t too surprised at what I found.
Some basic information:
- A study posted in 2011 found that Americans are waiting longer and longer to even “get” married. According to an article I found posted in the Washington Times (click to see the article). This article stated that in 2010, the majority of men and women are getting married between the ages of 30-40 opposed to in the 1960’s when they were tying the proverbial knot in there 20’s.
- The average length of a marriage in America is 8 years according information in an article posted by Family Law (click here to see the article). The information for this article was gathered from, The Survey of Income Data and Participation (SIPP) from the United States Census Bureau.
So, we are waiting longer to get married, and start families. Seems like an overall good idea right? Finish school and really find out who you are before jumping into a life changing relationship right? Makes sense on paper however; what I found interesting is that even when we wait till we think we know what it is we want…marriages are still only lasting an average 8 years? One of the articles above stated that 2nd marriages are also not lasting (they are however lasting two more years, statistically than the first). So what is going on?
Back to the title of my blog. Love is like a garden.
I don’t know about you, but growing a garden is a lot of work! Countless of times I have been inspired to grow a beautiful garden, be it of vegetables, herbs, or flowers and what has happened? It either dies or becomes overgrown. I have often been heard saying to friends and neighbors that
“to be able to survive in my yard my plants (trees, shrubs, flowers etc..) better be self-sufficient! ”
I have realized that this may seem to work, for the most part, ,with landscaping. How many of you have known any type of garden to be 100% self-sufficient though? I am sure someone will find an example just for the case of arguing with me, and that’s ok., at least I will know that I made you think a little and that is a start.
Love like a garden, it needs attention. Like a garden we need to be active participants in its cultivation and growth. It involves work. We need to love, nurture, weed and tend to its many needs. We know we need to supply love and nutrients, but it isn’t always sunny out. A garden and a relationship needs our attention, to know how to keep it safe and protected throughout all the different weather and seasons we come upon. It is not a one size fits all.
Being an active participant in our relationships is key. We cannot just wish and hope and pray for a beautiful relationship, get it and set it on the window sill. I mean you can, but it wont last. It will eventually die. So often we want something, and when we get it we think that’s it, the work is done! We will now be all kinds of happy. The truth is regardless of what you have, to be happy it takes a conscious effort to choose to be happy. Nurture the self and the people in your life. Become aware of what it is that makes you happy. Because when you get what you wish for and you do nothing but stand back and admire it…you will eventually lose it.
Granted different relationships end for different reasons. You may be saying “but, I gave it my all and it still didnt last or work”. This can happen as well. Look at that garden again, if you water it and water it…what happens? Does it die? Have we suffocated it? Or how about the sun, if our gardens sit in the sun all day…all night, with no relief, does it thrive or burn out? Everything is about balance, it also takes two. You cannot expect to plant a cactus in a rain forest climate and have it thrive can you? Or a tropical plant in the desert? If you do, then you better be ready to really work at maintaining the environment for the successful growth of the plant.
Sometimes the hardest thing is realizing or accepting the fact that something is just not the right fit, and you know what….that is ok too!
When I say you need to be an active participant, I mean it! Life is constantly changing so you need to be ready to adapt a little along the way too. No ones relationship is 100%, everyone is compromising and adapting, regardless of what you see on the surface. Life is about a give and take…
I often say I am lucky to have what I have, but it really has nothing to do with luck. We (my husband and I) constantly work to keep our communication flowing and try really hard to understand each other. It doesn’t happen all the time. We don’t see eye to eye all the time, and that is ok. We love each other for who we are individually and we know that it is a give and take to make any venture a successful one.
I like to compare it to that perfect summer day when you’re admiring your garden and all the hard work you have put into it. You notice how the pumpkins are growing bigger by the minute when out of the blue it hits! A strong wind blows in the clouds and hail starts to fall from the sky.
The storm passes…you assess the damage and notice all your pumpkins have been pummeled by the unexpected outburst of hail, all but one tiny pumpkin nestled deep within your garden. You were not ready for this, but you work on, salvaging Give up on everything else in it because the pumpkins were shredded in the storm? Like that summer storm things are constantly thrown upon our path, and if you are actively participating you know that no matter what comes your way, it is worth the effort to work with what you have.
Please don’t misconstrue what I have to say to mean that I believe anyone should stay in a relationship that is not mutual! There should never be verbal or physical abuse in a relationship or garden. Love should be shared not one-sided. We all deserve to be treated with love and the utmost respect.
Love your garden, and please remember to always be an active participant in your relationships. It is not something to set upon a shelf and show off, it is to be enjoyed and played with.
I know that I am looking forward to the next 24 years.